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It now appears that Parlophone’s global rights will be sold, but the British flagship label is not a global brand, meaning the buyer will have to decide how to reposition the company.
I.B. BAD ON THE SHIFTING LANDSCAPE OF THE MUSIC BIZ
The UMG-EMI Approval Ordeal Is Nearly Over, but What Happens Next?
By the time you read this, the European Union’s advisory committee will likely have voted to approve UMG’s current divestment package, clearing the way for the company’s acquisition of EMI, although a formal announcement isn’t expected until the week of Sept. 24. The most significant concession is Parlophone, the home of Coldplay, David Guetta, Gorillaz, Tinie Tempah and red-hot rookie Conor Maynard, as well as an extensive catalog of valuable masters, from Queen to Radiohead. It now appears that Parlophone’s global rights will be sold, but the British flagship label is not a global brand, meaning the buyer will have to decide how to reposition the company.

If Parlophone is sold to a non-music company, or a music operation that lacks its own distribution, the buyer will be able to choose among UMG, Sony Music or Warner Music as its distribution partner. But according to insiders, Sony plans to bid on Parlophone itself—and don’t write off Warner, which could still wind up with the prize if Len Blavatnik is willing to write a big enough check. Getting Parlophone on a worldwide basis would be a boon for either Sony or WMG by dramatically increasing the winning bidder’s U.K. presence. BMG/KKR ruler Hartwig Masuch has made it clear that his company will also enter the bidding, and will take on a major label partner for marketing and other label functions as well as distribution.

EMI U.S. gunslinger Greg Thompson is said to be trying to hold onto his key players during the transition. Considering his strong relationships with numerous Parlophone U.K.-signed acts, Thompson, whose deal is up next year, would appear to be the no-brainer choice to run Parlophone’s stateside operations should the buyer choose to set up a U.S. company. Thompson is also one of the EMI execs who opted to receive a sizable bonus in return for staying on through the transition. Lucian Grainge is expected to retain Dan McCarroll, the U.S. company’s ranking creative exec, as the UMG chief continues to prioritize A&R in his executive ranks.

Frank Ocean, whose Channel Orange (IDJ, 280k) may well be the year’s most critically acclaimed album, will be exposed to a much larger audience this month through his appearances on the VMAs and the season premiere of Saturday Night Live, giving him a good head of steam heading into the Grammy voting period. Even now, Ocean looks like an early favorite to pick up an Album of the Year nomination.

The same can be said of the Lumineers, whose self-titled debut album (Dualtone, 260k) is well on its way to becoming the breakthrough indie record of 2012. An ever-increasing slate of licensing uses are propelling both the single “Ho Hey,” which has broken at Alternative and Triple A and is now crossing to Hot AC, and the album, which continues to increase in weekly sales, hitting a new high of 21k last week.

Republic’s Icelandic import Of Monsters and Men, while it hasn’t exploded, has continued to grow steadily and is now at 350k, quietly becoming a major project for Monte Lipman’s company. Alex Clare’s 2011 Republic release was roundly ignored until Microsoft launched a TV campaign with his single “Too Close.” From there, the track shot up the Alternative and Top 40 charts, but the LP has yet to hit 100k.

Wonderers are wondering whether Schoolboy/ Interscope’s Carly Rae Jepsen (9/18) and Syco/Epic’s Cher Lloyd (10/2) are singles acts or album artists. Expect Scooter Braun to make full use of massive online presence in an effort to establish Jepsen as a career artist. Braun, whose deal with UMG enables him to move within the framework, has placed his first act with Republic in K-pop viral sensation PSY, joining Jepsen and management clients Justin Bieber and The Wanted, who are both on IDJ.
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GRAMMY VOTING
How the sausage is made.
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Changes changes the conversation.
PRIMARIES
So hard to decide...
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