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Will Stringer be able to go wire-to-wire this year, as Monte Lipman achieved with Republic in 2013?

I.B. BAD FEELS THE GRAMMY WEEK HEAT, REVEALS THE GRAMMY WEEK CHATTER

The Grammy Nominating Process This Year May Have Been a Riddle in a Mystery Wrapped Inside an Enigma, but It All Worked Out in the End, Especially for Sizzling Columbia
Rob Stringer has been in the zone of late, as Columbia continues on a torrid two-month roll. The label heated up in December with the picture-perfect rollout of One Direction’s Midnight Memories (1.53m TEA) and the surprise release of Beyoncé’s self-titled album (1.63m TEA), continued with Pharrell Williams’ breakout single "Happy" and reached a crescendo on Grammy night, from Beyoncé’s show-stopping opening number to Daft Punk and Pharrell’s conjoined triumphs—powering all of the above to the upper reaches of the iTunes charts.

As if that weren’t enough, the telecast also lit a fire under John Legend by way of his intensely romantic performance of "All of Me," which catapulted the ballad to #3 at iTunes, nestled immediately below "Happy" (511k RTD) and just above the reignited "Get Lucky"; it’s now at 645k. How big an impact will this subtly devastating Grammy moment have on the record? Could Legend possibly go the distance with "All of Me"? With Valentine’s Day two weeks away, the timing couldn’t be more ideal.

Columbia’s hot streak, which lifted its 2013 frontline marketshare to 8%, has taken it to an industry-leading 11.1% through the first four weeks of 2014, with a 12+ in its sights. Will Stringer be able to go wire-to-wire this year, as Monte Lipman achieved with Republic in 2013?

That jaw-dropping, must-read Len Blavatnik expose in the 1/20 issue of The New Yorker was one of the main topics of conversation throughout Grammy week—and not just because of the black comedy of its Lyor Cohen subplot. Blavatnik’s business exploits, detailed in Connie Bruck’s scrupulously researched piece, detail more than enough unsavory dealings to make some WMG employees go "Whoa!"

Vivendi is restructuring into a new publicly traded company comprising UMG, Canal+ and Brazilian telecom GVT, and several board members of the newco flew in from Paris to attend Clive Davis’ soiree honoring Lucian Grainge and the Universal ruler’s Saturday afternoon showcase, which has quickly become one of Grammy week’s most coveted tickets.

This week, Grainge hosted his Global Leadership Conference at UMG HQ in Santa Monica, with all of the group’s key players from around the world in attendance.

Last week’s debut of Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre’s Beats Music, culminating in a wildly successful party on Friday night, was the polar opposite of Spotify’s U.S. launch in 2011, which went down with no sizzle whatsoever. Spotify is now viewed as the ugly duckling of streaming by the music business, the result of its arrogance, absence of marketing and opaque royalty system.

800-pound gorilla Clear Channel is beginning to crank up its immense leverage in the marketplace, as the Pittman-Sykes-Poleman troika expands the iHeart brand to network TV with the iHeart Radio Music Awards, airing 4/24 on NBC. Will they impose a window of exclusivity on the participating acts, locking them out from the competing Billboard Music Awards set for 5/18 on ABC?

More drama at the bible, much of it having to do with the trade’s annual Power 100, with industry reactions ranging from bewilderment to outright anger. Interestingly, the current Billboard regime is throwing former Editor Bill Werde under the bus for putting the list in its final head-scratching order, when in fact it was radically altered following Werde’s exit.

Epic chief L.A. Reid and his colleague Sylvia Rhone were attached at the hip all week, ramping up speculation that Rhone will soon be named President of the revitalized label, whose rookie sensations A Great Big World just scored a #3 debut.

Informed sources say that Steve Bartels and David Massey will definitely continue to play major roles as part of IDJ moving forward, despite renewed chatter during Grammy week about possible changes within UMG’s East Coast operations, as the search for a head of Def Jam continues.

Craig Kallman is considered by many throughout the business to be very good at what he does, leading wonderers to wonder why he remains at Atlantic as it becomes progressively less relevant, when he could have an equally prestigious job and be making more money at another major. But then, if he’s so good at his job, why is Atlantic floundering? Kallman’s label fared dismally at the Grammys with just one win, for Bruno Mars.

What superstar’s new worldwide mega-deal is said to be all but done at said act’s current label?

If struggling show The X Factor gets picked up by Fox for a fourth season, the word is that Simon Cowell will not be part of the judging panel.

Names in the rumor mill: Joel Klaiman, Greg Thompson, Charlie Walk, Joe Riccitelli and Steve Berman.



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