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Are Van Halen leaving Warner Bros. for Sony?

For Van Halen, a new album apparently means a new label...and a new year. © Robert Padgett/Reuters/Corbis

Van Halen have been with Warner Bros. Records since 1978, when they were signed by Mo Ostin and Ted Templeman. But after 34 years, the band has reportedly ended their relationship with the Burbank, California-based label and are entering into an agreement with Sony.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Sony-owned Columbia Records will be Van Halen's new home, and A&R executive Stephen Ferrera will be overseeing the upcoming VH disc, the band's first full outing with David Lee Roth since the album 1984.

Earlier this year, it looked as though the new album would be released in 2011 (it was strongly rumored that the first single would hit over the 4th of July weekend), but now the word is that the record won't come out until early 2012.

Regarding the impending deal, a source told The Hollywood Reporter, "Nothing has been signed yet, but Columbia has been in the lead for some time."

The prospect of Van Halen leaving Warner Bros. comes during talk that the label is losing faith in rock music, choosing to focus on dance- and urban-flavored pop. Whether this is coincidence or a sign that Van Halen feels that Sony is simply better suited to their current needs is anyone's guess. At the moment, there has no confirmation on the new deal from either Columbia or the Van Halen camp.

Songwriter-producer John Shanks and producer-mixer Ross Hogarth have been in the studio with Van Halen for the better part of a year working on the new album. Said Hogarth of the upcoming LP: "It's the killing side of Van Halen at the top of their game again with Diamond Dave, and the band on fire."

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