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TOMMY GUNS FOR NEW SONY DEAL
Sony Music Entertainment CEO Mottola Wants To Re-Up… Is There a Deal on the Table?

Sony Music Entertainment CEO Thomas D. Mottola is seeking a new contract with Sony, according to a report in the New York Times.

The Times said Mottola’s current contract expires in 2004, but the music industry has been buzzing in recent weeks about whether Sony will renew it, and if so, when.

The story goes on to say Sony Music's chief executive was hoping to reach a five-year agreement and be retained as a consultant once that deal ran out. Other successful music executives have made similar requests—and received them—in recent years. Sources told the Times in previous years he was paid about $7 million a year and a percentage of the division's revenue.

Industry executives questioned whether Sony Music's corporate parent in Japan was willing to grant a long-term contract given the current problems in the music business.

Two Sony executives told the paper that Mottola was not currently in talks with Sir Howard Stringer, the Chairman of Sony's American operations, which is made up of Sony's film, television and music assets. "We're not focused on it right now," said one executive. Still, a person close to the music company said, Sir Howard recently met with Mottola's agent. And last month, said two industry executives, some Sony officials whose contracts were also up for renewal were told discussions were on hold until Mottola's contract was figured out.

Sony Music has experienced recent success with blockbuster acts like the Dixie Chicks, Bruce Springsteen and James Taylor. Sony is No. 3 behind the Universal Music Group and BMG in current domestic album sales so far this year, but had the largest share of the HITS Top 50 albums last week for the first time in a while over perennial leader UMG.

Over the course of Mottola’s 12 years at the top of Sony, the label has experienced tremendous growth and success. Mottola’s senior management team has remained in tact for more than a decade—the only major music group to do so.

Questioners question that if Mottola were to step down, who would run Sony Music. Pointers point to Mottola and UMG’s Doug Morris as being the premier music executive in the business.

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