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A TASTE OF RAINMAKERS II:
MONTE LIPMAN

In this latest dive into our recent anthology of industry-baller profiles, we focus on the early days of the mighty Monte Lipman. But before we turn back the pages of Monte’s career, let’s size up his latest chapter.

As I.B. Bad wrote in his year-end wrap-up, the Republic  ruler had another blockbuster year, with an 8.1% marketshare, three of the Top 4 albums and four of the Top 10 songs of 2019 and #1 at radio overall (with a 19 share) as well as at Pop and Rhythmic. He signed Taylor Swift and accompanied her to the biggest chart bow of the year (an 885k #1, followed by Grammy SOTY love) and #4 album YTD with about 2m; he helped make Ariana Grande a true superstar and streaming giant (in league with her low-profile, publicity-shy manager, Scooter Braun); Ari had the #3 album, also around 2m, and multiple huge singles, led by “7 rings” with nearly 6m in song activity, making it Top 5 for the year. One can only imagine Monte navigating the tightrope between Ari, Scooter, Taylor and Scott Borchetta with his confident, upbeat rap—“Don’t worry, this record is a smash and we’re going to do everything we possibly can to make it your biggest of all time.”

And then there’s Post Malone, who must’ve guzzled Monte’s Kool-Aid along with his Bud Light. Post moves from one career milestone to the next and remains hands-down the biggest earner in the record biz, having racked up an unbelievable 5.5m in total activity on three albums in 2019. His recent set, Hollywood’s Bleeding, is the #1 album YTD with 2.6m+, and his prior two releases and songs are prime beneficiaries of streaming’s long tail. All this success was capped with a Grammy ROTY nom.

Add the triumphant return of the Jonas Brothers (with a Top 15 album and a monster cut in “Sucker” with nearly 3.5m) and the breakout of hip-hop wunderkind Lil Tecca (a Top 10 track with 3.8m+), and it all adds up to a colossal year. Bolstered by this powerhouse roster, the hottest promo crew in the game—helmed by the estimable Gary Spangler—and a senior cabal featuring Avery Lipman and Jim Roppo, the House of Lipman is poised to tear shit up once again in 2020.


We now dolly back to Monte’s formative years:

The lore of Lipman extends at least as far back as his days as a local for SBK, when the TV news magazine 48 Hours followed him from one Miami radio station to another working EMF’s soon-to-be-smash “Unbelievable.” The show’s correspondent watched Monte tell the PD at Power 96 that the track was the best dance record of the year, and then saw him tell the programmer at 98 Rock that it was the best rock record of the year. Both agreed and added it on the spot. “How can you tell one station it’s dance and another that it’s rock?” asked the incredulous interviewer. Quoth Monte, “Tell ’em what they wanna hear.”

 There’s also the tale of how Dave Morales played Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” for Monte during the latter’s visit to WOHT in Jackson, Miss., and Monte, stunned, played it for label boss Charles Koppelman over the phone. Ice’s subsequent deal with SBK resulted in a worldwide smash; the tale underscores how Monte exhibited A&R chops even at this embryonic point in his career.

In 1995, Daniel Glass moved to the presidency of Rising TideDoug Morris’ JV with Edgar Bronfman, Jr., under the MCA umbrella—and hired Monte as VP Pop Promotion. When Al Teller was fired as head of the MCA Music Group, Morris succeeded him in the post. Rising Tide later morphed into Universal Records.


Young Monte makes the radio rounds with Vanilla Ice

By that time, Monte was hatching an en
trepreneurial scheme with Avery, who recalled the humble origins of their baby to Hitquarters: “Republic Records started in our apartment at our kitchen table,” he noted, adding that Monte “was in between jobs, and we started putting records out as a hobby. We had a grassroots approach to the business. The first record we put out happened to work really well. That was The Bloodhound Gang.”

Monte decided to put out the project on his own fledgling label. The prankster alternative troupe’s “Fire Water Burn,” released in 1996 on the Republic imprint via Geffen, took off.

Read the complete profile here.

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