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In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter last week, newly appointed RCA Records CEO Peter Edge confirmed that the 25-year-old DeWyze is no longer on the label. Under Sony Music CEO Doug Morris, who took the reigns in July, RCA has absorbed the rosters of Jive, Arista and J Records, all labels which have seen their share of Idols signings, both winners and runners up.
DeWyze continues to be managed by 19’s management arm and recently told THR that he was working on new music.
Season 9 was the last of a nine-year partnership between Idol, 19 Recordings and Sony Music, which had an exclusive license on the show’s music releases. DeWyze’s option officially expired in September. His debut album, 2010’s Live It Up, sold just over 146,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Other Idol winners who remain on the RCA roster include season 8’s Kris Allen, season 7’s David Cook, Season 6’s Jordin Sparks as well as Idol’s biggest successes, season 4’s Carrie Underwood and the first ever Idol, Kelly Clarkson.
When asked about Idol’s inconsistent sales performance, RCA’s Edge offered an explanation: “The best Idol results come from doing great A&R. The TV platform provides amazing coverage, but if you don’t have the right songs, it doesn’t really mean a whole hell of a lot, because we’ve seen American Idol winners come and go in a heartbeat. And we’ve seen them have great records, like Kelly Clarkson, starting with ‘Since U Been Gone.’ Or on the X Factor side, Leona Lewis, where ‘Bleeding Love’ gave her a double-platinum debut album; if she didn’t have those songs, her notoriety would have probably gone away. Those where the A&R wasn’t the best, or they weren’t willing to be A&R’d, they didn’t last.”
A rep for DeWyze tells THR he’s “in a good place right now” and notes that he has several exciting projects in the pipeline, one of which no doubt includes his upcoming wedding to model and actress Jonna Walsh.
Correction: a previous version of this story mistakenly cited sales of 168,000 copies for Lee DeWyze’s Live It Up. The tally was approximately 146,000 units at the time of publication.
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