YOUNG BLOOD: It's not just new artists...

YOUNG BLOOD: It's not just new artists who benefit from the increased competition between record companies. Warner Bros. Records Chairman Danny Goldberg, who just took over the reins of the company, found that out when he had to cough up a huge amount to keep Neil Young with the company.

Representatives for Warner and Young refused to discuss details of the recently signed agreement with Warner-owned Reprise Records, but industry sources said Young's new five-album pact is worth an estimated $25 million--more than twice as much as the artist is believed to have been offered by the previous Warner regime.

Sources said Warner will pay Young an estimated $3-million advance per album plus an additional $10-million signing fee, which the label can retrieve from sales of Young's 22-album catalogue.

Warner also agreed to relinquish the publishing rights to three dozen of Young's earliest songs--a sentimental perk none of Warner's competitors could match.

While some insiders ask whether Warner can sell enough Young records to earn a profit on the arrangement, several attorneys speculated that Warner will do well under the pact. The industry consensus is that it was crucial for Goldberg to keep the 49-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer from jumping ship.

Young, whose contract with Reprise expired last year, was one of several top artists who threatened to leave in October following a corporate battle that forced the departure of beloved Warner executives Mo Ostin and Lenny Waronker.

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