HITS Daily Double
Wall-to-wall exposure resulted in a surprising 300k second week for The Blueprint 3, off only 35%, and a dramatically increased level of heat for the veteran artist.


In This Week’s Column, Clive Davis, Sylvia Rhone, Jimmy Iovine, Jay Brown, Kelly Curtis, Michele Anthony and Guy Hands Are Among the Notables on I.B.’s Radar
Industry watchers are marveling at the stunning success of Jay-Z’s The Blueprint 3, the result of a showcase setup on the part of Jay Brown and his Roc Nation crew, Atlantic Records and Live Nation in its first serious foray into recorded music. The setup, which came off with Swiss-watch precision, included the 9/11 concert at Madison Square Garden, performances on the VMAs, Letterman and Leno, and a pair of tracks—one featuring Rihanna and Kanye West, the other with Alicia Keys—spinning on multiple formats. This wall-to-wall exposure resulted in a surprising 300k second week for the album, off only 35%, and, in terms of the big picture, a dramatically increased level of heat for the veteran artist… Also riding a hot streak is Universal Motown’s Sylvia Rhone, with a pair of Top 10 debuts in Drake and Kid Cudi... Word is that IGA chief Jimmy Iovine, who’s having a terrific year himself, is getting a new five-year deal for what amounts to elephant bucks in this economic climate... Clive Davis’ deal is up at year’s end, and the timing couldn’t be better for the legendary music man, who has revitalized the career of Whitney Houston while providing his expertise to upcoming releases from Alicia Keys and Leona Lewis. While it’s rumored that Davis is considering offers from the entrepreneurial sector, those in the know believe he’ll wind up signing a new deal with Sony Music that will keep him working closely with Barry Weiss on the RMG/JLG side, while expanding his involvement with Sony acts, a la the new Harry Connick LP, which he helped A&R, receiving a co-producer’s credit… This week, Pearl Jam is testing the viability of a new business model devised by the band in tandem with manager Kelly Curtis and former Sony Music President/COO Michele Anthony, both of whom have been working with the group for two decades. The plan was to create a group of direct partnerships that would both hit every critical marketing and distribution platform and reflect Pearl Jam’s philosophy and sensibilities, which Curtis, Anthony and the band felt would enable them to successfully self-release the new album. Well in front of Backspacer’s release, the principals formed exclusive partnerships with Target for physical product, iTunes for downloads and Verizon for the mobile market, while also making use of Pearl Jam’s ongoing partnership with MTV/Harmonix’s Rock Band. Each brought to the table economics and sizable marketing clout, which included high visibility for the project. Target was chosen in part for its willingness to accept the involvement of indie retail and the Pearl Jam fan club, at the band’s insistence. The marketing oversight is being handled by the veteran marketing team of Danny Bennett and Jay Krugman, who have had great success working with Columbia on Tony Bennett projects. In the early going, the plan seems to be working well; at presstime, first-week projections on Backspacer were in the neighborhood of 200-250k, fueled by lead single “The Fixer,” which is Top 5 at Alternative, Triple A and Mainstream Rock… Sept. 29, this Q4’s Super Tuesday, boasts anticipated releases from Island/IDJ’s Mariah Carey (whose previous LP debuted with 463k and did 1.3m), Interscope’s AFI (183k, 995k), Hollywood’s Breaking Benjamin (125k, 1m), Columbia’s Barbra Streisand (101k, 515k) and Fueled by Ramen/Atlantic’s Paramore (42k, 1.2m), along with Madonna’s Warner Bros. swan song, a greatest hits collection (280k, 730k). This field holds great promise, starting with Carey, who has a pair of breaking singles in play… Looking ahead, many believe the debut album from Susan Boyle, dropping Nov. 24 on Columbia, will be this year’s big holiday release… Guy Hands’ buyer’s remorse—evidenced in last week’s admission that he wouldn’t have bought EMI had the auction taken place two weeks later, when the credit markets began to contract—now says he won’t need additional loans and a debt restructuring to pay back lender CitiGroup. The Terra Firma chief’s anxiety was eased by strong worldwide sales of the Beatles catalog, spiking EMI’s overall marketshare from 7.8% to 17.8%. But Hands’ continuing predicament lends credence to reports that he’s considering selling EMI Music Publishing to KKR/Bertelsmann. Such a move would bring in much-needed cash while also easing the path through regulatory should he then opt to sell EMI’s recorded music assets to WMG. Regulatory issues sank the two companies’ initial attempt to merge in 2000, during the Roger Ames and Ken Berry regimes, and was later partly responsible for thwarting Edgar Bronfman’s attempt to acquire the company… Names in the Rumor Mill: Michael Rapino, Allen Grubman, Lyor Cohen, Steve Barnett, Mark DiDia, Richard Palmese and Elio Leoni-Sceti.