LennyBeerBlog: Monte's the One

Jack and Jacko!

Thompson in, Shaev Resigns at Capitol Music Group

Bulletin Board

Reprinted with permission from Hits Magazine

February 22, 2008

People have been asking the question, "Who is the next great record man?," and the answer now appears to be clear as a bell... Monte Lipman. Monte's the man with the magic touch. The seemingly infallible system that was created by Monte and brother Avery has been cranking out the research hits. But Monte was pigeonholed. Monte could only have research hits, Monte couldn't find and develop real artists. Monte couldn't find the right image artists. Monte's plans were old-school. Monte couldn't develop Grammy-winning artists. Monte was all about one-hit wonders and couldn't develop career artists. Well, bullshit to the naysayers, as Monte has now done it ALL, on every level. He's done the following in the past year:

1. Built the best research A&R department in the business.

2. As a former promo exec, Lipman knew he needed to step up to the plate to strengthen his promo squad. He did so by signing and empowering Joel Klaiman, who has quickly built the industry's hottest delivery system, as his team has swiftly and efficiently delivered hit after hit at every format.

3. Took Euro stud Amy Winehouse and made her a top-drawer star in the U.S. overnight, while running an expert showcase/introductory strategy that allowed her to maintain her cred and let her talent speak for itself.

4. Scouted, targeted and signed MySpace/internet darling Colbie Caillat and took her album platinum overnight.

5. Targeted country starlet Taylor Swift and spent months courting Scott Borchetta to bring her album under his aegis, then broke her wide open in the pop market as her sales head to Shania Twain land.

6. Developed the career of Jack Johnson through his partnership with Brushfire, letting him grow naturally while stoking the fires of an artist who now smoothly debuts at #1 and continues to sell and sell over extended periods of time. Call him a career artist, in a marketplace where the term is a rarity.

7. Is on the verge of extending and growing the career of multi-platinum selling Three Doors Down with another smash song that his team is exploding at radio.

In summation, Taylor going, going, gone-ski to multi-platinum and more... Colbie heading multi platinum... Hinder well over 2 million sold... five-time Grammy winner Amy at 1.5 million sold and going strong... Jack Johnson sitting proudly at #1 for two straight weeks and projecting to stay for a third... More artists and songs developing in the bullpen...

Give the man his due. The next great superstar in the business has appeared, and his name is Monte Lipman. And it's just the tip of the iceberg. These artists are red-hot and will continue to be for some time to come. GIVE THE MAN HIS PROPS!!!

Now, we ask you, who is the next great record man, or woman? We look forward to seeing your candidates in our mailbox:

First-time caller, long-time reader. To echo your sentiments about Monte Lipman. A gentlemen who was raised in this industry with me...and who has severely lapped me. But as a man who competes and hates to lose, I don't consider Monte lapping me a loss. Shit man... He's lapped everybody. And he's done it on his own terms. Lastly, hats off to his boss Mr. Doug Morris for keeping the faith in ML and proving that, if you continue to believe in talent (i.e: Doug believing in Monte)—real/raw talent—than over time, your beliefs will pay off. They will pay off in the short AND long term.

Gary "Proud to be in Business with Monte" Spivack
Right Arm Entertainment

Lenny -

Monte and company have indeed done a great job.

It seems that investing in great A&R and artist development does pay off...something I've been screaming about for the past decade as most labels have invested in disposable flavor-of-the-month "artists." (Excluding Nashville... Country still gets it right when it comes to finding and signing real talent)

The next great record person? Dunno from what ranks he or she will come from... but I do believe those that rise from the ranks in the future will possess real vision for the industry's future success, and they will be able to utilize new technologies to benefit both labels and artists.

In the meantime, every major label should be looking at what Monte has accomplished by creating a great label that has a real focus on MUSIC, signing artists that will be around for some time, and gee...that's the way it's supposed to be, right?

Hey, I also agree that GREAT MUSIC still sells!!! I also have an artist that should be listed in unsigned great acts...

New Orleans native and son of Stevie Wonder (figuratively), PJ Morton (

His story is similar to Meiko's (whom I think is another superstar artist). PJ Morton is a Grammy-award winning producer and songwriter for India Arie, and is currently writing hits for artists like Whitney Houston, Jennifer Hudson and Leona Lewis.

He has toured with artists like Chrisette Michele and Johnta Austin, and we're currently talking to Jeff Robinson about the Alicia Keys tour, and if anyone has a direct connect with Mr. Stevie Wonder we would love to go on the second leg of his tour.

He's sold thousands of records totally independent from his shows on iTunes, the trunk of the car, and MySpace. But we are trying to get some more exposure such as VH1 and good PR work. I would love to talk to you, Mike Savage, I understand how hard it can be managing an artist as talented as Meiko, and not getting the major label support. So if you could email me at, we may be able to brainstorm some ideas and I may have someone who is interested in her as an artist.

Finally, I do have to say that after this week I realized after meeting with Epic Records President Charlie Walk about another great artist, Atozzio, that there are still some executives who understand. Everything his team is doing there is great (people like Brandon Creed), it's innovative and set to be part of the new major-label system!!! But please, everyone, check out PJ Morton. If you like good music, you will love him.

Walter Jordan

In a time of the "sky is falling" philosophy and mantra, Monte, Avery and Universal Republic have done an amazing job breaking and establishing new artists. Key emphasis on the word "new."

What they have done and are doing, not only gives hope to an industry in shambles but answers a lot of questions as to why it's in shambles.

Regardless of what one's personal taste is, you have to admit their artists have talent. Real TALENT. You combine that with an aggressive radio team, proper set-up, conviction and there you go!

You can still sell records in these trying times and you can certainly find and break new talent.

These guys are doing it in many genres and many formats. Hats off to Monte, Avery and the crew over there. You have to give Doug and Mel applause for seeing early on the talent of this executive staff.

I couldn't agree more; Monte and Avery are the real deal. Funny enough, they combine the best of old school and new school into one potent machine.

Jack Ponti
Merovingian Music, Ltd.
CazzyDog Management

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 26, 2008

Johnson and Jackson.

It's not a presidential ticket or even a brand of baby powder, it's the top two finishers on this week's HITS Album sales chart, Jack Johnson and Michael Jackson.

Johnson's Brushfire/Universal Republic album Sleep Through the Static spends its third consecutive week at #1, churning up 106k in sales, turning back Jackson's Thriller 25th Anniversary deluxe package on Sony Legacy, which comes in at #2 with 55k.

Razor & Tie's Kidz Bop Kids 13 is the highest-charting newcomer at #4, while Capitol Nashville's Chris Cagle enters at #9.

The rest of the Top 10 includes J's Alicia Keys (#3), who hasn't left the Top 5 since the album's release last year, Universal Republic's Amy Winehouse (#5), Atlantic's Step Up 2 the Streets soundtrack (#6), Epic's surging Sara Bareilles, which goes #22-7, +17%, Rhino's Juno (#8) and Geffen's Mary J. Blige (#10).

Columbia/Canvasback/Sony Music Soundtrax's Oscar-winning Once re-enters the chart at #22, with 23k in sales.

Koch's Jim Jones (#24) and Glassnote's Second Hand Serenade (#37) are the other new Top 50 entries.

Eleven Seven Music's Buckcherry (#42), WB's Linkin Park (#43), XL/Beggars Group's Vampire Weekend (#44), Capitol's J. Holiday (#47), Roadrunner's Nickelback (#48) and Interscope's Soulja Boy Tell'Em (#49) all re-enter the Album sales chart.

Other notable chart jumps are taken by Razor & Tie's Alvin & the Chipmunks (#28-16), Pearl Records' Garth Brooks (#26-18), Universal Republic's Colbie Caillat (#27-20), EMI's Now 26 (#38-21), Interscope's Across the Universe (#33-23), Mercury Nashville's Sugarland (#37-30), Atlantic's Lupe Fiasco (#42-31) and Def Jam/IDJ's The-Dream (#46-33).

Next week, IDJ's new Janet Jackson album, Discipline, will undoubtedly top the chart, with Universal Motown's Erykah Badu, Asylum's Webbie and Shawty Lo, as well as DPR's Dolly Parton also hitting the streets at press time. Mariah Carey's eagerly awaited IDJ album E=MC2, with a hit single already in "Touch My Body," reaches retail April 15. And not a moment too soon, we might add.

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 27, 2008

One promo veteran enters, one leaves.

Greg Thompson has been appointed EVP Promotion for Capitol Music Group by label President Lee Trink.

In this new position, Thompson will oversee the activities of the label's radio and video promotion departments, based in New York and reporting to Trink. Capitol promotion exec Ed Green will now report to him.

Old pal and staunch Duke Blue Devil supporter Hilary Shaev has resigned her post and will announce her new plans shortly, which reportedly will be outside the music industry.

Added Trink: "We are thrilled to have a seasoned veteran like Greg come aboard to lead our promotion team. His mastery of the fundamentals coupled with a strong view for the future of promotion across new and emerging platforms adds invaluable leadership and vision to our team. And, of course, the cutest damn dimples in the biz."

Said Thompson: "EMI has a rich history and a roster built upon some of the greatest artists the world has ever known. As EMI has committed itself to redefining and transforming the music industry as we know it, I couldn't be more proud to be part of Jason Flom, Lee Trink and Jeff Kempler's executive team as Capitol Music Group brings the next generation of brilliant artists to the forefront."

Thompson most recently served at the EVP of Promotion for Island Def Jam Records, where he played a key role in the development of artists such as Rihanna, Kanye West, Mariah Carey, Killers, Ludacris, Young Jeezy, Fabolous and Fall Out Boy.

Prior to joining IDJ, he was with the Warner Music Group, where he served as EVP/GM of the Elektra Entertainment Group since 1999. Prior to that, he spent five years as Elektra's SVP Promotion. During his tenure at Elektra, he was instrumental in the breaking of numerous multi-platinum and gold acts including Busta Rhymes, Staind, Third Eye Blind, Missy Elliott, Natalie Merchant, Metallica, Tracy Chapman, Gerald Levert, Jet and Jason Mraz.

Thompson began his career at Chrysalis Records in 1985, first as Regional Promotion Manager for the Midwest, and later as VP Top 40 Promotion. In 1991, he was named SVP Promotion at SBK Records. The following year, he moved to EMI as VP Promotion, a position he held until joining Elektra.

The veteran record exec graduated from Michigan State University in 1984. In addition to being a voting member of NARAS, he is very active in philantropic endeavors, which includes being a board member of Musicians on Call and a Chairman for LIFEbeat and the UJA.

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

Live Nation has signed a multi-million dollar, two-year deal with Hollywood Records' act, the Jonas Brothers. The deal calls for more than 140 theater and concert arena dates. And while we're on the subject of Live Nation, the company recently announced that they plan to enter the ticket-selling business next year as soon as their deal with Ticketmaster expires. This marks a shift by Live Nation to be able to provide complete concert, ticket, market, and merchandising services to their artists and third parties.

Sales from music downloads soared last year but CD sales were down once again. Sales from single track downloads increased from 52.5 million in 2006 to 77.6 million last year, although, music buyers were reluctant to purchase entire CDs online from digital stores such as iTunes.

The most valuable catalog in music is finally going to be used in advertisements and all that is needed is lots of money. The Beatles Pop music catalog is open for business! The Fab Four's catalog can be licensed for "selected brand partnerships that enhance the original music's reputation." Twenty years ago the group sued Nike for $15 million for unauthorized use of the band's song "Revolution" in a sportswear ad. One of the first deals made was for the song "All You Need Is Love" being used by Proctor and Gamble for Luvs diapers. The publishers want to help introduce younger audiences to the wealth of great material written and recorded by the Beatles. Here's a novel idea… why not have them buy the CDs?

Madonna's next CD, due out in April, will most likely be called Licorice and will feature Pharrell and Kanye West on select tracks. The CD will be her last for Warner Bros.

What do y'all think about Michael Jackson's Thriller: 25th Anniversary Edition CD with 2008 remakes of "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' ," "PYT," "The Girl Is Mine," and "Billy Jean"? The CD also included Fergie's version of "Beat It" and an outtake from the original Thriller album called "For All Time."

Borders book store is planning on launching an online MP3 download service. The company is currently revamping its Web site.

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