HITS Daily Double


MUSIC’S BIGGEST QUESTION MARK: As the Grammys return to the foreground of biz conversation, show producer Ben Winston, CBS exec Jack Sussman and Recording Academy boss Harvey Mason Jr. have begun (virtual) meetings to discuss the availability of talent for this year’s show. How might pandemic and other conditions further alter an already changed landscape? How will Grammy navigate the COVID compliance issues surrounding the show—particularly in light of the difficulties faced by the VMAs—as well as this stark political moment?

RECORDS MAN: Barry Weiss is as hamisch as they come, and he’s once again panning gold out of the stream. He’s currently working a giant, 24kGoldn, whose “Mood” is #2 U.S. and #3 global at Spotify with 196k ATD and 41m streams worldwide to date; this smash comes on the heels of “City of Angels” (162m worldwide) and “Valentino” (203m worldwide). He’s also enjoyed success with Matt Stell (in partnership with Arista Nashville), whose platinum “Prayed for You” is approaching 1.7m ATD, earned 215m+ streams and was a #1 Country radio hit, and popster Noah Cyrus, whose “July” is 1.7m+ ATD, with over 350m global streams and making inroads at multiple radio formats.

In the dawning days of the millennium, Weiss scored $20m+ when pop savant Clive Calder walked away after pulling a $3b Brink’s job at BMG—and then rose inside that company under Field Marshal Schmidt-Holtz. His hope of leading a combined Sony-BMG was a hookah-fueled dream that fizzled when reality set in; this led to an abrupt 180, as he departed Sony in 2010 and was given the reins of UMG’s East Coast labels. There he was charged with oversight of Monte Lipman’s Republic, Steve BartelsDef Jam, David Massey’s Island and Ethiopia Habtemariam’s Motown; the resulting politics and upheaval saw him exit early.

In 2015, Weiss linked up with Matt Pincus and Ron Perry at SONGS to launch the RECORDS JV as the successful pubbery’s masters division. The imprint sputtered along on a small playing field. But having moved with it to Perry’s red-hot Columbia, Weiss is flourishing in just the sort of boutique environment that observers have always considered his strong suit: scratching out hits with research-driven records and getting them on the radio. It’s quite the comeback for Weiss, having played the game at the highest level.