It can be assumed that Ienner's competitors are delighted that he's out of the game—just as a major league baseball team would be if the opposing manager yanked his cleanup hitter from the batting order.
How Would the Game Change If the Former Sony BMG QB Suited Up for Another Team?
SHOCK & AWE: Reflecting on Don Ienner's departure from the top post at Sony Music N.A. on June 1, it struck us that 20 years ago, when we started HITS,  the legendary executive was the chief lieutenant of Clive Davis at Arista—a fact that brings historical perspective to the situation, along with a note of irony. Since then, Ienner has had quite a run, especially considering the consistent level of success he has achieved. His counterparts at other majors both feared and admired him, viewing the aggressive executive a more than worthy adversary. For that reason, it can be assumed that Ienner's competitors are delighted that he's out of the game—just as a major league baseball team would be if the opposing manager yanked his cleanup hitter from the batting order. The reaction is said to have been similarly upbeat in the offices of merger partner BMG, where staffers were rumored to be celebrating the news of Ienner's removal. That's hardly surprising, considering that BMG's executive team will assume a more dominant role and a louder voice in the combined Sony BMG infrastructure under the leadership of Rolf Schmidt-Holtz with Ienner and Michele Anthony out of the picture… Industry eyes now turn to Ienner's successor, Rob Stringer, as those who have worked closely with both say the differences between the two executives' leadership styles are like night and day. The low-keyed Stringer is very well-liked by attorneys and managers who have dealt with him, as well as by Sony executives. That said, the list of Brits who have successfully run U.S. companies is small indeed. But Stringer has a staunch ally in popular and respected Columbia head Steve Barnett, who's a close personal friend, while the soon-to-be new boss and Epic chief Charlie Walk, a cunning strategist, are solidifying their long-standing collegial relationship, according to Sony insiders. With the last link to Sony Music's storied past removed, and with the new power structure now set, the next big question has to do with what will become of the key execs in what was Ienner's central core, enabling him to retain control of the two companies from his exalted position—an inner circle that prominently included Sony Urban topper Lisa Ellis, promotion heavy Bruce Tyler and A&R gunslingers like Steve Lillywhite and David Massey. Insiders predict that most of the power will be returned to the labels under Stringer’s less hands-on leadership…  Overshadowed in the wake of Ienner's removal was the firing of Columbia President Steve Greenberg, who accomplished very little in his 15 months in office, partly because his job was never defined. Greenberg was little more than a pawn in the Lack/Schmidt-Holtz/Ienner game, and his short and fruitless tenure provides the final footnote in the saga. He'll get a fat check, of course, for the role he played in the mess that Lack made during his disastrous reign… Many industry veterans assert that if Warner Music Group were being run by a record executive with a clue, Ienner would already have been contacted about joining the company (as Doug Morris did the very day L.A. Reid got the ax at BMG), perhaps even taking over the North American operation now headed by Lyor Cohen. They further speculate that Ienner would be a great hire for EMI once the acquisition of WMG goes down, pointing out that Levy and Munns know from first-hand experience what a strong competitor Ienner can be, while EMI consultant Roger Ames has always been a big fan… In the rich-get-richer department, the primary beneficiaries of that quarterly dividend issued last week by WMG are none other than Edgar Bronfman Jr., Thomas Lee Partners and the other major investors, who together hold 80% of the stock in the company and will thus be splitting up four-fifths of the $19 million dividend. Not only that, but according to the statement issued by WMG, they will pay out as much as $80 million in dividends altogether this year, meaning a cool $64 million for Bronfman and his partners in crime. It represents another big windfall for the principals, as their pillaging of the Bunny continues apace… Meanwhile, in the concert biz, some are saying that details of the Dixie Chicks' lagging ticket sales and scaled-down summer tour were revealed by tour promoter AEG itself. Seems that after manager Simon Renshaw and the trio turned down a 90/10 split and a $30 million guarantee in favor of a 95/5 arrangement, potentially costing the act as much as $20 million, news of AEG execs’ public high-fiving then spread like wildfire… Names in the Rumor Mill: Irwin Segelstein, Al Teller, Walter Yetnikoff, Tommy Mottola, Strauss Zelnick, Michael Dornemann and Allen Grubman.
Are you free Wednesday afternoon? (11/12a)
How's that for a tease, Bieber Nation? (11/12a)
Not the same as the old bosses (11/12a)
This sure feels like her moment. (11/12a)
It's down to two bidders. (11/12a)
They'll soon be here, and then we can start obsessing about who'll win.
Forget Brexit--it's our yearly survey of doings in Blighty. And if you still can't forget Brexit, try drinking.
Who's going to land the hottest unsigned property in music?
That's what Hollywood smells like. Seriously. 24/7.

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