Aretha Franklin Splits With Record Label, Signs With AARP?

Photo: Photo Illustration: Everett Bogue; Photos: Getty Images

Following moves by high-profile artist like Paul McCartney, Madonna, and Radiohead to distribute their music through Starbucks, Live Nation, and their own Websites, Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin has reportedly dumped her record label and will release her next album, somehow, through the AARP. (At least that's Variety's guess; Franklin will say only that it's "a noted group that works with boomers once they hit 65 — and it's not Social Security," so we suppose it could also be Denny's.)

According to Franklin, she'd wanted to re-sign with Arista, but cash-strapped Clive Davis couldn't make her an acceptable offer. So, instead, she'll drop this one — her first Christmas album, apparently — through said elderly group, and another forthcoming pop record through Time Life, another organization whose target customers include WWI vets. We think it's actually a pretty brilliant strategy — at least sales won't be hurt by downloading. Plus, in spite of everything, both Time Life and AARP are probably more forward-thinking than the record labels these days.

Queen Of Soul Christens Empire With Two New Albums [The Set List/Variety]