Hits/Warner Music Group

Lyor.  Please do us a favor and write Dennis and Lenny a check.  Write it off as a charitable donation.  Relief from the constant bombardment of our eyeballs and sensibilities on hitsdailydouble.com.

I hope that hitsdailydouble.com is one of your bookmarked sites.  And that you visit it at least twice a day.  "Billboard" delivers a cleansed version of the news.  Whereas the Dennis and Lenny site will deliver every good rumor, every good fact they can lay their hands on.  Unfortunately, that’s not all they deliver.  You see, they don’t seem to care that much about providing a service to the viewers at large, they most desire money.  Yes, they want to get paid.  As handsomely as they have been for the past fifteen years.  Well, up until the last couple, when the business crashed.

Dennis and Lenny are powerful guys.  And brilliant too.  They saw the handwriting on the wall.  Rather than risk prosecution as independent record promoters they created a magazine.  And charged their clients for ads.  And for this payment, the pair delivered radio promotion, or so they said.

But then the toxic twins got even smarter.  What if they INFILTRATED the record companies.  Wouldn’t that make them very powerful?  Almost as powerful as the PRESIDENTS of said labels?  Dennis and Lenny started brokering gigs.  In a fluid business, where people are constantly getting fired and hired, Dennis and Lenny created the equivalent of an employment agency.  They got you a gig.  Or found you a guy, sometimes even one under contract.  For this, quite understandably, they expected tribute.  They expected a commitment.  In dollars.  Yes, seemingly all of the promo men in the business were beholden to the powerful pair, and therefore they budgeted mucho dinero to be paid to them.  Labels had contracts.  And if you paid, you got good ink.  And if not, well, if you were mentioned at all, it was negatively.

Then the bottom fell out.  Labels started consolidating.  People were laid off.  Many of the "Hits"-placed employees lost their gigs.  Still, it wasn’t until financials turned really bad that labels stopped paying "Hits".  And, the twins didn’t like it.

God, no one likes losing his job.  Can I tell you about all the fiftysomething promotion men who can’t get another gig and ended up in divorce court, if not bankruptcy?  Used to be you could get a gig in the video business.  But those days are gone.  And I’m not sure the real estate ranks have room for another ex-promo man.  But Dennis and Lenny possess one thing these laid off employees don’t.  A voice.  And they’re utilizing it.  Like screaming babies they’re kicking and whining and trying to manipulate those in a changed world to play by the old rules.

Oh, not that Dennis and Lenny aren’t trying to survive on their own terms.  They’re now managers.  You can tell by the constant hype for Hoobastank and Fall Out Boy on their site.  And that’s bad enough, but ultimately laughable.  But the constant assault on the Warner Music Group is unconscionable.

Then again, what Edgar Bronfman and Thomas H. Lee have done to the Warner Music Group is unconscionable.  They’ve extracted their investment and many more millions and left the enterprise saddled with debt.  Jeff Kwatinetz wanted his share, that could be why he made a stink with Linkin Park just before the IPO.  And Dennis and Lenny want their share.  But, unlike Kwatinetz, they’ve got no chips to cash in.  So, they’ve just got a constant public defamation campaign on their site.  Poking fun at Edgar, Lyor and all their employees.  When the bottom line is, there’s just not money to pay them.  It’s not in the budget.  Lyor can’t see exactly what Dennis and Lenny can do for him other than stop writing this shit.

Oh, Lyor used to play ball.  In the IDJ days.  But shit happens, things change.  Warner is a public company.  It just can’t justify paying for what appears to be nothing.  What with having settled with Spitzer.

Yet, none of this stops Dennis and Lenny.  It’s endless.

It’s kind of like the labels themselves.  Carping at their customers regarding a changed landscape.  Why are they acquiring tracks, why aren’t they buying albums on CD?  Why can’t things be the way they used to be?

The labels are just a couple of years and a couple of changes behind Dennis and Lenny.  They’re heading for extinction too.  But rather than try to squeeze blood from a stone, why can’t Dennis and Lenny find a new way to get paid.  Look at Charles Koppelman.  He didn’t rail against EMI endlessly after he was blown out.  He tried to be a financial whiz with a Bowie Bonds operation.  And when that didn’t pan out, he sidled up to Martha Stewart.  Hell, he was even featured in "Newsweek".  Why can’t Dennis and Lenny find a new venture?  And leave us left in the music business alone, without the constant harangue of anti-WMG bullshit.  They’ve got a head start on the remaining major label executives.  They’re smarter than most of them.  And richer too.  Which is testament to their high level of intelligence.

Kallman told me he’s safe.  Lyor hasn’t got the budget.  And Atlantic is cold.  Do you ask for money when someone’s broke?  Let’s leave the Warner Music Group alone to find its own way.  And, if Edgar truly is contemplating pulling up stakes in Burbank, and moving Warner Brothers Records to the Big Apple, that leaves a giant hole here on the west coast, which maybe these two can fill, if they’re desirous of staying in the business.

More change is afoot at Warner.  It’s all about the bottom line.  And Atlantic is in trouble.  But whatever happens, even if Julie Greenwald ascends to the top, it’s just a sideshow.  The real action isn’t in this game anymore.  Power has shifted to the artists, and those who know this.

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