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What was deemed a novelty signing a few years back is proving to be a potential blueprint for what artist deals could become.
WHEELS & DEALS:
PLAYING WITH DOLLS
Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures Involving Extremely Hot Females
By Rodel Delfin

DOORS ARE WIDE OPEN: The Jimmy Iovine-signed Pussycat Dolls cut a deal this week with toy manufacturer Hasbro to release a line of dolls fashioned after the six members in the group. The target retail audience is 6-9 years old, but also includes loser trade-rag writers (err…just kidding, we really don’t play with dolls). So what’s the significance of this? Well, the PCD deal with Hasbro marks yet another income arrangement that Interscope has made for the act outside of traditional music biz revenue. And what was deemed a novelty signing a few years back is proving to be a potential blueprint for what artist deals could become. Of course, Disney and its Hollywood Records unit have made this normal practice for years, with their TV stars transitioning to music careers. However, Interscope appears to be leading the pack among the stand-alone music companies venturing into other income territories outside the standard music-biz model. Iovine and Interscope marketing whiz Steve Berman, along with UMG dealmakers, are said to have structured and negotiated the arrangement with the toy maker. Back in 2003, Interscope originally signed Robin Antin’s Pussycat Dolls troupe—what was then just a “burlesque-inspired nightclub revue.” It was an innovative deal in which both parties split the profits from the group’s ventures. But more recently, the act scored a pair of radio hits that spurred a platinum-selling album, a very successful nightclub (with a merch retail store) at Casesar’s Palace in Las Vegas and a cosmetics line from the Stila unit of Estée Lauder. Not too shabby. While industry folks are barking at the high-figure dough to sign indie label acts with apparent sales ceilings, many industry insiders are applauding the success of the PCD and Iovine and Berman’s signing and dealmaking. With that said, there’s definitely a feeling of signing desperation in the air, as labels and artists, as well as their intermediaries, appear to be more open to new deal structures than ever before. And although it may not seem apparent, it’s also a time when A&R has room to be even more creative… NOW FOR SOME WEASEL NEWS: The Dan Friedman-repped Ludo had a bevy of weasels checking out their Don Hills show in NYC this week. We hear label reps from Epic, Atlantic, Capitol, Jive, Island, Wind-up and Octone were in the house… Have you been following the Mickey Avalon buzz in L.A.? The shows are packed and the story is pretty crazy. Get on it before this one gets taken off the market. No immediate L.A. shows, but you can check him out in Sin City in a few weeks (see below)… Speaking of Vegas, lots of buzz building around LV act the HigherChrysalis Music Publishing guy Jamie Cerreta just finished an album by the Great Fiction, with no label deal yet in place. Checked it out yet?… Lots of chatter surrounding a particular indie label act that’s griping about a lack of finances despite impressive album sales. Due to the nature of their deal, it looks like their indie is the only one getting rich… BUZZIN’: Louie Bandak and Stacy JonesHit me up: [email protected]

Buzz/Gigs:
THE NORTH
Mon., April 24, 7:30, Mercury Lounge, N.Y.
BEDOUIN SOUNDCLASH
April 24, TBD, Mercury Lounge
LUDO
Fri., May 5, TBD, Pageant, St. Louis
MICKEY AVALON Fri., May 12, TBD, Celebrity Theatre, Las Vegas

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