Robbie Williams's manager has raised the prospect that the star could quit EMI after he completes his final studio album for the struggling record company.
The singer, who is also contracted to release a best-of compilation, has been with the company for a decade and remains one of its biggest selling acts.
But his manager Tim Clark, co-founder of IE Music, told The Daily Telegraph: ''I would be very wary about signing him to any major at the moment."
Clark refused to comment on the star's current contract terms but said ''all options" were open once he has completed his obligations. That raises the possibility that Robbie could follow Paul McCartney and Radiohead, which have left EMI in the past two years and released new albums without a major label.
Last week EMI extended its 28-year recording relationship with heavy metal band Iron Maiden, in a deal that includes revenues such as touring, merchandise and sponsorship.
Williams is set to be the first major pop act to come up for renegotiation under EMI's new owner, the private equity giant Terra Firma.
Mr Clark said the internet offered opportunities for artists to reach their fans direct without the need for major labels. ''What concerns us with old ways is that we take overpriced and shoddy services, particularly now when we have a fantastic opportunity of getting to a fanbase direct. What we really don't want is the dead hand of multinationals throttling these brilliant opportunities," he said.
EMI's historic £80m 2002 contract with Williams pioneered the so-called 360-degree deal through a joint venture which manages the star's recording, writing, touring and performing activities.
He has yet to release an album since checking into rehab following his 2006 critical flop Rudebox. Terra Firma declined to comment.
EMI's rival Warner Music recently saw Madonna quit in a $120m (£59m) deal to join concert promoter Live Nation.