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WHO IS #87 THIS YEAR?
Trying to Make Sense of the Bible's Power 100

The upcoming Power 100 executive list, announced by the “industry bible” for Grammy week, has some wannabes and also-rans vying for a spot—even though the list has become a non-event in the offices of most real power players.

Indeed, the execs at the top of last year’s list most likely haven’t heard of at least 20% of the others. Staffers at the publication are joking about those desperate to be included as the list is selectively circulated/leaked. And we mean leaked: The publication’s communications these days are as sieve-like as Sony Pictures.

Editors from different departments—Latin, retail, branding, film/TV—are jockeying to get the highest possible rankings for their people.

How could anyone justify the outright exclusion of mega-attorney Don Passman, who not only reps Swift, Adele and P!nk, among other top acts, but who literally wrote the book on the modern business?

Meanwhile, execs across the business are bristling, to put it mildly, as this cabal judges their relative worth. Last year’s 100 shows a certain naiveté not only in terms of who’s included, but the positions key biz figures are accorded.

Who are they  to assign ranking to such massively influential figures as Lucian Grainge, Doug Morris, Irving Azoff, Michael Rapino, Jay Z and Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Bob Pittman, Jimmy Iovine, Marty Bandier and Len Blavatnik?

How on earth could execs at Pepsi and Budweiser—who have at best a tangential connection to the music business—rank above top-tier players like Tom Poleman, Allen Grubman, John Branca, Joel Katz, Boyd Muir, Julie Swidler, Daniel Ek, Rob Wiesenthal and the Dickey brothers? McDonald’s sponsors the bible’s Twitter feed—will we see an exec from the Golden Arches on the new list?

How could anyone justify the outright exclusion of mega-attorney Don Passman, who not only reps Swift, Adele and P!nk, among other top acts, but who literally wrote the book on the modern business?

What was the reasoning behind giving the team of Neil Portnow and Ken Ehrlich such a low ranking, especially around Grammy time? Will they claim a higher spot this year?

And why are music-department heads at agencies such as CAA’s Rob Light and WME’s Marc Geiger positioned so high? These two players are certainly well-liked and respected, but how much power do they wield? If one were to compare the influence of, say, Poleman, Kevin Weatherly or the Dickeys, it would be no contest—even though Light’s Augusta trips are highly coveted.

Label execs are ranked according to marketshare, seemingly without any regard to what that marketshare consists of. Size matters, but size doesn’t always equal real power. True power at a label resides in signing and breaking acts.

Speaking of which, why was Cameron Strang, who heads not only Warner Bros. and Reprise Records but also Warner/Chappell, placed so low?

Meanwhile, such key players as Sylvia Rhone, Steve Berman, Joel Klaiman, Ashley Newton, David Massey, Charlie Walk, Michelle Jubelirer, Greg Thompson, Joe Riccitelli and Danny Strick were completely bypassed on the prior list. Thank goodness this year’s 100 will rectify that situation, right?

Perhaps the most egregious faux pas of the 2014 list, though, was the inclusion of Lyor Cohen, whose squandering of resources—and alienation of virtually everyone—in pursuit of what has thus far been a failed vanity venture has been thoroughly chronicled.

The list is just the latest example of the festering resentment between the mag and the biz it's supposed to represent.

On the plus side, Janice Min and company can fully school you about John Lobb boots and dye-free lip balm.

 

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