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NEAR TRUTHS: LOOSE AFFILIATIONS

MOTOR MOUTHS: The Motown saga continues to occasion much buzz, with wonderers wondering who will succeed Ethiopia Habtemariam as label boss as the first YoungBoy NBA album under his new deal hits the charts (with a first-week total possibly diminished by his many prior releases over the past year). Will the label’s loose affiliation with Capitol Music Group continue, or will it be morphing? And what about erstwhile JV label Quality Control, now rumored to be negotiating a new deal? The Raine Group’s valuation of QC at $350-400m differs markedly from the company’s $250m valuation of Alamo—even though hit acts like Lil Durk and Rod Wave were part of the package that moved Mosco’s label to Sony. QC’s Lil Baby and other top artists will remain with UMG under the terms of the new deal, which bets on principals Coach K and P being able to develop similarly successful new talent. Most observers believe they have a very good shot at doing so, but the rumored valuation of the deal continues to stoke much conversation as ostensible buyer WMG ponders that calculus. The likely reasons for the larger valuation: revenue from big royalties and commissions from all the artists QC represents, as well as the company’s diversification into sports management.

DEAL POINTS: Two company names have consistently surfaced lately in connection with a number of high-profile negotiations said to be in process: Todd Boehly’s Eldridge Industries and The Raine Group. Both of these heavyweights—Eldridge typically as investor and Raine generally doing valuation and assisting in negotiations—are said to be in the middle of deals involving such disparate players as L.A. Reid, Travis Scott, Frank Ocean, Naomi Campbell, distro-tech services company Vydia and the sizzling, seemingly ubiquitous Larry Jackson.

A possible collaboration between L.A. biz vet Reid and Usher was a major topic of chatter over the holidays; the singer’s RCA contract may be about to expire, but it’s not yet clear what sort of collaboration the two could be fashioning. (You’ll recall that Usher is frequently credited with “discovering” Justin Bieber and signed him with Reid at Island Def Jam.) Reid is widely considered to be dangerous despite the ill-fated Hitco venture.

CHECKS AND BALANCES: The buzz continues around a spate of high-profile catalogs as deals are said to be progressing for rights connected to Justin Bieber and Katy Perry, among others, while a deal for Dr. Dre’s catalog with Shamrock Holdings and UMG is done, as reported in a published account confirmed by our sources. As we noted previously, inflation has exerted downward pressure on a lot of mid-level deals, but the splashiest catalogs continue to claim top dollar. We’re told the Bieber deal could command well north of $300m, while Perry may be as much as $200m. The Dre pact, it’s said, embraces publishing and recording income for a catalog that includes writing and production credits on a dazzling array of hip-hop and R&B records. The bundle of rights is said to have cost in the vicinity of $200m. Dre’s longtime attorney, Peter Paterno, repped him in the deal.

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