Stevenson Nabs Island A&R Treasure, New Label

Jaheim's Ghetto Fabulous at #1

Kaiser Chiefs, Coldplay, James Blunt Dominate Brit Awards

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Reprinted with permission from Hits Magazine

February 22, 2006

The man who signed The Killers, Fall Out Boy and The Bravery to Island Def Jam is moving up in the ranks.

Rob Stevenson, who received the Pop Industry Award of 2005 from New York magazine in its "This Year's Best—Cultural Elite" issue, has been promoted to Executive Vice President, A&R for IDJ Music Group by Chairman Antonio "L.A." Reid. He was also named President of Stolen Transmission Records, his new joint venture label imprint with IDJMG. The N.Y.-based Stevensonwill report directly to Reid on all creative matters, and to Island Records President Steve Bartels on all operational matters.

Reid praised Stevenson as "an extraordinarily important force in A&Rnot only at IDJ, but for the entire business. With his signings of the Killers, Fall Out Boy, Thrice and the Bravery, among others, he has established an unparalleled track record in a relatively short time at Island Records. We look forward to his future discoveries as we welcome him to the senior management team of the Island Def Jam Music Group."

Added Stevenson: "I look forward to continuing my journey at Island Def Jam alongside LA Reid, Steve Bartels and Shawn Carter. They have true integrity, insight and real respect for artists' visions making IDJ a very unique label. With the creation of Stolen Transmission I will continue to take risks, search for new opportunities and establish career artists."

Stevenson's first signing to Stolen Transmission is Permanent Me, a "basement band" from Long Island whose self-produced demo recording Stevenson calls "one of the freshest and most exciting sounds I've heard in years, music made earnestly and excitingly by the band." Their label debut, expected in the summer 2006, will be produced by Matt Squire (Panic! At The Disco).

Stevenson has served as Vice President, A&R, Island Records, since 2002, following two years as Director in the department. He first joined the company in 1998, as Manager, A&R, Mercury Records, a position he retained when Mercury was folded into the Island Def Jam Music Group the next year. Mr. Stevenson began his career in 1993 as an Assistant Account Executive at Ogilvy Mather. In 1994, he began a four-year stint at AAM (Advanced Alternative Media), an independent production, management, marketing and promotion company. Mr. Stevenson graduated in 1992 from Fairfield University in Connecticut with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Marketing and Emo Economics.

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

February 21, 2006

Warner Bros. Records may have found its own answer to Usher. They should be so lucky.

Emerging Urban star Jaheim's third album for the label, Ghetto Classics, was the charm, as he debuts at #1 on the HITS Top 50, easily outdistancing Decca/Universal Classics' tenor Andrea Bocelli with 144k in sales to the latter's 110k.

New Jersey-born soulster Jaheim, who lost both his mother and father while still a teenager, has released two previous albums for the label, 2003's Still Ghetto and 2001's Ghetto Love, after originally signing to WB's Divine Mill Records. Valentine's Day sales undoubtedly helped boost both the Jaheim and Bocelli albums, as well as some other titles, such as James Blunt, Michael Buble and Faith Hill.

Geffen's Mary J. Blige was #3, beating out last week's chart-topping Jack Johnson Enjoy/Universal soundtrack to Curious George, which finished #4.

Arista/RMG's comebacking Barry Manilow was #5, followed by the fast-riding Walt Disney Records High School Musical soundtrack, which was up 36% at #6, and Custard/Atlantic Brit-winning crooner Blunt, who was up 26%, returning to the Top 10 at #7.

Arista/RMG crossover country queen Carrie Underwood was up 20% at #8, Shady/Aftermath/Interscope rapper Eminem stayed steady at #9 and J Records/RMG's Jamie Foxx once again landed at #10.

Other artists who experienced double-digit one-week sales increases include A&M/Interscope's Black Eyed Peas (#18-12, +15%), Reprise's Buble (#29-18, +26%), Warner Bros.' Hill (#34-24, +18%), A&M/Interscope's Pussycat Dolls (#35-27, +13%) and A&M/Interscope's Keyshia Cole (#28-19, +22%).

Concord/Hear Music's Sergio Mendes (#42) and Virgin newcomer KT Tunstall (#50) registered chart debuts.

Next week, expect chart debuts from Razor & Tie's Kidz Bop 9 collection and Capitol's Dilated Peoples, with Domino's Arctic Monkeys (distributed here by ADA) also hoping to climb into the Top 50. The latter sold a record-breaking 360k its first week on sale in the U.K. and is looking to make inroads into the stateside 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.

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Reprinted with permission from Hits Magazine

February 15, 2006

Kaiser Chiefs were the big winners at tonight's Brit Awards, taking home three awards, including British Rock Award, British Live Act and British Group (presented to them by no less an icon than Blondie's Deborah Harry). Coldplay won two, Best British Single ("Square One") and British Album (X&Y), as did James Blunt, who took home Pop Act Award and British Male Solo Artist.

The Brits are the U.K.'s equivalent of our Grammys.

KT Tunstall won as Best British Female Solo Artist, while Lemar nabbed the British Urban Act Award over Dizzee Rascal and Craig David. Jack Johnson was the winner of the International Breakthrough Act Award, presented to him by Beth Orton.

Kanye West snared the International Male Solo Artist Award, which was presented to him by Boy George, while Arctic Monkeys were given the British Breakthrough Artist. Madonna took home the International Female Solo Artist and Green Day's American Idiot earned International Album Award honors.

Performances were by Kaiser Chiefs ("I Predict A Riot"), Prince (medley including "Purple Rain" and "Let's Go Crazy"), James Blunt ("You're Beautiful"), Kelly Clarkson ("Since U Been Gone"), Kanye West ("Gold Digger" and "Touch the Sky"), KT Tunstall ("Suddenly I See"), Jack Johnson ("Better Together"), Gorillaz ("Dirty Harry") and ex-Jam Paul Weller, who won the Outstanding Contribution Award ("Changing Man" and "A Town Called Malice").

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

The numbers are still coming in slowly, but all indications are that 2005 CD sales were down a solid 7.2%. 2005 totals of 618.9 million CDs sold was the lowest since 1994's total sales of 614.7 million. However, on the Internet downloading side, more than 20 million tracks were downloaded in the Christmas/New Year's week. Label leaders in total market share were UMG, Sony/BMG, WMG, and EMI. The Indies garnered a combined 13.2% share.

Here are the official sales figures for the best-selling CDs of 2005:

The Emancipation of Mimi – Mariah Carey – 5 million
The Massacre – 50 Cent – 4.86 million
Breakaway – Kelly Clarkson – 3.5 million
American Idiot – Green Day – 3.4 million
Monkey Business – Black Eyed Peas – 3 million
X&Y – Coldplay – 2.7 million
Feels Like Today – Rascal Flatts – 2.5 million
Love. Angel. Music. Baby. – Gwen Stefani – 2.5 million
Late Registration – Kanye West – 2.4 million
The Documentary – The Game – 2.3 million

Country artists Wynonna and Cowboy Troy have signed on to co-host the fourth season of Nashville Star. Returning judges include Phil Vasser and Anastasia Brown.

Into its fifth television season, American Idol hasn't lost any steam at all—still getting high Nielsen numbers. This time around, thanks to Bo Bice, there are plenty of poser rockers aboard. I don't know how long Americans are going to take this. It never changes at all. The three judges are so damn predictable.

Sony/BMG just started another label called Burgundy Records and signed Chaka Kahn and Aaron Neville. Concept is to redefine and reinvent classic performers of the past. And speaking of classic performers of the past, we lost Wilson Pickett on January 19. Pickett had giant hits with "Mustang Sally," "Midnight Hour," and "Land of 1000 Dances." He was 64 years old and will be missed.

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