How Now, Jacko?

One-Day Sales: Picture Perfect Setup Playing Off Big-Time for Coldplay, Capitol

Capitol's Gentle Coldplay Push

Bulletin Board

Reprinted with permission from Hits Magazine

June 14, 2005

Following a 14 week trial and a week of jury deliberations, Michael Jackson has been acquitted of all 10 counts against him, including conspiracy, giving alcohol to a minor, molestation and attempted molestation.

The jurors didn't like the accuser's mother, it turns out, and many didn't find her or her son's story credible. While three jurors had to be convinced by the others to return the "not guilty" verdicts, all in the end agreed with one who said yesterday, "He's just not guilty of the crimes he's been charged with."

As die-hard fans cheered and released balloons and white doves, juror 10, Pauline Coccoz told reporters, "We had a closetful of evidence that just came back to us with, 'It's just not enough.' Things just didn't add up."

Jackson, clearly shaken but stoic as he could be, managed a few small expressions of gratitude to fans before climbing into his car to return to Neverland and go to bed. A vanquished Santa Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon said, "Obviously, we're disappointed in the verdict. [But] I'm not apologizing for anything."

So, what's next for the one-time King of Pop now that he's been cleared? Opinion, naturally, is divided.

"It's a freak show," Walter Yetnikoff told the Wall Street Journal, referring to Jackson's career. (Yetnikoff, of course, was head of CBS Records in 1982, the year Jackson released Thriller.) "Why would one assume that could be resurrected? My assumption would be it couldn't be. I hope I'm wrong."

"It's an uphill battle," music attorney Londell McMillan told the New York Times. "Culturally, he'll never be the Michael Jackson that we knew him to be. One thing we do know is his voice is permanently ingrained in the minds of most music listeners. But he'll never be the kind of trendsetter and icon he used to be."

And image and brand consultant Morris Reid, managing director of Washington firm Westin Rinehart, told Reuters, "What [Jackson] needs to do in the U.S. is rehabilitate himself as a human being. But the brand of Michael Jackson, the uber-entertainer, beloved all across the world and the U.S.—that's over. He needs to apologize. We're a forgiving society, but we only forgive you when you ask for forgiveness. And guess what? You've made mistakes, Michael. Own up to them. Acknowledge the fact that it was a bad decision to have little boys in your bedroom, unsupervised.''

But some feel that Jackson does have a shot at making at least a modest comeback and earning money that could stave off a possible financial disaster. Suggestions are all over the press, and most often include either an international concert tour or a stint in Las Vegas.

"Even when his popularity wanes here, his popularity overseas has been sustained, and that's probably the place he can do the best,'' talent manager Ken Kragen, an organizer of the ``We Are the World'' benefit 20 years ago, told Reuters, saying whatever Jackson does, it will likely generate "enormous attention," especially within the next several months. "The best thing for him to do would be something that's unexpected."

"He's always been a genius; now he just needs to maximize his gift," producer Rodney Jerkins, who has worked with Jackson, told the NYT. Gaining new fans would be "a hard mission to accomplish at his age," he said, but added, "I think he should really tour, focus on the fans he has and pick up new fans through word of mouth."

Added Rolling Stone Deputy Managing Editor Joe Levy, in remarks printed by Reuters, "One thing that hasn't gone away is people's memory of the music he made 20 or 30 years ago, and scandal hasn't taken that away. The best thing he could possibly do... is to go out on tour and sing the music that made him famous. That is something that people still want to hear." Levy added that "The payday would be bigger and the reaction of the fans less complicated" if Jackson were to tour overseas.

Whatever his future career plans, one thing is clear: Jackson has sworn off having children in his bed. "He's not going to do that anymore," attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. said on NBC's Today. "He's not going to make himself vulnerable to this anymore. He's going to take it one day at a time. It's been a terrible, terrible process for him."

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

June 8, 2005

What century are we in, anyway? All of a sudden, the music biz is partying like it's 1999, as Coldplay leads a quartet of major releases in a direct attack on industry woes.

The Capitol group is well on its way toward staking a claim on the mantle of Biggest Band in the World, as X&Y aims at a first-week total of 650k, with a real shot at surpassing 700k. This project provides a blueprint on how to roll out a superstar release in this day and age. From promotion to marketing to sales, the label's setup has left no stone unturned, with every element impeccably utilized, including the use of new-media and new sales outlets, including AOL, Yahoo!, VH1, MTV, Starbucks, iTunes and Amazon.

All of which leads to the intriguing question: Will Coldplay wind up with the biggest album of 2005?

A&M/Interscope's Black Eyed Peas would seem to be a lock for #2, as massive TV exposure and a Top 5 single combine to propel Monkey Business well past the 200k mark. Expect this one to have legs.

Get Behind Me Satan, the second V2 release from critics' darlings The White Stripes, is steaming toward a first-week total in the 150k-170k range, bolstered by what appear to be label-authorized Monday street violations.

But that sort of finish doesn't guarantee the Stripes the #3 chart position next week—not with Epic's Shakira hitting retail with what will surely be the biggest domestic Spanish-language release in history. Shakira is on track to do just south of 150k, more than double Ricky Martin's 65k on his 2003 album en espanol.

So things are looking up this week—way up. But let's put the current action in perspective, kiddies. Business for the year so far is off 21.5 million units from last year to this point, an 8.3% falloff, following another down week. Sales were off 3.4% (or 366k units) versus last week and down 10.5% (or 1.2 million) compared to the same week in '04. Total sales for the week were 10.3 million units, while year-to-date sales total 238.5 million.

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

June 2, 2005

All systems are go at the Capitol Tower for next Tuesday's release of Coldplay's X&Y, one of the year's most anticipated albums. It's the long-awaited follow-up to the acclaimed band's breakthrough second album, the triple-platinum A Rush of Blood to the Head.

Considering that X&Y is almost certainly the most important album to come out on Capitol since Andrew Slater took the reins as the label's President/CEO in early 2001, you might expect him to be suffering from a case of the pre-release jitters. Instead, Slater exudes an air of quiet confidence, convinced that Coldplay has made its masterpiece.

"I think this album signals the point in the career of these record makers where they've risen above a big moment in pop culture to prove that they're going to be contributing something of value for a long time to come," he says.

A record producer himself, Slater has a deep appreciation of Coldplay's execution on this project. "There's such an emotional intensity to what Chris Martin is writing about," Slater says. "Chris has all the earnestness at his command as a singer, and his use of the falsetto is just at the right moment and underlines the phrase so eloquently. You're seeing a band at the peak of their powers, really, as players, arrangers and writers—unobstructed by the challenge of having to deliver the third record or the confusion than can result from the many choices the technology presents you with in the studio."

In setting up the album, Slater has been careful not to over-hype it. "With a record that's as tough and passionate and delicate and intricate as X&Y, you want to sell it with dignity," he explains. "The tone of what we're trying to do is the antithesis of just beating people over the head with its brilliance.

"Great records that are successful come with a lot of setup," Slater acknowledges, "but at the same time, that setup needs to have the proper tone. So we're not saying to Top 40, 'You gotta play this,' and jamming it in people's faces. There's a bit of self-discovery that allows people to draw their own conclusions—and if you're an educated listener, you'll get it. This is a record that stands up next to the complete bodies of work that we know and love from the great artists of another era."

Here are some of the key elements of Capitol's restrained but comprehensive setup for X&Y:

First single "Speed of Sound" is already a radio hit at the Triple A, Modern Rock, Adult Top 40, Hot AC and Modern AC.

MTV2 gave the Mark Romanek-directed video for "Speed of Sound" an all-day premiere last week, airing it every hour and adding it into Elite 8 rotation. Also last week, MTV put the clip into the Big 10, while VH1 put it in Gung Ho rotation. Yahoo! Music gave the video its online premiere and made Coldplay the artist of the month for June.

Three Coldplay concerts will be broadcast the week of the album's release: a live concert for MTV's first-ever Live Leak, premiering 6/5 on MTV and MTV2; a VH1 Storytellers performance, premiering 6/8; and an exclusive AOL Music LIVE! Concert, which will be broadcast online at starting 6/7 and available for the following 10 days. The AOL Radio Network will simultaneously broadcast the audio.

Just prior to Live Leak, MTV News will air a half-hour special featuring an in-depth interview with the band and behind-the-scenes footage. is exclusively streaming X&Y in its entirety during the week leading up to the release, and the Live Leak performance will be streamed for listening on beginning 6/8.

Cover stories include Blender (which awards the album a five-star review) and Entertainment Weekly.

The band will bring its "Twisted Logic" tour to North America this summer, beginning in 8/5 in Toronto and concluding Sept. 30 in Bristow, VA.

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

John Wetton and Geoff Downes, two founding members of the band Asia, have released the band's first full-length album in 20 years—exclusively as a download. The album is called Icon and it features 11 new songs.

Cher's farewell tour has become the highest-grossing tour ever by a female artist. One reason might be because for a time, it looked as if that farewell tour would never end! During some 280 shows in the United States, Cher played to some 2.8 million fans and grossed $194,683,927. Her shows were all at about 92% of capacity in every city.

Personal Manager Doc McGhee is opening a Nashville branch of his McGhee Entertainment. Doc's clients are KISS and Country act Chris Cagle.

The Top 10 European CDs for the first quarter of 2005 belong to: U2, Robbie Williams, Green Day, Eminem, Maroon 5, Jay-Z/Linkin Park, Keane, Sohne Mannheims, Scissor Sisters, and Blue.

Country superstar Trisha Yearwood has signed on with Ken Levitan at Vector Management. Yearwood's next CD, Jasper County, bows September 13. The artist also signed on with Garth Brooks for life as the two are officially getting married.

The world's greatest Rock and Roll band, the Rolling Stones, is back in action with a massive club/venue/arena tour in support of its new CD recorded in Paris and produced by Don Was. This is the band's first new studio CD in eight years. The last Stones tour (2002-2003) grossed a mere $300 million!

Hate to say I told you so again, but, the Cowboy Troy CD is out and making as much noise as did the Big & Rich album last year. This is not a novelty record but a serious CD. Destined to go platinum for the Music Mafia. It is clearly one of the most original, refreshing releases of the year.

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