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Continuing to buck the trend this year is UMG, with Interscope and IDJ between them racking up seven of the year’s Top 10 albums.
I.B. BAD ON A Q4 WITH FEW HIGH POINTS AND THE LATEST CHAPTER IN THE ANDYGATE SAGA
Also, UMG Continues to Buck the Downward Trend, Sanctuary’s Urban Woes, Korn’s Approaching Moment of Truth
WHERE HAVE ALL THE SUPERSTARS GONE? That is the question many are asking in the middle of yet another lackluster fourth quarter. Thus far in Q4 ’05, no blockbuster has yet appeared, and at this point it looks like the only release on the horizon with a better than even shot at selling more than 500k in the first week is the Eminem greatest-hits package, coming Dec. 6. Many expected the soundtrack to 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’ to break big behind the millions spent on marketing the film, but the album wound up 138k behind Kenny Chesney, whose 457k tally gives him the biggest first week of the quarter thus far. Looking at the industry’s big guns between now and the end of the year, Nov. 15 sees Big & Rich, Carrie Underwood (the 2005 American Idol winner and Clive Davis’ latest star in waiting) and Madonna's new album, which is being hailed as a return to form and is performing beyond expectations in the early going, suggesting that her long career may yet pick up steam once again.  Also streeting Tuesday was a DVD-enhanced repackage of the Mariah Carey album also containing a new hit single, which will solidify it as the second-biggest release of 2005. The LP, already at 3.7 million, could hit 5 million by year’s end. Coming Thanksgiving week is a new System of a Down, followed on Nov. 29 by Shakira. Coming Dec. 6 along with Eminem are Korn and Ja Rule. And that, as they say, is all she wrote, as the music business concludes another down year… Continuing to buck the trend this year is UMG, with Interscope and IDJ between them racking up seven of the year’s Top 10 albums. IAG holds the top spot with 50 Cent, followed by #6 The Game, #7 Gwen Stefani and #8 Black Eyed Peas, while IDJ’s Mariah Carey is #2, Kanye West is #9 and The Killers 2004 debut is #10. The only non-UMG entries are #3 Green Day (Reprise), #4 Kelly Clarkson (RCA/RMG) and #5 Coldplay (Capitol)... On the subject of the 50 Cent movie, while it’s far from a disaster, it is under-performing, generating $18 million (rather than the hoped-for $20 million) in its first five days and just $4.4 million in week two. This showing causing Monday morning quarterbacks to hypothesize that Get Rich or Die Tryin' is simply not a mass-appeal movie, in contrast to the more upbeat 8 Mile, suggesting that the kids who make up a huge part of the hip-hop market may be less interested in seeing the thug life depicted on film than they are in hearing it rapped about on record… The Andygate saga continued to evolve last week, even as the Sony BMG board met behind closed doors in its London meetings.  Bertelsmann continues to lobby for Lack's removal, but there’s a growing belief among some insiders that a compromise may be in the offing.  Even If Sir Howard Stringer prevails and is able to keep Lack, they say, the latter’s power will be substantially diminished. Most Beemers believe that Lack is toast, with his best-case scenario being a non-job job at Sony Corp., if he survives at all. But whether or not Lack remains, it’s looking more and more like Rolf Schmidt-Holtz and Michael Smellie will both be given significantly increased responsibilities in the revamped hierarchy of the joint venture… Lots of chatter about an East Coast major label being in the throes of a significant power shift. Wonderers wondering how this one will play out, and who will be the company’s new de facto leader… "CAUSE" AND EFFECT: In the midst of the major restructuring presently taking place at the Sanctuary Group, which finds the British company shedding unprofitable businesses pell-mell after failing to find a new strategic partner, came news that three managers from Mathew Knowles' money-bleeding urban division have been terminated for cause, with some in the know saying that Knowles will soon be gone as well. The fired executives—Troy Carter, Julius “Jay” Erving and Tony Davis— have wasted no time going on the offensive, hiring A-list litigator Larry Stein to sue the company. The showdown that is shaping up could become the biggest of Merck Mercuriadis' problems as he endeavors to right the Sanctuary ship, especially if Stein chooses to play the race card. But the plaintiffs’ attorney will face a savvy and tough-minded adversary in heavyweight Howard Weitzman… Returning to the subject of Korn, industry eyes are focused on that Dec. 6 Korn release on Virgin, the first from the band under the unconventional revenue-sharing deal fashioned by Kwatinetz and Munns. It's worth noting that said deal was concluded before Jason Flom took the reins at Virgin, replacing Matt Serletic, who was said to be extremely bullish on Korn and the new-model deal… Names in the Rumor Mill: Doug Morris, Jimmy Iovine, L.A. Reid, Donnie Ienner and Clive Davis. (11/18a)

  

ANOTHER BILLIE BANGER? (UPDATE)
Are you free Wednesday afternoon? (11/12a)
BIEBER BY CHRISTMAS?
How's that for a tease, Bieber Nation? (11/12a)
NEAR TRUTHS: MEET
THE NEW BOSSES
Not the same as the old bosses (11/12a)
CMA CENTERPIECE
CARRIE UNDERWOOD
This sure feels like her moment. (11/12a)
WHO'S GETTING ZERVAS?
It's down to two bidders. (11/12a)
BEHIND THE SCENES WITH KANYE
And lo, there was much earned media.
MOE, MARSHMELLO AND MONEY
The story of a "faceless" brand that got very, very big.
THE NEW WORLD OF A&R
The trap they all fell into.
GRAMMY NOMS
Who deserves consideration in the genre categories?
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