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When we started writing this column, there were over 400 major label A&R execs. Today there are fewer than 70.
WHEELS & DEALS:
PEDRO HAS LEFT THE BUILDING
In His Final Column, Rodel Reports on the Body Count, Proposes a Solution and Reveals Where He’s Going
By Rodel Delfin

And that will be the last Napoleon Dynamite reference you’ll be hearing from yours truly. Yes, folks, it’s time for this loser scribe to pass the Wheels torch to another. It’s been six glorious years of sucking as your intrepid A&R Editor. We’ve covered a lot of changes in the business. We’ve championed a lot of great unsigned acts who went on to sell millions of albums, but more importantly, we’ve had an amazing experience developing relationships with some very talented people who work (or worked) in this loony business. Our industry continues to change in the midst of a technological transformation occurring in the media world. When we started writing this column, there were over 400 A&R executives employed in the major label system. Today that number has dwindled to south of 70. But even before the arrival of P2P networks and digital music delivery, the corporate demand for increased quarterly performance was already hindering artist development and negatively changing the role of A&R. One thing that’s certain is that talent scouting will continue to evolve, because there will always be a need to identify, filter and develop new talent—it’s the lifeline of this industry. And eventually, all the heritage and aging pop/rock/urban stars who are making the big dough for the moment will either retire or die. While there still is no clear resolution to the contraction of our business, one factor that can impact big changes is an industry initiative involving partnerships with Internet service providers. As we mentioned before, ISPs have been getting a free ride profiting from our music consumers for years. A change in this arena could implement a tremendous rush of new revenue. It’s an issue that more industry folks are finally being more vocal about. Meanwhile, new companies and new players are rising, and it appears that the hunger for music is bigger than ever. As for me, I step into an EVP post at music vet Phil Quartararo’s new music company, so I’m about to go through an exciting transition and enter a new world. It’s been a fun ride at the mag, and I’d like to thank Dennis and Lenny for all the wonderful years of abuse. I’ve learned a great deal working for them. Additional thanks to Karen Glauber and Todd Hensley for their support; editors Bud Scoppa and Roy Trakin, who made me look smarter than I am; and Mark Pearson, Murphy and Dave Adelson for being the queer boys that they are. Lastly, thanks to Joe Fleischer for bringing me into this nutty fold. That’s all folks. It is the Wild West out there. We’ll see you out on the frontier… BUZZIN’: Sound Collective at the 86, Jennifer Laskey and Jon SidelHit me up: [email protected]

SXSW BUZZ/GIGS:
ASCAP SHOWCASE
Wed., March 12, Dirty Dog Bar
BMI SHOWCASE
Thurs., March 13, Club de Ville
GREAT ’08 TAILGATE Thurs., March 13, midnight, Cedar Door                

DIGITAL DRIVES WMG'S FISCAL Q3
Steve Cooper explains. (8/4a)
STREAMING PROVIDES BRIGHT SPOT FOR SONY MUSIC
Feeling the full COVID-19 effect. (8/4a)
COUNTRY STREAMING IS A THING
It's more than just Luke Combs. (8/4a)
NEAR TRUTHS: A HEALTHY MARKET
Star power. (8/1a)
GRAMMY CHEW, ALBUMS: 30 FOR EIGHT
Thoughts while noshing six feet apart. (8/5a)
BTS BRINGS IT
They're so dreamy.
VOTE BY MAIL
It's a conspiracy, because everyone does it.
IS IT CHRISTMAS?
No, but we're thinking about cookies.
WOKE MUSIC
Protest songs that sound like now.
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