NEWS ITEMS:
Sanctuary Reorganizes, Merck Mercuriadis Named Group CEO

One-Day Sales: 2Pac Leads New Releases From Afterlife

Merry Ludacrismas!!

Bulletin Board


Reprinted with permission from Hits Magazine

December 17, 2004

Sanctuary has reorganized its management team, rewarding Merck Mercuriadis for growing the American business to 50% of global revenues by naming him Group CEO.

Sanctuary Group Chairman Andy Taylor made the announcement, along with a number of management changes in support of the long-term strategy of the Group.

In order to continue to meet the challenges of what is now a well-rounded business and continue to grow the Group, the Board has made the following management change, effective immediately:

In his new post, current Sanctuary U.S. CEO Mercuriadis will direct and manage the creative strategy of the Group across its businesses on a global basis. Merck has worked for Sanctuary for 18 years. He relocated from London to New York four years ago to build the North American business and will remain based in the U.S.

Taylor will remain as Executive Chairman for the long term and will continue to direct the commercial and financial strategy of the Group alongside Group Finance Director Mike Miller, the main point of contact with the investment community, alongside Director of Corporate and Investor Relations Philip Ranger.

Commenting on the appointment, Taylor stated: "Sanctuary's success has been based on a strategic combination of creative and commercial skills. In the past, Rod Smallwood, my co-founder, managed the creative aspects of the company whilst I looked after the commercial and financial aspects. With Merck's appointment, we are continuing that successful process."

"Merck is one of the outstanding artist managers and record men of his generation and has a strong track record in strategic management and business growth. His affinity with the artist community makes him an ideal person to drive Sanctuary's success globally, across all of our businesses. I remain totally committed to the long-term future of Sanctuary and I am very excited about this step. I believe that we have all the pieces in place to see the Sanctuary Group go from strength to strength."

Mercuriadis has defined the core executive management team and made a number of organizational changes, including:

Aky Najeeb, currently CEO Sanctuary Artist Services (excluding North America), will have a worldwide overview, becoming CEO Sanctuary Artist Services Worldwide. Aky has worked for Sanctuary for 20 years. He will remain based in the UK.

Joe Cokell, currently CEO, Sanctuary Records Group (excluding North America), will have a worldwide overview, becoming CEO Sanctuary Recorded Music Worldwide. He joined Sanctuary in 2000 following the acquisition of Castle Records. He will remain based in the UK.

Tom Lipsky, currently President, Sanctuary Records Group North America, will expand his responsibility becoming CEO Sanctuary Records Group North America. He joined Sanctuary in 2000 following the acquisition of CMC Records. He will remain based in New York and Raleigh.

Carl Stubner, currently Co-President, Sanctuary Artist Management North America, will expand his responsibility becoming CEO, Sanctuary Artist Management North America. He joined Sanctuary in 2003. He will remain based in Los Angeles.

Peter Asher, currently Co-President, Sanctuary Artist Management North America, will expand his responsibility becoming President, Sanctuary Artist Management North America. He joined Sanctuary in 2001. He will remain based in Los Angeles.

Bill Leibowitz, currently General Counsel, Sanctuary Group US, will extend his role to become General Counsel Sanctuary Group Worldwide. He joined Sanctuary in 2004 after almost 20 years as outside counsel. He will remain based in New York.

Commented Merck: "The music business has been transformed over the last five years with the emphasis for its future now fully on the artist. Sanctuary has been at the forefront of these dramatic changes ensuring that our artists and our initiatives in every aspect of this business are well positioned for long-term success.

"I have a deep belief in Sanctuary and commitment to our artists and what we stand for and I am honored to be appointed Sanctuary Group CEO. I would like to thank the board for their confidence but particularly Rod and Andy for their support and paving my way over the last 18 years."

"This is a significant time in the development of the Group and our model and there are many exciting challenges ahead that will ultimately solidify the changes in the music industry and Sanctuary's prominent role within it.

"We have an executive team that is second to none to implement our creative and commercial strategy and combined with our 360 degree infrastructure which allows us to partner with artists in every area and the right fresh ideas gives me every reason to be confident that with each passing day we not only become ever more attractive to the most important career artists but we are also leading the transformation of our industry. And I owe it all to the New York Dolls."


HITS magazine is the most powerful information vehicle in the music industry, and is read religiously by all the top executives and everyone else.




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Reprinted with permission from Hits Magazine

December 15, 2004

It may have been eight years since 2Pac met his untimely end, but he's still releasing records, and they're still selling, which definitely says something about the strength of his voice.

Indeed, his Loyal to the Game (Amaru/Interscope), the latest of 10 or so posthumous releases from the prolific rapper, is on track to be next week's top chart debut, selling at least 250k, according to early reports from national accounts.

We should mention right off the bat that the remaining weeks of this year will be strong ones at retail, and that this week in particular, which has the last weekend before Christmas, is expected to be especially active. As a result, one can expect any of the weekly sales projections spewed here to grow as the week progresses.

Thus, Loyal to the Game looks like 250k now, but could trend up significantly through the weekend, as mad shoppers choose to give the gift of legacy rap to those on their lists.

The second-highest chart debut next week will be Ashanti's Concrete Rose (Def Jam), which looks at this point like it will move just under 200k for the week. But again, that number could swell with a big weekend.

So too with Xzibit, whose Weapons of Mass Destruction (Columbia) now looks like it will have a first week just shy of 100k, but could move past that mark if the rest of the week pans out as predicted.

At the top of next week's chart, look for a tussle among U2, Eminem and possibly 2Pac. There's no clear winner now, and it's likely to remain a tight race through the end of the week. Also, don't count out Now 17 or Shania Twain's Greatest Hits, both of which have been surging.

And now, as our holiday gift to you, we will disappear for the rest of the year, leaving you with warm wishes and more time to read stuff that actually matters. Thank you.


HITS magazine is the most powerful information vehicle in the music industry, and is read religiously by all the top executives and everyone else.




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Reprinted with permission from Hits Magazine

December 14, 2004

Yo yo yo... Merry XXXmas.

Def Jam South/IDJ rapper Ludacris rides the polar express to the top of the chart this week, as his new album The Red Light District debuts at #1, selling 328k.

Shady/Aftermath/Interscope hip-hop icon Eminem is right behind at #2, with Interscope's U2 (#3) and debuting Lindsay Lohan's Casablanca/Universal Speak (#4) giving UMG the top four albums. Mercury Nashville's Shania Twain landed at #6, enabling the House Doug and Jimmy Built to nab five out of the top six. Capitol's Now 17 (#5) is the only entry to break the UMG hegemony.

Hastings' George Deahl stopped hitting on Kobe Bryant's wife long enough to boast: "Our chart saw some big debuts from Ludacris and Lindsey Lohan, but also the perennials like Eminem, U2 and Shania are seeing huge gains from holiday traffic."

Columbia/CRG's Destiny's Child (#7), WB's Jay-Z/Linkin Park (#8), DreamWorks Nashville's Toby Keith (#9) and RCA/RMG's Clay Aiken (#10) round out the Top 10.

Aside from Lohan, the chart newcomers include J Records/RMG's Mario (#12) and Roc-A-Fella/IDJ's Cam'ron (#20).

Several titles experience more than 45% in week-to-week sales gains, topped by Reprise punk vets Green Day, marking a 85% rise and going #23-14 thanks to the hot single, "Boulevard of Broken Dreams."

Added Deahl: "The Grammy nominations also spiked a number of titles, but none more than Green Day whose sales doubled putting them right back in our Top 10. And to celebrate, I'm going to dye my hair green and orange."

Others experiencing sales surges include 143/Reprise's Josh Groban (#48-40, +74%), Geffen's Ashlee Simpson (#41-32, +48%, thanks to her live concert on AOL Music), Capitol's Now 17 (#8-5, +46%), MCA Nashville's George Strait (#16, +46%) and Buena Vista/Hollywood's Hilary Duff (#21, +45%).

In all, there are 24 titles that sold more than 100k, and 34 albums showed positive sales gains.

Next week's chart newcomers should include Amaru/Interscope's 2 Pac, Def Jam/IDJ's Ashanti and Columbia/Sony Urban's Xzibit.

And just think... there are only 375 shopping days until Christmas 2005.


HITS magazine is the most powerful information vehicle in the music industry, and is read religiously by all the top executives and everyone else.




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By Kenny Kerner

Well, we've turned the page on another new year. And although it's only just begun, for the industry it means more consolidating and more layoffs. When will they ever learn?

Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) has signed rapper Ludacris to an exclusive worldwide publishing deal for all future works... Paul McCartney will perform at the halftime show of Superbowl XXXIV on February 6th... The Band Aid 20 all-star recording of the 1984 hit, "Do They Know It's Christmas" is stirring up lots of retail interest prior to its release. The single, which usually sells well into the new year, features contributions from Paul McCartney, Coldplay, U2, Robbie Williams and others.

The Beatles are at it again with yet another Top 40 album, or should we say albums. Some 35 years after they disbanded, The Capitol Albums, Volume 1, broke the Billboard Top 40 charts its first week of release. Is it any wonder they were the greatest group that ever was or ever will be? And the Beat(les) goes on!

Interscope became the first label in seven years to place back-to-back Number One tracks on their Modern Rock Chart with Jimmy Eat World's "Pain" which surplanted U2s "Vertigo" track.

Kix Brooks of Brooks & Dunn fame was promoted from President to Chairman of the Country Music Association's Board of Directors. Yahoo!

Old rockers never die, they just release records in the country market. Latest to score is former Poison frontman Bret Michaels... Cher's farewell tour seems to be continuing into its second year. How can we miss her when she won't go away?

Eminem's spoof Shady Convention that aired on MTV recently was as stupid as it was long and boring. Hey, M, stick to touring and releasing CDs. Leave comedy to the comedians. His humor and satire works in a short four minute video but not in an hour-long show. Word.


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