HITS Daily Double


NOT A SPARTAN OPERATION: Rumor has it that Lyor Cohen—a great American and one of our most treasured dinner companions in the whole wide world—is trying to sell the 300 label. According to insiders, the imprint has humongous overhead; per partner Kevin Liles, it also has north of 100 artists signed to its roster. 300’s biggest act, Megan Thee Stallion, is said to owe just one more record, after which the Roc Nation-repped star is expected to gallop off to greener pastures.

The label heads have a small piece of Young Thug, who’s signed directly to Atlantic. But selling that income stream could represent close to $100m for the partners. YouTube parent Google has supposedly been bought out and the shopping has begun. Caveat emptor.

NO VAXX, NO BACKSTAGE PASS: Speaking of such safeguards, with COVID cases on the rise and cancellation-insurance concerns, anxiety continues to mount about artists and their crews possibly becoming ill on the road. We’re told that in order to ensure the safety of some artists on tour this summer and fall, tour managers are asking (and in many cases mandating) that artists’ family and friends, as well as crew, label, agent and management contacts, send proof of vaccination before backstage passes for upcoming shows will even be considered.

ROAD HAZARDS: There’s considerable chatter in management circles about a big act that’s poised to exit one of the top agencies, as the roulette wheel continues to spin. The act is allegedly upset about the on-sale of a big, freshly announced tour.

IT’S NO SECRET: Grammy season is getting into gear, as biz-watchers do their yearly pondering about whether there will be any real change in the flawed awards process. But with the same back-room denizens in the same back rooms—and no rewriting of the bylaws—greater transparency still seems like a pipe dream.

NOT FAKE NEWS: A kerfuffle arose recently over the single “Am I the Only One” by Valory/BMLG artist Aaron Lewis, a decidedly right-wing song that has raised a few hackles (notably for lamenting the taking down of Confederate statues). The song got a big boost after Lewis played it on Fox News and has since become something of a “conservative” anthem. It’s also drawn the wrath of a certain blogger and self-appointed gadfly, who derided it as “heinous” and “junk.”

This commentary, in turn, drew a response from Lewis’ defenders that far exceeded your typical online trolling. Indeed, one notable rejoinder—ostensibly from a member of a right-wing militia—was chockablock with racist and antisemitic slurs and threats of violence, not only against the aforementioned blogger but also key Democratic politicians. Label boss Scott Borchetta sent a measured public reply to the blogger’s post defending the song on First Amendment grounds and noting that he puts out records with many different points of view. It’s hard to argue with that part. Still, wonderers wonder, where could the “weaponizing” of fanbases ultimately lead?

DOESN’T QUITE TRACK: Buzzers are buzzing about a major artist’s decision not to re-hire the producer/writer of their previous giant hits. Said artist’s team is said to have balked at the producer’s fee and decided that the act is such a big star that the hitmaker’s services are not required. Will they come to regret this move? Stay tuned.