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How will the labels within the two groups be come together? Will the rock labels and the pop/urban labels merge (i.e. RCA with Epic and J/Jive with Columbia)?
WHEELS & DEALS: STUCK INSIDE THE MUSIC BIZ WITH THE MERGER BLUES AGAIN
Avion, Home Town Hero, The Blank Theory, Mobfest, Ambulance LTD Have Buzzers Buzzing

by Rodel Delfin

HERE WE GO AGAIN: As word spread that the European Commission had decided to clear Sony and BMG’s proposed recorded-music joint venture, tongues were already flapping as to when the consolidation would begin, with the usual talk of roster cuts and back-office reductions. How will the labels within the two groups be come together? Will the rock labels and the pop/urban labels merge (i.e. RCA with Epic and J/Jive with Columbia)? One thing’s clear: We’ve not seen the last of downsizing and layoffs... It seems that label folks are catching on to the David Christensen/Steve Sessa-repped Avion. The band has several label showcases lined up. Some A&R folks were a little slow on the uptake, at first disbelieving the radio action on this unsigned act until it started moving up the AC charts and continued to get adds. The band’s single is even said to have taken an add away from a certain artist at a very picky major-market AC station. Said single, "Seven Days Without You," tests with Top 5 callout potential and continues to move up on the charts. Even a tinseltown corkhead such as yours truly can see this radio story is real, so get on it. We tipped you off about this weeks ago, by the way... There appeared to be high weasel density at last week’s Home Town Hero show at the Troubadour. Indeed, the Missy Worth-managed group, which has a completed record in hand, had industry folks out in force. Present were Columbia’s Tim Devine, Capitol’s Ron Laffitte and Louie Bandak, Geffen’s Ron Handler, Atlantic’s Tom Storms, Epic’s Pete Giberga, SideOneDummy’s Bill Armstrong, Interscope’s Jeff Sosnow, Warner Bros.Ken Blaustein, EMI Music’s Dan McCarroll and Matt Messer, among others. We’ll keep you posted... The Windy City hosted Mobfest last week, and even reduced T&E budgets couldn’t prevent A&R hitters from traveling to Chicago. Word has it that reps from American, Columbia, RCA, Capitol, Warner Bros., Virgin, Island, Sire, Interscope, Rondor Music Publishing and Chrysalis Music were seen on the streets of Chi-town checking out the talent. Buzzers are buzzing about The Blank Theory, which apparently got labels interested with their Mobfest show. The group has tracks produced by former Evanescence member Ben Moody, which prompted weasels to start sniffing in the first place. Other festival buzz bands included The Adored (from St. Louis) and The Assassins, who are out of their deal with Arista. Kudos to organizer Roger Jansen for another successful event this year—and for providing a masseuse backstage during the panels (sans happy ending, of course)... Several pubcos are sniffing around TVT act Ambulance LTD. Check ’em out at the Troubadour on June 25... Finally, former Arista A&R exec Josh Sarubin lands at Island Def Jam, re-joining former boss L.A. Reid. Sarubin will work out of the company’s New York offices... BUZZIN’: Hudson River School and the Mintchicks… Hit me up foo: [email protected].

BUZZ/GIGS:
MADISON STRAYS:
Thurs., June 24 Mercury Lounge [madisonstrays.com] 9:30p.m. N.Y.
AVION: Sun., July 4 KMXB Radio Show [Opening for Sugar Ray] 6p.m. Las Vegas, NV
CLEAR STATIC Wed., July 7 Viper Room [Off Island.] 9:30pm L.A.

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Not postponed yet.
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