LONDON, Jan 24: Pop diva Mariah Carey found herself out of a job on Wednesday when her record company EMI paid her $28 million to walk away from the biggest recording contract of all time.

British-based EMI Group confirmed weeks of speculation that it was severing ties with the US vocalist after signing her in a mammoth deal last year, only to see her first release “Glitter” sell a disappointing two million copies.

The axing comes at a bad time for 31-year-old Carey whose professional and private life has topped gossip columns since the collapse of her marriage to Sony Music boss Tommy Mottola, who discovered Carey as an 18-year-old waitress.

The singer suffered a painfully public breakdown last year, delaying “Glitter” which was then released on September 11. Ill-health then prevented Carey from promoting the album, resulting in a huge loss for EMI which had hoped the album would match the success of previous hits such as Music Box.

Some analysts questioned whether EMI, which is also taking an 18.5 million pound ($26 million) million hit from upfront payments to Carey, was being rash in scrapping the best selling female artist of the last decade after only one ill-fated album.

“EMI took an executive view on whether she was past it or not and whether she would ever generate the kind of album sales she did in the past again. It’s a huge gamble for music groups investing in these artists,” said Kingsley Wilson, a media analyst at Investec Henderson Crosthwaite.—Reuters

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