The Grammys provided further momentum to a phenomenon few in the music business saw coming: the flattening of recent year-over-year declines in album sales, even as the singles business continues to boom—and most in the industry would readily agree that flat is good.
Just When You Thought Things Couldn’t Get
Any Worse…They Didn’t
The primary beneficiary of this year’s Grammy spike is Pink, who went from 9k to 32k on her 2008 Funhouse LP, up a whopping 246%, and 9k to 100k on current single “Glitter in the Air.” The artist’s memorable performance in front of an American Idol-sized viewing audience gives Barry WeissJive team a window of opportunity to give the album, now at 1.5 million, a second life, potentially adding another several hundred thousand to the total, in what is shaping up as a possible career-changing moment. The Grammy spike also lifted a pair of juggernauts in Lady Gaga (+25% on The Fame and 11% on The Fame Monster) and the Black Eyed Peas (+78%), while further increasing Lady Antebellum’s heat, as the album closes in on 700k in its first two weeks... The Grammys provided further momentum to a phenomenon few in the music business saw coming: the flattening of recent year-over-year declines in album sales, even as the singles business continues to boom—and most in the industry would readily agree that flat is good. In the first five weeks of the year, we’ve seen four straight six-figure debuts, culminating with Lady Antebellum’s 485k+ bow, establishing a surprising pattern of big new releases outperforming industry expectations. This week, ending on Valentine’s Day, will extend the momentum, paced by Epic’s debuting Sade, which is trending toward the 400k range, far beyond what most industry watchers had expected. Some observers believe this unexpected uplift is the result of a stronger release schedule than a year ago, along with the economic recovery in general. While it remains to be seen whether the positive movement will continue, it’s certainly quieting the doomsayers for the moment… Sony Music topper Rolf Schmidt-Holtz is reportedly in the last year of his deal, and insiders say there’s once again some major jockeying for position going on over control of the U.S. company. A year and a half after Bertelsmann sold its half of Sony BMG, the residue of the ill-begotten merger is still very much in evidence at 550 Madison, as two teams with dramatically different cultures continue to uneasily co-exist, much as they have since the merger was finalized back in 2003. Now, some of the key players from each side of the company reportedly have begun to be openly critical of each other, with their rancor rumored to have come to a head on Grammy weekend. In the past, Schmidt-Holtz has dealt with these conflicting agendas by dumping a number of executives whom he believed were at the center of these sorts of problems; notably, the dismissals of Don Ienner and Charles Goldstuck. Most believe another year will be added to his deal, but the big question is, if Schmidt-Holtz doesn’t re-up, who will be named as his successor?… The latest band-aid being proposed in Guy Hands’ ongoing struggle to avoid default and hang on to EMI involves cutting more costs and firing more staff. The problem with this plan is that EMI is already short-handed and struggling to cover costs, making this “solution“ akin to cutting off a leg in order to save a foot. Nonetheless, Hands appears to have no other viable options, apart from hitting up Terra Firma investors for the needed funds, which would appear to be a hard sell indeed. Terra needs to raise $189m from investors or risk losing EMI. How much will Hands personally pony up?… Randy Phillips keeps shooting himself in the foot, the latest faux pas going down when he proclaimed that Lady Gaga would participate in the “We Are the World 25“ recording session without first getting confirmation from any of her representatives. The trouble started just before the Grammys, when emails sent by the AEG Live boss to the reps for a number of prospective contributors began circulating around the business. In each email, he stated that the act in question “would take his rightful place next to Barbra Streisand, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Will Smith, Jeff Bridges, Kanye West, Usher, Beyonce and many more artists”—to the extreme displeasure of several of the acts he’d claimed were participating. Along with Lady Gaga, neither Timberlake nor Beyonce had confirmed they were coming. Phillips will look doubly foolish if rumors pan out that his spreading of this misinformation caused the Gaga camp to go with Live Nation for her next tour, which would be a huge monetary loss for AEG Live. On the heels of this embarrassment came published reports that Usher is close to hiring Phillips, whose lone current client is Lionel Richie, as his new manager, leading one industry wag to quip, “Randy is to management as surfing is to Kansas.”… Names in the Rumor Mill: Irving Azoff, Troy Carter, Tim Bowen, Doug Morris/Lucien Grainge and Mike Dungan.
Are you free Wednesday afternoon? (11/12a)
How's that for a tease, Bieber Nation? (11/12a)
Not the same as the old bosses (11/12a)
This sure feels like her moment. (11/12a)
It's down to two bidders. (11/12a)
They'll soon be here, and then we can start obsessing about who'll win.
Forget Brexit--it's our yearly survey of doings in Blighty. And if you still can't forget Brexit, try drinking.
Who's going to land the hottest unsigned property in music?
That's what Hollywood smells like. Seriously. 24/7.

 First Name

 Last Name


Captcha: (type the characters above)