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I.B. BAD ORDERS
THE VEAL

STAR GAZING: Interscope is seeing a strong finish to the year, to say the least. The label has a phenomenon on its hands with the Gaga/Bradley Cooper-powered A Star Is Born ST, which catapulted to #1 on our Top 50 chart with a 200k+ bow and remains in the top spot in its sophomore week at 130k+. Expect this one to stick around, as the movie and the album continue their mutual reverberation. Forecasts suggest Star could do 2-3m U.S. this year alone.

Interscope’s YTD marketshare is currently just over 8.7, earning Team Janick a firm third place. Atlantic continues to lead with 10.2, while Republic has a 9.7 going into the home stretch. Capitol Music Group holds fourth place with 7.4. While Star is expected to shine brightly throughout the remainder of the year, what other releases might affect the current standings?

THE NOTHINGBURGER AWARDS: After the American Music Awards telecast, some say the highlight of the evening was Lyor Cohen losing his cool at posh Beverly Hills eatery Madeo—exploding out of his seat, ranting and raving about how he was being treated. One observer wondered if Lyor was suffering from indigestion brought on by early reads on those AMA ratings, or perhaps by the veal chop. Others say it was just another example of the bully caught in another of his fake news accounts.

This year, the AMAs achieved a new ratings nadir and had a negligible impact on the music marketplace, despite superstarpower like Taylor Swift, Cardi B, Camila Cabello, Shawn Mendes and Panic! At the Disco. The show was down 25% in the essential 18-49 demo and nearly 30% in total viewers compared to 2017. Insiders say the show’s producers bullied ABC into moving it to a Tuesday night so it wouldn’t be up against Sunday night football—a huge tactical error, it turns out. Instead of competing (albeit poorly) as counterprogramming to the older-skewing, male-heavy NFL, the AMAs got crushed by The Voice and This Is Us, both killers in the key demo. Oh, and the Yankees-Red Sox elimination game on Tuesday night was the coup de gras.

SWIRVING AGAIN: Inquiring minds want to know: What’s Irving Azoff’s end game? Is he consolidating his holdings in hopes of another huge payout from the possible sale of the new company at a much higher multiple? He’s historically made his big scores while working outside of publicly traded companies. This is hardly the first time that The Swirv, who is acquiring MSG’s half stake in Azoff MSG Entertainment for $125m—and modestly renaming the entity The Azoff Co.—has bought back a stakeholder’s piece of one of his management enterprises for pennies on the dollar.

CLOSING TIME: One hip-hop artist who’s had mixed results with subsequent tracks after a very big debut—and who then, under a contract technicality, became a free agent—subsequently touched off quite a controversial signing derby. The artist’s rep was declared persona non grata with various major-label players during those same negotiations. This week, that big deal—which everyone thought was done—was believed to be collapsing because the deal wasn’t signed yet, and the rep started asking for more money and spinning hard that he wasn’t happy with what most insiders thought was an extra-rich deal. He began calling around to competitors, saying he needed $10m+ to get out of the deal. No big counteroffers were forthcoming from the competition, and the deal is now believed to be back on track. But, as Yogi Berra famously remarked, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

MAKING IT RAINE: Fred Davis, attorney and partner in The Raine Group, has become a primary connector between entrepreneurs planning new music ventures and the capital they seek. He’s worked with a number of recently financed indie ventures, was the earliest American player to support Spotify and has been heavily involved in the revitalization of SoundCloud. Whom will he Sherpa up the money mountain next?

COMMITTEE FINDINGS: With the first-round Grammy voting imminent, there’s considerable chatter surrounding the screening committee, which is said to be once again exercising arbitrary authority in excluding certain acts from the Best New Artist category—the one top-tier category over which it exerts control. The exclusion of Post Malone has prompted the loudest pushback, but which other artists are being kept behind the velvet rope because the committee fears the “wrong” act might win? Bottom line: The committee wants certain acts in and certain others out. This is what they’ve always done.

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