In our second week of ranking the Music Power Players, we have some new names and some holdovers, but chances are the man at No. 1, you may have never heard of. But never fear, you may not know him, but he knows all about you and he’s trying to figure out a way to get his fingers on your wallet as you read this.  If you’ve ever bought a concert ticket, Irving Azoff probably has your name in a data base. If you’ve bought an album by Christina Aguilera, the Eagles, Seal or nearly 200 other acts, he had something to say about it.

Also, a number of acts, including B.o.B., Green Day, and the irrepressible Justin Bieber live to see another week on the chart, but did they rise or fall?


Posted Friday, April 30, 2010

1.Irving Azoff (not ranked)
No less than the New York Times declared the Live Nation Entertainment  chairman “arguably the most powerful man in the history of pop music” in an April 26 profile.  Not just the most powerful person now, but EVER, people. We’re not so sure about that, but it’s true of today. Following the merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation, the breadth of Azoff’s empire, between ticketing, venues, concert promotion and artist management, it’s nearly impossible to find a mainstream act, whose career he doesn’t have a hand in.

2. Lady GaGa, Taylor Swift, Elton John and Prince (not ranked)
All four artists made the 2010 Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world for various reasons, but it’s hard to argue with their inclusion. We wonder how they feel about sharing the spotlight with the likes of Glenn Beck?

3. “Glee” cast and “The Power of Madonna” (last week, No. 3)
It’s an unbeatable combination. The seven-song set of Madge covers sent Gleeks into paroxysms of delight. The collection topped the Billboard 200 this week, but that wasn’t the only good news. According to Billboard, “Glee’s” version of “Like a Prayer” was downloaded 87,000 times after the show aired and comes in at No. 27 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week. Madonna’s catalog also saw a 44% boost. “The Power of Madonna?” How about the power of “Glee?” Our dream? Madonna makes an appearance as the coach of a rival cheerleading squad and she and Sue have a “Vogue”-off.

4. Shakira (not ranked)

The singer swung her powerful hips towards Arizona this week, loudly and intelligently speaking out against the state’s new law that requires police to stop anyone they have reason to believe may be an illegal immigrant and ask to see their papers showing they are in the U.S. legally.  To be sure, she’s not the only artist to speak out—but Public Enemy’s Chuck D and Linda Ronstadt are among musicians making noise-- but she’s the one with the biggest bully pulpit so far. She met with the Phoenix mayor, who opposes the bill. Gov. Jan Brewer, who signed the bill into law,  declined to meet with the Colombian singer. If the law stands—and there’s no reason to believe it can withstand a Constitutional challenge—will we see acts boycotting playing Arizona?.

5. B.o.B. (same)
Six months ago you’d never heard of him and now he has not only the No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 for the second week in a row with “Nothin’ On You,” but another single, “Airplanes,” (with Paramore’s Hayley Williams) at No. 9. Plus, his debut album, “The Adventures of Bobby Ray,” is poised to come it at No. 1 on next week’s Billboard 200. 

6. Justin Bieber (last week, No. 1)
“My World 2.0” may have fallen from the top of the charts, but as Bieber Fever continues to sweep the globe, he’s shaping up to be the biggest teen idol in years. After 5,000 fans surged at the very thought of seeing their favorite teen moppet at a concert in the  Sydney Harbour, the police had to cancel his appearance. The power of a young, non-threatening boy on young girls should never, ever be underestimated. As the great bluesman Willie Dixon so truthfully stated: “The men don’t know, but the little girls understand.” Of course, we don’t think this is what he had in mind.

7. David Letterman (not ranked)

He’s already the king of late night (even if the ratings don’t always reflect it). He owns a racing team and god knows what else. Now, he’s decided to get into the music business. His company Worldwide Pants is clearly going for Worldwide Domination with the launch of Clear Entertainment, a label formed in conjunction with Capitol Records and MRV. First act is Huntington Beach pop-rock band, Runner Runner. We bet they won’t have any trouble getting booked on “The Late Show.” The real question is if they start to have a big hit, will Leno book them. Do you even have to ask?

8. Stagecoach (not ranked)
Though it plays second fiddle to Coachella and sits in the shadows of its much hipper, alternative music sibling, in part because it’s held on the same Indio, Calif.-polo grounds, this two-day country music festival has turned into a must-attend event for music fans. This year’s festival, which concluded April 25, juxtaposed hardline traditionalists like the legendary Merle Haggard, alongside pop country acts like Sugarland, drawing 100,000 people in the process.

9. Spotify (not ranked)

Sure, we know that Spotify, a peer-to-peer music service, isn’t available here yet- despite being all the rage across Europe. And some pundits think it can’t work here, despite the founder’s belief that the on-demand service could launch stateside later this year. We’re including Spotify anyway because it’s a good company to keep your eye on and Spotify underwent a major revamping this week that made it even more popular than before. Among the new features? You can see the playlists of your Facebook friends. You can also wirelessly sync you playlist with your iPod. With LaLa announcing its shuttering this week (what does Apple, which bought LaLa last year have in mind here?), Spotify  may have found its opening….although we imagine Steve Jobs will do everything in his power to stop it.

10. Green Day (last week, No. 9)

The box office grosses for “American Idiot” soared on Broadway following the musical’s official premiere. Variety reported that the earned $300,000 more than last week than it did the week before in previews. Plus, the Tony buzz for Best Musical is fairly deafening. However, Green Day’s score for the musical, will not be eligible for Best Score, since less than 50% of the music was written for the stage show. The Tony nominations will be announced Tuesday (May 4). The Tony Awards will be held June 13.

Previous Rankings:

April 23, 2010

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