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NEAR TRUTHS:
NEW BIZ

MORE NEW & DEVELOPING: Monte Lipman’s Republic continues to blast one home run after another, with Morgan Wallen, Drake, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande and The Weeknd keeping the brothers busy, plus Glass Animals’ streaming giant and Grammy momentum.

Jeff Vaughn and Michelle Jubelirer end their first year of co-leadership at the Capitol Tower with high hopes for Halsey Grammy glory, a new album from the legendary ABBA (which was a U.K. #1) and a big pop hit from NEIKED x Mae Muller x Polo G that bears the fingerprints of both Richard Griffiths and Nick Raphael. That’s the same team that previously launched hits by Niall Horan and 5 Seconds of Summer. Virgin, led by Jacqueline Saturn, continues to put points on the board for the label group.

Next year, new Lucian-Grainge-appointed leadership at Island and Def Jam—the Imran Majid/Justin Eshak tandem and Tunji Balogun, respectively—will take the field. Tunji’s first Grammy night as label boss could offer big possibilities for stars Justin Bieber and Ye (The Artist Formerly Known as Kanye).

The relocation of RCA’s creative team to the West Coast—as Peter Edge, John Fleckenstein and company set up a new studio/office complex outside the Sony lot—feels like a major upgrade for the team. The complex should serve not only as a workshop for artists, A&R execs and producers but should also provide real cachet. Meanwhile, their Grammy season could be a Doja-fueled gold rush, with hopes for Tate McRae, H.E.R. and WizKid, among others, too, and new SZA music on the way.

SCREEN TEST: The fallout continues from the Grammy screening committees’ ejection of artists like Kacey Musgraves and Bo Burnham from categories in which they would likely have won. It’s pretty clear that the screening committees now do much of the heavy lifting for insiders’ backroom agendas. Defenders of the status quo say that despite their excesses, these committees exist so nobody is submitted for the “wrong” categories. But why should a dozen or fewer anonymous players make that call? If voting truly counts, why not let Academy members vote on everything submitted for a category and trust their judgment?

We won’t see the Grammygate ’22 shit hit the fan until the nominations are made public just before Thanksgiving. Those noms will be decided in a smoke-filled room by a handful of insiders with real juice, the Academy’s “transparency” rhetoric notwithstanding. Who will collect this year’s major Grammy grease?

AN ASTRONOMICAL
HITS LIST
Things are looking up. (5/16a)
NEW RELEASES: KING
KENDRICK RETURNS
Another record-breaking debut week. (5/16a)
PRIDE & JOY
From the archives (5/16a)
NEW & DEVELOPING ARTISTS: Q2 EDITION
Place your bets here. (5/16a)
STREAMING SONGS: SUMMER HEAT
His lucky number is 23. (5/16a)
SUPERSTAR RELEASES
Who's next?
MUSIC BIZ SPECIAL
It's Comic-Con for numbers geeks.
THE BIG CHEESE
Theories of evolution from 30,000 feet.
THE NEXT GIANT DEAL
A&R in overdrive.
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