Zomba Label Group Year-End Success Opens With 16 Grammy Award Nominations From Jive, LaFace, So So Def, And Verity Records Artists, Plus 26 Billboard Music Awards

ZLG Named #1 Label of 2004 on 6 Billboard Charts and 4 R&R Charts

Usher - with 8 nominations - leads ZLG roster of Grammy nominees including Britney Spears, R. Kelly, Anthony Hamilton, Syleena Johnson, Fred Hammond, Tonex, and Richard Smallwood

2005 album releases on the way from Pink, R. Kelly, J-Kwon, Kirk Franklin, Tool, Justin Timberlake, Three Days Grace, Backstreet Boys, JC Chasez, American Minor, Eamon, Buddy Guy, Donnie McClurkin, Reel Big Fish, Richard Smallwood, 311, Wakefield, Rev. He


With LaFace Records artist Usher earning 8 Grammy award nominations earlier this week -- including Record Of the Year and Album Of the Year -- representing the lion's share of Zomba Label Group artists' 16 total Grammy nominations, coupled with the ZLG roster of Usher, OutKast, Britney Spears and R. Kelly who combined to lead the company to year- end Billboard Music Awards in 26 categories -- 2005 wraps up as one of the most successful years in Zomba's 23-year history.

Crowning these artist awards, Billboard named ZLG the #1 R&B/Hip Hop Label, #1 Mainstream Top 40 Label, #1 Rhythmic Top 40 Label, #1 Top 40 Tracks label, #1 Gospel Label, and #1 Digital Label -- as detailed in this week's brand new issue (cover date December 18th). In the R&R (Radio & Records) year-end results, ZLG was named #1 Label Overall, #1 Pop Label, #1 Rhythmic Label, #1 Urban Label, and #2 Urban AC Label.

Barry Weiss, President/CEO of the Zomba Label Group says "This year was a great year in every respect for us. From new artists breaking like Ciara, Three Days Grace, Anthony Hamilton, and Eamon to the worldwide domination of Usher, we are extremely proud of our artists, their hard work and their achievements. It's been another sensational year for us at Zomba."

Usher's 8 Grammy award nominations tied him with J Records artist Alicia Keys (second only to Kanye West's 12 nominations). Confessions, nominated for Album Of the Year and Best Contemporary R&B Album, is certified 8-times platinum in the U.S. alone, with sales nearly reaching 12-million worldwide. It has spent 5 weeks at #1 on the strength of a non-stop string of hit singles, three of which are nominated for Grammy awards: "Yeah!" featuring Lil' Jon & Ludacris (Record Of the Year, Best R&B Song, and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration); "Burn" (Best Male R&B Vocal and Best R&B Song); and "My Boo" with Alicia Keys (Best R&B Song). "My Boo," released as a single the last week of August, was included on Confessions (Special Edition), the deluxe repackaged, redesigned, limited-edition version of the album -- which was named Billboard's #1 Pop Album and #1 R&B Album of 2004.

The competitive Best Male R&B Vocal category of the Grammy awards is dominated by ZLG artists, as Usher's "Burn" finds him running against Jive's R. Kelly with "Happy People" (from his double-platinum Happy People/U Saved Me double-CD) and So So Def's Anthony Hamilton with "Charlene" (from his platinum album of 2003, Comin' From Where I'm From). Similarly, competition for the Best Rap/Sung Collaboration award matches "Yeah!" against the Jadakiss track "Why" featuring Anthony Hamilton, and the Kanye West track "All Fall Down" featuring Jive's Chicago songstress Syleena Johnson.

In addition to the two Pop and R&B Album awards, Usher collected Billboard awards for #1 Pop Single ("Yeah!"), #1 Hot 100 Artist, #1 Billboard 200 Album Artist, #1 Hot 100 Airplay Single ("Yeah!"), #1 Mainstream Top 40 Artist, #1 Mainstream Top 40 Title ("Yeah!"), #1 Rhythmic Top 40 Artist, #1 Rhythmic Top 40 Title ("Yeah!"), #1 R&B Artist, and #1 R&B Albums Artist. R&R also named "Yeah!" as its #1 Rhythmic Track and #1 Urban Track of the year. R. Kelly was named Billboard's #1 R&B/Hip-Hop Songwriter.

Jive records artist Britney Spears, whose Greatest Hits: My Prerogative collection was released one month ago and has already sold over 4 million copies worldwide, received a Grammy nomination in the Best Dance Recording category for "Toxic." England's NME listed the song at #9 in the Best Tracks Of the Year wrap-up in their current year-end issue. "Toxic" was originally released on Britney's double-platinum 2003 album In the Zone. Another track from that album, "Me Against the Music" (featuring Madonna) was chosen by Billboard as the year's #1 Dance Single.

LaFace Records group OutKast, whose 9-times platinum breakthrough album Speakerboxx/The Love Below generated 3 Grammy awards last year -- including Album Of the Year, Best Rap Album, and Best Urban/Alternative Performance (for "Hey Ya!") -- finished out this year as Billboard's #1 Duo/Group Artist, #1 Hot 100 Duo/Group Artist, #1 Billboard 200 Albums Duo/Group Artist, Digital Track, #1 R&B Duo/Group Artist, and #1 Digital Track (for "Hey Ya!").

LaFace Records artist Ciara's debut album Goodies was recently certified Platinum. The album is named for its title track and first hit single "Goodies" featuring Petey Pablo, which spent 7 weeks at #1 and was nominated for a Billboard Music Award as Rhythmic Top 40 Single. Ciara was also nominated as Female Hot 100 Artist and Female R&B Hip-Hop Artist of the Year. Ciara's current single, "1, 2 Step" featuring Missy Elliott, is racing up the top 10 Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop charts. , Upcoming television performances for Ciara include "The Late Show with David Letterman" (Dec. 16th), and Dick Clark's "New Year's Rockin' Eve" (Dec. 31st).

ZLG's Verity label captured nominations in three different categories of the Gospel Field, starting with Fred Hammond's "Celebrate (He Lives)" as Best Gospel Performance, from his album, Somethin' 'Bout Love. The latter was nominated as Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album, a category that also includes Out the Box by Verity's Tonex. Finally, the veteran Washington, DC choir director Richard Smallwood's latest offering, The Praise and Worship Songs, was nominated as Best Traditional Soul Gospel.

As 2004 draws to a close, 2005 is shaping up to be another banner year for the Zomba Label Group, with releases planned on the Jive, LaFace, Silvertone, So So Def, and Verity labels. Look for an exciting schedule of new albums from Back Street Boys, JC Chasez, American Minor, Eamon, Kirk Franklin, Buddy Guy, J-Kwon, R. Kelly, Donnie McClurkin, Pink, Reel Big Fish, Richard Smallwood, 3 Days Grace, 311, Tool, Wakefield, Rev. Hezekiah Walker, and Youngbloodz -- among others!

The Zomba Label Group (ZLG) is one of the industry's most dynamic record companies, and its associated labels are comprised of Jive, LaFace, So So Def, Verity, Volcano, Violator Records, Fo Yo Soul and GospoCentric. These labels are home to a varied group of top entertainers, including 311, Backstreet Boys, Byron Cage, Ciara, Clipse, Jermaine Dupri, Eamon, Kirk Franklin, Buddy Guy, Anthony Hamilton, Fred Hammond, J-Kwon, Joe, Syleena Johnson, Kurt Carr, John P. Kee, Kelis, R. Kelly, Donnie McClurkin, Mystikal, Nivea, *NSYNC, OutKast, Petey Pablo, Pink, Britney Spears, Three Days Grace, Justin Timberlake, Tool, Usher, Rev. Hezekiah Walker, Weird Al Yankovic, and Youngbloodz.

   * For further information, on R. Kelly, Britney Spears and the Zomba
     Label Group, please contact Sonia Muckle at 212.824.1370.

   * For further information on Usher, Anthony Hamilton and OutKast, please
     contact Chris Chambers at 212.930.1603.

   * For further information on Ciara and Youngbloodz, please contact Tice
     Merriweather, 212.824.1707.

   * For further information on Three Days Grace, American Minor and Bowling
     For Soup, please contact Lori Berk at 212.824.1885.

   * For further information on Verity artists, please contact JoJo Pada at

SOURCE: Zomba Label Group

CONTACT: For further information, on R. Kelly, Britney Spears and the
Zomba Label Group - Sonia Muckle, +1-212-824-1370; For further information on
Usher, Anthony Hamilton and OutKast - Chris Chambers, +1-212-930-1603; For
further information on Ciara and Youngbloodz - Tice Merriweather,
+1-212-824-1707; For further information on Three Days Grace, American Minor
and Bowling For Soup - Lori Berk at +1-212-824-1885; For further information
on Verity artists - JoJo Pada +1-212-824-1233

Web site: http://www.jiverecords.com/