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NEAR TRUTHS:
TOP OF THE KEY

SOME KIND OF SCORING RECORD: Tyler, The Creator’s return to #1 with big vinyl sales has reinforced the power of the LP in the present ecosystem. Releases with vinyl day and date can rely on a nice bump in overall activity as artists' most ardent fans—whether or not they actually own turntables—snatch up this coolest of all physical artifacts. Tyler’s merch business on tour has been nothing short of astronomical, generating as much as $50 per head. And when you add in D2C from his website, without any additional sales from traditional retail—which sent his album back to #1 nine months after its initial release—you have a glimpse of how gigantic the Chris and Kelly Clancy-managed artist’s fan engagement is. 

PERENNIAL EAST COAST CHAMPS: After back-to-back-to-back years of phenomenal success overseeing an artist roster studded with superstars like Taylor Swift, The Weeknd, Drake, Ariana Grande, Post Malone and his latest mega-monster, Morgan Wallen, Monte Lipman is actively growing the empire with a series of major moves. These include his canny deal with Imperial, the reactivation of affiliated imprint Mercury and the anointing of Wendy Goldstein and Jim Roppo as Co-Presidents. Monte also enjoys a strong working relationship and history with the Island dyad of Imran Majid and Justin Eshak. The Lipman sibs next suit up for their big City of Hope extravaganza. They've come a long way since Chumbawamba’s 1997 hit, “Tubthumping.”

Big Loud/Mercury’s consistently enormous Wallen, whose huge chart action has been a constant since last year, proved he’s still the goose that laid the golden Easter egg with the holiday-themed “Don’t Think Jesus,” another massive streaming track that has also goosed the long-charting Dangerous album (which bowed with 265k and has racked up a whopping 4.9m RTD). Expect more big singles from the country star as he and his team, led by Big Loud boss Seth England, continue a historic streaming and chart run.

All eyes are on artist Lauren Spencer-Smith’s second single, “Flowers,” after the significant drama around her signing to Island/Republic. Initial cut “Fingers Crossed” has earned north of 150m global Spotify streams, but “Flowers” appears to be performing much more powerfully on Apple Music, where it’s in the Top 10 as of this writing. This is most unusual for a pop record, though Spencer-Smith’s first single also did exceptionally well at Apple.

THAT DOG CAN HUNT: Peter Edge, meanwhile, continues his hot streak at RCA, developing hit acts at both radio and DSPs—most recently breakout Latto, whose multiformat #1 “Big Energy” is certainly living up to its title. Nipperland has become ground zero for chart-conquering divas as Latto, Becky G and Tate McRae join newly minted superstar Doja Cat and streaming powerhouse SZA in the winner’s circle.

STATUS QUO FOR NOW: Almost all top-tier label execs have signed new deals or had their contracts extended. Don’t expect any shake-ups at the top of the majors in the foreseeable future as the global streaming economy continues to fuel the bottom line.

FRANCHISE EXPANSION: Raine Group CEO Joe Ravitch and Partner Fred Davis were spotted at L.A.’s Polo Lounge last week with prospective new music clients as dealmakers buzz over the expected launch of a new venture—and valuations for music assets outside of publishing gain yet more traction. Raine Group plays heavily in tech, media and telecom, serving as strategic advisors and furnishing M&A guidance to their partners as well as raising private capital. Raine also manages an investment portfolio ($4b AUM, or assets under management) spanning venture capital and public markets.

Raine has its fingerprints on such major recent transactions as the APG sale (thought to be valued at around $500m), the Alamo deal (estimated to be worth about $250m), HITCO, Troy Carter’s Venice and the sale of Downtown’s pub assets (said to have been valued in the vicinity of $300m).

With a huge financial commitment, the firm is currently helping launch newco Firebird, which plans to acquire recorded catalog, publishing assets and management companies, bundling these together to form a full-service music company. The enterprise's CEO will be ex-Ticketmaster chief and Twitter exec Nathan Hubbard, whose live-event tech platform, Rival, which had buy-in from both Silicon Valley and major global sports teams, was acquired by Ticketmaster/Live Nation in 2020. Fred Davis sits on Firebird’s board.

Speaking of HITCO, L.A. Reid’s label appears to be at the start of yet another metamorphosis as the company’s COO, the once-successful Charles Goldstuck—who oversaw operations for Clive Davis during his Arista, J and RCA wonder years—is thought to be on the way out. Many felt from the outset that the pairing of L.A. and Charles would rival that of oil and water.

AN ASTRONOMICAL
HITS LIST
Things are looking up. (5/13a)
IS WEATHERLY RETURNING TO KROQ?
Bingenheimer won't be part of the deal, sources say. (5/13a)
SONG REVENUE:
SPRING FEVER
A cash clash of the titans (5/13a)
SPOTIFY WAVES THE ITALIANO FLAG
He does a touching karaoke rendition of "Volare." (5/13a)
SPIRIT OF LIFE CAMPAIGN KICKS OFF (UPDATE)
Choice of lox, whitefish or baked salmon (5/13a)
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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