TRICK OR TREAT: Mike Caren’s APG has become a key component of the WMG mix, with Caren serving as a preeminent cultivator of artist and executive talent. Caren has said that he has an unbelievably great deal, and that when it expires in 2020, he’d be shocked if he didn’t re-up with the House of Lousada. The exec counts recent breakouts like Bazzi and Ava Max in his stable, along with earlier signings like T.I., Trey Songz, Flo Rida and Wiz Khalifa; another member of his A&R team, Miles Beard, inked Charlie Puth.

Meanwhile, lips are flapping about APG VP A&R Jeff Vaughn, a major player in Caren’s shop and one of the true hitters in the hip-hop/R&B space, having inked YoungBoy Never Broke Again, Kehlani, Lil Skies and more. Is Vaughn, whose own term is ending this year, about to make a major move?

HOLD THE SUSHI: The paradigm shift necessitated by the new streaming ecosystem is also changing the reality of veteran A&R execs as their contracts come up for renewal. The search for next-generation A&R players has become more and more essential, as a native understanding of emerging platforms, social media and street-level culture become indispensable tools. The APG crew mentioned above is the embodiment of this new-school ideal. The prior generation of A&R players, once kings of the landscape, are becoming an endangered species. These artist whisperers have commanded multimillion-dollar salary packages to sign and make records for acts that ascend to superstardom and mega-sales. But those artists aren’t driving the most lucrative aspect of the marketplace: the massive cash cow of streaming. If rock is to come back, it could be driven by some of these same key players, but inside the indie sector, where it can flourish—because at the majors, few are listening.

PULSING: As the pub marketplace heats up like crazy, Pulse Music Group is currently the subject of loud chatter. Insiders say the L.A.-based pubbery, headed by well-liked co-founders Josh Abraham and Scott Cutler, is headed for a major deal. Current partner Fujipacific is said to have signed off on the broad strokes. The question of whether the reload will be with a strategic player or a financial one remains open, but look for the company to ramp up, not change hands, even as the principals take some chips off the table.