Mariah Carey no longer a Virgin

— After less than a year and a flop album, Mariah Carey is leaving Virgin Records with a deal giving her $49 million.

EMI, Virgin's parent company, announced on Wednesday that it would pay the 31-year-old diva $28 million to end their association, which was to last for several albums to the tune of $100 million.

That's in addition to the $21 million she's already received since arriving at Virgin last April.

"Glitter," her first album for Virgin and the soundtrack for her movie of the same name, was a major disappointment. It sold 501,000 copies, according to Soundscan, a sharp drop from the multiplatinum successes the Grammy winner delivered for her previous label, Columbia Records.

The "Glitter" disc came out after the singer was hospitalized last summer for a much-publicized breakdown. It was followed in September by her equally disappointing movie of the same name, which failed to crack the top 10 in its first week of release and quickly disappeared from theaters.

Earlier this month, EMI released a statement denying it had agreed to buy out Carey's pricey deal.

But in Wednesday's statement, EMI's new chairman, Alain Levy, said: "We have decided that this is the most prudent course of action for EMI. We wish Mariah the best."

Carey said in the joint statement: "This is the right decision for me. I look forward to the many new and exciting opportunities, which have now been presented to me. I wish Virgin well."

In a separate EMI statement, however, the company said it had "terminated its contract with Mariah Carey." EMI described the statement as a regulatory disclosure that was required by stock exchange regulations.

Hours later, Carey's representatives angrily denied she had been "terminated." They said the break was amicable and added that EMI's statement was false and in violation of her exit terms.

Carey's lawyer, Marshall Grossman, it was Carey who wanted to end the contract, not EMI. Asked why Carey would walk away from a $100 million deal, Grossman said: "She has received the benefit of this agreement of $49 million for only one album. And she is free to pursue a number of different opportunities that she was not able to pursue under the original contract."

Grossman would not say what those opportunities were, but he said Carey is evaluating offers from other labels.

Carey has another movie, "Wisegirls," with Mira Sorvino, due out this year. Carey is scheduled to perform the national anthem at the Super Bowl on Feb. 3.


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