HITS Daily Double
Rumors swirling that one of the catalysts for Rubin wanting out of his WMG deal was that Tom Whalley wouldn’t approve the signing of an act Rubin wanted for his label


WMG has a good shot at an EMI purchase.
What can we expect?
By Rodel Delfin

Tongues are flapping about Warner Music Group’s plan to make a cash bid for EMI this week, while yours truly hinted in last week’s column that something was brewing between the two (under the clever subhead, “For Me to Poop On”). Several industry insiders shared during Grammy week that WMG was approaching EMI with a bid and that talks were in full swing. However, it should be no surprise that the two are in play, considering that financial analysts have been speculating that EMI will either be sold off to another music group or to a private equity consortium within the next six months. Several industry insiders comment that the music biz would be better served if EMI is purchased by WMG rather than bought by a private equity entity, which could decide to have a garage sale at the Capitol Tower parking lot. Whoever ends up owning the group, lots of concerns open up regarding EMI’s frontline business (i.e., new artist business). And if a WMG-EMI combination gets finalized, we can probably expect WMG owners Thomas H. Lee Partners, Edgar Bronfman Jr., Bain Capitol and Providence Equity Partners to hang on to prized EMI Music Publishing and sell off Warner/Chappell, as was expected the last time the two groups were in talks. Meanwhile, it’s safe to assume that those active boutique publishing houses that are currently flushed with private equity backing would make a play for the pubco or for parts of it, if it becomes available. Stay tuned… MORE ON THE WMG TIP: Rumors swirling on the street that one of the catalysts for Rick Rubin wanting out of his WMG deal for his American Recordings label was that Warner Bros. head Tom Whalley wouldn’t approve the signing of an act Rubin wanted for his label last year. It’s common knowledge in the creative community that Rubin is very, very selective in signing new artists to his label and does not make the move to sign often… YOUTUBE BUZZY-BUZZ: We mentioned the Sick Puppies numerous times late last year, way before KROQ added them and way before every label president started calling to sign the group, all because of the YouTube story that was happening. So here’s another one to keep your eye on—Jeremy Fisher. The homemade video for his track “Cigarette,” which he made for $60 Canadian (that’s 25 cents U.S.), was featured on YouTube’s home page this week, and he went from 2,000 eyeballs a month to over 250k views in a couple of days. There were a few label scouts checking out the Canadian singer/songwriter during his L.A. shows a couple weeks ago. You may want to check him out before you have some ’splaining to do to your bosses… LIGHTING ROUND: With all the pub activity going on as of late, we hear pubcos (large and small) are out looking to sign, sign, sign. One new act to spotlight on the pub radar is Geffen artist Sound the Alarm. Super-hot producer Howard Benson recorded the new album, and we hear A&M/Geffen head Ron Fair gave them the vote of confidence by making sure they stayed on the label during heavy roster cuts last year. More importantly, last time we checked, UMG wasn’t up for sale or in merger talks, making this act very worthy of a serious pub play. In fact, we hear a couple pub players are already making moves to do so… BUZZIN’: Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (no, it’s not a band)… Hit me up: [email protected]