NEWS ITEMS:
Weasels and Diesels: After Flying First Class, Coach is a Bummer

Breaking News: The Spit Hits the Fan

I.B. Bad: Passing the Smell Test

Bulletin Board


Reprinted with permission from Hits Magazine

July 22, 2005
By Rodel Delfin

PAPER OR PLASTIC? Not to poke fun at your local grocery store checkout attendant, but they do seem to have a job that's more stable than your typical major label A&R gig. And the grocery gig probably requires more skill (j/k). But seriously, what's a poor out-of-work or soon-to-be-out-of-work weasel to do? Gone are the days when the job entailed popping in the office at 11:00 a.m. or noon, which was just in time for your three-hour lunch with some A-level producer, then back to the office to listen to some demos or mixes of the nextbigthing that you signed, getting you out of the building by 4:00 p.m. As some of you out there, who are approaching veteran A&R status, recently shared with us, those were the good 'ol days. Hey, as long as you signed a hit, you were golden. But them days are definitely over. And we hear some vet A&R types who are anticipating more changes in the biz or at their companies are starting their own labels (instead of opting for management) with their own financial backing. We hear a few folks have turned to Wall Street to get the operational dough in order to maintain autonomy and to not have any signing constraints with a partner major label. And it's paid off big for the likes of former major label A&R execs James Diener, who runs Octone/J, and Michael Caplan, who co-owns Or Music/Epic. Both labels have hits, with Maroon 5 and Los Lonely Boys, respectively. And we hear a few other veteran A&R execs are making the same play and setting up shop. Stay tuned... Meanwhile, lots of chatter about one major label A&R department that's in turmoil as their only senior A&R exec is soon to make an exit... The Fred Goldring-repped/Bill Deutsch-managed Ross Copperman is generating buzz from a number of weasels. The 22-year old Virginian singer/songwriter reportedly impressed some folks at the Sony building in N.Y. Get on it... Lots of pub buzz building around L.A.-based new wavers Clear Static... The Sean E.-repped Test Your Reflex have signed with Matt Marshall at RCA. At press time, pub folks are said to be calling to be on the list for the band's ASCAP showcase in L.A. this week... Lastly, after reuniting last year for the first time in decades, seminal underground rock act the New York Dolls have signed a new deal with Dave Bason at Roadrunner. The Craig Averill-repped/Darren Hill-managed band is at work on a new studio album, which is expected to be released next spring. Surviving original members David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain will be backed on the set by guitarist Steve Conte, bassist Sami Yaffa, drummer Brian Delaney and keyboardist Brian Koonin. That same lineup is on the road this summer for a handful of dates. Whoo-hoo... BUZZIN': The Tender Trio, Alien Ant Farm and Century Media Records... Hit me up: brotherxx@earthlink.net

BUZZ GIGS:
THE FURY: Wed., July 27, TBD, Club Moscow, L.A.
BIG MACHINE: Wed., Aug. 3, 8:00 p.m., CBGB's
JONNY LIVES! Thurs., Aug. 4, 7:30 p.m., Mercury Lounge


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




Top of Page



Reprinted with permission from Hits Magazine

July 23, 2005

In a dead heat, The N.Y. Times, the N.Y. Post, the L.A. Times and Reuters broke the news Saturday morning that Sony BMG is about to agree to a settlement with NY Attorney General Eliot Spitzer regarding the latter's payola investigation, perhaps as soon as Monday.

Wrote Jeff Leeds in The N.Y. Times: "The settlement is expected to establish a blueprint for agreements that Mr. Spitzer will probably seek with the other three major record companies, which have all received subpoenas... As part of the settlement, Sony BMG is expected to admit to misconduct in its radio promotion practices and agree to changes that would limit attempts to influence airplay, according to people involved in the discussion. For instance, the company is expected to end its use of independent promoters."

In the L.A. Times, Charles Duhigg and Walter Hamilton reported that fines related to the settlement "might exceed $10 million," citing sources. That was the same number cited by Tim Arango in the N.Y. Post and an unsigned Reuters story (Leeds went with "multimillion"), suggesting this "source" was making the rounds yesterday, checklist in hand. "Insiders at other record companies said they expected that a Sony BMG settlement would spur other music corporations to agree to similar deals with Spitzer's office," the story theorized. "Those executives said whatever fine Sony BMG might accept probably would also set the standard for other companies, which would be fined in proportion to each company's share of the U.S. market."


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




Top of Page



Reprinted with permission from Hits Magazine

July 25, 2005

On the heels of Michael Smellie's decision to ankle his post as Sony BMG COO, speculators quickly started speculating on his replacement. The first names to be tossed around were those of Charles Goldstuck and semi-free agent Roger Ames. Clive Davis protégé Goldstuck is rumored to be one of Andy Lack's choices for the job, but some argue that there's no upside for Goldstuck to leave Clive's side, considering he's been doing well in his recent career path as the legend's right-hand man, the added benefit being that Davis provides Goldstuck with shelter from the storm. It's no secret that Smellie virtually disappeared from U.S. operations following Lack's takeover of the combined company 11 months ago. Instead, despite a title indicating hands-on oversight of SBMG, the Aussie BMG vet was exiled to the international sector, where he's functioned as the de facto head. Insiders say Lack and Smellie never really clicked, despite the rhetoric in the press releases. When the merger went down, these insiders explain, with Lack in charge and his BMG counterpart Rolf Schmidt-Holtz reduced to a non-operational executive role, BMG insisted on their man getting the #2 job, and that job turned out to be Smellie's. But Sony insiders say the the combination of Lack and Smellie instantly felt like oil and water, making Smellie's decision to return to Sydney a no-brainer. Some say the smart money is on Roger Ames, another Lack favorite. The two talked even before Ames exited as WMG Chairman, and some believe that if Sir Howard Stringer were to elevate Lack to a higher post, which remains a possibility, Ames would appear to be on the short list to replace him at the top of the music division. Ames, now consulting non-exclusively with EMI, may view a top SBMG post as more compelling than continuing to wait around for the possible merger of Warner and EMI. Meanwhile, the two companies continue as distinct separate cultures sharing one operating system. Both label groups would like to see someone from their organizational chart get the gig, but this one is 100% Lack's call... Bruce Springsteen's Columbia deal is up, and so far no new arrangement has been worked out. Springsteen gurus Jon Landau and Allen Grubman are beginning to test the marketplace for a potential deal with another label while continuing their talks with Sony. Springsteen is reportedly looking for a deal in the neighborhood of $50 million, and most believe only Sony could come up with a figure of that size because the company has the artist's entire catalog. Some speculate that Bruce's long-term relationship with Jimmy Iovine, which dates back to 1975, when Iovine engineered and mixed the breakthrough Born to Run, would put the IGA chieftain at the top of list if the Hall of Famer were to leave Columbia after 33 years. While there's certainly a possibility that Bruce could make his next album for a label other than Columbia, it's nonetheless hard to conceive of... Speaking of free agency, EMI/Virgin appears to be in position to close a deal with Korn. Said deal is for two albums and a one-third interest in the band's publishing, merchandising and ticket sales as part of a new contractual model, a la Robbie Williams. The fine points are being hammered out by attorney Gary Stiffelman and manager Jeff Kwatinetz on the band's side of the table, and by EMI N.A. head David Munns and Virgin topper Matt Serletic... As Steve Jobs adjusts his laurels after selling 20 million iPods and a half-billion downloads, is resentment building among the majors because the Apple chief is rolling in clover while the traditional record industry continues to slump? These same labels are privately kicking themselves for failing to see the big picture, enabling Jobs to seize the opportunity to use the standard commodity of the music biz—namely, music—as the means rather than the end in his own game, which was all about selling iPods. To use the Gillette analogy, music was just the razor, when for Jobs it was really all about selling razor blades. Some believe the innovative Jobs is now eyeing the a la carte video-download business, despite his denials, with the introduction of color displays on all models and the recent merging of the iPod and iPod Photo lines setting the stage for a possible video offensive. If that is the case and Jobs takes the plunge, will the majors be able to negotiate a better deal with Apple than the one for audio downloads? ... What label power player has started a territorial war with the company's star A&R exec about their relative closeness to a major urban artist who was brought into said label by said A&R exec?... And what head of A&R at a major is close to bailing after securing serious money from Wall Street high-rollers to start a new venture, following in the footsteps of Octone's James Diener and OR Music's Michael Caplan?... Big buzz about Newscorp's scooping up of spam netco Intermix—the owner of red-hot MySpace—for a hefty $580 million. Times have changed since 2001, when Vivendi spent $372 million on MP3.com, which created the blueprint for the MySpace music area, only to sell the pioneering site to CNET at a bargain-basement price that we reported to be in the $700k-800k range at the time, but in actuality the number may well have been a fraction of that amount (like, take away a zero). Was MP3.com an example of a good idea before its time?... Names in the Rumor Mill: Rick Dobbis, David Munns, Gary Gersh, Mark Williams, Ken Antonelli and Michele Anthony.


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




Top of Page



By Kenny Kerner

[Editor's Note:]

About a year ago, I began placing listings with TAXI for songs that I could record with my artist, Heiarii. He is a 22-year-old male Pop singer with an amazing voice and vocal range, but he does not write songs. After sifting through over 200 songs from Internet listings, small publishing companies, friends, and interplanetary sources, I had chosen 12 songs to produce and record.

I was amazed to discover that 7 of the 12 songs were written by TAXI members. Actually it was 7 out of 11 if you do not count the cover song! Congratulations! The CD is now out. The artist is Heiarii, the CD is called Dance!, and it's on Allure Records. Check it out at www.heiariidance.com.

I want to say a special thank you to Jason Perez, Mike G., Jascha Richter, Carl Lidberg, and David Keen for allowing me to tweak their material, produce it, and record it as I saw fit. The more copies of the CD that are manufactured, the more money they each make. So, why not take a listen at the Web site? Thanks to TAXI for making all of this possible. TAXI found yet another way to get your music out there. TAXI rules!

And now for the news...The Grammy Awards will return to the Staples Center in Los Angeles for the 48th annual ceremony on February 8, 2006. There will be nominations in 108 categories and the show will air on CBS-TV... You may have already heard that Garth Brooks left Capitol Records. What you might not know is that he took his entire recorded catalog with him. That's because the original deal was a licensing deal through EMI. Pretty sharp, huh!

Fremantle Media has launched an online version of American Idol called American Idol Underground. The format is an Internet Radio station. Listeners get to sample all genres of music for free and then act as judges by rating each track... Popular trio Destiny's Child will call it quits after their U.S. tour ends this fall... Elton John has signed on to continue his Red Piano show at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas through 2008. In case you're counting, this means an additional 150 shows. All previous shows have sold out.


Top of Page











See How TAXI Works






















"I received a giant BMI check from TV airplay that I probably wouldn't have earned without TAXI."
— Julie Ann Bailey,
TAXI Member





"With help from you guys, the music is pouring out and I'm having such fun! Thanks!"
— Willie McCulloch,
TAXI Member

"Laura Becker has already gotten interest in two of my songs. You guys know the best (and nicest) people in the industry."
— James Day,
TAXI Member


"I've had several meetings at Dreamworks Records and made several new contacts as a result of belonging to TAXI."
— John Scott,
TAXI Member

"With help from you guys, the music is pouring out and I'm having such fun! Thanks!"
— Willie McCulloch,
TAXI Member


"TAXI, thanks for all your help. My song, 'Drowning In Love,' will appear in the upcoming Mirimax film, 'Takedown."
— James Kole,
TAXI Member

"I would like to thank Taxi for helping me and my partner and become more polished writers."
— Liz Aday,
TAXI Member





"I recently got my first deal as a result of a submission to TAXI! I'm very excited to see that this actually works!"
— George Leverett,
TAXI Member

"I've gotten one solid offer from a record company/publisher . . . and two other songs of mine are on the desks of A&R executives at major labels. Quite simply, TAXI works!"
— Paul Schwartz,
TAXI Member



"In this competitive field you need all the help you can get and with TAXI, you've got a friend in the music business."
— Richard Scotti,
TAXI Member

"My advice to anyone planning to go to the Road Rally for the first time is: Go! It's addictive, it's the best opportunity you'll ever get, and it's fun, friendly and free!"
— Mike Fitzsimons,
TAXI Member





"TAXI provides opportunities to people who otherwise would have no access to the music industry."
— Tom Wasinger,
TAXI Member