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"We are opening a new chapter and looking forward to the RCA Music Group being led by the best man in music."
——Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, BMG Chairman/CEO

RCA, J JOIN HANDS UNDER NEW MUSIC GROUP UMBRELLA

BMG Taps Clive Davis To Be Chairman of the Two Labels, Which Will Remain "Entities"
An exclusive HITS report by Marc Pollack & Roy Trakin

Clive Davis gets to walk the dog: Nipper, meet your new master.

After months of speculation, the other shoe, er bone, dropped on Tuesday (11/19), as BMG acquired the half of J Records it didn’t already own and anointed the industry legend Chairman of a newly reconfigured RCA Music Group, which will include both RCA Records and J.

The announcement was made to the respective label staffs in New York Tuesday morning by BMG Chairman/CEO Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, who flew in from Germany to spread the news.

Schmidt-Holtz told employees the two labels would remain separate "entities" under a single leadership team, with Charles Goldstuck serving as Group President/COO and Richard Sanders continuing as General Manager for RCA Records. Bob Jamieson will step down as Chairman of RCA Music Group, though discussions are underway about a possible future role for him at the company.

In a conference call with both Schmidt-Holtz and Davis, HITS learned Davis was approached only last week by Schmidt-Holtz and COO Michael Smellie about taking the new post.

"This is a tremendous opportunity and challenge for me," said Davis, comparing it to his years at CBS Records overseeing Columbia and Epic. "BMG made a fair and equitable purchase of my J interests. I am well aware of the tradition and history of RCA. I want greater luster and growth for the label. I have great respect for Bob Jamieson, and I’m aware of his contributions to the label. We want to build on what he has done. It all comes down to the music and the marketshare, and, under the direction of Rolf and Michael, we are getting back to the music and the A&R. We can do it and we will do it."

Schmidt-Holtz and Davis confirmed that J and RCA would remain in their respective Manhattan offices.

"I am going over both operations right now," added Davis. "J and RCA will remain as two separate, co-existing labels. Both have standing orders to promote and market their records vigorously."

Added Schmidt-Holtz: "This deal closed so quickly because there’s mutual trust between us and Mr. Davis. We can rely on each other, and I felt this was the perfect basis for our continued relationship. We are opening a new chapter and looking forward to the RCA Music Group being led by the best man in music. We are thrilled to bring Clive back to BMG and have him lead what we consider a powerhouse label. His genius at finding new artists and his proven track record will help lead RCA to new levels of creative performance."

The other parts of the former RCA Music Group, including RLG-Nashville, BMG Canada, RCA Victor, Strategic Marketing, BMG Heritage and BMG Special Products, will report, on an interim basis, to Smellie.

Added Schmidt-Holtz: "As BMG continues to create a company that is focused on artists, efficiency and transparency, full ownership of our key assets is a guiding strategy."

Hopefully, by next week we’ll know who’s still taking our calls.

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