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Jay-Z has reportedly bought back the last remaining record on his IDJ deal for what some say is a whopping $5 million, raising a number of intriguing questions about the Future of Roc Nation.
I.B. BAD CONTEMPLATES
THE GREAT UNKNOWN
How Will Clear Channel’s Programming Shift Impact Breaking Records and Developing Talent? Will Clive Stay or Go? Will the Majors Fall in Line Behind UMG on VEVO? So Many Questions, So Little Tim
Not surprisingly, Clear Channel’s nationalization of playlists continues to be the subject of speculation and analysis throughout the music and radio sectors. While the labels are understandably nervous, it’s far too early to get a read on the impact this sweeping initiative will have in the long term. The first stage of the undertaking affects Top 40, Alternative, Active Rock and Hot AC, with programming decisions being made by a core group including John Ivey, Alex Tear and Brad Hardin; other formats are expected to follow suit incrementally. Promotion executives are naturally concerned that nationalization could result in diminished opportunities to break records and develop artists—but it could conceivably increase those opportunities as well. All we know at this point is that the game is on… As Roc Nation, Jay-Z’s new home under the Live Nation umbrella, takes shape, the hip-hop superstar has reportedly bought back the last remaining record on his IDJ deal for what some say is a whopping $5 million, raising a number of intriguing questions. How does the album figure into the plans of Roc Nation’s brain trust, which also includes the A&R-savvy Jay Brown and Tata, as well as Jay-Z’s business manager John Menielly? How will it be marketed and distributed? Will Roc Nation employ a traditional distribution channel or take the LP direct to retail? Or alternatively, will the new company make it part of a rumored arrangement inside a major, with every one of the Big Four said to be eager to make such a deal? Roc Nation handles a sizable roster of emerging producers and songwriters, who can be plugged into recording projects in various combinations on a full-service basis. According to those in the know, Jay Brown, Roc Nation’s creative mastermind, envisions the company as ultimately bypassing outside entities altogether and doing everything in-house, signing acts, making records and distributing them in whatever way they see fit—a setup modeled on Berry Gordy’s original Motown… At EMI, Ronn Werre’s ascension to N.A. COO has reportedly resulted in speculation as to how his expanded duties will impact the labels on both the A&R and marketing levels. But there appears to be little concern about SME’s suit against Werre for allegedly rescinding an agreement to take a job there… Clive Davis’ deal is up in December, and industry watchers are wondering whether he’ll choose to remain at Sony Music Entertainment. The prevailing belief is that the powers that be very much want Davis to be part of the company moving forward, not only because of his legendary status but because he remains fully capable of putting major points on the board. Meanwhile, along with A&Ring the latest LPs from Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson, Leona Lewis’ follow-up project and the long-awaited Whitney Houston comeback album, Davis is also lending his expertise to projects on the Sony side, including the work in progress from Columbia’s Harry Connick… As for Sony and the former BMG, most believed there would be greater synergy between the two corporate cultures following the removals of Charles Goldstuck and Tim Bowen, who were viewed as obstructive to the process, and the joint leadership of the collegial Rob Stringer and Barry Weiss, but that has yet to happen… On the same subject, the influence of RCA/Jive COO Ivan Gavin is said to be expanding, giving rise to much conversation among certain managers and attorneys… UMG is in negotiations with the other three major music groups about their participation in VEVO, Doug Morris’ boldest and most ambitious digital initiative thus far, created in conjunction with YouTube and 100% owned by UMG. Wonderers are wondering whether the industry-leading music group is willing to grant equity positions to the other three majors in order to secure their participation. Insiders say the other majors are looking at an arrangement with Hulu as a fallback if a deal can’t be struck with UMG. The present situation has some veterans referring to the acquisition of Napster by then Bertelsmann head Thomas Middelhoff, which the other majors shunned, with disastrous consequences for the entire industry. These veterans hope the industry has learned its lesson… Most believe Morris is still a couple of years away from officially anointing Lucian Grainge CEO while retaining his Chairman title; nonetheless, the news that Grainge recently bought a home in Connecticut has dramatically ramped up the anxiety level within the UMG rank and file, for whom the status quo is much preferable to the unknown…Names in the Rumor Mill: Quincy Jones, Michael Rapino, Allen Grubman, Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, Nick Gatfield and Amanda Ghost.
AND THE NOMINEES ARE...
The inevitable and the unexpected commingle. (11/25a)
TOP 100 WEEKLY MARKETSHARE:
THE TIGHTENING
Cue Archie Bell & the Drells. (11/24a)
STATE OF PLAY
IN THE U.K.
The first entry from our 2020 U.K. print special is now online. (11/25a)
AMAs TACKLED FOR LOSS BY SNF
Oof (11/24a)
MUSIC ORGS IMPLORE CONGRESS FOR HELP
The gang's all here. (11/24a)
RAINMAKERS 2020
Bring your umbrella.
GRAMMY OUTLIERS
Mulling possible surprises.
ZOOM THANKSGIVING
We're virtually stuffing ourselves.
TRUMP'S LAWSUITS
He's lost 25 out of 26, and so tired of winning!
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