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PUB CRAWLING: FRIDAY 4:20 BLUES

“NO” is a word you’re going to be hearing a lot. By which I mean the new single by Epic’s Meghan Trainor, a rhythmic-pop juggernaut with a saucy female-empowerment theme. It was co-written by the chartbusting Best New Artist Grammy winner (who made her bones as a tunesmith with Nashville pubco Big Yellow Dog, where she remains), J Kash (Warner/Chappell) and producer Ricky Reed, a Sony/ATV writer who helmed “No” and worked on multiple other tracks on her forthcoming album. He’s previously scored with Pitbull, Jason Derulo, Lunchmoney Lewis and twenty one pilots, among others.

Trainor’s tale is recounted in this HITS interview with her gifted manager, Troy Carter, and she's the Contents VIP in our New & Developing Artists special issue for a reason. She was not a “no-brainer” as a pop star, in any respect—her style, her look, her persona and her musical influences were all miles apart from the sylphs and sirens crowding the diva ranks. Most importantly, she had something to say; her songwriting balances frothy fun and a timeless melodic instinct with esteem-boosting messages for her fans (especially girls). It’s easy to forget that a “hook” can reside as much in a lyrical idea—“my name is No/my number is No”—as in a swath of notes. Trainor never does.

Further testimony to the “developing” side of the N&D equation: Warner/Chappell’s Lukas Graham, which is both a guy (Lukas Graham Forchhammer) and a band. They’ve got a monster on their hands with the soulful “7 Years” (Warner Bros.), which has topped the iTunes singles chart for days and is exploding at radio. The Danish troupe inked with the pubbery by chief Jon Platt and VP/A&R Co-Head Katie Vinten a few years back, and patience has paid off with an explosive hit. 

The new single from Republic’s Ariana Grande zoomed to #1 at iTunes on Friday (3/11); in case you were wondering, it was co-penned by Johan Carlsson (who co-produced with Max Martin) and Ross Golan.

UMPG has inked a global pub deal with alternative-rock trailblazers R.E.M. The band "is one of a small number of benchmark artists who have changed the course of popular music during their renowned career,” declared pubco ruler Jody Gerson, “and, over the past 30 years they have been the model for every artist that wants to organically develop their career with the ambition of someday reaching ‘best band in the world’ status.  We are honored that R.E.M. has chosen us to take care of their generation-defining catalog,”More about that here.

Jennifer Drake joins Sony/ATV as L.A.-based Sr. Director of A&R, reporting to co-prexy Rick Krim. She previously served at UMPG as Creative Director. In her new post she will cultivate a love of Cohibas.

BMI’s Latin Awards saw big wins for Sony/ATV, which scored Latin Publisher of the Year and honors for 14 songs, including cuts by Wisin f/Jennifer Lopez & Ricky Martin, Pitbull, Yandel and Luis Fonsi; and UMPG, which took trophies for, among others, work by Juanes, Juan Luis Guerra, Horacio Palencia, and snagged Contemporary Song of the Year for J Balvin’s “Ay Vamos.” Balvin, who’s collaborated with Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande and Maroon 5, is a massive global artist who’s had a #1 Latin single for 22 weeks (“Ginza”) and amassed about 750m Vevo views.

BMG and Pulse Music have teamed up to ink Aussie singer/songwriter Meg Mac, a sellout attraction and trophy magnet Down Under. BMG’s Thomas Scherer praised Mac’s “smoldering vocals and soulful songs,” while Pulse’s Scott Cutler enjoyed a Vegemite sandwich.

 Now would somebody please smoke us out? Seriously.

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