[From Fox 411]
Whitney's Album Claims Record Exec as Victim
Whitney Houston's disastrous recent album has claimed its first victim. Yesterday, Arista
Records bounced its senior vice president of black music, Lionel Ridenour. He'd been with
the company for a decade.
Just Whitney has sold just 540,000 copies, even though the Record Industry Association of
America certified it as a platinum album. That means Just shipped a million copies to
Unfortunately, some 400,000 are still sitting in those same record stores, or are
someplace other than customers' homes. Just Whitney is No. 100 this week after less than
three months on the charts.
Last year, Arista chief L.A. Reid gave Whitney a reported $100 million deal. Even if the
total wasn't really that much, the reality is the company cut her a $20 million check and
handed it over. That's cash.
With extras added on, Houston took a total of almost $25 million in the end, I am told.
Someone had to pay for this catastrophe, and it wasn't going to be Reid. So Ridenour is
The irony here is that Arista's only real success in the last year has been the debut
album by Avril Lavigne, a teenage Canadian white girl.
When Reid came into power at Arista, it was assumed the label would become more
"urban-oriented" (meaning black). But Just Whitney was just a bust, and
Santana's Shaman album has been an overall disappointment after his previous Supernatural
In Ridenour's place comes hip-hop producer Jermaine Dupri. Will he fare any better?
So far Dupri's biggest achievement has been to date Janet Jackson. But Janet records for
Virgin Records and she's produced by Jimmy "Jam" Harris and Terry Lewis, so she
won't be adding to the Arista bottom line any time soon.
As for Whitney, she seems blissfully unaware that there's a bill out there, and it's
NEWSFILE: 28 FEBRUARY 2003