If Mike Caren stays at WMG, that bodes well for Lyor Cohen’s chances of keeping his team intact. At the moment, however, uncertainty still surrounds the next moves of Craig Kallman, John Janick and Todd Moscowitz.
Sony-UMG Still Too Close to Call, the Endless Game of Executive Musical Chairs, the Next Next Big Thing, the Story of a Company Man
With a third of the year in the books, the two top labels by a mile are Rob Stringer and Steve Barnett’s Columbia, whose new-release marketshare is a stunning 13.2%, and Monte Lipman’s surging Universal Republic, with 9.7%. Their closest competitors are IGA at 6.7% and Atlantic at 5.7%. But the main event on this card is the dogfight between Sony Music and UMG.

Look at these numbers: In overall marketshare, Sony is 30.3% to Universal’s 29.6%. In new-release share, UMG is ahead, 31.4% to 30.6%. The overall numbers with TEA added are 30.4% for UMG and 29% for Sony. Insiders at both companies say their bottom lines will be dramatically improved this year due to the re-engineering (read: cost savings) of the two companies under Doug Morris and Lucian Grainge, respectively.

The latest buzz is that Mike Caren will stay at Warner Music rather than jumping to a rival music group. Word is that Warner has promised him a much better deal for his publishing company. If so, that bodes well for Lyor Cohen’s chances of keeping his team intact. At the moment, however, uncertainty still surrounds the next moves of Craig Kallman, John Janick and Todd Moscowitz. Meanwhile, David Guetta has decided to re-up with EMI, apparently figuring that he’ll either continue his successful run at Capitol or join the roster of a UMG label.

Some believe the EC will rule on UMG-EMI in June; others expect a decision in September. The big question has to do with how much the combined companies will be forced to divest as a condition of approval. With the clock ticking, has Grainge found some parts for his new EMI team? The latest buzz is that the hierarchy will be composed of current EMI execs, as well as some outside players.

On the heels of the Commission’s positive ruling on Sony-EMP, FTC approval appears to be a no-brainer. That means it’s just a matter of time before well-liked Sony/ATV ruler Marty Bandier regains control of the pubco he built into the industry’s perennial marketshare leader before then-EMI Chairman Eric Nicoli replaced him with Roger Faxon in 2006.

It was long rumored that Zach Horowitz was on his way out as UMG’s longtime President/COO, as some speculated that his micro-management style wasn’t Grainge’s cup of tea. Nonetheless, many were stunned by the news of Horowitz accepting a lateral (at best) move to the chairmanship of Universal Music Publishing, while his friends outside of UMG were surprised that he chose to stay at the company rather than becoming the head of City of Hope or the RIAA. Or Horowitz could have simply hung up his spurs, having made a reported $5m a year at UMG during the last decade.

Most of those who worked with Horowitz, especially label execs, are said to be glad to see him go, in large part because he was seen as petty and didn’t manage down well. Many point to Horowitz as the primary culprit in establishing the industry’s tit-sucking position vis a vis the tech sector, having partnered with Sony Music in orchestrating the industry’s catastrophic hard-line strategy toward Napster and MP3.com in 2000. He also led the RIAA’s misbegotten attempt to curtail piracy by suing alleged file-sharers.

Horowitz’s aggressive business tactics aren’t surprising given his training. After coming to MCA with Myron Roth from CBS in 1983, Horowitz learned the ropes from MCA Inc. President/COO Sid Sheinberg, who oversaw all of MCA’s businesses under mega-mogul Lew Wasserman. A Texas-born Jew, Sheinberg was an intimidating character who was said to eat nails for breakfast, and who made the alleged mobsters running around the business in the mid-’80s, including Sal Pisello, Vincent “The Chin” Gigante and Gaetano “Big Guy” Vastola, seem less tough by comparison.

Despite his reputation as a despot, Horowitz is described by an associate as a decent guy at heart who has devoted his energies to fighting cancer over the years.

Coachella represented a seminal moment for electronic dance music as the next “next big thing,” as crowds flocked to the Sahara Tent, where electronic performers proceeded to upstage the rock acts on the main stage. Acts like Swedish House Mafia, Skrillex, Avicii and Tiesto are selling massive amounts of tickets and are beginning to sell records as well. Expect a feeding frenzy, with the majors crawling over each other to get a piece of the action. Is Patrick Moxey’s N.Y.-based Ultra label at the center of this feeling frenzy?

Names in the rumor mill: Jim Urie, Luke Lewis, Evan Lamberg, Randy Lennox, Julie Greenwald, Jimmy Iovine and Max Hole. 
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