Universal Music Group, the world's largest record company, has pulled the plug on its gala post-Grammy Awards party because of concerns that violence might erupt between rival rappers, sources said.
The move marks the first time a major music firm has canceled a Grammy bash. It comes during great change in an industry beset by declining sales, piracy, cost cutting and firings.
The firm, a unit of Vivendi Universal, declined to comment. But sources said company executives were responding not just to cost pressures but to fears that a feud between Brooklyn rapper 50 Cent and hip-hop entrepreneur Irv Gotti, chief of the Murder Inc. label, could spill over into a violent altercation that might endanger partygoers.
The two hip-hop figures have been at odds for nearly three years, since 50 Cent recorded a song mocking rappers tied to Gotti. In March 2000, police arrested Gotti and two other men on charges of gang assault after a fight at a Manhattan recording studio in which 50 Cent was stabbed, records show. Two months later, 50 Cent was shot nine times. No one has been prosecuted for either crime.