HITS Daily Double


The Penske-MRC deal, which created the new PMRC (tip of the hat to Tipper Gore), puts Billboard, Variety, Rolling Stone, The Hollywood Reporter and Music Business Worldwide under one roof, creating a sort of corporate-trade monopoly under the Penske umbrella. In other words, more power has once again been concentrated in the hands of a group of civilians, and has moved even further away from music biz’s power elite.

Deanna Brown, architect of the byzantine chart changes that best exemplified civilian rule at the Bible, is the first major casualty of the deal, according to The Wrap. Mass layoffs, we’re told, are underway to aid the “synergy” of the combined businesses; the fate of Hannah Karp and other key editorial players looks highly uncertain.

It’s believed that little cash was exchanged in the deal, which includes a “content partnership” that moves Modi Wiczyk and Asif Satchu out of music and back to their lane of film/TV/events (using their music contacts to leverage opportunities) and presumably gives Todd Boehly a piece of the new conglomerate.

Is it conceivable that the new entity could attempt to establish a content beachhead in music as it has in visual media, and use its music-media properties to promote that content, thus competing with its key advertising clients? Much buzz in the biz surrounds this scenario and other potential conflicts of interest springing from the new arrangement. What MRC did with THR, it's been suggested, the entity will now be able to do with Variety and Rolling Stone to assist friends and punish enemies.

Who’s running this show? Word is that the PMC side will oversee all editorial. How will the new arrangement affect what charts are used? What becomes of Penske's investment in BuzzAngle? Might the publications be divided into trade and lifestyle functions? Certainly across-the-board ad deals with gigundo clients like banks and airlines and burger factories—and a whole lot of clickbait editorial—will remain the behemoth’s bread and butter. Meanwhile, early reviews are in from music-biz insiders, who characterize the tangle of brands as “the land of broken toys” and describe the move as “consolidating the dysfunction.”

In the words of another: “The shitshow gets a third act.”