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PUB CRAWLING: OH! YOU PRETTY THINGS

First things first: David Bowie’s death knocked the wind out of me, but as ever, his incredible music eases the pain. I’m clearly not alone, as both his new album, Blackstar (Columbia), and his stunning catalog (available via Rhino) sell and stream like gangbusters. RZO Music (an arm of the financial firm that securitized his copyrights in Bowie Bonds) owns the worldwide publishing assets, with Fairwood in the U.K. interfacing with the biz. Expect to see a huge uptick in syncs and cover versions, as mourning turns to rediscovery and a renaissance of the Thin White Duke’s cultural impact.

 To the surprise of exactly nobody, the King of Publishing has re-upped his deal. Marty Bandier’s ongoing tenure at Sony/ATV strikes precisely the needed note of stability as speculation swirls around the pubco’s future ownership. We light a cheroot in his honor, though ours is herbal. Sony/ATV co-prexy Rick Krim, meanwhile, is seeing two of his signings come to fruition simultaneously. German pop-rock trio Audiodamn, which signed to Epic, is impacting Pop radio right now with the infectious “Radar,” while you’ve probably heard about teen chanteuse GRACE, whose version of “You Don’t Own Me” (RCA) is grabbing folks by the ears. Now, Rick will attempt to sink a putt from just behind his desk.

UMPG might as well keep the New Year’s champagne flowing. First off, writers Adele and Justin Bieber roll on. The pubco also has writers on no fewer than three contenders for Oscar song, notably “Earned It” co-writers DaHeala and Stephen Moccio (The Weeknd is published by SONGS, of course); Jimmy Napes (in tandem with Sony/ATV’s Sam Smith) for the Golden Globe-winning SPECTRE theme; and legendary Diane Warren for the Lady Gaga song “Til It Happens to You” from the devastating doc The Hunting Ground. Speaking of Adele, the second single from 25, “When We Were Young” (co-penned by Uni’s Tobias Jesso, Jr.) is climbing at Pop radio. Of course, the House of Jody also partakes of the fresh UMG deal with SoundCloud, which should yield another contender in the streaming sweepstakes.

Warner/Chappell anoints Philadelphia soul family member and custodian Chuck Gamble, nephew of Kenny (of Gamble & Huff fame) as VP Catalogue Promotions. Pubco chief Jon Platt hailed Gamble’s “unique talent for giving songs a long life.”

Big Deal’s Kenny MacPherson is starting the new year with a #1, as Thomas Rhett’s “Die a Happy Man” (Valory/BMLG)—co-penned by Big Deal writer Joe London—tops the Country radio chart. When you’re lookin’ at Kenny, you’re lookin’ at country. If that country is Scotland. Big Deal also has some ridiculously cool signings in the bag, which we’ll tell you about as soon as they let us.

Over the break, Atlas Music Group finalized a deal with Spotify, following on the heels of pacts with YouTube, Apple Music and Pandora—becoming the first indie to close with the top four digital services. Chieftain Richard Stumpf, Chief Creative Officer Jennifer Blakeman and Director of A&R Molly Seel Jonke are streaming to the bar to toast the pacts. Meanwhile, Atlas’ partnership with Chris Farren-headed Combustion yielded11 #1 Country hits over the course of the year.

 

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