The latest music biz buzz that’s yet to go viral is that one of the three remaining major labels is shopping for a buyer and, according to a well-informed source, “it ain’t Warner”. According to the source, the boards of both Sony and Vivendi are sick of holding on to, in his words, “these bags of shit” and want to divest. “One of these company’s will be sold in the next 6 to 12 months,” he says.
Its long been whispered that the Vivendi board has had buyer’s remorse over the purchase of EMI last year, which has caused a rift between the French and Universal Music CEO Lucian Grainge, who was recently pronounced the most powerful man in the music business by Billboard Magazine. Vivendi was able to offload part of their initial outlay with the sale of Parlophone, but that may not have been enough to satisfy the board.
As for Sony, it’s stale at best. “Sony’s a nice company. It’s fairly insignificant really”, Grainge recently told the Financial Times. ”They’ve got some good acts and deals that I’d like us to have some day…I don’t care about Doug Morris. I don’t care about Sony. That’s the past. It’s an old company.” Grainge is right to the extent that Sony Music septuagenarian CEO Doug Morris, doppelganger Mel Lewinter, legacy holdover Rob “Fredo” Stringer, and ex-reality tv star L.A. Reid haven’t really set the music world on fire. Sony isn’t known for being innovative, but then again, who in the recording industry is? Jimmy Iovine? How about Tommy Mottola or Clive Davis? Certainly not Doug Morris. Some reports say he’s still trying to learn how to use email.
The bigger question is who would spend billions to buy one of these companies? News Corp? Viacom? Maybe Bertelsmann (again)? Comcast? Burkel or Perelman? Somebody is reportedly looking hard at one or both of the two labels and you have to remember there’s a lot of stupid money floating around out there.
© 2013, Wayne Rosso. All rights reserved.