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Will the A&R looky-loos, who have been window-shopping for talent lately, actually start signing? There are definitely some label playas out there who are on stealth signing mode. A new fiscal year is around the corner for some. And word on the street is that we may have a signing storm looming. So get out those dusty checkbooks and get back in the race.

WHEEL & DEALS: IS IT A BULL MARKET FOR A&R?

Sales Revival Bodes Well for New Artist Signings

by Rodel Delfin

CHECK OUT THE BIG BRAIN ON BRAD: You don’t have to be a neurosurgeon to figure out that sales have been trending upward so far this year. This week, Norah Jones’ follow-up to her hugely successful debut kicks off with sales north of a mil. Meanwhile, the Top 10 acts on the sales chart are all clocking numbers above 100k. And with a few ongoing signing derbies expected to command offers in the mid-to-high six figures for the first record, the music biz appears to be partying like it’s 1999.

Will this bull market continue? Will the A&R looky-loos, who have been window-shopping for talent lately, actually start signing? There are definitely some label playas out there who are on stealth signing mode. A new fiscal year is around the corner for some. And word on the street is that we may have a signing storm looming. So get out those dusty checkbooks and get back in the race.

Lots of talk about a new management scenario for Geffen act Weezer. Leader Rivers Cuomo and the guys are said to have met with a handful of management companies. However, the PoMo pioneers are now in the studio making their next record, and insiders share that they’ll probably postpone a decision on the suitors until it’s done. Expect the band’s A&R guy, Todd Sullivan, to be part of whatever new management picture emerges.

POST-VALENTINE FEMME REPORT: Lots of label peeps turned out for the Jessica Dobson gig at the Hotel Café in L.A. this week. A&R and publishing folks from Virgin, Capitol, Island Def Jam, DreamWorks, Interscope, Strummer, Warner Bros., Atlantic, Maverick, Columbia, EMI Music, BMG Songs, Warner/Chappell and Peer were in the house. Barrister Steve Sessa is mediating label meet-and-greets.

And on the East Coast, Regina Spektor rocked for fans and several label suitors during her set at Tonic on Saturday (2/14)... Expect to see more label folks at Steve Stewart/Brian Klein-repped Paige’s show at the Viper Room this Thursday (2/19).

Word on the street is that the Crush-managed Butch Walker is finalizing a deal with an East Coast major.

The Jeffrey Light-repped The Vue are off their RCA deal and are now free agents. Expect the band to perform a sold-out show at the NoisePop Festival in San Francisco on Friday (2/27). Meanwhile, the Midtown derby has paperwork in from several suitors. Looks like Atlantic, Epic, Sire, Universal and Columbia are the front-runners for now.

Finally, congrats to barrister Nick Sciorra and wife Marcella on the birth of their healthy baby girl, Julia Margaux.

BUZZ/GIGS THIS WEEK AND NEXT: Franz Ferdinand embarks on a North American tour this week. They perform at the Bowery Ballroom in N.Y. on 2/19; on the opposite coast that same day, Boy Hits Car and Paige share the bill at the Viper Room; Martyrs & Poets hit the Viper Room on 3/1; Elefant will be the elephant in the room at The Troubadour on 3/10… BUZZIN’: Say Anything and Doghouse Records… Hit me up: [email protected].

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