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Lots of interest in the new Capitol Music Group, as SoCal gets a new major label for the first time in more than a decade.

I.B. BAD: THE BIG BANG

Who Will Ride the Grammys to Big Numbers? Who’s Getting Richly Rewarded for Recent Accomplishments? Who’s Been Tasked With Revitalizing Iconic Labels?
When it comes to record sales, other TV shows move the needle to some extent, but no program sells records like the Grammys telecast. While the beneficiaries of this year’s Grammy spike remain to be seen, retail watchers expect Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers to get big initial lifts with a subsequent halo effect as a result of the massive prime-time exposure.

Rumor has it that Daniel Glass’ white-hot indie Glassnote, which has had such tremendous success with Mumford, will stay at Sony Music via a cash-rich new deal that could shift from standard distribution to a joint venture. Will Glassnote continue to go through RED with its future releases, notably, the highly anticipated Phoenix album?

 Regarding the ongoing intrigue surrounding Monte Lipman, insiders say he has reached an agreement with Universal to continue running Republic, which had its best year ever in 2012, finishing at #2, with a new-release share of 8.9%. Lipman’s new big-money deal should finally put to rest those nagging rumors that had him reteaming with Doug Morris, as Lucian Grainge came up with an offer Lipman apparently couldn’t refuse.

Additionally, Republic’s team is now set with the arrival of Charlie Walk as EVP. Walk has been off the field for four years, and it will be interesting to see how he reinvents himself this time around.

Lots of interest in the new Capitol Music Group, as SoCal gets a new major label for the first time in more than a decade. During the last 20 years—and particularly in the post-Napster era—once-powerful West Coast majors like Geffen, MCA, A&M, Capitol and Virgin had been turned into virtual imprints through consolidation and mergers.

Those contractions made L.A. a two-horse town with Jimmy Iovine’s IGA and Warner Bros. Records, each of which was reinvigorated by new leadership during the latter part of 2012, as John Janick was named IGA’s COO and Cameron Strang was put in charge of WBR. These next-gen major players now face a serious new challenge in their efforts to restore what arguably were the two most dominant labels of the last 20 years.

Because Janick appears to have a stronger and more capable support system, his challenge is thought to be less daunting than Strang’s. In addition, Janick has breaking acts including Imagine Dragons, Phillip Phillips and Kendrick Lamar and is building on last year’s new-release marketshare of 6.3%, putting it at #4. Strang, by contrast, is facing a string of disappointing major releases and the resulting marketshare hit, as it plummeted by more than half to 2.6% from 5.7% the previous year.

Meanwhile, back at newbie CMG, Michelle Jubelirer is rumored to be joining Steve Barnett’s team direct from entertainment law firm King, Holmes, Paterno & Berliner, in an as-yet unspecified but high-ranking position. Jubelirer, who is well-liked and widely respected, currently represents such acts as Ke$ha, Frank Ocean, Swedish House Mafia, Grimes and Avicii, among others.

The auction is underway for Parlophone and other stipulated UMG and EMI properties. The smart money is on Warner Music to claim the prize in a field that also includes the Sony-BMG alliance and the Simon Fuller-Chris Blackwell team. Is it possible that another entity will snatch Parlophone from Warner’s clutches, just as UMG did to Blavatnik and co. in the case of EMI?

Is Lyor Cohen’s new play for real or just an act? That’s the question everyone is asking after Cohen was observed putting on a confused, unfocused and vulnerable act in recent meetings he’s taken to discuss his future plans. Some Lansky scholars feel Cohen is merely playing a part in order to elicit sympathy, while others are now convinced the guy is toast.

Clive Davis, who is still part of Sony Music, albeit in a diminished role, has a book coming out this month. It’s generally assumed that the great one will let us know how he became one of the biggest starmakers ever, listing his myriad accomplishments from Janis Joplin and Sly & the Family Stone to Whitney Houston and Alicia Keys.

The book’s publication is nicely timed with Davis’ Grammy Eve gala, which remains one of the premier events in the music industry’s annual rite of self-congratulation, and this year’s soiree contains a note of irony in the honoring of L.A. Reid, who replaced Davis as the head of Arista during the late and unlamented BMG era. Doubling the irony, Davis subsequently became head of RCA, J Records and Arista, whereupon Reid went to IDJ. Those incidents are thought to be water under the bridge for the two execs, whose friendship has survived without any lasting damage.

Names in the rumor mill: Mo Ostin, Russell Simmons, Mark Shimmel, Strauss Zelnick, Charles Goldstuck and Michele Anthony.

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