Williams in split from EMI label
Robbie Williams has split from his long-term record label EMI, which has been behind his entire solo career.
The star famously signed a pioneering new deal with the troubled company in 2002 which embraced all aspects of his career, said to be worth up to £50 million.
But he has now walked away from the company - to whose Chrysalis subsidiary Robbie signed as a solo act in 1996 - and joined rival firm Universal.
His unhappiness with the company - which was bought by venture capitalist firm Terra Firma in an ill-fated deal - has been an open secret and he was said to have gone "on strike" in 2008. Robbie's manager Tim Clark reportedly accused the firm's then boss Guy Hands of behaving like a "plantation owner".
Radiohead and Sir Paul McCartney were among the EMI stalwarts who left the company around that time.
Robbie already has some experience with Universal as it is the home of Take That, and released his reunion album with the band, Progress, last year.
Robbie's last solo album Reality Killed The Video Star was released in 2009, with his follow-up coming out on Universal next autumn, the company said today. It will be his ninth solo studio release.
He said: "I'm really thrilled to be joining the Universal family at what I think is the most exciting time in my career."
His manager, who is director of ie:music, said: "This great new deal puts Robbie Williams firmly in control of his own destiny, but with the most muscular of partners."
Earlier this month his pal Gary Barlow said Robbie was not currently a member of Take That, although the door is open for a return.