Ah, that first blush of romance is always so giddy — who could forget the big Sunday spread in the New York Times where Rick Rubin talked optimistically about Sony entrusting him with saving them (and thereby the mainstream music-biz as we know it) from ruin with his ZZ Top-bearded, Zen-like ways and magic impresario touch. Well, file it with all those other early-days love letters from failed relationships, because it’s starting to look like Sony and Rubin are no longer seeing eye-to-beard.
Fox News has reported that Rubin will be shunted off to a side-label deal, presumably so Sony can distance themselves from him without breaking their contract. The reason? Fox speculates that it’s a combination of Rubin not delivering them from Music 2.0 purgatory via hit albums (wait a minute, didn’t he deliver Neil Diamond’s first Number One album ever this year for Sony?) and his audacious willingness to produce a hit album (by Metallica) for another label, not to mention spending time working on the upcoming U2 album for the competition, for which his contributions didn’t even make the final cut.
Will Rubin be found out as an undercover operative for EMI? Will Sony turn next to that cute gecko from the insurance commercials for salvation? Stay tuned for further details.