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I.B. BAD TRAVELS FROM CUPERTINO TO NASH VEGAS

HIGH STYLES: Columbia’s closing of the Harry Styles deal is a big win for Rob Stringer. It’s also a killer start in the managerial business for Jeffrey Azoff—not to mention yet another feather in the cap of power behind the throne Irving Azoff, though the proud pop gives total credit to Jeffrey for making the deal. Spinners are spinning that Apple supposedly offered $25m for one album, which set the bar high and drove up the offers to the extent that the winning bid was in the $75-80m range for three albums. Such a deal would have a break-even point of 5m units worldwide, not including marketing costs or streaming income. It’s also worth noting that Apple’s move indicates how aggressive it has become in going after exclusive content now that Apple Music has hit 15m subscribers, 9m of them ex-U.S. Look for Spotify to fight back, with Tom Calderone and Troy Carter chasing the exclusives. The Styles signing puts all three 1D members thought to be capable of having viable solo careers under the Sony Music umbrella. Niall Horan is signing with SYCO, while ZAYN signed with RCA prior to the group’s “hiatus.”

STORYLINES: Kanye West has been a huge contributor to Jay Z’s Tidal, as he continues to give the service in which he has an equity stake some of its biggest looks, most recently with Tidal exclusives on his new “Famous” video and Desiigner’s Panda mixtape on his G.O.O.D Music imprint. These moves beg the question, how does a rights holder make any money from music that is only available to stream on Tidal’s small subscriber base?

Interestingly, “I Got the Keys,” the latest clip from the Apple-associated DJ Khaled, was initially available to stream only on Tidal, but the window was short; the track was streamable on Apple Music hours later. Khaled’s recently inked label deal with L.A. Reid’s Epic has already spawned a pair of hits: the first from Kent Jones, followed by a collaboration between the producer and Drake, and this appears to be just the beginning. Khaled released a steady stream of albums and singles, most of them through eOne, while also producing hits for artists including Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Fat Joe, Kanye and Chris Brown. His biggest crossover song was “All I Do Is Win” with T-Pain and Ludacris (2.5m), which just became the main summer sync for Coca-Cola. But he truly became a superstar on Snapchat, and he’s capitalizing on the visibility big time. The combination of success as an indie artist and producer and social hyper-visibility has many thinking the ceiling is extremely high for Khaled and his We the Best label. Will his career grow into something enormous and game-changing, a la Roc-a-Fella or LaFace?

How much traction has Jim Ledestri’s Buzz Angle gained in the last year? The service is increasingly being viewed around the business as a possible alternative to SoundScan. Can force of nature Alissa Pollack and her Mediabase team sell the service to radio effectively enough to capture the promo-man marketplace? Clearly, Mediabase has become the go-to service for the entire radio/promo cabal.

MUSIC CITY ACTION: Sony Music Nashville, now a year into Randy Goodman’s revitalization of the company, is firing on all cylinders, and posing a challenge to Mike Dungan’s UMGN. Among the new artists SMN has broken are Cam, Old Dominion and Maren Morris. Carrie Underwood has her first hit LP under the new regime, while Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert and Brad Paisley have albums coming.

Will Taylor Swift deliver her final album under her current Big Machine deal this year? Most expect the savvy one to re-up with Scott Borchetta and Republic at the end of her deal. Don Passman is in the house for Swift, while Mouth of the South Joel Katz is on point for Borchetta.

CAA is dominating the agency business in Nashville and is killing it at this summer’s box office, as is Live Nation. Nonetheless, Nashville acts touring this summer have hit some speed bumps. Some industry observers believe that it’s too much of a good thing, in that many of the same mid-level acts are going out summer after summer, and this year a number of shows are flat, while some festivals have been canceled due to lack of interest. There’s no reason to panic, however; country acts still represent a huge part of the overall summer live business, superstar acts like Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley, Zac Brown Band, Brantley Gilbert and Eric Church will continue to do gigantic business, and the Louis Messina-promoted Chesney stadium tour will once again be massive. With another prospectively huge tour that will be announced soon, Messina is the King Kong of Nashville’s concert juggernaut.

615 Takes: Country music’s percentage on the sales chart is ascending as the competition heads for the streams. Nashville execs are wondering how long it will take for the country market to buy in… Besides Roc Nation’s new partnership with Warner/Chappell, what big-time management company is considering opening offices in Nashville?

NAMES IN THE RUMOR MILL: Lawrence Engel, Izzy Zivcovic, Sylvia Rhone, Howard Appel-baum, Marc Dennis and Brian O’Connell

ANOTHER BILLIE BANGER? (UPDATE)
Are you free Wednesday afternoon? (11/12a)
BIEBER BY CHRISTMAS?
How's that for a tease, Bieber Nation? (11/12a)
NEAR TRUTHS: MEET
THE NEW BOSSES
Not the same as the old bosses (11/12a)
CMA CENTERPIECE
CARRIE UNDERWOOD
This sure feels like her moment. (11/12a)
WHO'S GETTING ZERVAS?
It's down to two bidders. (11/12a)
THE GRAMMY NOMINATIONS
They'll soon be here, and then we can start obsessing about who'll win.
U.K. SPECIAL
Forget Brexit--it's our yearly survey of doings in Blighty. And if you still can't forget Brexit, try drinking.
ZERVAS STATION
Who's going to land the hottest unsigned property in music?
WEED!
That's what Hollywood smells like. Seriously. 24/7.
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