Adele has come a long way for a 28-year-old.
The “Hello” singer is reportedly set to sign a recording deal with Sony Music worth $130 million, which would be both the largest record deal for a British artist and the largest amount for a woman, beating Whitney Houston and Madonna.
Adele’s previous contract with independent label XL expired with her last album, “25,” which broke just about every sales record it could. So it’s no surprise Sony scooped her up. It will get exclusive rights to release her music going forward.
She might be big but she’s not the biggest. Check out the most valuable record deals ever:
10. Prince — $100 million (1992)
- Thomson Reuters
The Purple One took in more than Michael Jackson or Madonna in his deal with Warner Bros., which came after his hugely successful “Batman” soundtrack for the company. But the brilliant late musician frequently battled with his label for control of his music and identity.
9. Whitney Houston — $100 million (2001)
- Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Houston signed the biggest deal in the history of label Arista at the time, with a multi-album contract. Sadly, this would be the start of a downward spiral for the artist, who managed to release only three more albums before she died in 2012.
8. Madonna — $120 million (2012)
- Thomson Reuters
Similar to its deal with Jay Z, Live Nation in its “360 deal” paid for not just Madonna’s future albums – which continue to sell – but also for rights to promoting her high-ticket world tours.
7. Robbie Williams — $125 million (2002)
- Frank Micelotta/Stringer, Getty Images
The second-largest deal for a British artist goes to Robbie Williams. Though he might not seem so relevant now, he was a certified heartthrob back at the turn of the millennium who had a golden touch when it came to selling records. After he signed the deal, EMI got his biggest international hit to date, “Feel.”
6. Adele — $130 million (2016)
Assuming her deal goes through, Adele will have the largest recording deal for a Briton and for a woman. After breaking every record in sight with sales of her last album, “25,” and given her cross-generational appeal, we’d say she deserves it.
5. Bruce Springsteen — $150 million (2005)
- Matt Kent/Getty Images
Several decades into his career, The Boss and his E Street Band are still able to reach the top of Billboard’s albums chart, which is good news for Columbia, which gave them a blockbuster-size deal for recordings a little over a decade ago.
4. Jay Z — $150 million (2008)
Live Nation grabbed the biggest name in rap at the time for a hefty sum, but it wasn’t just for his albums. The company gets a stake in his investments and acquisitions, publishing rights, and money from his highly lucrative tours.
3. Lil Wayne — $150 million (2012)
- Ethan Miller/Getty
Cash Money rolled out the red carpet for Lil Wayne years ago to keep the hip-hop star on its roster. But despite Wayne’s influence and his ability to bring in other hot commodities – such as Drake and Nicki Minaj – the rapper is feuding with label head Birdman, saying Cash Money refuses to release the long-delayed “Carter V.”
2. U2 — $200 million (1993)
- Thomson Reuters
The self-proclaimed “biggest band in the world” really was that, for a time. Following the massive success of “The Joshua Tree” and “Achtung Baby,” Polydor signed the band for a massive sum even by today’s standards.
1. Michael Jackson — $250 million (2010)
- Getty Images / Kevin Mazur
The deal was signed after Jackson’s death, but his estate’s contract with Sony Music gives the label rights to his indisputable catalogue, including reissues, as well as any posthumous new releases, like 2014’s “Xscape,” which managed to land at No. 2 on US charts.