Rap megastar Dr. Dre, who has been a mainstay of Vivendi Universal's music operation, is close to a deal to share in the profit from an album he will oversee for AOL Time Warner Inc.'s Atlantic Records division, sources said.
The unusual pact, which could be signed within weeks, underscores industry interest in the acclaimed record producer, who is fresh off the success of proteges Eminem and 50 Cent.
Record labels typically pay producers a fee and royalties on sales, but the deal involving the forthcoming album by Atlantic hip-hop artist Governor calls for Dre's firm, Interscope Records-affiliated Aftermath Entertainment, to receive a hefty cut of the profit, sources said. Universal will share in proceeds from the venture through its ownership of Interscope.
The deal also represents one of the only times Dre, whose real name is Andre Young, would lend the powerful brand name of his Aftermath firm to a label other than Interscope.
-- Jeff Leeds