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Shouldn’t Mr. Guy Hands take notice, step up to the plate and offer Mr. Flom the position that was previously offered to Paul Caine? It’s undeniable that Jason has the talent, desire and ABILITY to guide the ship into the future, because the rudder of the ship is and always has been talent.


EMI Chief Plays His Hands, But Is an Ace
Already in the Deck?
This week's EMI hiring three-ring circus reminds me so much of the recent college basketball and college football hiring sagas that surrounded Florida coaching great Billy Donovan, who accepted and immediately reneged on an offer from the NBA's Orlando Magic, and Nick Saban's on-again, off-again dealings with the University of Alabama. It just seems that, in every profession, deals are made, people give their word and then minds are changed. And some people get hurt and everyone gets more money and people go on with their business.

People magazine publisher Paul Caine's recent hiring as Chairman of the EMI North America group, now owned by the financial wizards from Terra Firma, lasted all of 24 hours before he let Time Warner know that he had changed his mind and was remaining, and then subsequently let EMI know that he had reneged. Caine's hand-picked team of producer-writer Billy Mann and Clear Channel/T.H. Lee-Bain radio programming giant Tom Poleman were set to join him as Vice Chairman and COO N.A., respectively, to form the ruling triumvirate for the music group. When Caine pulled out and Poleman's bosses found out that competing investment group Terra Firma was signing their guy, they redoubled their efforts to keep the veteran. And at press time, my bet is that Poleman will stay in his comfort zone, re-up with the radio team, make a bundle of dough (not undeserved, mind you) and also pull out of the deal. It appears, however, that Mann has decided to honor his commitment, join the team and get into the battle to make great records. Good for him!

But whatthefuck—where is talk of Jason Flom in all this? Doesn't anyone know that he has been and IS one of the great talent finders and developers of the last 20-plus years? Flom walked into a label devastated by years of bad signings and bad choices, inked a new rock band like Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and broke them to the point where their album is heading platinum out of the chute (a significant achievement for any newcomer in this fragmented environment)—while selling millions of digital singles as well.

He also signed one of the truly great breakout artists of this year in A Fine Frenzy (a quality product that is finding its way through the maze that is artist development in 2007), knowing that it had to break from outside the norm of just jamming radio. So he put his credibility on the line with music TV and film supervisors, concert promoters, video companies and whoever would listen, and that bold move is paying off in spades, as he’s about to break a potential CAREER ARTIST. And on top of that, Flom puts J. Holiday into the national Top 10 album sellers in its first week. HELLO???? That's one from Rock, one from Rhythm and one from fucking Nowhere! Isn't that enough to make the Terra Firma leadership take notice?

Shouldn’t Mr. Guy Hands take notice, step up to the plate and offer Mr. Flom the position that was previously offered to Paul Caine? It’s undeniable that Jason has the talent, desire and ABILITY to guide the ship into the future, because the rudder of the ship is and always has been talent. Good for them for adding Billy Mann to find and nurture talent. And good for them for helping Tom Poleman get a big check and a better job offer from the radio side. Tom has shown his mettle for years in the nation's #1 market. But don't throw the baby out with the bathwater, boys. Wake up, look inside your own house and think about Jason Flom's credits.

Do you agree or disagree with our observation? Do record company heads get too much credit for success and too much blame for failure? What do you think of what went down at EMI and how it went down? Does Guy Hands know what he's doing? Respond to [email protected], and we’ll publish the best responses.

EMI should move Flom up.

Ron Veaux

You forgot that Flom and team also put out MIMS this year. Over 400,000 albums sold worldwide, 3 million ringtones, 2 million digital downloads, biggest record for Capitol in the last 13 years. Yes, Jason should get the nod 100%. He’s a great leader who allows his employees to make decisions. He also responds promptly to e-mails and cares about the music.


Guess what? No music people, no music worth a damn. Simple.... Old school for me. Keep music people empowered.

Patrick Clifford
Ten Ten Music


I think you are absolutely right about Jason. Jason is truly a great record man and a mensch as well. He understands the importance of great artistry and great songs. He knows how to deal with artists and how important artist development is. He understands the importance of relationships, both in label and outside as well. He has worked hard over the years and done it with integrity and humility.

EMI should realize that they have an extremely talented, well-respected record man that should be truly appreciated and coveted. I personally admire and respect Jason. He is a wonderful record man, a compassionate human being, a caring family man and a friend with a heart. We need more Jason's in our business today.

Mark Eichner
785 Records & Publishing/Denise Rich Songs

You write very well, Lenny.

Tom Sturges
EVP Creative Affairs
Universal Music Publishing

And so did your father, the great Frank Capra.


You should change the name of this column to Lenny Beer Goggles. You can't be that misinformed and unsophisticated. Obviously there is another agenda at work here. Anyway, I know you don't have the balls to print this.

Rob McIlwaine

Don’t underestimate how misinformed and unsophisticated we are, Rob. Actually, Lenny Beer Goggles refers to his prescription glasses. And as for agendas, we’re more transparent than Britney Spears’ undergarments. But you’re right about one thing, Rob. We have no balls.

Let’s not forget 30 Seconds To Mars. When Jason started with Virgin, the album was doing about 2000-2500 copies a week and falling and showed no signs of getting anywhere near platinum. Fast-forward to now. The band is over the million sold mark and arguably the biggest name in Active Rock. 30STM is obviously responsible for bringing the noise with an AMAZING album, a record-breaking hit with "THE KILL" as well as a tremendous live show, phenomenal videos and a work ethic second to none. But how many label execs would have come in, looked at the bare numbers of the first album and the current one and stayed with what many fools in the biz called an "actor's vanity project"? Jason has vision, passion, personality, relationships and a track record a mile long that certifies the value of each.

Yes, I'm a biased insider, but it's obvious. Great blog, Lenny!

Joshua Freni
Capitol Music Group

Jason Flom deserves all the credit that he gets, for his talent picks, and his long and consistent track record, covering every possible genre of music. Many executives, producers, managers and even artists in this business have had a lucky season or two, which they have been able to parlay into a career, while taking credit where it isn't necessarily due. In the case of Jason Flom, however, we have an executive who puts the talent where they belong, in the spotlight. He is content to let them shine, while taking quiet pride in finding and believing in them.

Kid Rock, Uncle Kracker, Matchbox 20 and Sugar Ray… Sure, they're all big names now, but Flom put his name on the line for them way before they were a sure thing. In fact, the only thing that ties these names together is that they came along when a different style of music was in vogue other than theirs. All Flom had to go on were his instincts. His batting average speaks for itself. It's hard to imagine a better man for the job. Hopefully, Terra Firma can acknowledge Flom's talent in the same way that Flom acknowledges the skills and talents of his artists. I sure wouldn't want to bet against him!

Mike Bradford

Jason Flom is the best choice for any job.... Mr. Hands should, at the very least, give him the time to break Saving Abel multi-platinum. It should take about six months minimum.

Rick Smith

Dear Beerblog,

Jason is the best and Hands should put him in charge. There is nothing that he or anyone else can do about the fucked-up record business, but at least Jason can keep us all entertained with his stand-up while we watch the business disintegrate.

The Scorpion

Using the analogy of racecar and driver, the age-old approach to our business has always been change the driver, keep the car. It's very apparent that Guy Hands and Terra Firma are attempting to fix the car.

Will that car then win the race?

Maybe yes, maybe no, but at least they are addressing it.

There is no need for anyone to point out the greatness of Jason Flom. As both executive and human being, few can compare.

Jack Ponti
Merovingian Music, Ltd.
CazzyDog Management

Yes, Jason Flom is a much better than average old-school record guy. He has come up with an impressive list of hit acts throughout his career and in today’s very weak field of record execs, I’m sure he will continue to do so. But I would be hard-pressed to believe that he has the chops to be CEO of EMI North America and it would probably spread him so thin that what he does well would be tremendously diluted. CEOs live in a world of finance, contracts and making current and future business models make economic sense. Jason’s time is better off spent signing and breaking potential artists to fill that pipe that a CEO is in charge of.

A friend and former colleague of Jason

Hi Lenny,
You would think that Jason would be the perfect choice. Maybe it's simply a matter of Mr. Hands wanting his own "guys." Upon further observation, it seems that the executive choices made so far are at the very least interesting, and quite possibly inspired. Time will tell. You never know who may be a naysayer within the ranks, as this choice seems obvious to me.
A hit record has a million fathers, a stiff record is a bastard child. The truth lies somewhere in the middle, I would imagine. Sometime it is best to leave well enough alone.
The tendency to promote music execs for a job well-done has its pitfalls, as more often than not, the promoted exec is not best suited for the promotion that is offered, and both jobs suffer as a consequence.
Kind regards,
Guy Eckstine