All posts tagged Columbia Records

Relentless Records to Sony Music

Best known as once the label home of Joss Stone, KT Tunstall, Jay Sean and Cage The Elephant, it was announced today that UK label Relentless Records has Read more…

In Through the Out Door: Rick Rubin & American Recordings done at Sony?

Among the many industry plot-lines running through the major record label sector at the moment, is the uncertain future of Rick Rubin as co-chairman of Columbia Records. To many observers it seems he’s had one foot out the door since first taking the post back in 2007, with his lack of presence and producer projects at the label being well-noted along the way. While there has been no official word from Columbia or Rubin as to his future with the label, his contract expires next year, and speculation about his departure has increased following Doug Morris‘ crowning as Sony Music CEO this year and the restructuring that has followed. Evidence of what lays ahead for Rubin and Sony may also be found with the news of changes afoot at his imprint label American Recordings. Word started filtering through at the tail end of last week about staff changes at the storied label, which Rubin brought with him to Sony from Warner Bros. in 2007. No information has been officially released, but insiders are signaling a departure of the imprint’s A&R staff, while for the moment at least, it seems label GM Dino Paredes will be staying on in some capacity. Are the changes a sign that the label – best known in more recent history for signing System of a Down, Johnny Cash, The Jayhawks and The Avett Brothers – is getting out of the new artist business? Speculation is abundant as to whether American will be sold off, shuttered altogether, or will just continue on with the current catalog, however with no A&R department it seems at a minimum there would be a moratorium on signings at the imprint. It’s also worth noting what the label’s uncertain fate might spell for The Avett Brothers – undoubtedly the crown jewel of the current roster, with a healthy sales base, the band would certainly be much sought after if they suddenly became free agents… Stay tuned.

Bits & Pieces: Live Nation + UMG, Facebook’s f8 Conference & more…

Monday afternoon saw the official news of a major deal that has been in the works for months that unites Live Nation Entertainment and Universal Music Group in a new pact joining UMG’s management properties, including Sanctuary, Twenty First Artist (and presumably the new producer management arm Twenty First Republic that was formed earlier this year with World’s End) and 5B Artist Management, all under LN’s Front Line Management… Apprehension by banks to finance private-equity firms in buyouts and mergers is growing, according to an WSJ article this week, and that might mean the stable of bidders for EMI is shrinking. It might also mean the likelihood of the music group being sold intact is also lessening… Tomorrow is Facebook‘s big f8 conference, where they will announce many new features and major redesigns, and music fans are looking forward to the expected integration of new streaming services like Spotify, MOG and Rdio. Some are expecting Pandora to be added to that list as well, given the redesigned and relaunched player from the web radio service today, which includes among other things increased sharing capabilities and the removal of the cap on free-listening hours. Exactly how seamless the integration of media services into the social network is unclear, as MediaMemo points out, FB was originally planing on allowing users to access music and video services without ever leaving the site, however now that has changed. Announced speakers and panelists at the conference will include CEO’s from Spotify and Turntable.fm along with Clear Channel Chairman‘s Bob Pittman who has been busy promoting iHeartRadio and manager Troy Carter among many others…  Elsewhere, video site Vimeo has launched a Music Store in a new partnership with Audiosocket, that will help video creators easily find and license music… R.E.M. is calling it quits after three decades… Van Halen is reportedly ending their longtime relationship with Warner Bros. Records and heading to Columbia Records… And Jeremy Summers has been named EVP/Chief Marketing Officer at Interscope Geffen A&M.

Bits & Pieces: Citi Receives 10+ bids for EMI, KOL Cancel Tour to Tune of $15million, Turntable.fm & more…

Worth more than Warner Music?

The first round bids for EMI are in, with multiple reports pointing to more than 10 offers received for either the whole or individual recorded music and publishing arms of EMI Group, from interested parties including Sony, Universal, Warner Music, BMG Rights Management and a host of private equity groups. At least one analysis this week claimed that Citigroup could possibly fetch more than $4 billion for the company based on a similar multiple used in the recent Warner acquisition. An article in FT.com yesterday claims that the current tendered bids range from $3 – $4b, and that between four and six of the submitted offers were for the entire music group. Citi is expected to respond to the opening bidders this week…  While less humorous than last summer’s Kings of Leon bird droppings incident, the band’s cancelation of the remainder of their current U.S. tour dates following an abrupt termination of a set in Dallas last week, may prove much more damaging. Rollingstone.com takes a look at other recent tour cancelations with somewhat dubious explanations, and according to reports, the KOL cancellation may cost policy holder, Loyds of London, as much as $15 million in payouts to promoters and others affected… The much talked about Turntable.fm has secured a $7.5 million financing round led by Union Square Ventures, which has some wondering if the startup will next seek licensing agreements with the record labels and music publishers. Lady Gaga and Kanye West are also reportedly among those who contributed to the funding… And The Shins are following fellow former Sub Pop label mates Band of Horse, in moving from the venerable indie to a new imprint-label deal with Columbia Records for their next release.

Exclusive: New Sony Music Boss in Talks to Expand Label with Hitmaker Dr. Luke

A major restructuring of Sony Music among its label groups and executive ranks has begun, with the news already released of Antonio “LA” Reid‘s taking the chairmanship at Epic Records, and the break up of the RCA/Jive label group that has some key executives moving to Epic while others will take up at RCA. But more than a game of musical chairs is needed to compete with Universal Music Group, who holds the top spot in the market and is making aggressive moves of its own under new CEO Lucian Grainge… According to insiders, a top priority for new Sony Music CEO Doug Morris, is completing a substantial label deal with hit producer and songwriter Luke Gottwald (aka Dr. Luke) that will encompass both records and publishing. There’s no word as to whether a deal has been finalized yet (the two sides are said to have been locked in negotiations for months), but from what we’ve learned, it would be a major opening statement from Morris as new label chairman and a key component in the new Sony structure. Luke’s Kemosabe Entertainment label (which Ke$ha is signed to) is already under Sony/RCA, but as it’s understood, the new label (it’s unclear if the name will change), would be put on a similar playing field as Columbia Records, Epic and RCA, including a full staff. Those in the know believe that Morris is positioning to create the next Interscope Records under the Sony umbrella, with arguably the biggest hitmaker in the world right now in a Jimmy Iovine-like role. The most significant component being that Luke comes armed with a entire camp of writers and producers that are developing new talent and already creating chart-topping tracks. Notable emerging producers and writers like Benny Blanco and Bonnie McKee, who are affiliated with Dr. Luke’s publishing companies, have had a number of successful cuts in recent years including tracks with Britney Spears, Katy Perry, 3OH!3 and Wiz Khalifa. Luke himself has been responsible for helping create over 18 No. 1 hits in the last five years, producing and writing for artists like Pink, Avril Lavigne, Katy Perry, Taio Cruz, Ke$ha and many others, since his 2004 Kelly Clarkson breakthrough smash “Since U Been Gone”. All of which makes it a smart move for Sony/ATV Music Publishing to seek a significant stake in Luke’s publishing, as is rumored to be part of the overall Sony deal as well… Will Morris’s bold move prove to be a massive success, pushing Sony past UMG? Or another failure in a recent Sony track record with producer-helmed labels including Rob Stringer‘s blunder at Epic with Amanda Ghost and Rick Rubin‘s ineffectiveness and lack of presence at Columbia? Stay tuned…

Bits & Pieces: EMI Auction Expected this Month, Universal Music taps INgrooves for NA Digital, the Latest in Signing Derbies & more…

UMG taps INgrooves for digital in North America

According to The Wrap, the auction of EMI Group by Citigroup will begin this month, as the bank has been preparing the offering that has potential bidders, which include private equity firms, billionaires and rival music groups lining up. While recent reports have Warner Music auction winner, Len Blavatnik‘s Access Industries, the likely frontrunner for acquiring EMI in an attempt to merge the two, the article’s sources have Citi officials carefully watching the current shareholder lawsuits contesting the WMG sale… Universal Music Group will be replacing its current North American digital music supply chain with INgroovesONE Division, which will now be responsible for all online and mobile deliveries to retailers such as iTunes, Amazon, AT&T, Verizon and others. UMG first partnered with INgrooves back in 2008, becoming a strategic investor in the digital distribution provider helmed by CEO Robb McDaniels… UK-based fundraising platform PledgeMusic has announced it is launching in the U.S. and Randy Sabiston has been named Managing Director. A veteran of music publishing, Sabiston previously held executives positions at S1 Songs America, Warner/Chappell, Polygram/Island Music Publishing and EMI Music Publishing… Meanwhile, after Sony Music recently landed bidding-derby act Odd Future, signing them to a high seven-figure imprint label deal with Sony/RED, Columbia Records has signed Kreayshawn (who also has OFWGKTA associations). A&R player Mark Williams inked the Oakland-based artist, who has been the subject of a label derby as well, following her song “Gucci Gucci” racking up over a million YouTube views in a matter of weeks. Speaking to MTV about all the recent attention, Kreayshawn, whose real name is Natassia Zolot, said “I’m not a person who just made a song and happened to get it popping off of one song. I think there’s a lot of songs that are going to sound even better and are a different genre,” adding, “Honestly, do you really [think] somebody would sign someone off of one song? Being like, ‘Oh, we’re just gonna take a gamble?’” Incidentally, new debut releases on Columbia from Foster the People, Cults and The Vaccines are out now…

Guzik to their Ears: Red Bull Records Hires Head of Promo

Guzik has Wings

Red Bull Records has hired longtime East Coast promo man Joe Guzik to oversee the newly created promotions department at the label. Guzik began his career doing marketing at Roadrunner Records in 1997, before landing at Sony Music in 2000, where he would spend over ten years, most recently as VP of Alternative & Rock Promotion at Columbia Records. Guzik joins Red Bull Records, which was stealthily established in 2007, as the label continues to expand, most recently with growing momentum behind the label’s two latest signings, AWOLNATION and INNERPARTYSYSTEM. Both acts are currently making waves at alternative radio…

Ghost Story: As Epic Records Prexy Exits, What’s Next…

Ghost Exiting as President

The news that Epic Records president Amanda Ghost will be leaving her post at the end of the year was announced yesterday, with Columbia/Epic chairman Rob Stringer commenting “Amanda has been an important creative force at Epic in the past two years. In returning to the natural focus of her artistic career, I look forward to us working together in the future,” – the news came as little surprise in most industry circles… But what role will this leave for Epic Records head of A&R Mike Flynn? His background as a producer and A&R executive with an impressive track record that includes The Fray, seem to make him a prime candidate to fill the position. Insiders share Stringer preferred Flynn’s creative direction and that an internal struggle over operations between Ghost and Flynn played a role in her departure, compounded by her lack of executive experience that made daily operations and artist campaigns a challenge for label staff. Stay tuned…

Out & About: Parade of Lights @ Foundation Room

On the Weasel Short List...

While hordes of music fans and industry folks were occupying the main room of the House of Blues-Sunset last night (8/26) for the Slash Tribute Event, which was also part of this weekend’s Sunset Strip Music Festival, there was also a private industry showcase happening at the Foundation Room for Parade of Lights. The Las Vegas-based group had packed the room with industry folks including several labels. Meanwhile, we were pleasantly surprised to see returning A&R veteran/Columbia Records exec Mark Williams, who commented on the A&R presence with…”it’s just like hot-tub time machine.” Meanwhile, POL rocked through an impressive short set with new songs. The group had perked numerous label reps with their release last year, but the band went on hiatus after members were hired to join/tour with bands Hello Goodbye and 30 Seconds to Mars, while drummer Anthony Improgo continued his stint as a formal member of now defunct Metro Station. Keep your eyes on this one…

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