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Cohen now also has a 2.1% equity stake in WMG, right behind Bronfman’s 2.9% personal stake and the 12.5% held by Bronfman’s Lexa Partners investment group.
I.B. BAD'S NEAR TRUTHS: WHAT'S GOING ON
All the Music Business News, Gossip and Cheap Innuendo
With the European Commission having issued its Statement of Objections to the proposed Sony-BMG merger, the clock is ticking as the July 22 deadline looms. Sources indicate the EC’s chief concerns center around pricing (specifically "collusion" and "fixing"), with marketshare and Sony’s digital initiatives apparently also in the mix. Objections are already being registered by EMI and European indie coalition Impala... What top major-label gunslinger arrived in Nashville to less than a hero’s welcome, much to his chagrin? Apparently, his reputation of burning Music Row execs in previous dealings has made him persona non-grata. The only thing missing from the chilly reception were the “Yankee Go Home” banners outside his door... Is the Drive-Thru Records/MCA/Geffen deal coming to an end? Will the indie end up hooking up with another major? Or will they fly solo? Selected Drive-Thru bands will remain at Geffen, including Something Corporate and New Found Glory, which made an impressive #3 chart debut this week... Buzzers buzzing about Billboard possibly re-thinking its position on SoundScan counting album giveaways at Prince concerts as sales, with the magazine’s sales guru Geoff Mayfield being the chief instigator, should the situation come up again, as it most likely will. Is a consumer’s conscious decision to buy at the heart of the matter?...  A prolonged cold streak at one major label after a series of disappointing, highly anticipated releases has led to persistent speculation of change at the highest level. Word from corporate is that they’re not switching horses in midstream... Much talk about the new salary structure at Warner Music Group, as information divulged last week indicates that the group’s top two—Edgar Bronfman Jr. and Lyor Cohen—are taking base salaries of $1 million each (plus performance-based bonuses of up to six times that) as the tough job of coming up with $277 million in annual savings continues. Cohen now also has a 2.1% equity stake in WMG, right behind Bronfman’s 2.9% personal stake and the 12.5% held by Bronfman’s Lexa Partners investment group. Financial analysts are saying the company will need to significantly increase its value for Cohen’s equity share to  top the potential package he left on the table at UMG. Warner/Chappell’s Les Bider is also being paid $1 million, while EVP/CFO Helen Murphy’s pay is $750k and EVP/General Counsel Dave Johnson’s earns $700k, all plus bonuses. Meanwhile, eyebrows raised at the apparently lightweight Edgar-bashing in a highly anticipated Wall Street Journal story. With a $13k private jet charter to carry execs and artist reps 300 miles to golf at Pebble Beach the story’s semi-smoking gun, many readers wondering, “Where’s the beef?”—especially considering that, next to Warner Bros. Chairman Tom Whalley’s reported $5.7 million total compensation last year, $13k hardly seems worth mentioning. Said chartered-jet golf excursion was about “bonding” among execs and artist reps, according to Bronfman and Cohen, and among insiders who note Cohen’s 5 handicap is the lowest of his new team, the trip may have been worth the expense. Those known to have been on the plane include Brian Avnet, Peter Lopez (+4.5 handicap), Peter Paterno (+9.9), Eric Greenspan (+10) and Doc McGhee (+9.9), along with Whalley (+7.4) and Cohen... In other Golfgate news, Jason Flom flew his private jet down to Pinehurst for VH1 honcho Rick Krim’s annual Invitational Cup Tournament, though each of the invited execs on board, including Joel Klaiman, Eric Greenspan, Brian Malouf, Mark Shimmel, Jim DelBalzo, Jeff Anderson and Cohen, reportedly coughed up $1,200 apiece to make the round trip... Names in the Rumor Mill: Richard and Stephanie Reines, Tiger Woods, Irving Azoff, Jeff Kwatinetz, Keith Girard, David Munns, Charlie Walk and Luke Lewis...
PRIMARY WAVE CHECKS INTO
THE FOUR SEASONS
Mestel walks like a man. (10/22a)
UMG IPO SET FOR '22
And Q3 figures look good as well. (10/21a)
TOP 20: TAY'S FOLKLORIC RUN CONTINUES
A Swift return to #1. (10/21a)
REVENUE CHART: “LEMONADE” AND OCEAN SPRAY
The Rumours are true. (10/23a)
GRAMMY PREVIEW:
PHOEBE BRIDGERS
Could she be this year's left-field anointed one? (10/23a)
RAINMAKERS 2020
Bring your umbrella.
GRAMMY OUTLIERS
Mulling possible surprises.
HALLOWEEN IN QUARANTINE
Why not wear a mask indoors?
ELECTION 2020
What drugs will help us get there?
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