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What's With Whitney Houston's New Record Deal?

A big deal has been made of Whitney Houston's new $100 million Arista recording contract, but she was not a free agent or she would have jumped ship with Clive Davis and joined his J Records rather than stay with Arista.

The big hullabaloo has it as the industry's largest recording contract to date, even eclipsing Mariah Carey's $80 million deal for four albums, which is actually more per album than Houston's six albums plus two Greatest Hits compilations. However, (Entertainment Weekly) reports that Houston already owes Arista six albums of new material plus two compilations on her old, existing contract. So, the $100 million deal is actually a sweetheart deal with $25 million upfront.

Houston is "the queen of Arista," says label president Antonio "L.A." Reid. "She really has earned this deal, but this wasn't an exchange of money for guaranteed anything." Reid will produce Houston's next album.