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An under-performing single isn't necessarily a death knell for the upcoming release—but it should be noted that an artist has to be massive (e.g., the Dixie Chicks) to hit projected sales targets without the help of radio.

I.B. BAD SNIFFS AROUND FOR SOME MAGIC IN A BOTTLE

The Industry Has Been Waiting All Year for That Crucial Blockbuster; Here Are Some of the Artists Who Could Unleash One This Fall
GEARING UP FOR THE THIRD TRIMESTER: After another listless summer, the mainstream music business is preparing for the critical final four months of 2006, with everyone hoping for magic in a bottle—a smash single to drive sales. A number of superstar acts already have advance tracks at radio, making for a possible foreshadowing of things to come. For most acts, the lead single is a reliable predictor of an upcoming album's viability, or lack thereof; for others, an under-performing single isn't necessarily a death knell for the upcoming release—but it should be noted that an artist has to be massive (e.g., the Dixie Chicks) to hit projected sales targets without the help of radio. Presently, the most upbeat scenario in the pre-season is being generated by the first single from Justin Timberlake (whose last album sold 3.5 million units), which has zoomed into the Top 10 and is going strong, perfectly setting the table for his Sept. 12 album release. Also looking extremely strong is Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas (3.9m; 9/19), whose single has blazed into the Top 15 Pop and is Top 20 Rhythm. Also in the Top 10 Pop is Christina Aguilera (3.9m; 8/15). So all signs point to Timberlake, Fergie and Aguilera possibly conjuring up that much-hoped-for magic. While it’s too soon to call, both Evanescence (6.5m; 10/3) and The Killers (3m; 10/3) are starting strong at Alternative, with Evanescence debuting at #21 and The Killers at #6. The first single from the Idlewild soundtrack from OutKast (5.5m; 8/22) only went Top 25 Urban, but new tracks are now starting with considerable heat. Jessica Simpson (2.8m; 8/29) is in the Top 20 Pop and fighting for more real estate. Beyonce (4.3m; 9/5) only made Top 15 at Pop and Top 10 Rhythm. Although several of these singles performed below expectations, the track records of the artists in question preclude making any hasty judgments… Speaking of radio, there's much confusion throughout the business in the wake of Billboard's purchase of Radio & Records in response to the economic failure of the Radio Monitor model. In the most significant shift, the hundreds of stations owned by Clear Channel are no longer reporting adds to Billboard/R&R but only to CC owned-and-operated Mediabase, a move that tends to diminish the perceived value of BB/R&R in label land… Also in a transitional state is Tower Records, after each of the Big Four put shipments to the chain on hold the week before last. Everyone in the music industry is hoping that a buyer will appear in time to stave off liquidation proceedings, a scenario that would effectively be the end of a storied retail operation, while resulting in a payoff of a fraction of the roughly $70 million Tower owes the Big Four… A great deal of money is being spent to make it appear that fans are flocking to certain bands on MySpace and YouTube. Noting this phenomenon, many industry watchers are questioning how much tangible benefit actually results from the accumulation of thousands of Friends on a band's MySpace page, or views of a video clip on YouTube, as the payoff for these sizable expenditures… Warner Music’s stock price is deflating as dramatically as air out of a punctured tire—at press time, shares had dropped near $22, compared to a high of $31 in July, when an acquisition by EMI still seemed imminent. The problematic nature of the present situation was exacerbated last week when Citigroup reiterated its sell rating and downgraded the target price from $25 to $19—a number that some view as optimistic. The Citigroup analysis took particular note of struggling Warner/Chappell Music, with its 7% drop in revenue and 21% decrease in EBITDA… In a related matter, many are speculating about the revised game plans of Edgar Bronfman Jr. and Eric Nicoli, with their respective moves on BMG Songs indicating that the two companies are turning their attention to smaller acquisitions. Both EMI and WMG are said to have made the final cut as Bertelsmann trims the field of suitors, but the British company is working with private equity firm KKR in order to get around the regulatory issues that would stem from direct ownership of another major publishing entity. Still in the hunt as well are UMG and an investment group fronted by current BMG Songs topper Nick Firth. Bertie's primary concern, along with a smooth passage through regulatory, is said to be cash on the barrelhead… Names in the Rumor Mill: Jermaine Dupri, Joe Simpson, Clive Calder, Jonetta Patton, Russ Solomon and Richard Blackstone.
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ADELE ADELE ADELE
Adele; Adele Adele?
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A... dele?
ADELE ADELE
Adele Adele; Adele.
ADELE ADELE ADELE ADELE
(Adele.)
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