NEAR TRUTHS:
RE-UP INHIBITORS

ANTI-SOCIAL: Fallout continues from the free agency of multiple artists who've trashed their labels either publicly or privately—Anitta and Halsey being the latest examples. A number of big-name acts are ending up out of contract because the deals don’t make sense anymore, and the labels are increasingly unwilling to eat shit—and continue investing—when the artists try to blame them for their records not selling, or worse.

The situation is more acute now, thanks to the transparency provided by Spotify, Apple and Amazon charts—which plainly elucidate the poor performances of these releases—and the weaponizing of artists’ stans on the socials. Labels are spending big bucks, artists are unhappy and the chances of recouping seem remote.

Social media has at times enabled the worst behavior, such as when Kanye West put Jeff Harleston’s phone number online; after that and other debacles, UMG quietly opted not to renew his deal. (And that was well before the Hitler stuff.) And no matter what some artists and their reps may believe, nobody’s getting their catalogs back.

OCEAN LEVELS: Despite his recent Coachella controversy and prickly reputation, Frank Ocean would seem to be a different case from some of the other high-profile artists currently out of the major-label system. The artist’s legendarily mercurial nature certainly gives one pause, but if the money weren’t outrageous, it would seem several majors would be willing to take the risk. Insiders say Frank has expressed no interest in doing a major-label deal, but there’s plenty of chatter around the possibility of an affiliation with Larry Jackson’s gamma, which, as you know, is not a label. With Jackson’s distribution, marketing and promotion components and clout at Apple, he has all the requisite pieces for an unorthodox new tilt at the mainstream.

ASTRO TURF: What’s happening with the Travis Scott talks? Negotiations with Sony for a new deal—and the final album on his current deal—seem to be at an impasse, according to insiders. In addition to the Houston horror show, how will this play out in the valuation of Scott’s potential? Does this state of limbo have a negative impact on that number? It would appear he needs to release new music to make touring more lucrative, as he continues to perform at festivals only.

HITS LIST:
HOME RUN DERBY
Going yard (7/11a)
SONG REVENUE:
SCHLEMIEL, SHABOOZEY
Th epitome of new country (7/11a)
GRAMMY PRE-CHEW:
THREE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BIG 4
On your Marks, get set, go. (7/8a)
TOWARD A FRUITFUL GRAMMY SEASON
Our editurr in chief has something on his mined. (7/10a)
SABRINA TO REACH NEW HEIGHTS WITH TOUR MERCH?
Her table's stacked. (7/10a)
THE GRAMMY SHORT LIST
Who's already a lock?
COUNTRY'S NEWEST DISRUPTOR
Three chords and some truth you may not be ready for.
AI IS ALREADY EATING YOUR LUNCH
The kids can tell the difference... for now.
INDIE DISTRIBUTION'S RISE TO GLORY
The discovery engine is revving higher.
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