What started as rumors several months ago ended as reality today as Access Industry’s purchased Warner Music Group today for $3.3 billion in an all-cash transaction. While many industry pundits expected rival label group to get purchased again first following the Citi fiasco, WMG—home to REM and Green Day among others—moved to the front of the line.
Access Industry, helmed by Russian billionaire Len Blavatnik, outbid approximately 10 other bidders in the auction, and will take the company private, depriving all of us who were watching the constantly fluctuating stock price of a daily pleasure.
In terms of what’s next: speculation is that Chairman/CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. will remain and will oversee a likely acquisition of EMI and the sell off of publishing arm Warner/Chappell.
1) Warner Music Group (No. 8): Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries buys the debt-ridden company for $3.3 billion. Want a little perspective as to how much fortunes in the music industry have fallen? In 1998, Seagram paid $10.6 billion for the smaller Polygram. Will Access now buy EMI and finally merge the two.
2) Lady Gaga (not ranked): The video for “Judas” premiered Thursday night and by Friday it had received 5 million views. Will it be enough to push the pulsating track back up the Hot 100? Plus, LG’s Monster Ball tour closed on Friday with a gross of $227.4 million, the most ever--and certainly the longest-- for by a debut headlining act, according to Billboard.
3) Adele (not ranked): She takes a licking and keeps on ticking. She gets knocked out of the top spot on the Billboard 200 only to pop back up to the top spot: she spends her sixth week there this week. We say she’s got two more before Lady Gaga knocks her out, but we wouldn’t put it past her to climb back up again after Momma Monster has her initial run
4) “The Voice” (not ranked): NBC’s new singing competition is already proving to be a sale boon-——for its coaches. The week after the show’s debut, mentor Cee Lo Green’s “The Lady Killer” leaps 72-48 on the Billboard 200, while the Adam Levine-fronted Maroon 5’s “Hands All Over” re-enters the chart at No. 106, representing a 27% jump in sales.
5) Simon Cowell (not ranked): With the U.S. launch of “The X Factor” drawing nearer, co-creator Simon Cowell certainly can’t need the money. He leapt over Sting and Mick Jagger to land at No. 6 on the list of Britain’s richest music folks with an estimated worth of $330 million.
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6) “Glee” (not ranked): The only surprise is that it took this long: “Glee Live! 3D!,” a film from the TV glee club group’s North American tour, will hit movie theaters in August. Do we really need to see this on in 3D?
7) The Music industry (not ranked): Of course it’s not going to rise like a Phoenix, but with the absence of any major blockbusters outside of Adele, music sales are still managing to pick up over the same time period last year. Through May 1, digital track sales are up 8% according to Nielsen SoundScan, and originally reported in Billboard. Yeah, you read that right. Up.
8) Stagecoach (not ranked): It doesn’t get the attention that Coachella does, but the two-day country fest, held on the same Indio, Calif. fairgrounds two weeks after the alt-fest and similarly produced by AEG’s Goldenvoice subsidiary, was another victorious festival. Headlined by Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts and Carrie Underwood, Stagecoach drew 55,000 people each day for a gross of around $10 million, according to Billboard. Country strong, indeed.
9) Live Nation (not ranked): Hey, we’ll take any good news these days. Revenue for the concert promotion giant rose 17% over Q1 2010. Additionally, ticket sales volume was up 13% over the same time last year.
10) Judy McGrath (not ranked): CEO of MTV Networks steps down after 30 years MTV Networks-- in other words, she was there when MTV still played music videos. Seriously, as someone who covered MTV for part of McGrath’s tenure, she was and remains a class act.
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