All posts tagged Universal Republic

Sosnow hops to the Bunny

Veteran A&R executive Jeff Sosnow has Read more…

Bits & Pieces: Copyright Termination Gets Spotlight, EMI Merger Scrutiny & more…

An article in the New York Times on Monday, which focuses on the looming copyright termination period that will start in 2013, has stirred up wider attention to an issue and era that record labels and music publishers have had on their calendars for years. The end of the 1970′s into the 1980′s was a time when many now-classic albums were released, helping to bring about a surge in album sales at a time when it was much needed – that coupled with the advent of the CD, carried the industry to the end of the century on a high. The potential loss of copyright ownership to both master recordings and underlying compositions starting in less than two years from now, has the capability of delivering a serious blow to the already beleaguered labels. Today a follow up piece on the Times ArtsBeat blog featured a Q&A with Don Henley, discussing his efforts to inform artists of their rights to get back ownership of their works… The Los Angeles Times examined the possibility of an EMI merger with one of the other three major music groups over the weekend, making comment that regulatory hurdles might not be what they once were. The decade-long industry decline and the technology advances that have corresponded, can be seen as having lessened dominance by the major labels and more importantly decreased the power to dictate consumer pricing, as the article’s sources mention. However, the ability to stifle technology in the form of new digital music services that need licenses from the labels should be considered… Elsewhere, Bruno Mars manager Brandon Creed has been hired as an A&R consultant for the reshaping Universal Republic and Island Def Jam Motown labels, reporting to label group CEO Barry WeissHTC made a large investment in Beats Electronics, the headphone company founded by Dr. Dre and Interscope Records ruler Jimmy Iovine, hopefully allowing the two more time to release Dre’s long-awaited next album and focus on winemaking. Forbes reports that the deal could potentially make Dre one of hip-hop’s richest… And is more hype than hope? The number of unique visitors to the site in the month of July was reportedly just over 200,000 - not exactly game-changing, yet at least.

Bits & Pieces: BMG Sets Sights on WMG & EMI Publishing Assets, MySpace + Vevo & Twenty First Republic

Eyeing Warners & EMI publishing arms

Outside of the explosive announcement from Amazon this week that left a music-cloud hanging over the industry, other developments include the news of KKR-backed BMG Rights Management being back in the bidding action for Warner Music Group, after recent reports of the JV being on the outs in the sale. CEO Hartwig Masuch denied such rumors, saying “I can state that we are in the second round of bidding and are on very friendly terms with the main shareholders,” while executives at BMG RM’s other backer Bertelsmann claimed this week that the company is “ready to invest into the right business, at right price, and at the right time,” with the right business apparently being publishing, as Warner/Chappell and EMI Publishing are key in their sights. More reporting can be found at The Guardian, The Telegraph and Music Week… As News Corp. continues to look for a way to unload struggling MySpace, word that the parent company is in talks with online video hub Vevo began to surface. The accuracy of such claims continues to be debated, while a piece in the WSJ yesterday points out that the complex ownership anatomy of both companies might make a deal difficult. For now it seems an unlikely scenario… And a new partnership that links Universal Republic Records, Universal-owned Twenty First Artists and producer management firm Worlds End, forming Twenty First Republic, was announced yesterday. Primaries in the deal include Uni/Republic executives Monte and Avery Lipman, Twenty First Artists CEO Colin Lester and Sandy Roberton, CEO of Worlds End.

Friday Bits & Pieces: Music Startups Hot at CES, Sony’s Music Unlimited & more…

Music services hot at CES

It’s 2011 and streaming music continues to be a hot topic. Spotify is still getting headlines, but questions now surround not when the service will be launching in the U.S., but if it will ever see life in the states. It appears that labels are continuing to ask for extremely high upfront payments from the startup, due to uncertainty in results from the service’s model. Spotify is betting on a high rate of conversion from free to paid accounts, while content owners remain skeptical. If the company doesn’t go public, is the answer to be acquired, and should Amazon be that buyer?… While the clock ticks on Spotify, not to mention Google Music and a streaming service from Apple, lower profile services that have already launched continue to made progress in the new digital music arena, with a number of key announcements coming out of this weeks Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. MOG will be coming preinstalled on Verizon‘s new 4G LTE phones, as well as being included in Toyota connected cars, along with Pandora… Slacker also announced new changes to its service this week, including a new on-demand subscription tier, that sees a third level of access for users, adding to the non-interactive internet radio service it already provides… Meanwhile Sony took the stage at CES to announced the launch of its new Music Unlimited service in America in the coming months. Already live in the UK, the service will be available to users via Bravia TVs, Blu-ray players, Vaio PCs and PlayStation 3 consoles… Elsewhere, in expected news, Lucian Grainge, who officially assumes his CEO seat at Universal Music Group, announced contract renewals for Universal/Republic rulers Monte and Avery Lipman this week – also re-upped with UMG was SRC Records founder and CEO Steve RifkindS&P Equity Research adds credence to the talk of a likely Warner Music Group acquisition of EMI, as they make their 2011 media predictions, stating [WMG] could finally be poised to make a successful bid for the recorded music operations of EMI Group… And sales data for music in 2010 comes in with news of continued decline for both physical and digital albums, while single tracks all but flatlined. Last year saw a 12.8% decline from the 2009 level in album sales, while single song sales were up by 1%. More stats including 2010 highest sellers are here

Out & About: The Secret Sisters @ The Music Box

The Secret Sisters

Those in attendance last night at The Music Box in Hollywood caught a special performance from new Beladroit/Universal Republic artist The Secret Sisters.  The performance was filmed in HD for an upcoming PBS special, T Bone Burnett presents The Secret Sisters.  The story of Laura and Lydia Rogers, who hail from Muscle Shoals Alabama and whose music is heavily influenced by American folk, country and roots music, is one that has grown rapidly in the last year. Two influential fans of the duo, T Bone Burnett and Jack White, have gotten heavily involved in the project, with the latter releasing their debut single just last month on his Third Man Records label, while in addition to acting as executive producer on the upcoming full-length, Burnett will release the album via his Universal imprint Beladroit… There were a number of familiar faces out to witness the event, which also featured special guest performances from Jakob Dylan and Elvis Costello. Making our way through the lobby we remarked to producer Josh Abraham and songstress Bonnie McKee, what an eery resemblance the remodeled Music Box had to The Haunted Mansion, before heading to the balcony where we joined Prospect Park‘s Laurel Stearns and Scott Austin of Authentik Artists among others. Also on hand last night was Universal Music Publishing‘s Tom Sturgis, Warner Brother Record‘s Perry Watts-Russell and the sister’s own “Colonel” Tom Parker, manager Andrew Brightman, who has shepherded the project from humble beginnings to an impressive launch. One thing’s for sure, this duo won’t remain a secret much longer…

Place Your Bets: The Shuffling Artist Deck at Majors and Indies

Weezer Going To An Indie For Next Release?

Who’s signing where, and what does it mean?  Indie acts going to majors, major label artists aligning with indies, and both systems vying to nab the same unsigned bands… Looking back at recent months there is a veritable mixed bag. There are artists with a history of at least a few successful indie releases under their belts, like Band of Horses and Iron & Wine, who have recently made the jump to major labels, Columbia and Warner Bros. respectively, while other acts like Spoon and Arcade Fire seem to continually be content on indies… Elsewhere new act Surfer Blood appears to have already made the move to a major; just 6-months following the Kanine Records release of the band’s debut album, the group had racked up enough sales and touring numbers to garner serious interest from multiple labels…  This while unsigned acts with no real sales or tour history like GroupLove and DOM, are currently being courted by both major labels and indies, seemingly so as to not miss out on what could be… What about the reverse trend? Not counting heritage acts, or the exhaustingly-debated pay-what-you-want path taken by Radiohead and NIN among others, one could point to recent examples in Interpol and Wilco as once major label artists now leaving for an indie (their own new label in the case of Wilco). But will there be more to come (or go, as it is)? Word on the street is that longtime Universal artist, Weezer, who released all seven of their previous studio albums on DGC and Geffen, are making a move to a big indie label for their next album. Hmmm… And finally where do the two now meet? A new project to watch unfold will be The Secret Sisters, who recently finished recording their debut with producers Dave Cobb and T-Bone Burnett.  A large buzz  is building with the news that the first single from the duo will be released via the Jack White helmed Third Man Records, with the full-length already slated to come out on Universal Republic this fall… Stay Tuned.

It’s Been Said…

DIY Currency: Solid Gold

SXSW is 6 weeks away and if you’re starting your ‘must-see’ list, be sure to add Minneapolis’ Solid Gold. The indie-electro trio has been building one of the more impressive DIY stories of late. They’ve sold close to 10,000 albums, received press nods in Billboard, NME, Pitchfork and Filter among others and their new video is premiering on MTV2 and mtvU this month. We hear labels are circling in on this one with some offers already in. The band has two upcoming hometown shows if you want to beat the SXSW rush.

Labels and pubcos are taking notice of Oren Lavie, as the buzz continues to build around the Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter. Lavie, who has now garnered over 10.5 million views of his “Her Morning Elegance” video on YouTube, played a string of recent dates at the Hotel Cafe that brought out majors and indie A&R folks (with no record or pub deal in place, and an a new album’s worth of material, it’s no surprise). Attorney Ben Laski is handling legal duties…

The story keeps building on Matthew Mayfield. His new EP Breathe Out in Black was sitting at #1 on the iTunes singer-songwriter chart this morning, just two days after being independently released. In fact the entire EP was recorded, mixed, mastered and up for sale digitally in the span of a week. Check out for more… Keep an eye on L.A. locals The Sequel. The band has been popping up on label radars of late and has more than a few showcases already on the horizon. EMI Music Pub players Dan MacCarroll and Declan Morrell snapped up the band early for publishing. Get on it…

Young gun Ben Adelson settles in at a new A&R gig at Epic Records. Adelson was previously at Universal Republic and brought in Flobots and Owl City. He also co-manages recent Roadrunner signing Young the Giant (formerly The Jakes)…  Meanwhile, we hear there is an established big-rock act who is currently a free-agent and is being courted by multiple labels on both coasts. Inquiring minds want to know? Here’s a hint, they didn’t play the Super Bowl Halftime Show

IN THE MIX: K Sera, Moonlight Bride and Tyrone Wells

The Brits Are Taking Over

With today’s announcement from Vivendi on the appointment of Lucian Grainge as Chief Executive Officer of Universal Music Group, expect the rumor mill to pump up the volume on what changes we can expect to happen within the UMG labels in the coming months. But before we delve into conjecture on the UMG side, it’s significant to point out the number of British executives running US major labels. Outside of Warner Music Group, the remaining three major label groups are run by Brits. The UK presence is quite prominent at the Rob Stringer-run Sony Music, particularly with the addition of Amanda Ghost at Epic, the recent addition of Ashley Newton at the Steve Barnett-helmed Columbia Records. And the Terra Firma-owned EMI Music Group maintains its US operations under Nick Gatfield, who served under Grainge during his stint as President of Island Records UK prior to his EMI post. Aside from Ghost, the aforementioned execs have solid working experience in US music companies. Barnett has been in the Sony US system for years, Newton’s previous post at RCA and his tenure co-running Virgin Records US makes him a very well-respected US exec, while Gatfield ran Polydor Records in the states during the ‘90s.

Back to UMG, Grainge will assume his new post on Jan. 1, 2011, succeeding current UMG CEO Doug Morris. Rumors of Grainge assuming Morris’ position have been swirling for months. Grainge is scheduled to relocate to NY in July as part of the transition. Industry insiders share that Universal Republic head Monte Lipman and brother Avery will have an expanded role at the music group, as well as Mercury Records head David Massey. It leaves to question the future roles of Island Def Jam ruler LA Reid and Universal Motown head Sylvia Rhone, who was a longtime Doug Morris protégé. And it’s fair to expect no major changes to happen at Jimmy Iovine’s Interscope label. Stay tuned…