Def Jam Pioneer Rick Rubin Caught in Label Tug-of-War
According to The New York Times, Rubin has been offered the job at Columbia Records, which would be the first senior executive role for the legendary producer, However, with three years remaining on his contract at Warner Bros. Records which houses his boutique label, American Recordings, Rubin will have to undergo serious negotiations before being allowed to take the new position.
Since co-founding Def Jam Records in the mid-1980's, Rubin has produced for Run DMC, LL Cool J and Jay-Z, and across genres with artists including Johnny Cash and LinkinPark. In 2006, Rubin produced music for three Grammy contenders for album of the year, Justin Timberlake's FutureSex/LoveSounds, the Dixie Chicks' Taking the Long Way and the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Stadium Arcadium and is currently vying for the Producer of the Year award.
Hugely popular with the artists he has worked with, Rubin once said in an interview with the Washington Post, "I don't even know what a traditional producer is or does. I feel like the job is like being a coach, building good work habits and building trust."
If Rubin does take the post at Columbia Records, Times sources said he would likely still be allowed to continue producing for Warner Bros. The position would require him to work closely with current Columbia Chairman Steve Barnett, who associates say is in favor of hiring Rubin in hopes of attracting new artists while also bringing a more creative spirit to the label.