Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend” has sold 300k this week and has already surpassed his best-ever first week of 199k for “Baby” in 2010. “Boyfriend” is forecasted to sell 400-450k for the week, which would be one of the Top 5 digital downloads total of all time. (Billboard)

Universal Music Said to Plan Sale of Three Music Catalogs

Vivendi SA (VIV)’s Universal Music Group plans to sell three music-publishing catalogs ahead of its EMI acquisition, said a person with knowledge of the situation.

Universal Music hired Bank of America Merrill Lynch (MER) to sell classical, Christian and German schlager catalogs, said the person, who wasn’t authorized to talk publicly. A sale may raise as much as $200 million, the person said.

Universal Music, the world’s biggest record company, said in November it would sell non-strategic assets to help finance its $1.9 billion acquisition of EMI’s recorded music business from Citigroup Inc. Universal Music also plans to sell real estate holdings in France and Germany that are leased to other companies, the person said.

Representative for Universal and Vivendi couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The music catalogs have drawn 12 bidders including KKR & Co.-controlled BMG Rights Management, according to The Financial Times, which reported the decision earlier today.

Vivendi today rose 0.3 percent to 14.06 euros in Paris trading at 9:44 a.m. The stock has declined 17 percent this year. Universal Music, based in Santa Monica, California, is seeking U.S. and European approvals to complete its EMI acquisition

How ‘The Hunger Games’ scored a marketing win

The Hunger Games” movie was expected to be big. But no studio could have dared hope for this. The first film installment of Suzanne Collins’ bestselling trilogy of young adult novels, which premiered Friday, brought throngs of fans to theaters, to the tune of $155 million at the domestic box office and $59.3 million internationally, garnering a fat $214 million in global profits on its opening weekend. It shattered box office records in the process (before adjusting for inflation)….

Read the rest here……



Album Sales

Universal Republic’s The Hunger Games soundtrack will be the first non-Columbia title in 12 weeks to top the chart as the album appears on track for an opening just shy of 200k. With the film opening tomorrow, a strong weekend box office could potentially help drive sales even higher. UMG will also score the #1 album in the following two weeks as Madonna and Nicki Minaj will both debut on top. Columbia will have five of the TopSix albums next week and although Adele’s 21 is no longer #1, it has sold a whopping 2.4 million albums this year alone and will repeat as 2012’s best selling album. Here’s how it looks headed into the weekend:

*The Hunger Games (Universal Republic) 180-200k
Adele 21 (XL/Columbia) 125-135k
*The Shins (Columbia) 70-75k
One Direction (Columbia) 55-60k
*Odd Future (Columbia/RED) 40-45k
Bruce Springsteen (Columbia) 35-40k
Whitney Houston (RCA) 28-32k
*Melanie Fiona (SRC/Universal Republic) 27-30k
Now 41 (Capitol/EMI) 24-27k
fun. (Fueled by Ramen/Atlantic) 21-24k
Gotye (Fairfax/Universal Republic) 20-23k
*Diggy (Atlantic) 20-23k
*Esperanza Spaulding (Concord) 20-23k
Adele 19 (XL/Columbia) 18-21k
Luke Bryan (Capitol Nashville/EMI) 17-20k
Rihanna (Def Jam/IDJ) 17-20k
Kelly Clarkson (19/RCA) 17-20k


Lynton To Take Charge Of Sony Entertainment

Michael Lynton, co-chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment since 2004, is expected to be named to a newly created position that will also oversee the company’s music and publishing, television production and cable operations, the New York Post reported today (Wednesday), citing unnamed sources. The move, said the newspaper, will be part of what it called a major shake-up of the company to be launched by Kazuo Hirai, when he takes over as Sony’s president and CEO on April 1. The plan is to put Lynton in charge of Sony’s entertainment businesses while Hirai himself focuses on its consumer-electronics unit, which has been hit hard by the strong yen and disasters such as the 2011 tsunami, floods in Thailand that played havoc with supply distribution, and riots in London that destroyed a DVD/Blu-ray Disc warehouse. Lynton’s elevation, said the Post, is expected to broaden the powers of Sony Pictures Co-Chairman Amy Pascal, who will presumably have the “Co” removed from her title. The Post report did not indicate whether she will assume the title of CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, which Lynton now holds independently. »

Ted Field gets back into the record biz

Interscope co-founder Ted Field is getting back into the record biz. TheN.Y. Daily News reports the Chicago-born retail store mogul is putting a “new, big record label into play” that will be backed by Sony Music and Doug Morris (pictured), who brought Interscope into the fold while at UMG after it left WMG.  The report says the label has been staffing up “for a few months” and that Sony “is not only helping to bankroll the project, but will distribute.” 

Britney Spears Rejects $10M Bid to Judge ‘X Factor’

Britney Spears has rejected a $10 million offer to judge the next season of “The X Factor,” TheWrap has learned.

So the question is: How much is Fox going to have to pony up? Try $20 million.

Reports this week that the pop star was considering a $10 million offer to judge next fall’s seasons of “The X Factor” are out of date, according to a knowledgeable individual in Spears’ camp.

The singer rejected that offer three weeks ago and is instead thinking about an offer to become a resident performer at a Las Vegas hotel in the fall, a la Celine Dion.

So here comes a game of chicken. Fox desperately needs a big name to announce on the judge’s panel of Simon Cowell’s show, now that NBC’s hit show “The Voice” will be competing with them in the fall.

Spears’ camp wants $20 million. (EvenI think that’s ridiculous and Fox won’t pay that.)

But the reality is it’s becoming an arms race for singing talent being paid to sit behind tables and… talk.

NBC has put its money where its mouth is, paying Christina Aguilera upward of $10 million to come back and judge the new season of “The Voice.” They’ve given handsome paychecks, if not as much, to the other judges as well.

What Fox has shelled out for the “X Factor” judges pales in comparison. Paula Abdul was paid $2.5 million for the last season, according to another knowledgeable insider, and she was announced at the 11th hour.

She was also fired, as were judge Nicole Scherzinger and host Steve Jones.

“X Factor” is already recording its audition phase, but won’t need the judges until the end of May.

Fox wouldn’t comment. Spears’ camp wouldn’t comment. Simon Cowell’s camp wouldn’t comment.

But what the network wants is a big piece of news to present to advertisers at their upfront sales presentations on May 14.

Where does this game of chicken end? Somewhere in between, I would imagine.

BMG Chrysalis hires new staff

BMG Chrysalis continues to beef up its film and television staff. The latest additions are Alex Flores asDirector, Marketing, Film & TV, and Lauriana Zuluaga as Director, Marketing & Licensing, Film & TV. Flores will be based in the company’s L.A. offices, and Zuluaga will work out of BMG Chrysalis HQ in NY.

Flores duties will include placing the BMG roster of songs into upcoming films, as well as bringing in new artists, while Zuluaga will oversee all aspects of licensing, including pitching, negotiating and contract administration. Said Flores, who comes to BMG from Walt Disney Studios, For me, it’s all about marrying my two passionsmusic and film. There’s nothing better than being the accomplice in the creative process, championing our talent, bringing them opportunities and making sure we stay true to their goals and vision. Commented Zuluaga, who spent ther last four-plus years at Sony Music, I’m absolutely thrilled that BMG Chrysalis has given me the opportunity to join their licensing team at such an exciting time. With some of the best titles around, I’m a kid in a candy store. I can’t wait to share all these goodies with the ad world. (3/14a) (HITS DAILY DOUBLE)

Turntable.FM Signs Licensing Deals With All Four Major Labels — It’s Official

Turntable.fm is going legit, with licensing agreements with all four of the major labels now in place. The announcement was made today at South By Southwest by Turntable.fm founder Billy Chasen and co-founder Seth Goldstein during the panel “Turntable.FM: The Future of Music Is Social,” and follows reports last week that the site was nearing agreements with several labels.

“This feels like an all-time record speed launch – when we launched we really didn’t come at this from the music industry, it was all new to us,” Goldstein told Billboard.biz of the nine-month-old service’s new licensing deals. “Our model is unique – we’re not a radio service, not an on-demand service. We have interesting aspects that really require some out-of-the-box thinking. We felt that from the get-go the labels were absolutely different from what I’d been led to believe. They gave us a lot of time and attention. Compared to their user base, we’re a tiny service in the broad scheme of things.”

Turntable.fm Scores ASCAP, BMI Licensing

Indeed, the traffic numbers of Turntable.fm tell a different story from that of Pandora and Spotify. Since debuting in late June 2011, Turntable.fm has yet to eclipse the monthly traffic record it reached during its full month in July – 207,000 unique web-based visitors, according to Comscore, although it has been steadily regaining traffic in recent months, achieving its third-highest month in February with 176,000 visitors. Pandora, by comparison, reached 17.4 million web-based uniques and the still-nascent Spotify was visited by 1.1 million uniques during the same period. (By Andrew Hampp, New York)

Read more here…


Adele ‘would have got X Factor axe’

World-conquering star Adele would have been rejected if she had tried to find fame on The X Factor, according to The Script’s frontman Danny O’Donoghue.

The Irish star – a judge on BBC One’s soon-to-launch talent show The Voice – believes Adele would not have succeeded because her look does not fit “the mould”.

But he reckons she would have had no difficulties on his new Saturday night programme which aims to reward talent rather than image. The Voice auditions contestants without actually seeing them.

Curvaceous star Adele has found global fame in the past year, crowned with six Grammys and a double Brit win last month. Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld drew condemnation recently when he remarked that she was “too fat”.

O’Donoghue said other talent shows would have failed to give her a chance because she did not look like a conventional pop star.

He said: “We need to take the music industry by the scruff of the neck and get it back out of ‘everybody needs to be in this mould and if you’re not in this silhouette of that’s what a pop star should be then you’re not getting in’.

“There’s artists out there that are breaking the mould. Adele’s a perfect example. Six Grammys.

“If she’d have probably gone on one of those shows, maybe they would have taken her at face value and gone ‘uh-oh’. Not on The Voice.”