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HITS Daily Double

WHEELS & DEALS:
DO YOU REMEMBER WHEN...

Are the Good Times Really a Thing of the Past? Wait a Minute... Those Were the Good Times?
IN-N-OUT: And we ain’t talking burgers and fries. As the biz continues to change, and numerous execs exit the workforce, many have regaled us with countless tales of the good times back in the day—from signing away a highly sought-after act from a competing label to those wild and drunken nights with industry friends at SXSW. One story we keep hearing from a number of A&R vets is the one about receiving their first gold or platinum plaque for an artist they signed. It’s a career highlight for anyone working in this biz—it’s just like when yours truly was given the Employee of the Month award at Taco Bell. But seriously, in most cases the A&R rep receiving the plaque had to convince their reluctant boss that the act was worthy of signing in the first place. And not surprisingly, as we have pointed out before, these acts often didn’t have a lot of label interest, or at any rate weren’t deemed the nextbigthing. But what’s important to note is that these reps had real signing power. They also had a level of respect from their superiors that led to signing autonomy and empowerment, an aspect of the biz that appears to be disappearing quickly. As one veteran weasel friend simply put it—there was a new-artist business for labels back then, and the folks who are running labels today have to decide whether they still want to be in it or not. If they do, then they should empower their A&R staffs to sign acts. If they don’t, then just be out rather half-assing it. So that’s the question certain seasoned A&R pros are posing to the higher-ups running the show: Are you in or out? Let us know what you think... THE LATEST ON THE WEASEL FRONT: There’s heat building on the Craig Avrill-repped act LCD Soundsystem, which is the musical project of James Murphy (member and co-founder of NYC production team/label DFA). The Soundsystem recently completed a new record that is apparently drawing serious label attention from indies and majors both here and abroad. If you haven’t heard any of the tracks, Murphy’s unique sound was described by one online music critic as “Daft Punk, Chic and the Talking Heads in the back room of a seedy NYC dive engaged in an anything-goes sexathon, circa 1978.” Sounds like the heyday of the music biz, back when it was fun. Expect label folks to be checking the Soundsystem out at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in the super-heated recesses of the Inland Empire, otherwise known as Indio, this weekend in SoCal... Meanwhile, word on the street is that label interest for love-metal rockers H.I.M. is getting nutty. Expect A&R hitters to be out in full force at the band’s upcoming L.A. shows (see Buzz/Gigs). Expect both shows to sell out, so make those phone calls early or you may find yourself crying out on the street... Is the Ray LaMontagne derby close to finalizing with a label suitor? Last time we checked, it was down to two... The David Surnow-managed The Dan Band has signed with Bill and Joe at SideOneDummy Records. Chris Fudurich is slated to produce the live record. Meanwhile, a one-hour special on the musical ensemble is in the works with Steven Spielberg to produce and McG to direct... BUZZ/GIGS: The Sexy Machines with The Like at the Troubadour in L.A. on Fri., April 30... LCD Soundsystem at Coachella on Sat., May 1... H.I.M. at the Whisky on Tue., May 4 and at the Roxy on Wed., May 5... BUZZIN’: Josh Sarubin, Waking Ashland, Bec Hollcraft and Nitty... Hit me up: [email protected]