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Barnett’s close connection with core label acts including Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and John Mayer has been a big plus.
I.B. BAD SIZES UP THE STRINGER ERA AT SONY MUSIC
Barnett Goes Yard; Rubin's Still at Bat
Insiders describe the executive hierarchy of Sony Music as “a work in progress,” as Rob Stringer continues to tweak his team on the way to assembling a winning lineup.

Choosing Steve Barnett to head Columbia has proved to be a home run, given his engineering of the AC/DC-Wal-Mart deal, as the band’s 2008 combined worldwide sales approach 11m, and a Q4 release slate that includes John Legend, Beyonce and Il Divo. Another plus is Barnett’s close connection with core label acts including Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and John Mayer.

The jury is still out on Rick Rubin 18 months after his arrival, but thus far the amount of yank he has brought in is thought to be somewhat less than had been expected.

U.K. music execs with oversight of U.S. operations have had a difficult time placing the right people in those all-important label-head gigs out of unfamiliarity with the nuances of the U.S. business, but most believe Stringer will prove to be the exception to this pattern.

Meanwhile, questions surround the future of executive Lisa Ellis, formerly EVP of the since-disbanded Sony Urban Music, whose contract is about to expire. Her departure would leave a big hole in the company’s Urban music sector, which has been an Achilles heel for more than a decade.

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