Shocking News: Jason Flom is in the House at Virgin

Chart Preview: Ashlee in Sync for #1 Debut

Wheels & Deals: The Trickle-Down Theory

Bulletin Board

Reprinted with permission from Hits Magazine

October 21, 2005

In an announcement that will surprise absolutely no one, Jason Flom has been appointed Chairman and CEO of Virgin Records in the U.S. He'll be based in New York and report to EMI Music N.A. Chairman/CEO David Munns. Flom's appointment is effective immediately, suggesting that he'll be strolling into Virgin HQ Monday morning and heading to a recently vacated executive suite.

"Jason Flom has a rare and unique combination of A&R skills, charismatic leadership and drive to take Virgin to the next level," said Munns in the announcement, which was emailed to legitimate news outlets and to HITS around 7:30 p.m. Friday, New York time. "We are fortunate to have one of the industry's most talented music executives lead Virgin. We're delighted he has joined the EMI family."

Commented EMI Music chieftain Alain Levy: "We are fortunate to have Jason Flom join EMI. I have followed Jason's career over the years and have always admired his leadership skills as well as his ability to discover and nurture talent. Not only will he greatly contribute to Virgin's future; he will also have a tremendous impact on EMI's worldwide endeavors."

The new hire chimed in as well, natch. "Alain and David are visionaries who consistently demonstrate a talent for discovering and nurturing some of the industry's most successful artists," Flom offered. "I'm honored to join their team and take on the pivotal role of leading Virgin, a label whose legacy is synonymous with dynamic and groundbreaking music."

To reiterate for the umpteenth time in the last two months, Flom, who until the anniversary of Elvis' death was the Chairman/CEO of the Atlantic Records Group, is a 26-year music biz vet, with all of that time spent at Atlantic. As the founder of Lava Records, Flom discovered, signed and developed artists who went on to sell in excess of 100 million records around the world in the label's nine years of existence, including Kid Rock, The Corrs, Matchbox Twenty, Uncle Kracker, Simple Plan, Edwin McCain, Sugar Ray and Trans Siberian Orchestra.

In the early '90's, Flom headed the A&R department at Atlantic, overseeing a team that enjoyed incredible success in breaking new artists, including Jewel, Hootie & the Blowfish, Stone Temple Pilots and Collective Soul. He began his career in 1979 as a field merchandiser at the storied label, hanging posters in record shops. He moved on to a post as an A&R representative, signing artists including Twisted Sister, White Lion, Skid Row and Tori Amos.

In addition to his love of music and his success in the record industry, Flom has been involved in a number of charitable organizations and social causes. He is currently an active board member for causes including the Drug Policy Alliance; the Innocence Project, which exonerates unjustly imprisoned individuals by using post-conviction DNA testing; and Families Against Mandatory Minimums (F.A.M.M.), whose mission is to oppose mandatory drug sentencing and to fight to free drug offenders from unduly harsh prison terms. Flom has been involved with securing early release for many prisoners convicted under such laws. He also serves on the board of the Legal Action Center, whose mission is to fight discrimination against people with histories of addiction, HIV/AIDS, or criminal records.

He was the UJA Federation's first Music Visionary of the Year, as well as being awarded the ACLU's Torch of Liberty. Recently, he was the recipient of the T.J. Martell Foundation Humanitarian award. Additionally, Flom is on the board of The New School. And now he's gainfully employed as well.

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

October 24, 2005

It's Monday-morning at the HITS Retail Accounting and 15-minute Tune-Up and Oil Change Center, and as the various technicians move about in a whirlwind of counting, extrapolating and lubing, we have once again been given to understand that one Ashlee Simpson and her new album, I Am Me (Geffen), will soon be anointed #1 on this week's album chart.

At this point, earlier forecasts of 260k-270k for the younger Simpson sister seem to be holding. That'll be much more than enough to topple last week's topper, Alicia Keys.

Jumping back a couple of generations, we see that the latest installment of Rod Stewart's Great American Songbook series, Vol. IV (J Records) is crooning its way toward #2 on the chart, with first-week sales estimated at 190k-200k.

But wait, there's a third debut coming up that will make it three new records in the top three chart positions this week: Martina McBride's Timeless (RLG) is tracking at 140k-150k, putting another notch on Joe Galante and Butch Waugh's Kentucky rifle butt.

Also hitting the chart this week are Depeche Mode, whose Playing the Angel (Reprise) has potential to hit 120k by the time the counting's done.

And after months and months of delay, Stevie Wonder's A Time to Love (Motown) actually came out last Tuesday and looks like its first-week was around 110-115k.

Meanwhile, Bun B's Trill (Asylum) is headed toward 110k, while Thrice's Vheissu (Island/IDJ) and Billy Currington's Doin' Somethin' Right (Mercury Nashville) each appear to be headed for first-week totals approaching 60k.

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

October 20, 2005
By Rodel Delfin

BIG WEASEL SHOWDOWN: Tongues are flapping as to what may happen at Sony BMG if Andy Lack decides to step down—and how it will affect the power structure within the merged music group. What's interesting to note is that the Sony labels have been very aggressive in making new A&R hires. Columbia's appointment of veteran producer Steve Lillywhite, as well as additional scout hires, carries out Lack's pledge earlier this year to beef up Sony's A&R departments. Epic Records, meanwhile, maintains a streamlined staff that includes veteran record-making execs along with young scouts. The label recently added A&R hitter Diana Fragnito, who comes to Epic after years at Island. Meanwhile, chatter continues over Jason Flom's imminent ascension to the throne of Virgin Records. Meanwhile, we hear that just-departed Virgin chief Matt Serletic has suitors courting him about a label venture... The new Myspace Records, which is a new joint venture deal with Interscope, has signed the Mike Renault/Jeff Peters-managed Hollywood Undead. The popular Myspace band has notched 851,000 profile views to date and has attracted numerous label inquiries over the past months. Barrister Jefferey Light mediated the deal. Looks like Myspace founder Tom Anderson has taken off his computer hat and picked up some weasel ears. So who's up next? We like Tila Tequila, whose page has garnered over 18 million profile views. Whooaa! She has some nifty pop-rock-electro tracks posted, and her profile pics aren't too bad either, but we love her motto: "I'm no girl next door. I'm the bitch down the street."... Meanwhile, the Jon Goldwater-managed/Tommy Henrikson-produced Balay have signed with Ron Fair and Ryan O'Donnell at A&M/Interscope Records... The post-CMJ report on the Justin Goldberg-managed Grace Potter & the Nocturnals is that Columbia, Hollywood, Virgin, ATO, Universal and Artemis are all in pursuit of the band. We'll keep you posted... Former Zomba Music Publishing exec Howie Abrams has left the publishing side to run a new label venture owned by Warner/Chappell. The label will be distributed through East West/WMG. Congrats, Howie, but we still expect to get backstage passes for the next Bowling for Soup show—for our kid sister, of course... For those who were following the Rockstar: INXS reality TV saga over the summer, you should give props to former Epic A&R guy Peter Cohen, who served as the talent producer for the show. Pete was responsible for assembling the 15 aspiring singers who landed on the show after a nationwide search. Expect the Mark Burnett-produced series to do another season with another rock band looking for a new singer. Meanwhile, we hear Epic has picked up finalist Jordis Unga for a deal and is probably going to ink finalist Marty Casey, who reportedly has been meeting with numerous managers for representation. We hear a bigwig handler is a frontrunner... Lastly, congrats also goes out to Viper Room booker Joe Rinaldi and wife on the birth of their new baby... BUZZIN': The Operation, ZOX and the Offcuts... Hit me up:

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

In celebration of what would have been Ray Charles' 75th birthday, Rhino Records has released two CDs: a collection of duets called Genius and Friends and a colossal 146-track boxed set called Pure Genius—The Complete Atlantic Recordings, 1952-1959.

Michigan-based Handleman Company has debuted its Indie distribution program called Artist2Market with the release of Tommy Lee's Tommyland: The Ride and followed up with Sinead O'Connor's new CD, Throw Down your Arms in October.

Word is that rapper and Def Jam CEO Jay-Z will start a new label and sign The Roots as the first actů Look for Chevrolet to sponsor the Gretchen Wilson / Big & Rich American Revolution tour.

When Dreamworks/Nashville closed, it left several country artists without a home. Eventually, Tracy Lawrence signed on with Mercury and newcomers Hot Apple Pie found themselves on MCA/Nashville.

For the first time in its history, Island/Def Jam finds itself with five songs placed in the Billboard Top 10. They are tracks by Fall Out Boy, Kanye West, Mariah Carey (two), and Rihanna. Interscope Records accomplished this same feat in June.

Look for a full recap of the 2005 TAXI Road Rally in the January Meter—complete with photos and summary of events. This year's Rally is at the Renaissance Hotel in the Kodak Center right smack in the middle of Hollywood.

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