This week’s top music power broker rose from the near-certain death to claim the pole position. Terra Firma, which owns EMI, one of the four biggest record companies in the world, was circling the drain and threatening to take EMI with it, as it struggled to come up with the money it owned CitiGroup.
This week, Terra Firma boss Guy Hands, who’s largely seen as having made one mistake with EMI after another since Terra Firma bought EMI in 2007, secured the $156 million it needed to keep from defaulting on its loan to Citi. EMI is home to such hot artists as Lady Antebellum and Katy Perry, as well as the owner of such vaunted properties as the Beatles and Beach Boys catalogs.
The $156 million calls off the hounds, but only temporarily: Terra Firma will have to come up with a similar amount for each of the next two years to stay in good standing with Citi. It may raise funds by selling off assets, such as its very valuable publishing division or by making deals with Sony or Universal Music Group to distribute its product. But for now, Terra Firma lives to see another day.
1. Terra Firma (not ranked): Like a last-minute death row reprieve from the governor, Terra Firma, the company that owns EMI, secured the $156 million it needed in funding to keep from defaulting on its loan to Citigroup just in time.
2. Eminem (not ranked): Slim Shady is back. “Not Afraid,” the first single from “Recovery,” debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week, only the 16th song in the 52-year-old chart to start at the summit. Add in two stadium dates with Jay-Z announced Wednesday and we have to ask Relapse? What Relapse?
3. The major record labels (not ranked): Thirteen major record labels, including plaintiff Arista Records, scored a big victory on Wednesday when U.S. District Court Judge (and one-time Supreme Ct. nominee) Kimba Wood ruled that free peer-to-peer music file sharing system LimeWire is guilty of copyright violations. A June 1 conference with the judge is set, but Limewire hopes to reach a settlement with the labels before then. It’s like putting a band-aid on an amputation, but it’s something.
4. Godsmack (not ranked): No “Cryin’ like a Bitch” for Erna Sully and Co., as the little band from Boston scores its third chart topper on the Billboard 200, besting the sales of such acts as Justin Bieber, James Taylor & Carole King and the Dixie Chicks’ spin-off, Court Yard Hounds.
5. Lollapalooza (not ranked): It’s a crowd-a-palooza as the three-day Chicago festival announces that it will sell 20,000 more tickets per day to this year’s Aug. 6-8 shindig. That’s on top of the 225,000 tickets already sold. Coachella and Stagecoach both had banner years; looks like Lolla will too.
6. “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” soundtrack (No. 8 last week): So great remains “Twilight” fever that even the seven-hour roll out of the line-up for the companion album to the third movie in the series makes news. And with exclusive tracks from Muse, Beck, the Dead Weather and Vampire Weekend, among others, why not? Forget about Team Jacob or Team Edward. We’re Team Alex Patsavas, the movie’s music supervisor.
7. Tim McGraw and Faith Hill (not ranked): Music city’s reigning power couple calls on all their friends in high places to participate in “Nashville Rising,” a June 22 benefit concert in Music City to help flood victims. Who heeds the call? Miley Cyrus, Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Brooks & Dunn, Martina McBride, LeAnn Rimes and many others.
8. Charice (not ranked): Have you heard her? The 18-year old Filipina with the rag-to-riches tale has captured Oprah’s heart. She had the little girl with the big voice on her show on Tuesday, the same day her David Foster-produced album hit stores. She may debut higher than hipster faves The Dead Weather and The National on next week’s album chart. Move over Celine Dion, there’s a new girl in town. Click here to hear “Pyramids,” the remix of which reached No. 2 on Billboard’s dance charts. The million dollar question? Will little kids like her as much as their soccer moms do?
9. Greyson Chance (not ranked): Okay, sure we won’t remember this 12-year-old YouTube sensation’s performance of “Paparazzi” at his school’s assembly 15 minutes from now, but do you have the power to get Lady GaGa to call in and surprise you on “The Ellen Show? “ I didn’t think so.
10. Lena Horne (not ranked): A music power broker this week? No, but we have to pay respect to the great Horne, who died this week at 92. In addition to being a ferocious talent (Did anyone ever sing “Stormy Weather” as elegantly as she?), she was a fierce civil rights advocate who never took the easy way out.