HITS Daily Double
“We’ve always been committed to rock music, but we’re excited right now because in a way the stars have aligned and everything’s popping off almost simultaneously."


It’s Still Hot in Herre, but So Far This Year, the Heat Is Being Generated by Guys With Guitars
They’re throwing goat again at Universal Records. After having tremendous success in the hip-hop sector with Nelly, et al., Monte Lipman and company are re-establishing themselves in 2005 as a rock powerhouse.

“We’ve always been committed to rock music,” says Lipman, “but we’re excited right now because in a way the stars have aligned and everything’s popping off almost simultaneously.”

Check it out, dudes. Last month, Seventeen Days, the latest from Uni flagship rockers 3 Doors Down, debuted at #1, and this week Jack Johnson’s In Between Dreams and the Mars Volta’s Frances the Mute hit the album chart with a bang. The surfer/singer bowed at #3 on 222k units for his biggest splash yet, while the second set from the neo-prog-rockers entered at a stunning #4 off 121k, thanks to low pricing and real artistry.

All three albums have been supported by extensive multi-format radio play, with 3 Doors Down Top15 Hot Adult and Top 25 Pop after scoring at Rock and Modern Rock, Johnson topping the Triple A chart and crossing to Hot Adult and Mars in the Modern Rock Top 10.

The offensive started with 3 Doors Down, says SVP Marketing and Artist Development Kim Garner: “We locked in the album release date seven months in advance. That gave us time to plug in some great things to launch the record.”

It continued with Johnson. “I’m gonna go on record and say this will be his biggest single to date,” says SVP Promotion Val DeLong. “I’m hoping to get the video all the way to Gung Ho rotation on VH1 and really break this artist this time around at Pop radio.”

You might think the Mars album, with its super-long tracks and unconventional structures, would pose a challenge for the label, but you’d be wrong, according to DeLong. “It’s been easy to convince people this time around about what this band means to the industry. The Alternative panel is 99% closed out, #1 phones everywhere—it’s just been phenomenal.”

Says Lipman, “We’re fortunate because we have great artists who delivered great albums, and we were able to help make a difference. It’s that simple.”

On deck are England’s Kaiser Chiefs, whose initial single, “I Predict a Riot,” is #36 Modern Rock and moving up, with the album streeting 3/15. “We closed down virtually every market on the West Coast the first week, had a Top 10 phone record at KROQ and KNRK, The End in Seattle was Top 5 requests, so we’re having a really good run,” says DeLong. “We’re still in the developmental stages, but everything’s going beautifully.”

Also coming next week is the latest from Swedish Rockers The Soundtrack of Our Lives. Additionally, Universal has high hopes for the Features. And Godsmack is in the studio preparing an album for a projected Q4 release.

Says Garner, “Now it’s about drafting our young, developing acts off of our successes. From an A&R standpoint, it feels like this is the strongest we’ve been in three or four years.”

Adds Lipman, “We believe in commitment at this company. We’re building artists who are ultimately going to have catalogs and long careers.”