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Roc Nation insiders are hoping The Blueprint 3, streeting on a Friday, will surpass the 1 million mark in its first 10 days, thus covering their $5m bet.
I.B. BAD ON THE GUNS OF AUTUMN, THE JACKSON FAMILY VS. AEG AND A BUNCH OF MAJOR MOVES
As the Majors Prepare Their Superstar Fall Releases, Our In-House Pundit Asks, Are You Ready for Some Moneyball?
As this is written, the die is being cast on the critically important fourth quarter, as the labels roll out the records that will make or break their years—as well as the careers of certain artists and executives. The parade of superstar releases begins this week with Colbie Caillat (Universal Republic, 8/25; previous LP 1.93m), and continues with Miley Cyrus (Hollywood, 8/31; 1.5m), Whitney Houston (Arista/RMG, 8/31; 740k), Jay-Z (Roc Nation/Atlantic, 9/11; 1.13m), Drake (Universal Motown, 9/15), Mariah Carey (Island/IDJ, 9/29; 1.26m) and Shakira (Epic, 10/13; 1.7m). All concerned are hoping for a result on the rarefied level of the Black Eyed PeasThe E.N.D. (Interscope), now at 950k, with more than 6.25m total paid track downloads. Looking at the field, industry watchers are waiting to see what level of sales success will be generated by Jay-Z’s The Blueprint 3, which his Roc Nation bought from IDJ for $5m. Roc Nation insiders are hoping the LP, streeting on a Friday, will surpass the 1 million mark in its first 10 days, thus covering their $5m bet. Lead single "Run This Town" is off to a strong start, thanks in large part to a featured vocal from the red-hot Rihanna. Likewise, expectations are sky-high on the initial EP from Drake, as Sylvia Rhone seals the deal for the20hotly pursued rookie. There’s also a deafening early buzz on another EP, Cyrus’ Wal-Mart exclusive, featuring the fast-moving, extremely clever new single “Party in the U.S.A.” On the rock side, the veteran Seattle bands Pearl Jam (self-released, 9/22; 710k) and the re-formed Alice in Chains (Virgin, 9/29) are coming out of the blocks with considerable momentum behind what appear to be big radio tracks, as they race to occupy a still-viable niche in the genre landscape. You can peruse our grid of selected upcoming releases hereAEG executives are “ghoulishly” bragging around town that the movie deal made by the estate will enable the company to recoup the $30m in costs incurred in Michael Jackson’s planned comeback—and doing so without having to actually stage the shows, risk their cancellation or deal with Jackson’s wildly unpredictable behavior. They’re also openly celebrating the likelihood that they’ll turn a considerable profit on the upcoming M.J. memorabilia tour... AEG’s profiteering and boasting about it have exacerbated the Jackson family’s already deep distrust of the company, which has become a target for their frustration. These ill feelings could be manifested in the wrongful death suit they’re expected to file against Dr. Conrad Murray following the conclusion of the criminal proceedings, which could illuminate the role AEG may have played in the artist’s demise. Meanwhile, AEG employees on both sides of the Atlantic are being threatened with the ir jobs if they talk to outsiders about anything Jackson-related… At EMI, Guy Hands is trying to avoid default on his loan from Citigroup by refinancing through a third party, leading many to ask how big a chunk such an arrangement would take out of EMI’s position, and what discount Citi would settle for. Another possible solution would be a play on the part of Warner Music, resulting in the merging of the record labels and the selling off of one of the publishing companies. Many of EMI’s top executives lament that, until the situation plays out, the company will be operating under a high degree of uncertainty... A changing of the guard is going down at Warner Music’s Nashville operation, as Tom Whalley appointee Bill Bennett, whose Warner Bros. Nashville reported to Whalley, makes his exit because of relative disappointment with the label’s performance. WEA head John Esposito is being put in charge of what will be a combined WMG Nashville, comprising both WB and Atlantic’s Country divisions, with each having its own dedicated A&R staff. Did Atlantic’s recent successful entry into the Country business play a role in the restructuring of WMG’s Nashville operation? No word yet on who will be named to head up WEA. Espo will continue to report to Lyor Cohen. … In other WMG news, Rob Cavallo has agreed to become the company’s Chief Creative Officer, also reporting to Cohen, and his man y industry fans hope the new post won’t take Cavallo out of the studio, where he’s long been one of the industry’s most consistent home-run sluggers… Which respected A&R executive who was brought in to forge a new direction for a certain label’s roster may be skating on thin ice after enjoying an initial run of successes?… Names in the Rumor Mill: Richard Palmese, Jeff Kwatinetz, Monte Lipman, Jason Morey, David Campbell, Londell McMillan, Todd Moscowitz and Steven Tyler.
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