LONDON (Reuters) - British singer Robbie Williams, who signed one of the world's biggest music deals with EMI in 2002, is to release his ninth studio album with Universal Music, the world's largest music company, next year.
Williams is currently recording songs for the new album in his own studio in Los Angeles, Universal said on Friday.
"I'm really thrilled to be joining the Universal family at what I think is the most exciting time in my career," the 37-year-old said in a statement.
Williams, who has sold over 60 million albums as a solo artist, last recorded a new album in 2009 before re-joining his former bandmates from Take That for a tour.
Take That are already under the Universal umbrella, while for EMI, controlled by U.S. bank Citigroup, Williams is the latest in a growing list of stars to leave in recent years including Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones and Radiohead.
Universal will release the new Williams record around the globe next autumn.
"This great new deal puts Robbie Williams firmly in control of his own destiny, but with the most muscular of partners," said Tim Clark, director of ie:music, the management company which represents Williams.
Williams has won more Brit awards -- Britain's top pop music prizes -- than any other artist.
(Reporting by Michelle Martin, editing by Paul Casciato)