HITS Daily Double


Latest Move by Levy & Munns Could Put Matchbox 20 Producer on Top
Barely a week after cutting Mariah Carey loose, and only six months since taking over for Ken Berry and subsequently squeezing out Berry's ex-wife Nancy, EMI Recorded Music chief Alain Levy and right hand David Munns are shaking things up at Virgin again.

As reported in the New York Daily News, Levy and Munns are close to hiring white-hot producer Matt Serletic to take a high-ranking position at Virgin America, possibly as head of the company. According to inside sources, the deal, which is being negotiated for Serletic by attorney Joel Katz and manager Michael Lippman, still has some open points, but is close and will get done. However, just what title Serletic will be given isn't clear. As a result, also unclear is what this means for current Virgin America Co-Presidents Ray Cooper and Ashley Newton, whose contracts Levy and Munns recently extended.

Serletic was a member of Collective Soul and produced that band's first album before going on to produce Matchbox 20, which has sold some 20 million albums worldwide to date, as well as the double Grammy-winning megahit "Smooth" (featuring Matchbox 20's Rob Thomas) for Carlos Santana's Supernatural (Arista), which has sold upwards of 25 million. Serletic has since produced for the likes of Aerosmith and Celine Dion, and in 1999 launched a joint-venture label with Clive Davis at Arista (Melisma Records, which has since left the Arista fold). He recently completed an eclectic, Supernatural-like album with Willie Nelson for Lost Highway (The Great Divide), featuring Rob Thomas material and Nelson duets with LeeAnn Womack, Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow, Brian McKnight and Bonnie Raitt.

If he's given the top job, Serletic will be the latest producer to run a major label, a career arc most recently seen with Andy Slater's appointment to EMI's other American company, Capitol.

Naturally, they all really want to direct.