the saviour of the record business…

now playing: the manhattans, “shining star”

don’t get me wrong…i still think the entire music industry should be abolished and artists should have control over their own work, among many, many other things where this subject is concerned – but i like this guy’s attitude.

Sony Music head details shortcomings

By Chris Lewis, clewis@nashvillecitypaper.com
February 02, 2004

Independent record heads and corporate castoffs on Music Row have been saying it for years. Now, the head of a major record label admits it.

“I believe the major label [business] model is broken,” said John Grady, president of Sony Music Nashville. “It’s too expensive, it’s too slow, it’s too big. Being too slow and being too big – and it’s big in every way – makes it too expensive. And with a major company comes a lot of red tape and bureaucracy that makes [it] not extremely nimble.”

The record industry has seen CD sales slide 13 percent since 1999, with country sales remaining flat since then. Sony Music Entertainment sales worldwide dropped by $1.2 billion from 1999 to 2002, according to business Web site Hoovers.com.

Grady says his approach to turning the tide at Sony Nashville is all about the music.

“As this business gets more difficult, in some ways, I think that makes the solution a little more simplified. What you really have to concentrate on is what exactly we do here. We sell prerecorded music,” Grady said. “The first thing we have to do in order to do that is to make some music that somebody wants to buy.”

Since Grady left DMZ Records to assume the helm of Sony’s Nashville office last May, the company virtually has slashed the artists roster in half, letting 10 acts go, and has signed five new, untested acts to its Columbia and Epic labels.

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in other news, this from a new york times editorial today:

After Flash of Flesh, CBS Again Is in Denial
By ALESSANDRA STANLEY

“Wardrobe malfunction” was the term Justin Timberlake used to explain why he bared Janet Jackson’s breast at the end of their Super Bowl duet. Like “erectile dysfunction,” a term used in halftime advertisements for Cialis, it was a somewhat startling euphemism.

If Monday morning quarterbacks are any guide, few people thought it was by accident that Mr. Timberlake’s hand snaked across Ms. Jackson’s torso as he reached the lyric, “I’ll have you naked by the end of this song,” and tore off one bustier cup, releasing a breast partly obscured by a sunburst-shaped nipple brooch. The gesture seemed timed to more than the music: the very next commercial was a close-up of Ms. Jackson’s cleavage in a gaudy promotion for next week’s Grammy Awards on CBS. (Ms. Jackson denies that the nudity was deliberate, saying that Mr. Timberlake was supposed to rip away only the top layer and leave a bit of red lace behind.)

And nobody really has any reason to believe CBS when the network insists that it did not know the bodice ripping was in the works. That is not just because MTV produced the halftime show for CBS and both companies are owned by Viacom. One does not have to subscribe to conglomerate conspiracy theory to be suspicious. CBS has told so many howlers over the past 18 months that any claim to dignity — and righteous indignation — by this network is now open to snickering.

***CBS insisted there was no quid pro quo when it sent Pfc. Jessica Lynch a letter suggesting that an exclusive interview with CBS News would be rewarded with other lucrative contracts within the Viacom empire.

***CBS insisted that its decision to cancel the mini-series “The Reagans” had nothing to do with the right-wing lobbying campaign that threatened a boycott of advertisers’ products.

***And the network insisted that it did not sweeten a deal with Michael Jackson to secure a “60 Minutes” interview with him after his arrest last November as the network was preparing a Michael Jackson entertainment special.

Implausible deniability and the fungible walls between news and entertainment, and between art and commerce, exist at every major network. But like a high school student caught smoking pot by the principal, CBS can hardly wriggle free by arguing that everybody does it.

The beauty of the Janet Jackson to-do is that it could well be the one case in which CBS is telling the truth, and like the little network that cried wolf, nobody is listening. The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Michael Powell, was watching, however. He called the incident a “classless, crass and deplorable stunt” and called for a “thorough and swift” F.C.C. investigation. The National Football League also took umbrage, huffily announcing it was unlikely to invite MTV to produce a halftime show anytime soon. Perhaps the league will turn to MTV’s rival cable music station, VH1. (That should work. VH1 is also owned by Viacom.)

Even trussed as she was in a shiny “Matrix”/dominatrix outfit, Janet Jackson, 37, has never had much luck being taken seriously as a sex symbol, and it is unlikely that her Super Bowl surprise will be of much help there. But if her aim was to grab all the attention, as Madonna did when she kissed Britney Spears at the MTV Video Music Awards, then she did herself proud. And if she wanted to distract attention from her older, more famous and now more infamous brother Michael, then she achieved even that for a moment.

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i personally couldn’t help but notice that they missed an opportunity to call attention yet again to CBS’ censorship of moveon.org when listing their recent lapses of judgement, but hey – whaddaya gonnado?

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