I.B. Bad on a Q4 With Few High Points and the Latest Chapter in the Andygate Saga

Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Go Back to Westwood... The three amigos are back

A PR Nightmare for SBMG and Vendors Alike

Bulletin Board

Reprinted with permission from Hits Magazine

November 21, 2005

WHERE HAVE ALL THE SUPERSTARS GONE? That is the question many are asking in the middle of yet another lackluster fourth quarter. Thus far in Q4 '05, no blockbuster has yet appeared, and at this point it looks like the only release on the horizon with a better than even shot at selling more than 500k in the first week is the Eminem greatest-hits package, coming Dec. 6. Many expected the soundtrack to 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin' to break big behind the millions spent on marketing the film, but the album wound up 138k behind Kenny Chesney, whose 457k tally gives him the biggest first week of the quarter thus far. Looking at the industry's big guns between now and the end of the year, Nov. 15 sees Big & Rich, Carrie Underwood (the 2005 American Idol winner and Clive Davis' latest star in waiting) and Madonna's new album, which is being hailed as a return to form and is performing beyond expectations in the early going, suggesting that her long career may yet pick up steam once again. Also streeting Tuesday was a DVD-enhanced repackage of the Mariah Carey album also containing a new hit single, which will solidify it as the second-biggest release of 2005. The LP, already at 3.7 million, could hit 5 million by year's end. Coming Thanksgiving week is a new System of a Down, followed on Nov. 29 by Shakira. Coming Dec. 6 along with Eminem are Korn and Ja Rule. And that, as they say, is all she wrote, as the music business concludes another down year... Continuing to buck the trend this year is UMG, with Interscope and IDJ between them racking up seven of the year's Top 10 albums. IAG holds the top spot with 50 Cent, followed by #6 The Game, #7 Gwen Stefani and #8 Black Eyed Peas, while IDJ's Mariah Carey is #2, Kanye West is #9 and The Killers 2004 debut is #10. The only non-UMG entries are #3 Green Day (Reprise), #4 Kelly Clarkson (RCA/RMG) and #5 Coldplay (Capitol)... On the subject of the 50 Cent movie, while it's far from a disaster, it is under-performing, generating $18 million (rather than the hoped-for $20 million) in its first five days and just $4.4 million in week two. This showing causing Monday morning quarterbacks to hypothesize that Get Rich or Die Tryin' is simply not a mass-appeal movie, in contrast to the more upbeat 8 Mile, suggesting that the kids who make up a huge part of the hip-hop market may be less interested in seeing the thug life depicted on film than they are in hearing it rapped about on record... The Andygate saga continued to evolve last week, even as the Sony BMG board met behind closed doors in its London meetings. Bertelsmann continues to lobby for Lack's removal, but there's a growing belief among some insiders that a compromise may be in the offing. Even If Sir Howard Stringer prevails and is able to keep Lack, they say, the latter's power will be substantially diminished. Most Beemers believe that Lack is toast, with his best-case scenario being a non-job job at Sony Corp., if he survives at all. But whether or not Lack remains, it's looking more and more like Rolf Schmidt-Holtz and Michael Smellie will both be given significantly increased responsibilities in the revamped hierarchy of the joint venture... Lots of chatter about an East Coast major label being in the throes of a significant power shift. Wonderers wondering how this one will play out, and who will be the company's new de facto leader... "CAUSE" AND EFFECT: In the midst of the major restructuring presently taking place at the Sanctuary Group, which finds the British company shedding unprofitable businesses pell-mell after failing to find a new strategic partner, came news that three managers from Mathew Knowles' money-bleeding urban division have been terminated for cause, with some in the know saying that Knowles will soon be gone as well. The fired executives—Troy Carter, Julius "Jay" Erving and Tony Davis— have wasted no time going on the offensive, hiring A-list litigator Larry Stein to sue the company. The showdown that is shaping up could become the biggest of Merck Mercuriadis' problems as he endeavors to right the Sanctuary ship, especially if Stein chooses to play the race card. But the plaintiffs' attorney will face a savvy and tough-minded adversary in heavyweight Howard Weitzman... Returning to the subject of Korn, industry eyes are focused on that Dec. 6 Korn release on Virgin, the first from the band under the unconventional revenue-sharing deal fashioned by Kwatinetz and Munns. It's worth noting that said deal was concluded before Jason Flom took the reins at Virgin, replacing Matt Serletic, who was said to be extremely bullish on Korn and the new-model deal... Names in the Rumor Mill: Doug Morris, Jimmy Iovine, L.A. Reid, Donnie Ienner and Clive Davis. (11/18a)

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

November 18, 2005

As you may have noticed, the record industry is in the throes of unprecedented change, with new methods of distribution, marketing and promotion being introduced every day. For anybody working in the entertainment business, it's imperative to stay on top of these developments on a daily basis.

HITS Editor Lenny Beer, The Doors' manager Jeff Jampol and Universal Music Publishing EVP Tom Sturges bring more than a century's worth of experience in their respective fields to UCLA for The Music Business: NOW—How It Really Works, and the People & Events That Influence It. The course will be held at Haines Hall on the UCLA Main Campus, starting Wednesday evening, Jan. 11, for 12 consecutive weeks, at 7-10 p.m.

The course offers a broad-based knowledge of all aspects of the music business, with guest lecturers that include some of the biggest names in the music business, offering an unprecedented opportunity for students to network with and get to know some of the industry's most important players.

"It's a great course to learn about what's happening right now in the business," says Beer, who will host the class' overview and analysis of the most compelling events in the record industry, the cleverly titled What Happened This Week. As he explains, unnecessarily, "It's about what's going on right now... Part of the curriculum is the day's current events. It's as valuable for people just breaking into the business as it is to those looking to get ahead in their careers by networking with some of the most important executives in our industry."

Each student will receive free online access, good for the duration of the quarter, to MIS/MediaBase, the industry standard for radio and video performance/chart monitoring.

Added Sturges: "This course gives students the basic building blocks of a successful career?access to the players and a how-to for every major discipline. No matter what you do in the business, you'll do it better after taking this class."

Jampol continued, "The original genesis of this course took place 12 years ago, when a bunch of us got sick of doing these panels where no one learned anything... We wanted to get together with the best pros and biggest executives we could to form a real post-collegiate advanced music business program to study what we all really do."

Here's the complete class description:

The Music Business NOW: How It Really Works, and the People and Events that Influence It

X 448.75 Music 4 units $515

In light of the massive changes the entertainment industry has undergone recently, this course provides a timely and advanced guide to music and entertainment from several vital perspectives. Classes include lectures and focused seminars with the best, brightest, and most influential executives in the music business today.

Subjects include making deals, the rules of the game, new artist development, brand creation and marketing, building and maintaining a fan base, the live show and touring it, selling on the Internet and marketing via digital media, sales and retail, music publishing/licensing, film and television, MTV, and radio and video promotion.

Personal relationships are of paramount importance in any business, but all the more so in the music business, which is influenced by a handful of key executives. Here, students meet, learn from, and have a chance to forge connections with top executives in the entertainment business today via one-on-one class interviews as well as panel discussions.

Confirmed guest speakers include:

Andy Slater, President, Capitol Records;

Polly Anthony, Co-President, Geffen/Dreamworks Records;

L. A. Reid, CEO, Island/Def Jam Records;

Steve Bartels, President, Island/Def Jam Records;

Scott Pascucci, President, Rhino Entertainment;

Michael Rapino, CEO, Clear Channel Entertainment;

Danny Strick, President, Sony/ATV Music Publishing;

Scott Francis, President, BMG Music Publishing;

David Renzer, Chairman and CEO, Universal Music Publishing;

Kenny MacPherson, President, Chrysalis Music Publishing;

Irving Azoff, CEO, Azoff Music Management (Christina Aguilera, Van Halen, Jewel, The Eagles);

Jeff Kwatinetz, CEO, The Firm (Snoop Dogg, Korn, Ice Cube, Kelly Clarkson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Vin Diesel, Cameron Diaz);

Jim Guerinot, President, Rebel Waltz Management (No Doubt, Social Distortion, The Offspring, Nine Inch Nails, Hot Hot Heat);

Kenneth Crear, Partner, Wright/Crear Management (Backstreet Boys, Janet Jackson, Chingy);

Arthur Spivak, Stu Sobol, The Firm (Three Days Grace, A Perfect Circle, Yellowcard);

Andy Gould, Andy Gould Management;

Rick Sales, Sanctuary Music (Slayer, Morrissey);

Richard Bishop, President, 3AM (Paul Oakenfold, Henry Rollins, The Crystal Method, BT);

Rob Light, Head of Music, Creative Artists Agency (CAA);

Kevin Weatherly, Program Director, KROQ-FM;

Nic Harcourt, Program Director, KCRW;

Phil Costello, Senior Vice President, Promotion, Reprise Records;

Geo Bivins, Senior Vice President, Urban Promotion, Capitol Records;

Peter Baron, Head Of Programming, MTV Networks;

Tom Calderone, GM, VH1;

Bill Silva, President, Hewitt/Silva Presents;

Kevin Black, Head Of Urban Street Promotion, Interscope Records;

Steve Schnur, Worldwide Head of Music, EA Entertainment;

Larry Weintraub, President, Fanscape;

Jay Frank, Head of Artist/Label Relations, Yahoo Music;

"Big John" Platt, Executive Vice President, Urban Music, EMI Music Publishing;

Mark Williams, Head of A&R, Interscope Records (Marilyn Manson, Queens of the Stone Age, Beck, No Doubt);

Ron Laffitte, Senior Vice President, A&R, Capitol Records (Coldplay, Radiohead, Yellowcard);

Jeff Gelb, MIS/MediaBase

Fulfills artist management and development requirement in certificate programs in the music business and the business and management of film, television, digital entertainment media.

Reg# R7754U

UCLA: 39 Haines Hall

Wednesday, 7-10pm,
January 11-March 29, 12 mtgs.

Jeffrey Jampol, manager, The Doors; management consultant to the Janis Joplin Estate (records, films, merchandising, licensing). Mr. Jampol has worked in marketing and promotion for Atlantic, CBS and Warner Elektra Atlantic, and consults labels, managers, and artists in the areas of marketing, artist development, branding, Internet music marketing, and deal negotiation. He also is a voting member of NARAS and serves on AFTRA's Select Managers and Lawyers Advisory Committee.

Lenny Beer, co-founder, HITS Magazine, where he has been editor in chief since its inception. Mr. Beer also owns The Management Company, which represents, among other artists, The Bravery, and the multi-platinum act Hoobastank. His past positions include chart editor at Record World magazine and founding partner of MusicVision, an influential indie radio promotion and marketing company.

Tom Sturges, Executive Vice President, Creative Affairs, Universal Music Publishing Group. Mr. Sturges oversees Universal's L.A. and New York offices, and has been involved in several key UMPG signings, including 3 Doors Down, 50 Cent and G-Unit, Eve and Blink-182. Prior to his current position, he was president of Chrysalis Music Group, where he signed such artists as OutKast, Smashing Pumpkins and Montell Jordan. Mr. Sturges was an appointee to the California Governor's Mentoring Partnership and is a voting member of NARAS, where he serves on the Board of Governors.

For registration information, e-mail, call (310) 825-9064 or access

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

November 17, 2005

Despite Sony BMG's vendor letter urging retailers to immediately take XCP copy-protected product off of their shelves and send it back, it is still unclear how many retailers are actually going to go without hot-selling titles such as Neil Diamond until new product arrives. The XCP coded CDs have fallen under a hailstorm of criticism over the past week when it was discovered that they installed a hidden "rootkit" Trojan horse in operating systems that left computers vulnerable to potential viruses and hacking. Removing the kit without proper instructions can permanantly damage computers.

We know for a fact that Virgin Entertainment Group is divesting themselves of all 52 offending titles and that Tower Records will most likely follow suit sometime today. Nevertheless, most retailers are reluctant to comment on what has quickly become a PR nightmare. The publicity departments at the major CD outlets have not been returning media phone calls.

Many insiders are opining that retailers that knowingly sell product with the rootkit software could be opening themselves up for the same kinds of class-action lawsuits that are now hitting Sony BMG.

The XCP encoded titles sold some 210k units last week. That means that retailers nationwide could lose as much as 30k a day in unit sales. Of course, 92k of those 210k units were Neil Diamond CDs. His latest Rick Rubin-produced album, 12 Songs, debuted at #4 on this week's chart. Although many of the affected titles are catalog, other major releases include Bette Midler and Switchfoot.

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, it's been a helluva year. Congratulations to Michael Laskow and the entire TAXI staff for the best Road Rally ever. I don't know how they do it! And again, I was honored to be part of it.

Allure Records recording artist Heiarii made a surprise visit at the Road Rally to sing "You Took My Heart Away," a song on his Dance! CD written by TAXI member Jascha Richter. Another ballad on his CD, "Love Is To Set Free" is currently a Top 5 radio hit in his native Tahiti. Thanks to some great material by TAXI members, Heiarii was nominated by All Access Magazine as Best Pop Artist of 2005. Check out the video at and select Watch Video. In 2006 we'll be looking to TAXI for more Pop dance material so stay plugged in and watch those listings!

Don't look now, but the Kenny Chesney tour grossed a whopping $62.5 million and played to over 1.2 million people. It was the biggest Country music tour of 2005.

The new Dixie Chicks single "I Hope" was written by the Chicks and Keb' Mo' and produced by Rick Rubin. All proceeds from the sales of this track are going to charity but nobody's sure if it will appear on their new CD set for a 2006 release.

Check out the new Outkast CD called Idlewild — which is also the name of the film they're in which stars Big Boi...Garth Brooks' new track "Good Ride Cowboy" is the lead song promoting his incredible boxed set that will soon be available. Can y'all smell a duets album in the future after he marries Trisha Yearwood? I can!

The Harry Fox Agency and EMI Music North America recently concluded a U.S. licensing deal for ringtones and ringbacks. This marks the first deal of its kind with a major record label. The new license authorizes EMI Music to record and distribute recorded compositions and to empower third-party retailers to distribute them.

Well, like I's been an incredible year in the industry. Plenty of controversy and great new music to hear. Make sure you have yourselves a safe, sane new year celebration. See you all in 2006.

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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

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

"Your dedication and hard work never ceases to amaze me."
— Jimmy Clark,
TAXI Member

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

"I signed a publishing deal this month for my song "Downward." Last year I signed two publishing deals with another publisher."
— Mike Newman,
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

"I signed a two-song deal with a major Music Library for film and TV."
— Bob Kroeger,
TAXI Member

"I was cynical at first, but my wife convinced me to join and I'm very impressed."
— L.A. Van Fleet,
TAXI Member

"You guys ROCK! In a rather daunting industry, you guys are an oasis! The positive win/win mission of TAXI stands alone in an otherwise ego-oriented, money-driven industry."
— Melinda Johnson,
Grammy-nominated songwriter

"Thanks for your constant support of my work — I'm running out of compliments for you guys!"
— James Day,
TAXI Member

"We came many thousands of miles to attend the Road Rally convention, and it was worth every inch of the journey."
— Peter Martin,
TAXI Member

"Thanks to TAXI I no longer have a day job! The membership fee was a drop in the bucket compared to what I have earned because of TAXI."
— George Nelson,
TAXI Member

"I signed a two-song deal with a major Music Library for film and TV."
— Bob Kroeger,
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