In a report on Forbes.com, Hugh McIntyre talks about Janet’s upcoming album and the reason her new business model makes sense in a music industry landscape that has dramatically changed since the release of her most successful albums.

Why Janet Jackson’s Musical Comeback Makes A Lot Of Financial Sense

By Hugh McIntyre

Just a few weeks ago, Janet Jackson, one of the most celebrated artists of all time, announced her return after a seven year hiatus from recording music. Now 49, the singer faces a different landscape than she’s used to, and her comeback could have been an uphill battle…but in typical Jackson form, she’s doing things her own way, and it actually might end up being a great business decision.

She’s In Charge
For the first time in her career, it looks like Janet is going to be in charge of the entire album recording and release process. Instead of working with a major label as she has always done throughout her many years as a globally-adored star (after disappointing sales of her last album, Discipline, she and Island Records parted ways), Janet has started her own label, Rhythm Nation. The company gets its name from her fourth album, which remains one of her best sellers (thanks to the four number one hits that were released off of it). She has partnered with BMG to distribute the album, meaning she doesn’t have to worry about actually getting the record out there to consumers…she just has to make it.

By owning the label that will be releasing her upcoming eleventh studio album, Janet is not only paying for all the costs associated with recording and promoting an album herself, she’ll be reaping almost all of the benefits. While album sales aren’t what they used to be, she’s going to take home a much higher percentage of each sale than she likely ever has, as there are fewer people taking pieces of the pie. If she doesn’t overspend on production, making a profit could be easy.

It’s A Great Excuse To Tour
Somebody as massively popular as Janet Jackson doesn’t really need to produce new material in order to venture out on a worldwide trek, but it does give her a great excuse to do so. Touring is where most of an artist’s money comes from these days, and a star like Janet can command hundreds of thousands per night. There are only so many “Greatest Hits” shows a singer can do before it feels like selling out, so even if she only performs a few new cuts, touring under the guise of promoting a new record is a tried and true route to a financially successful year.

She’s Got Nothing To Prove
At the end of the day, little to nothing is riding on the success of the album itself. If she manages things correctly, nobody will judge her should the record flop commercially. Janet is already one of the most successful pop icons of all time in every sense, and her legacy is not riding on how well a later record performs. If she focuses on creating a well-crafted album that has integrity and meaning, instead of reaching for top ten hits and blockbuster sellers, her fans will appreciate it, and she won’t be lambasted in the media as some other older pop stars are. It’s tough to be on top of the charts and all over radio after so many decades, but really great music knows no age, and can come from anywhere.

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