HITS Daily Double
As label heads go ga-ga over buzzing group From First to Last, the band is reportedly in discussions with their suitors to do a nontraditional record deal (think Korn/EMI).


The Old Guard Gets Thinned Out, Other Weasels Shift Their Allegiances
By Rodel Delfin

FELIZ ANO NUEVO! COMADREJAS: Get a Spanish dictionary and figure it out. Well, the first week of the New Year starts off with some shake-ups and changes in weasel land. As part of the Sony BMG merger, Sony brass decided to shed some staffers in their creative departments (marketing, A&R, art services and online), thus turning some veteran music execs into free agents. On the A&R front, senior Columbia staffers who were let go include Matt Pinfield, Kenny Komisar, Mitchell Cohen and David Andreone. Cohen and Komisar were longtime Sony employees. Meanwhile, Andreone, who had hit publishing signings with Hoobastank, Michelle Branch and Disturbed during his publishing tenure at Warner/Chappell, now becomes a hot free agent. Rumor has it that Sony brass is pondering the possibility of moving their reduced L.A. staff elsewhere and selling off the valuable real estate of their Sony campus. Meanwhile, Epic did some shedding of its own, as East Coast A&R reps Mike Taylor and Al Smith exited their posts… Over the break, Atlantic head of A&R Andy Karp made some moves, bringing on board former Jive A&R hitter Steve Lunt, who was responsible for making many of their big pop records (Britney, NSYNC, Justin, Backstreet, among others)… Also over the break, Virgin player Jason Flom brought in Ken Blaustein on the West Coast. Blaustein, who was formerly at the Bunny, steps up with A&R Director stripes… The heat continues for the Scott Bradford-repped/Tim Smith-managed From First to Last. The band’s current LP on Epitaph has sold over 100k. Their second record is already done but has not been released. As label heads go ga-ga over the group, the band is reportedly in discussions with their suitors to do a nontraditional record deal (think Korn/EMI). Yes, there’s a buyout to Epitaph involved for the band’s third album, but apparently it’s a low-figure exit—the band negotiated a reasonable exit clause when they signed with the indie. With a multiple revenue-sharing scenario being proposed, this is a potential win-win situation for the act and the signing label, but expect the price to be handsome. We hear the band is not in a rush to do a deal and will only play if it makes sense. We’ll keep you posted… As expected, the Randy Nichols-managed The Starting Line have signed with Virgin… Victory Records head honcho Tony Brummel does a little upstream dealing himself, as Victory enters an exclusive, long-term distribution and upstream pact with Carbon Copy Media, which is run by JT Woodruff (lead singer for Victory recording artist Hawthorne Heights). Meanwhile, Hawthorne Heights continues to sell, sell, sell as their current LP has goes over 700k… BABY HIT ME ONE MORE TIME: Congrats to Jive A&R player Jeff Fenster and wife Diana on the birth of Taylor Ruby Fenster, who was born Dec. 22… BUZZIN’: Chris Lee, Evaline and Nik and Sam… Hit me up: [email protected]

EMILIE AUTUMN Fri., Jan. 13, 9:45 p.m., Double Door, Chicago
BE YOUR OWN PET Tue., Jan. 17, TBD, Troubadour
FAIR TO MIDLAND Thurs., Jan. 26, 8:30 p.m., Roxy