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  #1  
Old 05-18-2004, 01:21 AM
Miranda Miranda is offline
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Default Warner Music Looks to Slash Artist Roster

Could the Mac get the axe?

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Warner Music Looks to Slash Artist Roster

By Ed Christman

NEW YORK (Billboard) - The newly private Warner Music Group, having significantly reduced its worldwide staff, is now turning its cost-cutting efforts toward its artists.

As part of the integration of Atlantic and Elektra into one label, Warner Music Group's new management team is looking at the artist roster with the goal of paring it "from 180 to below 100," says WMG U.S. Recorded Music chairman/CEO Lyor Cohen.

The company is attempting to get the roster down to a size that's in proportion with the organization and respectful of the acts remaining on the roster, Cohen says.

It's unclear which specific artists might get the axe, but published reports suggest Elektra pop-rock act Third Eye Blind is a candidate. The band's most recent album, "Out of the Vein," has sold 220,000 copies since its release in May 2003.

At the same time, some of the remaining artists will shift label affiliations within WMG, sources say. Warner Bros. Records will take over marketing and promotion of the next album from Metallica, which has long been Elektra's flagship rock band. Boutique label Nonesuch, which had been aligned with Atlantic, will also now be affiliated with Warner Bros.

WMG was purchased in February from Time Warner Inc. by an investment group including Thomas H. Lee Partners, Bain Capital and Providence Equity Partners. The new owners, under the lead of new WMG chairman/CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr., initiated a major restructuring plan with the goal of saving $277 million.

The company recently lowered prices on 1,776 titles, the largest devaluation in WEA's 33-year history.

Reuters/Billboard
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Source: http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle....storyID=5167953
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  #2  
Old 05-18-2004, 07:29 AM
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Default Warner Music Looks to Slash Artist Roster

I bet alot of people are panicking....

Not sure if Fleetwood Mac can be cut. I think Warners deal with Fleetwood Mac isn't based on the usual 7 album deal that is in most cases. I think they are in a unique situation and make a deal with Warners on a per album basis.. Same with Stevie.

I could be wrong - but according to Destiny Rules - the band had to sign with Warners for SYW to be released.
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Old 05-18-2004, 07:56 AM
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I'm pretty sure that their deal was a one-off, like MacMan said, and they're really not in any danger. However, I'd like to take this opportunity to say that not signing with Interscope, and going with Warners, was a mistake. Hurrah!

They were already cut from the roster several years ago, and for that to happen again would be rather mortifying, I'm sure.
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Old 05-18-2004, 10:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacMan
I bet alot of people are panicking....

Not sure if Fleetwood Mac can be cut. I think Warners deal with Fleetwood Mac isn't based on the usual 7 album deal that is in most cases. I think they are in a unique situation and make a deal with Warners on a per album basis.. Same with Stevie.

I could be wrong - but according to Destiny Rules - the band had to sign with Warners for SYW to be released.
I think you're right about the Mac album, but Stevie signed a three album deal, if my memory serves me correctly.

Where's Le Stew?
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Old 05-18-2004, 10:34 AM
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Warners would do FM a favor by dropping them. I've said before: FM, and Lindsey particularly, would be better off with a smaller, perhaps independent label, that would look at them as THE big fish in their pond.

By the way, did you see that movie yet? What's all the fuss? It was OK, not great.
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Old 05-18-2004, 10:41 AM
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They've had their chance to go independent, they haven't taken it. At the very least, they'd do well with a group like Sanctuary that knows how to market adult records. Chris ended up there instead, which is amusing.

Interscope would've given them a better chance than Warners.

I still think Lindsey's silly for complaining about his record company not wanting to release his solo album, when it would've been the world's smartest thing to take it independent and grassroots. He would've made MONEY and it would've been heard. His ego can't handle it not being with a major, methinks.
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Old 05-18-2004, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hayley
I still think Lindsey's silly for complaining about his record company not wanting to release his solo album, when it would've been the world's smartest thing to take it independent and grassroots. He would've made MONEY and it would've been heard. His ego can't handle it not being with a major, methinks.
You're right, it would be silly. But here's the thing: There's a misconception that Lindsey whined about the record company turning down the record. What Lindsey has said is that people at the label gave him a choice: Release the solo record and sell a couple hundred thousand or folded into FM and sell millions. He chose the latter.
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Old 05-18-2004, 11:02 AM
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I still consider it whining, especially when I've heard from a couple of sources what was actually happening at the label at the time, and the discussions he had with lesser principals at the company that I've spoken to this about. He was upset. He whined. And then instead of exercising his "artistic" freedom by releasing a solo album that would sell perfectly well for what it was, and certainly be critically acclaimed, he rolled back into the Mac machine because he craves the BIGNESS of it all. Knowing his solo record wouldn't have that bigness... meh.

I simply wish that if it were that important for him to do what he wants to do, to release his music the way he wants to make it, without any concessions, that he'd do the ballsy thing and do it himself. He has to realize that there's an audience for it, he'd actually make *more* money, and it would be all around successful.
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Old 05-18-2004, 11:14 AM
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I think the misconception here is that Interscope is so very different from Warners. The two aren't even comparable.

Warner Music Group is massive. There are 4 major record labels (Warner, Universal, Sony/BMG, and EMI) -- and Interscope is owned by Universal. It could never really give Fleetwood Mac the kind of comeback promotion it needed and the funds by which to do it. I still think the Jimmy Iovine connection is a little weird.

Fleetwood Mac, being the band that they are, really can't go independent. They wouldn't sell and they'd lose a lot of money. They're way too far into the game to go back.
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Old 05-18-2004, 11:37 AM
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For one thing, there are still five. Sony/BMG ain't close to happening yet, the entire proposal is about to be shot down by the EU. It's five. Interscope is, no argument, the most successful of all of Universal's labels, and Universal is the most powerful of all of the majors. Interscope still mines talent and manages A&R and artist aspects as a label, but much of their marketing and distribution is handled by UMVD proper, the same case as any other label that's part of one of the majors, including Reprise or WBR and their greater link to WEA. They're exactly the same animal.

I place the blame for the relative failure of the album on Warners for several reasons- they spent too much money unwisely in trying to make commercial what was an decidedly uncommercial record, they chose traditional outlets for exposure and didn't allow the album to have the slow burn that adult albums today need for a greater rate of success, and they managed to miss connecting the album as a CRITICAL must-have, which would've helped all of the new generation of hipsters who have discovered Tusk discover this record in turn. They missed the boat in marketing and catching the new adult audience that's emerged with successes like Norah Jones (gag for name-dropping that record)... and their attempts at getting radio behind the record were nearly pitiful at best.

Interscope would've been a good choice for them, because Interscope has a great track record with breaking artists and albums intelligently, properly marketing them not only to their core audience, but leading new buyers to it, which Warners failed miserably with. Their recent success with the Loretta Lynn/Jack White album is another example that shows me that Interscope actually GETS it, which WMG frankly doesn't, and now with Lyor Cohen helming the company, will CONTINUE to not get it.

When we're talking about independents, I think we're talking more a group like Sanctuary, which has the manpower and ability to helm a record like Fleetwood Mac's. Their success with Warren Zevon and MANY others is stunning, and their STILL part of the major label groups in terms of distribution, with BMG. They'd make more money going relatively small-time, keeping their costs down, and not having a huge blown up project that has no chance of meeting its P&Ls.
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Old 05-18-2004, 12:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hayley
However, I'd like to take this opportunity to say that not signing with Interscope, and going with Warners, was a mistake. Hurrah!
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Old 05-18-2004, 12:07 PM
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If Slash were on the label, would he be slashed?
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Old 05-18-2004, 12:11 PM
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interesting tidbit involving Interscope

Music news headlines are everywhere these days. While musicians, service providers, and industry giants battle over Napster, there is another industry-changing war being waged. The battle lines have been drawn, and Courtney Love has declared a call to arms for musicians signed to major labels, and hopes to bring information to the public to dispel the myth of the "rock star rolling in money" concept. Much more than this, however, Love's countersuit against Vivendi Universal is an aggressive and compelling David vs. Goliath battle. At first glance, the suit may seem like a disgruntled and spoiled rock star is greedily going after money. But looking at the facts, the very serious approach Love has taken, and her fearless nature to take this case "all the way to the Supreme Court" if necessary, the outcome of this trial could very well shake the shifty foundation that the Big Five music companies have relied upon for decades.

Courtney Love is not the first artist to attempt to take on a label in this manner. What is different about this particular battle, is that this case WILL go to trial. Oftentimes, labels will do their damndest to soothe a disgruntled artist. They will renegotiate contracts, offer up enormous advances, and settle out of court if they can. Time will tell whether or not the industry will go after Love in this manner. Just as time will tell whether or not Courtney Love can withstand the backlash. What is truly remarkable about Love, however, is her dedication to the integrity of artists' rights. And unlike other artists who have attempted to take on the giants, Love has the financial wherewithal to back up her convictions. If the public has learned anything about Love, it must be that her stubborn, focused, and fearless nature could just be the remedy to fighting for artistic freedom.

So, what is the countersuit about? Courtney Love was originally slapped with a lawsuit in early 2000 by Universal citing breach of contract. In December 1999, Love, along with her band members in Hole, had released only two of a five-album deal when Love announced that she would leave the label. And, at that time, Love rejected a settlement offer after notifying Interscope (an arm of the Universal conglomerate) of her intention to cease recording for their company. In response to this lawsuit, filed in 2000 by Vivendi Universal, Love has countersued to test the court system and break this contract.

The countersuit filed by Love and her attorney, A. Barry Cappello, contains fifteen causes of action in total. But at its core, the suit seeks to expose what Love deems as "unconscionable and unlawful" business practices, including corrupt accounting tactics dealing with issuing royalties, the exclusion of record club sales, and the long-standing tradition that the recording industry employs with regard to contract length. Where this suit gets even stickier is an attack on the validity of contracts bought and sold during the mega-mergers that have occurred in the recording industry within the last decade.

Love's Manifesto -

Courtney sounds off on the state of today's sordid and malicious recording industry in an uncensored quasi-essay that provided the basis for her speech at this year's Digital Hollywood in New York.
Love does the math, delves into the industry's darkest fissures, exposes the miscreants, and welcomes the future's "radical democratization" through the course of her writing in an effort to dispel the corporate-engineered myths that have long plagued artists.

Within, Courtney ponders the Recording Association of America, piracy, new options and equity for artists, tipping/music as a service, and new models for musicians sponsorship


When Courtney Love originally signed into a recording contract, she opted to sign with Geffen Records. Geffen Records has long been considered an "artists label", due to the common knowledge that Geffen artists typically received more development and a more creative climate for artistry. The success the label had fostered with bands such as Sonic Youth and Nirvana were a large factor in Love's agreement to sign with Geffen. Shortly after entering into this contract, however, Geffen was subsequently sold to MCA which then became part of the Tokyo-based Matsu****a Electric Industrial Inc. family. After the release of Hole's first album, MCA was sold to Seagram Co., a noted Canadian liquor company. After Seagram's massive purchase of PolyGram, what had been Geffen was then released to the Interscope division of Universal (It should be noted at this point that Love had previously rejected an offer from Interscope back in 1992 upon signing with Geffen). Last year, Seagram was usurped into Vivendi, a French utilities and waste corporation, which brings us current. Geffen, as it was once known, no longer exists. This is one point of the lawsuit that questions the validity of the contract. So certainly, the judgment based on this "Assignment Clause", which allows the company who owns the contract to sell it without an artists consent, will be of particular interest due to the enormous changes made in the business climate and mega-mergers of the industry.
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Old 05-18-2004, 12:15 PM
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It is true though, the Interscope label has some huge success stories : Eminem, limp bizkit, marilyn manson, no doubt, enrique iglesias, garbage, sheryl crow and in the older rocker field : U2, Sting, and Peter Grabriel...


I agree they wouldve done better with Interscope

Chris
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Old 05-18-2004, 12:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarneVaca
By the way, did you see that movie yet? What's all the fuss? It was OK, not great.
Talk to Jake, he hated it.

Personally, I loved it; one of the best that I saw last year. I'm a huge Tim Burton and Jessica Lange fan, though. It was better than the book, IMO. And I loved the ending.
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