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A growing number of people believe Duffy could be one of the most successful artists of any genre to come out of the U.K.’s latest musical renaissance.
I.B. BAD SPINS SOME NEW TUNES
He Taps His Foot to Duffy and Coldplay, Ponders Jason Flom’s Next Move, Gives Props to Dave Holmes and Greg Thompson
Well before Duffy’s first week at retail—a week during which her Rockferry album far surpassed preliminary projections —it was readily apparent that the young Welsh artist was no mere flavor of the month. All signs point to a major breakthrough for IDJ and L.A. Reid, who knows a thing or two about launching career artists. On one level, the 23-year-old writer/singer is the latest young U.K. female to embrace vintage soul music—a trend brought into the mainstream by Amy Winehouse. Indeed, a growing number of people believe Duffy could be one of the most successful artists of any genre to come out of the U.K.’s latest musical renaissance, possibly outselling even Winehouse (who has sold nearly 2 million in the U.S.), because her songs are more universally relatable and her vocal style less idiosyncratic, enabling her to appeal to a broader demographic than the edgy multiple Grammy winner. The early indicators certainly portend a breakthrough of major proportions, fueled in part by a widespread and still-growing belief among various media outlets in the one-listen smash “Mercy.” This assessment prompted MTV and VH1 to join forces for the first time in recent years, giving major exposure to Duffy across all their platforms. It has also been readily apparent in the press, as one major publication after another proclaims her an artist to watch. At radio, meanwhile, airplay is just beginning but building quickly. It’s now obvious that David Massey couldn't have hoped for a better flagship artist for the relaunched Mercury label… Uncertainty continues to surround the future of well-respected Capitol Music Group head Jason Flom, but insiders expect the situation to be resolved soon, with most saying the greater likelihood is that he’ll leave the company. If so, Flom’s vast experience and impressive array of major hits will make the A&R specialist a sought-after free agent. So where will he land? Some expect him to reunite with his mentor, Doug Morris, while others see the ever-shifting landscape at Sony BMG as a possible destination… As lender Citigroup ramps up the pressure on EMI ruler Guy Hands to hit certain predetermined revenue targets under the terms of their financing agreement, the performance of Coldplay’s Viva La Vida takes on profound importance. It could be argued that no album in recent years has been more important to a record company than Vivo La Vida is to EMI. The band racked up worldwide sales north of 10 million on 2005’s X&Y and 12 million-plus on 2002’s A Rush of Blood to the Head. Hopes are high that the new album will perform commensurately, even in this distressed market, and some retail watchers are forecasting a first week as high as 750k, thanks in large part to what appears to be an effective setup. Primarily responsible for that setup is proactive Coldplay manager Dave Holmes, who has pulled out all the stops in order to bring across-the-board attention to the June 17 release, tapping ex-Capitol veteran Joe McFadden to handle sales and former A&M and Geffen executive Paul Kremen to oversee marketing. Not part of Holmes’ plan but fortuitous nonetheless was Roger Ames’ hiring of Greg Thompson as CMG EVP and head of promotion, putting in place a savvy veteran who knows how to get the job done at the opportune moment. Under Thompson, the “Violet Hill” single continues to make deep inroads at radio... Holmes’ stepping in to martial the forces around his band is but the latest example of big management taking control of their clients’ destiny, a trend most expect to continue to grow as the majors’ power base recedes. Among the most prominent examples are the shepherding of Radiohead’s In Rainbows by Courtyard’s Chris Hufford and Bryce Edge, Irving Azoff’s orchestration of the EaglesWal-Mart exclusive release of Long Road Out of Eden and Jeff Kwatinetz’s paradigm-shifting 360 deal for Korn… Names in the Rumor Mill: Mo Ostin, Charles Goldstuck, Will Botwin, Polly Anthony, Michael Oppenheim, Sylvia Rhone, David Joseph, Jordan Katz and R. Kelly.
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