All Articles Tagged "music business"

Record Executive Sylvia Rhone To Receive Presidential Award

January 28th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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From Black Enterprise 

It’s safe to say that power woman Sylvia Rhone is a game changer. The Music Business Association (Music Biz), formerly known as NARM and, will recognize her talents when they present her its prestigious Presidential Award for Sustained Executive Achievement to Rhone on Wednesday, May 7, at the Opening Session of the Music Biz 2014 annual convention at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles.

Rhone will be the first female executive to receive the Award, which has previously been presented to industry luminaries such as Clive Davis, Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun, Akio Morita, Walter Yetnikoff, Paul Smith, Henry Droz, Russ Solomon, Jack Eugster, Eric Paulson, Bob Higgins, Jim Urie, John Marmaduke, Dick Clark, Casey Kasem, Ted Cohen, and Don Cornelius, as well as organizational honorees such as the Country Music Association (CMA), the Recording Academy, and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

“I have had the fortune of working with many of the past honorees who have received this distinguished recognition from the Music Business Association, and it is a true privilege to be counted among them,” said Rhone.

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LA Reid Puts The Rumors To Rest And Says He And TLC Are Friends Forever

November 24th, 2013 - By Drenna Armstrong
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"LA Reid pf"

After rumors began running rampant that TLC had been dropped from Epic Records soon after their television movie aired and the debacle with Pebbles was reignited, the president of Epic, L.A. Reid has finally spoken out.

After keeping quiet for much of the week about the rumors, LA Reid finally chose to make a statement about TLC’s status on Twitter late Friday afternoon.

"LA Reid"

So that pretty much shuts down that rumor. But the problem is that they were taken down from the Epic Records website and now that it has been noticed, the girls have been added back to the list of Epic artists. So while LA’s tweet was all lilies and roses, something was certainly going on behind the scenes.  Website pages, especially not one of the biggest selling girl group of all time, don’t just magically disappear and then reappear after people start talking.

So we guess the TLC album is still being released by Epic Records for now and LA Reid wants everyone to know that he isn’t beefing (even if his ex-wife pretty much threw him in the mix) with Chilli and T-Boz.

As usual, we’re still watching this because something tells me this story is far from over.


Interested in Starting Your Own Record Label? Philerzy Productions Will Guide You On Your Way

August 15th, 2013 - By Candace Smith
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Photo by Kirsten Flippen

Photo by Kirsten Flippen

Many people would love the chance to break bread with the likes of Jay-Z, Irving Azoff, or Simon Cowell. But these music industry magnates come from humble beginnings, learning as much as they could before commanding millions of dollars.

Helen Bruner and Terry Jones, owners of Philerzy Productions and artists in their own right, sat down with us to talk about the tough but fulfilling road to owning your own music label, which is paved in sweat, hustle, and smarts. 

MadameNoire: How did you both get started in the music industry?

Helen Bruner: My first deal, my first record was in 1989 with Warlock Records. At that time I was a kid right out of high school and I had this song called “Over You.” I knew nothing about house music; my cousin took me to a club in New York and I was like “What is this?” [Soon after], I wrote a song, it got picked up.

From there, I went over to Cardiac Records, which was owned by Virgin Records in the 90s. I had my first top ten record, called “Gimme Real Love” on Cardiac. Cardiac was folded into Virgin Records and I recorded an album and in the midst of it all coming in on the second single, I got dropped from the label. I received a check from ASCAP because I wrote and produced my own material and it was quite lucrative, but it was from overseas. So, we [she and Terry] decided to hop a flight and go over to the UK. We found that we weren’t failures. We began to write all around and decided to start a record company.

Terry Jones: My mom was a famous R&B singer, Linda Jones. She passed away when I was a baby. As I grew up I watched her music being played on the radio and on TV. My sister and I were not receiving any residuals because when she passed, she was only 27. My family was not that familiar with the business of music and were so distraught they couldn’t pick up where she left off [in regards to the business]. As a young child I always said, “You know this is what I wanna do and when I grow up I’m gonna make sure that no one takes advantage of me.” So, I actually got a record deal on Atlantic Records.

During that time I had a manager that was handling my deal and the producer of the project received the advance and spent it all on drugs. At that point, because the budget was spent, I was dropped from the label. After that, Helen and I began to work together. We spent a lot of our time in Milan (for ten years!) and just took it all in and worked and decided to start our own label. It’s a global economy, so the experience that we had of being overseas and really learning how to conduct business internationally was really a blessing for us.

Dynamic Duet: Is The Rihanna/Chris Brown Collab “Nobodies Business” Good For Their Careers?

November 8th, 2012 - By Ann Brown
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Rihanna arriving to the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show yesterday. Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

It has been confirmed. Rihanna teamed up with Chris Brown — musically — for a track called “Nobodies Business” on her upcoming album, Unapologetic. The album also features collaborations with Eminem, Future and Mikky Ekko. It is set for release on Nov. 19.

So is “Nobodies Business” a good business move? Or will it backfire? We asked a few music industry pros what they thought.

Lee Cadena, owner of  Lee Cadena Management, has been in the business for more than two decades, so he has seen his share of artist controversy. “As an artist manager with a background in marketing/promotions and PR, I can tell you the Rihanna/Chris Brown situation makes for public voyeurism, conversation and scrutiny… all of which equals sales. It pushes tweets, Facebook postings and tickles all social media platforms, which from a business standpoint is great,” says Cadena, who has worked with the likes of  Teena Marie, Snoop Dogg, and Mary J. Blige.

Radio producer/personality Portia Kirkland agrees. “There’s music and then there’s the business. As a music marketer, you think hits, sales, synergy, creativity, but also free expression. Both Rihanna and Chris Brown are highly talented and I believe can create great music together,” she points out.

Loyal fans of both will probably read a message in the music, looking for a deeper meaning from the song. “I don’t see the collaboration disturbing the fan base unless it says ‘we haven’t grown; we haven’t healed; and we are the same couple that we were three years ago’,” Kirkland, who has also worked at 1017 Brick Squad where she handled marketing for French Montana, Nicki Minaj, Waka Flocka, points out. “Their collaboration should be deeper than just having a hot record. I think Rihanna and Chris should send a message to their fans that ‘we’re human, we’ve learned our lesson; and moving forward in a healthier space.’  Music is a powerful platform and Rihanna and Chris should use it to highlight their growth and healing. That’s what classic hits and strong brands are made of — life’s lessons, second chances and change.”

The boldness of the move also continues with the philosophy of Rihanna’s brand—one of a daring and independent artist. “[I]t will work to solidify her independent and unpredictable persona.  I think it’s a good idea because she should not let the public guide or determine her individual choices in life,” notes former record company executive Jackie Rhinehart, who is CEO and president of entertainment marketing firm Organic Soul Marketing. “That plus sex – implied– will sell, sell, sell!”

At the end of the day, however, the music still has to be good. A bad song, no matter how intriguing won’t have staying power. “The controversy may work in the moment and drive people to the record, but is the music good enough for consumers to purchase ten years from now?” says Cadena. “Building a career on quality music is key for catalog sales, which is what you want as an artist. Will it be considered a classic? Doubtful, but only time will tell. Until then, Rihanna… keep ya’ dukes up.”

Behind the Music: Top Black Women Music Industry Executives

April 13th, 2012 - By tgray
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Women have held their own the music charts since the charts were invented. But behind the scenes females in the music industry could boast of having little to know say. My, have things changed. Today’s black woman is not only filling the seats of the concert arenas, she’s taking her seat in the musical boardroom. From trailblazers like Sylvia Rhone, to innovators like Carmen Murray, women are calling the shots. Here’s our list of the top black woman music executives:


Sylvia Rhone is not done yet. The music world is eagerly anticipating the legendary executive to launch her own label through Epic Records. It will be the latest in a decades long list, of profound accomplishments. In 1994 she took the helm of chairman and CEO of Elektra Entertainment Group, making her the only African-American and the first woman in the history of the recording industry to earn that title. After her time in EEG’s C-suite, Rhone moved on to become president of Universal Motown Records. She departed in 2011. Her new label, which she is currently working on, will be overseen by Epic chief, L.A. Reid.

The Business of Dead Rappers

August 1st, 2011 - By TheEditor
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By Eric L. Hinton

For the rare few that get to experience it…fame is fleeting. A hit single, or random guest spot on the reality TV show of the moment gives a few fame mongers their 10 minutes before they slip back into mediocrity. Some, like Amy Winehouse, wither and self-destruct tragically under the white hot supernova of celebrity, while an elite group of others ride the ups and downs of fame most of their adult lives…think Tom Cruise or music phenoms like Madonna.

Then there are the very very select few for whom fame extends… even grows… into their deaths. In life they were celebrities, but in death Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Jimmy Hendrix, Elvis… more recently Michael Jackson, they’ve become iconic.

Included on that eclectic list are Tupac Shakur and Christopher Wallace, aka Biggie Smalls. The two men, former friends turned bitter rivals murdered at their creative peaks within 6 months of each other, are now linked in death in the minds of millions of fans much as they were in life.

Jeffrey Ogbar, professor of history and Associate Dean of the Humanities at the University of Connecticut, has researched the impact both men had during their lives and the sway that they both continue to have in death. “If they had been marginal figures at the time of their deaths this wouldn’t have happened,” said Ogbar, author of Hip-Hop Revolution: The Culture and Politics of Rap. “But because they were the two biggest figures in the industry at the time, it made them attractive figures for canonization as hip hop icons.”

5 Female and Under-The-Radar Songwriters Penning The Hits

July 23rd, 2011 - By TheEditor
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by Candice Hardy

You may sing these songs everyday driving to work, at the club, or even at after a bad break-up.  These anthems help you through the ups and downs of life.  But, do you know who is behind these lyrics?  Songwriting is dominated by men these days, especially in the R&B and Hip-Hop genres.  However, African American women are rightfully earning top spots next to their male counterparts.  Here are five female songwriters you may not know…


Angela Hunte-This singer and songwriter has written songs for Britney Spears, Danity Kane and newcomer, Melanie Fiona.  However, Hunte became even more recognized after she co-wrote the Grammy winning New York anthem “Empire State of Mind”, performed by Jay-z and Alicia Keys.  She sites growing up in New York as the reason for her love of all genres of music.

Branding Soul? Considering The History of Black Music and Big Business

July 5th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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by Mark Anthony Neal

The recent departure of Sylvia Rhone, from her position as President of Motown, received much attention, in part, because Erykah Badu’s cryptic tweet “Motown folded.”  The subsequent obituaries and premature obituaries for the label, seemed odd, if only because Motown has for decades existed as little more than a shell of the company that Berry Gordy founded in 1959, living off the fumes of one of the most impressive back catalogues in all of American pop music—managed by Universal Music.  Motown, for all intents “died” when it was sold to MCA in 1988, though Gordy wisely kept control of the Jobete Publishing company, which has proven more lucrative that the label ever was.

Instead the emotional reaction that many had to the potential “death” of Motown, speaks volumes, not only about the role of Soul music in the lives of many Americans, but also the cultural meanings that were assigned to record labels like Motown, Stax and later Philadelphia International Records (PIR), whose songs served as the soundtrack to Civil Rights struggles and post-Civil Rights era ambition.

Berry Gordy had a hustler’s instinct that was emblematic of the immediate years after post-World War II in American culture.  The American hustle was to sell the good life to as many buyers as possible.  The expansion of advertising culture, as evidenced in Mad Men’s throwback glance at the 1960s, went hand-in-hand with the institutionalization of corporate popular culture. Gordy learned his hustle from every other self-made business “man” of the 1950s, including record execs like Ahmet Ertugen, Jerry Wexler, and Don Robey (a loose inspiration for The Five Heart Beats’ “Big Red”).

Gordy may have loved music—he wrote hits for Jackie Wilson before founding Motown—but he was clear that Motown was, above all, a business. Gordy’s genius was linking that hustling ethos to the assembly-line production he witnessed first hand working in Detroit’s automobile factories.   In creating Motown, Gordy was also establishing a brand; he called it “The Sound of Young America” and was intent that young Americans—particularly, young White Americans would enjoy leisurely summer trips to the beach listening to Motown artists such as the Temptations, The Four Tops, Mary Wells, Marvin Gaye and most famously the Supremes.

With attention to detail, which included etiquette classes for artists, highly choreographed stage performances and a structured recording environment that even included an elaborate quality control process, Motown earned a reputation for hit records that were polished and crisp.

Rick James’ Estate Tries for Eminem-esque Royalties

April 5th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(New York Times) — Following a recent court decision that gave Eminem and his producers a higher royalty rate for digital music, the estate of Rick James has filed a class-action suit against the Universal Music Group, saying that the company has failed to properly account for royalties and may owe its artists “tens of millions of dollars.”  The suit, filed on Friday in United States District Court in San Francisco, seeks unspecified damages from Universal as compensation for unpaid royalties. The case was filed on behalf of a trust representing James, the singer of hits like “Super Freak” who signed with Motown — now owned by Universal — in 1977, and died in 2004.  In response, Universal said in a statement: “The complaint filed by the estate of Rick James suffers from many infirmities, not the least of which is that the claims asserted are not appropriate for class treatment. We intend to vigorously defend against it.”

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LA Reid Leaves Island Def Jam

March 18th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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( — After seven years of cultivating the careers of Island Def Jam superstars like Rihanna, Kanye West, and Justin Bieber, Island Def Jam Chairman LA Reid resigned this morning, reports  In a letter to his staff, Reid explains that he’s “always thrived on growth and the next great challenge, and I look forward with much enthusiasm to what the future holds.”

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