Quantcast

NEAR TRUTHS:
PIVOT POINTS

TURNING AN AIRCRAFT CARRIER AROUND: We are very much in the midst of a transitional period in the biz. As Sir Lucian Grainge’s UMG undergoes its long-awaited reorganization, there is a fair amount of uncertainty—which is to be expected with the substantial reimagining of a major label group. A&R is the primary driver of the changes as UMG works to both solidify its existing creative centers and establish new ones.

At the same time, there is an abiding perception among biz watchers that once the transformation is complete, we will be looking at a company that has been significantly retrofitted for the future. A perceptible optimism abides among those taking part in the process.

As you’ve doubtless heard, the music giant has grouped its label holdings into Eastern and Western divisions helmed by market-share monsters Monte Lipman and John Janick, respectively.

Janick’s West Coast domain now includes both IGA and Capitol Music Group (IGAC). It will be fascinating to see how Janick’s artist-development vision—arguably one of the savviest in the business—informs this wider world. Add Nir Seroussi’s Miami division and a thriving HYBE partnership to the mix and House Janick, with Steve Berman and team at the controls, is poised to surf even bigger waves.

As part of the implementation of Janick’s vision, Geffen boss Tom March has assumed oversight of the storied Capitol group, with highly regarded UMPG A&R star Lillia Parsa coming in as president. March, whom Janick handpicked, made his bones at Polydor U.K., which became Britain’s hottest label. He’s a strong manager who's learned how to press the right buttons in the new ecosystem. It’s fitting, too, that a Brit is once again in charge of the company, which was a storied English label for much of its existence and still has a heavily British roster.

Janick moved a successful Geffen act, Yeat, to Capitol just as the artist dropped his hotly anticipated new album (on Zack Bia’s Field Trip imprint). The maneuver underlines how committed Janick is to the new March regime—and to the expansion of A&R resources. Yeat’s new set bowed at #1 this week.

In addition to their own Republic, Monte and Avery’s New York kingdom will continue to include homegrown Mercury (led by Tyler Arnold and Ben Adelson), with Big Loud and Morgan Wallen and Imperial, and now includes Island (headed by Imran Majid and Justin Eshak) and Tunji Balogun’s Def Jam. Balogun is widely viewed as a creative savant, and it’s believed that the combination of his exceptional chops and the unstoppable Lipman machine will be a killer combination, another illustration of the larger vision of supercharging A&R. The fortuitous timing coincides with Def Jam’s breaking of Muni Long, who’s got a big Apple Music cut with “Made for Me.” New music from Justin Bieber—said to be stellar by those who’ve heard it—could also be on the way.

The Nat Pastor/JT Myers-led Virgin is the other part of this model. Insiders, it should be noted, consider Virgin a strong partner, helpful to both Republic (thanks to Imperial) and Interscope in K-pop, Latin and EDM, with its global supply chain as an incubator.

How will the two labels’ market share be affected by the changes? This remains cloudy; discussions about how to handle various aspects are ongoing.

Along with the aforementioned decisions about structure, insiders expect there will be some personnel changes as part of the consolidation. This is not unique to UMG. While a 10% chop at WMG made news recently—though not at Warner Records, which is heating up— we’re told that, apart from much more thinning at Atlantic, a significant portion of those reductions are outside the company’s core business. Sony has—quietly, per its standard operating procedure—already begun the process of making changes in this area.

UPPING THE ANTE: Beyoncé is causing a major stir with “TEXAS HOLD 'EM.” A DSP monster that earned 31m+ U.S. streams in its first six days and flew to #1 at Spotify (also her very first global #1 on the platform) and Apple Music, it’s Beyoncé's biggest track in more than a decade—and it’s a country song. Another new one, “16 CARRIAGES,” suggests that the Parkwood/Columbia album act ii (due 3/29) will be very much in the same stylistic vein. The Texan’s got roots music in her DNA; more to the point, the musical and cultural underpinnings of country are far more Black than the whitewashed history of the form would have you believe. "TEXAS," with assists from brilliant collaborators like Raphael Saddiq and Rhiannon Giddens, is making big gains not only at Pop and Hot AC radio but also at Country, a format that has regularly frozen out Black artists (and women). Its success marks more than a hit—this is a genuine cultural moment. How far will Queen Bey go in this (relatively) new direction?

WESTERN SWING: Roots music also underpins the continuing heat experienced by Aaron Bay-Schuck and Tom Corson’s Warner. With Zach Bryan consistently among the top-streaming acts, the team has added bona fide hits from Teddy Swims and Benson Boone, both of whom are showing real longevity on the streaming charts; meanwhile, fellow troubadour Michael Marcagi is beginning to simmer. What else have they got on tap?

NIPPER RUNS HOT: Peter Edge and Team RCA are riding a hot streak. Tate McRae, Flo Milli, Bryson Tiller and Doja Cat continue to blaze on the DSPs, while TDE’s SZA has compounded her success with a fresh cut, “Saturn,” that has flown into the upper reaches of Spotify’s USA Top 50. The track joins such SZA perennials as “Kill Bill” and “Snooze” (both from SOS, now north of 10m in worldwide activity) on the streaming charts as the artist-songwriter’s superstar profile grows—and her patient, thoughtful cultivation by Top Dawg and his TDE team continues to yield stunning results.

NEAR TRUTHS:
DESERT SONG
Give I.B. a bottle of water. (4/12a)
AARON BAY-SCHUCK AND TOM CORSON: THE HITS INTERVIEW (PART ONE)
Bunny's hoppin' again. (4/12a)
COACHELLA: SETS TO SEE AND PLACES TO BE
Your desert deets are here. (4/12a)
SONG REVENUE: SONY
HITS FAST FORWARD
Walkin' tall in vintage fashion (4/12a)
THE COUNT: SUPERSTARS TO SURPRISE AT COACHELLA?
The latest tidbits from the vibrant live sector (4/12a)
THE NEW UMG
Gosh, we hope there are more press releases.
TIKTOK BANNED!
Unless the Senate manages to make this whole thing go away, that is.
THE NEW HUGE COUNTRY ACT
No, not that one.
TRUMP'S CAMPAIGN PLAYLIST
Now 100% unlicensed!
 Email

 First Name

 Last Name

 Company

 Country
CAPTCHA code
Captcha: (type the characters above)