Madonna’s performance generated an immediate tidal wave of interest, countering those naysayers who believed Interscope overpaid when it reportedly gave her $30m for three records, despite the lackluster performance of her last few albums.


The Super Bowl, the Grammys, Idol, The Voice, The X Factor, Glee, Smash—the Tube Is Alive With the Sound of Music
The Grammys are billed as “Music’s biggest night,” but in terms of sheer numbers, no music-centric event comes close to the Super Bowl. This year’s telecast—the highest-rated in the game’s 46-year history—provided Madonna with colossal exposure, as it did for fellow Interscope acts M.I.A. and LMFAO. Ironically, the most-talked-about part of the halftime extravaganza turned out to be M.I.A.’s raised middle finger, as the agitprop diva raised her profile exponentially via that blink-and-you-missed-it stunt.

Madonna’s performance generated an immediate tidal wave of interest, countering those naysayers who believed Interscope overpaid when it reportedly gave her $30m for three records, despite the lackluster performance of her last few albums; her most recent LP, 2008’s Hard Candy, sold just 740k. But this could be a whole new ballgame for Madonna, whose March 26 LP is already north of 50k in digital preorders, with a 300k debut now seemingly attainable, while some of her European stadium dates and U.S. arena shows go on sale next week.

Madonna’s newfound momentum further increases the heat index at Jimmy Iovine’s Interscope, as Lana Del Rey debuts with a robust 75k, and the new album from Van Halen is on track for 180-195k—though it isn’t a lock for #1—as LMFAO rides a hot streak that began during the holidays.

Del Rey is the highest-profile debut artist in recent memory, and her “Video Games” single has been a radio smash all over Europe, which raises the question, when will U.S. radio come to the party?
Some believe American Idol’s ratings decline thus far this season is the result of the platform being over-saturated, and that isn’t about to change, with NBC’s The Voice making its return following the Super Bowl, the same network’s heavily promoted Smash premiering Monday night to an audience of 11.5m, and Fox’s Glee still a force, as Simon Cowell tinkers with The X Factor following the show’s disappointing ratings during its first season in the U.S..

Many are saying that if Adele doesn’t win all three of the major Grammy categories she’s up for, it will go down as one of the biggest upsets in the history of the event, even bigger than Herbie Hancock’s shocking Album of the Year win in 2008.

Paul McCartney’s timing couldn’t be better, as his Hear Music/Concord album of standards streets this week, buoyed by his being honored at Friday night’s MusiCares gala, a Grammys performance Sunday and Valentine’s Day next Tuesday. The new LP should have broader long-term appeal than the ex-Beatle’s last few releases, though it will likely debut at 65-70k, compared to the 160k first week of his previous studio LP, 2007’s Memory Almost Full.

Rumors that Fontana-to-INgrooves is a done deal are being refuted by Universal insiders, who say the merging of the two companies’ digital operations is merely under consideration; UMG owns Fontana and 40% of INgrooves. Such a move would have nothing to do with prospective EMI divestitures, because Universal doesn’t yet know what it will be required to do with Caroline, EMI’s indie and third-party distributor.

As for the big picture, those in the know say the Sony/ATV-EMI Music Publishing and UMG-EMI recorded music deals are on two separate tracks at regulatory and don’t have to close together—and they may not even have similar outcomes, for that matter.

Some are dismissing Edgar Bronfman’s savage attack on UMG-EMI during his final day at WMG as a case of sour grapes, but others believe he made a valid point about the danger inherent in the creation of a market-killing “super major.”

Billboard’s spin in its Power 100 Index (yanked away from The Hollywood Reporter’s Shirley Halperin, who came up with the concept) is that the labels have become less important than the concert business. Strangely, many industry people had never even heard of a number of these 100 so-called heavyweights and concluded that the whole thing was a farce, especially with 99 people listed ahead of Simon Cowell, while mega-dealmaker Allen Grubman (Madonna, Springsteen, U2) was excluded altogether. One of the top 10 executives on the list provided an explanation of its slant, noting that the labels no longer support Billboard advertising-wise, whereas the concert business now accounts for a whopping 80% of the trade’s ad revenue.

MTV alumni Bob Pittman and John Sykes are ripping a page out of their old playbook, positioning Clear Channel as selling hope in a friendly partnership with artists and labels, much as MTV has done over the years.

Names in the rumor mill: Roger Faxon, Jonathan Dickins, Scott Rodger, Daniel Ek, Ken Hertz and Julie Greenwald.

UMG chief is sitting on top of the world. (9/17a)
Let's be Frank. (9/17a)
Stars across the board (9/17a)
Will she be able to clean up the mess? (9/17a)
WMG snags a cornucopia of sound and vision. (9/16a)
A chronicle of the inexplicable.
We make yet more predictions, which you are free to ignore.
2022 TOURS
May we all be vaxxed by then.
Power pop, global glam and the return of the loud.

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