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Channel Orange has quickly emerged as a possible Album of the Year Grammy contender—a record strong enough to revitalize the R&B genre, which is sorely in need of new ideas and a new star.
I.B. BAD: A SIZZLING SUMMER
IDJ’s Rising Tide, Republic’s Roll, Bandier’s Destiny, Platt’s Sweet Deal, Janick's Challenge, Grainge’s Coup and Other SportsCenter Highlights

The Steve Bartels-led IDJ is turning up the heat, notching three out of the Top 5 with #1 Nas, #4 Justin Bieber and the much-talked about Frank Ocean, holding strong at #5 in his second week. Ocean was signed by Tricky Stewart during the L.A. Reid era, but was subsequently championed by East Coast ruler Barry Weiss and A&R exec Karen Kwak. The resulting Channel Orange has quickly emerged as a possible Album of the Year Grammy contender—a record strong enough to revitalize the R&B genre, which is sorely in need of new ideas and a new star. Rick Ross, whose July 31 release is projected to do well over 200k in its first week, should provide IDJ with even more momentum heading into Q4…

If it weren’t for Columbia’s record-breaking year (with 12.3% YTD), Monte Lipman’s Republic (8.1%) would be running away with the new-release marketshare lead, as the savvy and responsive label head continues to put points on the board. What’s next for the well-liked exec?...

Marty Bandier’s new Sony/ATV-EMI Music Publishing team is nearly in place, led by Danny Strick in the East and Jody Gerson in the West, with a U.K. head soon to be announced, as a new era begins for the merged companies. Bandier has been perhaps the most important major player in the publishing sector for the last two decades, having first built EMP into a power and then repeating the feat with Sony/ATV. Now, under Bandier’s leadership, Sony/ATV-EMP appears ready to dominate the field for years to come…

WMG insiders insist those rumors of a snag in the Big Jon Platt deal are erroneous. Warner/Chappell chief Cameron Strang is leading the effort to get Platt, whose guaranteed salary is said to be a whopper. That is relatively surprising considering that big salaries have reportedly been an issue at Warner since CEO Stephen Cooper began slashing costs. Perhaps the losses of John Janick and Joie Manda, as well as the near-loss of Mike Caren—who ended up with a worldwide A&R job—have changed the thinking of Warner brass. But if the Platt-Warner discussions hit a last-minute snag, Jay-Z is standing by to swoop in and make this deal…

Once Lyor Cohen decides when to let Janick go to Interscope, will he be given a free hand to make sweeping changes as President/COO of the label? The word is that contractually he has all the yank to do what needs to be done, as well as the full support of Jimmy Iovine and Lucian Grainge. But don’t expect any major changes until Janick surveys the landscape. IGA observers believe that promotion, the label’s most-discussed department for some time now, may soon come under Janick’s microscope...

In a related matter, Martin Kierszenbaum’s rumored attempt to return to Interscope is understandable because, if Sony Music doesn’t have a place for him, where else can he go? Indies and start-ups don’t have the resources to pay Kierszenbaum, which leaves WMG as his only potentially viable destination...

People are talking about how pop the Green Day, Killers and No Doubt singles are—an apparent manifestation of the dramatic revitalization of the Modern Rock format in recent months. Which alternative acts will follow Gotye and Fun. from the format to Pop? Many believe Dualtone’s Lumineers or Republic’s Of Monsters and Men will be the next alt-rock band to cross over and break wide open…

Pink’s “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” is off to a resounding start at radio, creating a potential high-stakes/big-money event for Team RCA...

While some are spinning that the assets UMG will have to divest may impact the economics of the EMI acquisition in a dramatically negative way, other observers are marveling at Grainge’s brilliant strategy of breaking up the Impala leadership. The Universal chieftain virtually bribed the indies with the lure of these promised divestments, while framing the argument around “investing in the future of the industry,” as Grainge slyly put it.

In the process, Universal deftly outmaneuvered Warner’s not dissimilar attempt to buy off the European indies. Len Blavatnik and company had previously attempted to entice Impala members by offering them financing to pick up any UMG divestitures if they opposed the merger. UMG’s coup in persuading Impala Co-President Patrick Zelnik to defect sabotaged that plan, after which other dominoes quickly fell, splitting the indie coalition in two. Did Martin Mills misplay his hand, or will he eventually share in the spoils?...

Names in the rumor mill: Roger Faxon, John Branca, Brandon Creed, Pat Magnarella, Jim Guerinot and Julie Greenwald.

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