Happy Monday: Is the Awards Season Over Yet?

Mr. Roger's New Neighborhood at Yahoo! Music

Wheels & Deals: Blue Horseshoe Loves EMI

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Reprinted with permission from Hits Magazine

February 26, 2007
By Roy Trakin

Now that the Grammys and Oscars are over, a tired nation turns its eyes to Florida and Arizona, as exhibition baseball begins this week and, naturally, hope springs eternal, while the East Coast shovels out of a massive snowstorm. Meanwhile, we can concentrate on whether the Sony BMG, WMG-EMI and Universal-BMG Music Publishing hook-ups will be approved, along with whether EMI will roll out their MP3 initiative and if anybody can come up with an album that sells. In the interim, savor a glorious Arcade Fire performance on Saturday Night Live here (before NBC pulls it down, that is) and ponder whether Jennifer Hudson can duplicate her screen success on record. Now, for the news.

Look for Blue Note diva Norah Jones to maintain her #1 spot on the HITS' album chart, beating back a challenge from RCA/RMG's Daughtry with a total that will be around 85-90k. Razor & Tie's Kidz Bop 11 appears to be the top debut, with a total of around 75k that should place it somewhere in the Top Three.

Nicolas Cage's Sony Pictures film Ghost Rider, based on the Marvel Comic character, was the top box office grosser for the second consecutive week, with $19.7 million after debuting last weekend with $52 million over the four-day President's Day weekend, the biggest opening ever for that holiday. Premiering at # 2 with $15.1 million was the New Line Cinema psychological thriller The Number 23, starring Jim Carrey. The other new movies included the 20th Century Fox police spoof Reno 911!: Miami, which opened at # 4 with $10.4 million and The Astronaut Farmer, which debuted at #9 with $4.5 million. Disney's Bridge to Terabithia slipped to #3 with $13.6 million, lifting its total to $46.2 million. Dreamworks' Eddie Murphy comedy Norbit rounded out the top five with $9.7 million. The top 12 movies grossed $101.8 million, up 1.5% from the same weekend last year. However, movie attendance to date this year is down 2.2%. The rest of the Top 10 included #6 Music & Lyrics ($8 million), #7 Breach ($6.2 million), #8 Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls ($5.3 million) and #10 Amazing Grace ($4.3 million).

Rage Against the Machine is set to join the Wu-Tang Clan for three shows as part of the acclaimed hip-hop festival Rock the Bells, which kicks off in N.Y. on July 28 and hits the National Orange Show Events Center in San Bernardino, CA, on Aug. 11, with a third show in San Francisco Aug. 18. Sites of the N.Y. and S.F. shows as well as ticket sales info will be announced today. Rage is the closing-night headliner of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 29 in Indio, a SoCal festival that sold out 80 days in advance due to the pent-up fan demand for the L.A. band. Rage played their last show in 2000.

Ben Ratliff talks to the Ig about the return of the Stooges here.

Kelefa Sannah reviews My Chemical Romance at Nassau Coliseum here.

Bernard Holland on an opera based on David Lynch's Lost Highway here.

L.A. Times' Ann Powers on the maturation of Norah Jones here.

L.A. Times' Powers on the Leonard Cohen tribute at UCLA here.

L.A. Times' Patrick Goldstein on the legacy of The Departed here.

In 1965: Guitarist Jimmy Page released his first solo single, "She Just Satisfies." The noted session musician and future Led Zeppelin picker went on to join the Yardbirds after the single failed to chart.

In 1966: The Rolling Stones released "19th Nervous Breakdown." It became their ninth hit single, reaching #2 on the U.S. charts.

In 1970: According to a New York newspaper, John Lennon slammed the Toronto Peace Festival and claimed the profits weren't being used toward peace initiatives.

In 1985: Tina Turner's comeback single "What's Love Got to Do With It" won Record and Song of the Year at the Grammys. Best New Artist was awarded to Cyndi Lauper.

In 1997: Eric Clapton won Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for "Change the World." The Beatles won Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group, Best Music Video Short and Best Music Video Long for "Free as a Bird." Meanwhile, Bruce Springsteen's The Ghost of Tom Joad won Best Contemporary Folk Album.

In 2001: At the Brit Awards, Madonna was named Best International Female Artist, Eminem won Best International Male Artist, U2 won Best International Group, Robbie Williams won Best Male Solo Artist and Coldplay were Best British Group.

In 2001: Rapper DMX turned himself over to police in Alden, N.Y., to answer driving and drug charges.

In 2001: A woman repeatedly accused of stalking Guns N' Roses singer Axl Rose was charged with violating her probation after visiting Rose's home in Malibu, California.

In 2002: Alanis Morissette released the album Under Rug Swept.

In 2002: Record producer Lydia Harris sued rap mogul Suge Knight, claiming he deprived her of profits from the Death Row label and called her a "rat" in interviews.

In 2002: The night before the Grammys, four concerts featuring Don Henley, the Dixie Chicks, No Doubt and Beck were held around L.A. to benefit the Recording Artists Coalition, an organization formed to lobby for artists' rights.

In 2003: R. Kelly unseated 50 Cent's CD Get Rich or Die Trying from the top of the album chart with Chocolate Factory.

In 2004: Usher remained atop the U.S. singles chart with "Yeah!"

In 2005: Kentucky post-rock legends Slint played their first gig together in a decade at a holiday camp in the U.K.

In 2006: George Michael was arrested at London's Hyde Park on drugs charges after being found slumped over in his car.

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 22, 2007

There's a new chief in town at Yahoo! Music.

Following the departures of founders David Goldberg and Robert Roback, both of whom exited earlier this month, Ian Rogers has been named General Manager of Yahoo! Music.

A company statement read: "Under Ian's guidance, we look forward to new opportunities and continued success for Yahoo! Music."

Yahoo's acquisition of Rogers' Santa Cruz-based media software firm Mediacode brought him to the company in 2003 as Director Product Management, overseeing the growth of the Yahoo! Music website as well as Yahoo! Music Unlimited, its unlimited music subscription service.

Rogers will report to Yahoo! Head of Entertainment Vince Broady.

The Indiana University grad was Chief Technology Officer at rVision from 1995-'98, then was a "Decentralizer" at Nullsoft/AOL in Sedona, CA, helping develop the Winamp online player. He segued to work at the Beastie Boys' Grand Royal as President, New Media in charge of "hold music," before starting Mediacode in 2001.

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 22, 2007
By Rodel Delfin

Tongues are flapping about Warner Music Group's plan to make a cash bid for EMI this week, while yours truly hinted in last week's column that something was brewing between the two (under the clever subhead, "For Me to Poop On"). Several industry insiders shared during Grammy week that WMG was approaching EMI with a bid and that talks were in full swing. However, it should be no surprise that the two are in play, considering that financial analysts have been speculating that EMI will either be sold off to another music group or to a private equity consortium within the next six months. Several industry insiders comment that the music biz would be better served if EMI is purchased by WMG rather than bought by a private equity entity, which could decide to have a garage sale at the Capitol Tower parking lot. Whoever ends up owning the group, lots of concerns open up regarding EMI's frontline business (i.e., new artist business). And if a WMG-EMI combination gets finalized, we can probably expect WMG owners Thomas H. Lee Partners, Edgar Bronfman Jr., Bain Capitol and Providence Equity Partners to hang on to prized EMI Music Publishing and sell off Warner/Chappell, as was expected the last time the two groups were in talks. Meanwhile, it's safe to assume that those active boutique publishing houses that are currently flushed with private equity backing would make a play for the pubco or for parts of it, if it becomes available. Stay tuned... MORE ON THE WMG TIP: Rumors swirling on the street that one of the catalysts for Rick Rubin wanting out of his WMG deal for his American Recordings label was that Warner Bros. head Tom Whalley wouldn't approve the signing of an act Rubin wanted for his label last year. It's common knowledge in the creative community that Rubin is very, very selective in signing new artists to his label and does not make the move to sign often... YOUTUBE BUZZY-BUZZ: We mentioned the Sick Puppies numerous times late last year, way before KROQ added them and way before every label president started calling to sign the group, all because of the YouTube story that was happening. So here's another one to keep your eye on—Jeremy Fisher. The homemade video for his track "Cigarette," which he made for $60 Canadian (that's 25 cents U.S.), was featured on YouTube's home page this week, and he went from 2,000 eyeballs a month to over 250k views in a couple of days. There were a few label scouts checking out the Canadian singer/songwriter during his L.A. shows a couple weeks ago. You may want to check him out before you have some 'splaining to do to your bosses... LIGHTING ROUND: With all the pub activity going on as of late, we hear pubcos (large and small) are out looking to sign, sign, sign. One new act to spotlight on the pub radar is Geffen artist Sound the Alarm. Super-hot producer Howard Benson recorded the new album, and we hear A&M/Geffen head Ron Fair gave them the vote of confidence by making sure they stayed on the label during heavy roster cuts last year. More importantly, last time we checked, UMG wasn't up for sale or in merger talks, making this act very worthy of a serious pub play. In fact, we hear a couple pub players are already making moves to do so... BUZZIN': Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (no, it's not a band)... 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

Rumors are running wild about an impending reunion by the Police—their first live dates since 1986. Word is they would book gigs in England and America some time in 2007. Coincidentally, this year is the 30th anniversary of the release of "Roxanne." Synchronicity or what? Not wanting to be caught with their pants down, A&M is readying Police material in multi-disc collections with rarities.

Curb Records has released Country superstar Tim McGraw's Let It Go CD—his first studio CD in three years. The record features two duets with his wife, Faith Hill with the debut single, "Last Dollar" written by Big Kenny of Big & Rich fame.

Epic/Legacy has unveiled remastered copies of the first seven albums from Sly and the Family Stone—with each containing a few bonus tracks and new liner notes. Excluded from this release are Sly's solo album High on You from 1975 and the band's last album, 1979's Back on the Right Track.

Sony BMG agreed to stop embedding CDs with digital rights management software that limited the number of copies a consumer can make and also ruined several consumer computers in the process. It also agreed to pay fines in Texas and California.

While stores are loading up on James Brown product, here's a tip: If you really want to remember the music of the Godfather of Soul, just buy a simple greatest hits CD. It'll have the hits, the performances and the memories of an American original.

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