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Lady Gaga’s team, spearheaded by manager Troy Carter and heavyweight attorney Gary Stiffelman, is deep into the process of renegotiating the contract of the breakout artist with Interscope.
I.B. BAD DELVES INTO SOME UNFINISHED BUSINESS
While Sony Music is Back in Black, There’s Action Around the Rest of the Big Four
With EMI’s survival incumbent on Guy Hands’ chances of raising enough money to prevent a takeover by Citigroup—which some still believe he may be able to do—it now appears that the Charles Allen-led EMI board and Terra Firma brass have conflicting agendas. What Allen and the board have reportedly been discussing with UMG (namely, Lucian Grainge and his team) and Sony is a distribution deal along the lines of Disney’s arrangement with Universal—an outcome that would enable EMI to continue in the major territories as a full-service operation encompassing A&R and marketing (including sales and promotion). At the same time, Terra Firma has been exploring the concept of a series of licensing deals, which in all likelihood would result in the radical reorganization of EMI Music, which would negatively impact head count far more than would a distribution scenario. In reality, it’s generally assumed that the EMI board has a fiduciary responsibility to make sure that any deal made by Terra Firma is in the best interests of EMI. One key issue facing Allen is that their potential distribution partners want an assurance that Citi won’t take over the company and sell the recorded music operation to another entity such as KKR or Warner Music—the latter company sitting out these negotiations, presumably in hopes that the prize Edgar Bronfman has long sought will eventually fall in his lap. Hands is trying to raise enough money to keep EMI solvent for the next five years, so that any potential deal will be ironclad for both parties... The wild card is Roger Ames, who could conceivably be recruited by Allen to apply his considerable expertise to the situation, or by his former associate Dick Parsons should Citi wind up with EMI. Another possibility has Ames putting together a group of investors to buy the company... As the maneuvering continues, Lady Antebellum has moved nearly 2 million units in three months, and the buzz is starting for the follow-up to Katy Perry’s 2008 debut LP, which sold 1.22m in the U.S. As with any Pop release, Perry’s album will go as far as its hit singles take it… Speaking of recently anointed pop princesses, Lady Gaga’s team, spearheaded by manager Troy Carter and heavyweight attorney Gary Stiffelman, is deep into the process of renegotiating the contract of the breakout artist with Interscope, causing wonderers to wonder how her dramatically increased leverage—having sold 3.25m on The Fame and another million on The Fame Monster, plus a mind-boggling 15.5m singles—might impact the 360 aspects of her current deal, which has been a major windfall for Interscope. Both sides are hoping to have a new agreement in place well before the anticipated fall release of her next LP. While some naysayers insist that Gaga is a flash in the pan, industry veterans point out that the same dismissive remarks were made about Madonna in the early days of her career, which has now spanned a quarter century. What the two have in common is a rarefied gift for concocting slam-dunk dance/pop smashes… Jim Urie’s Velocity program gets its first real test this week with releases from Melissa Etheridge and Hole, which Best Buy has priced at $7.99. Coming next week under the program is Godsmack, for which retail watchers anticipate a six-figure debut, based on the 211k debut of the band’s 2006 LP, which went on to sell 835k… Industry observers are talking about the recent cooling-off of Atlantic, which at this time last year was way ahead of the pack in new-release marketshare at 8.75% but has dropped more than three percentage points to 5.7% year-to-date. Though it’s hard for a label to recover after such a slow start, Atlantic’s fortunes are on the rise behind Urban phenom B.o.B., who has sold 1.75m singles, setting up a projected 80-85k first week on his debut album… While William Morris Endeavor music head Peter Grosslight was battling a serious illness, agency toppers Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell were rumored to be considering a possible succession plan, with music agent Marc Geiger a top candidate for the post. This speculation resulted in some heated discussions both inside WME and around the business, because Geiger’s aggressively self-assured style has made him a polarizing figure. But Grosslight is now fully recovered and back on the job, putting an end to the rumormongering… Names in the Rumor Mill: Irving Azoff, Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, Ronn Werre, David Kassler, Jimmy Iovine, David Munns, Zach Horowitz, Gary Borman and Monte Lippman.
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GRAMMY NOMS
Who deserves consideration in the genre categories?
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