HITS Daily Double
With Columbia Prexy Steve Greenberg out, we hear veteran producer Steve Lillywhite is taking the reins in staffing Columbia’s A&R department.


With So Many Majors in Transiition, It’s Getting Harder for Managers to Figure Out Where to Take Their Prized Clients
By Rodel Delfin

It’s nearly the halfway point of ’06, and we’re hearing that a number of managers who are about to shop some high-profile acts for new deals are very concerned about label instability at most of the music groups. Looking at the landscape, the EMI-Warner Music Group merger is expected to go through, which leaves the stability of label staffs at both groups somewhat uncertain. Obviously, the Sony BMG changes over the past couple weeks have many folks wondering who will stay and who will go at Columbia and Epic. Lots of chatter going on concerning Donnie Ienner’s “central core” team, comprising Sony-proper A&R and promotion executives. Ienner reportedly handpicked these staffers to sign and work projects at either of the two labels. Insiders share that this group will most likely be broken up. And now, with Columbia Prexy Steve Greenberg out, we hear veteran producer Steve Lillywhite is taking the reins in staffing Columbia’s A&R department. Meanwhile, word on the street is that incoming A&M Geffen honcho Ron Fair is assembling a new team for his creative staff. Is the deal done for vet producer/mixer Jack Joseph Puig to become a creative staffer at the label? And what’s up with all the musical chairs going on with product managers of late? We can probably expect more shoes to drop in the next six months, but then again, that’s now the norm… NEWS TO USE: The Darren Lewis-managed/Steve Sessa-repped Ataris are out of their Columbia deal. The band, which sold nearly 700k on their last release, reportedly asked to be off the label since most, if not all, of their executive contacts at Columbia have either been fired or quit. We hear Lewis and Sessa are already fielding label calls… Word on the street is that label meetings have commenced for the Dave Holmes-managed/Richard Grabel-repped Interpol. We’ll keep you posted… There’s lots of chatter brewing on Laguna Beach-based Open Air Stereo. Two members of the Bobby Collin-managed group are featured in the cast of this season’s MTV reality show Laguna Beach. Expect some prime MTV airtime for the band. We hear label reps are making calls to management, but a newly free agent A&R exec reportedly has the inside track on the band… Vagrant Records GM Dan Gill made a swift signing for artist John Ralston, who came his way courtesy of Dashboard’s Chris Carrabba. Ralston’s debut LP streeted June 6… ALWAYS DOUBLE-DOWN ON ELEVEN: Yes, folks. A new music conference has made its way to Sin City. The Amplify!! Music Fest will be held in Downtown Las Vegas Aug. 16-18. Participating clubs include the Beauty Bar, Jillian’s and the Celebrity Theatre. And unlike past music confabs in Vegas, these clubs are all within a block of each other at the tail end of Freemont St., where you get the best odds on blackjack and craps. We hear it’s two nights and two days of showcases and industry panels. Of course, we’ll be there with industry yahoos hangin’ at the Glitter Gulch… BUZZIN’: Smartpunk.com, Alice Smith, Eric Hunter, Trevor Andrew, A Fine Frenzy, Illinois and head high surf in Punta Sayulita, MX… Hit me up: [email protected]


Thurs., June 22, 6:15 p.m., Metro (Mobfest), Chicago
SEA WOLF Tue., June 27, 8:30 p.m., Troubadour, L.A.
ASCAP SHOWCASE Tue., June 20 Troubadour, L.A.
SCOTT & AIMEE (featuring Scott Russo from Unwritten Law) Wed., June 21, 10pm Viper Room, L.A.