Saturday, August 4, 2012


  • Palace Music Group, LLC’s Business leaders want their employees to be fully engaged in the work they do instead of simply going through the motions. Senior management must find ways to get its A&R’s to fully engage their passions and talents every day, while ensuring that individual A&Rs’ differences are blended into a good uniform experience for its customers.
  • It can admittedly be very awkward to find a balance between these two vital – yet sometimes divergent – leadership responsibilities. Through its principle of Make It Your Own, however, Palace Music Group, LLC has managed to create a model that encourages A&R’s at all levels to pour their creative energy and dedication into their jobs and inspire customers in legendary ways.
  1. 2.      This structure is known as the “Five Ways of Being”.
  • WAY #1 : Be welcoming
    • Palace Music Group, LLC, “being welcoming” is an essential way to get the artist’s visit off to a positive start, and is also the foundation for producing a warm and comfortable environment. It lets A&Rs forge bonds with artists.
    • “ Being welcoming”, at its essence, is defined as “offering everyone a sense of belonging”. A&R’s should do all they can to create a place where artist feel that they are a priority and where their day can be brightened, at least for a moment.
    • Welcoming people by name and remembering them from visit to visit is a small thing, but it counts very much. People fear just being another member of the herd; they want to have their uniqueness recognized.
  • WAY #2: Be genuine
  • At Palace Music Group, LLC, being genuine means to “connect, discover, and respond”. Focusing on these three elements in each artist interaction forms a quality relationship:
    • Connect. Legendary service comes from a desire and effort to exceed what the customer expects. Customers have repeatedly shared experiences of  Palace Music Group, LLC A&Rs making a connection well beyond some formulaic greeting. Individual staff uniqueness gives them a special way to connect with others.
  • 2. Discover. Business success requires the discovery of each artist’s needs and individual situation. Discovery is essential to developing a unique and genuine bond. The special qualities and needs of each artist must be determined.
  • 3. Respond. A lot of businesses do manage to achieve the first two elements, but they don’t always act on what they learn. Palace Music Group, LLC’s A&R’s not only listen to their artists, but also take action immediately based on what they hear and learn from these experiences for future artist interactions.
  • WAY #3: Be considerate
  • Palace Music Group, LLCs A&Rs look beyond their needs and consider the needs of others – artists, artist customers, critics, co-workers, other shareholders, and even the environment – in sum, the entire universe of people and things Palace Music Group, LLC affects.
  • At the corporate level, “being considerate” means exploring the long-term well-being of A&Rs and those individuals whose lives the A&Rs touch
  • Thoughtfulness should become a part of a our company’s culture. Leaders should place a priority on consideration and encourage our staff to put their own twist on the concept.
  • WAY #4: Be knowledgeable
  • What does being knowledgeable mean in this context? Palace Music Group, LLC A&Rs are always encouraged to love what they do and share it with others.
  • A&Rs are encouraged to enhance their expertise in customer service. Value is always added to A&Rs’ efforts when they gain work-related knowledge. In addition, as they become more informed, their value to the business, self-confidence, and the impact they have on others all increase.
  • Palace Music Group, LLC upper management also offers formal training opportunities to develop their knowledge of the music business that can lead to personal insights for artists.
  • WAY#5: Be involved
  • This means nothing less than active participation in the company and in the community – a “yes, I will” attitude where breakthrough products and service are created. There must be a move away from a “bare minimum is OK” mentality.
  • A&Rs look around the business for clues on how to make the artist experiences and the business better and to improve the manner in which artist needs are served.
  • continued
  • The management makes it a point to listen and respond to the ideas and suggestions of A&Rs – as a result, A&Rs frequently take responsibility for suggesting and championing new product ideas based on the inputs from their artists.
  • Lastly, there is community involvement, which can take many forms – from creating a community meeting place to staff volunteering in community-related activities, all of which are encouraged and supported by Palace Music Group, LLC leadership.
  • All business is detail. When details are overlooked or missed, even the most patient artists can be frustrated and costly errors can occur. What’s more, only a handful of unhappy artists bring their complaints to management – the rest simply bring their dollars elsewhere, and share their grievances with family members, friends, and acquaintances. (People are more likely to talk about unpleasant experiences than pleasant ones.)
  • Leaders have to understand that they must take care of both the “below-deck” (unseen aspects) and the “above-deck” (artist-facing) components of the customer experience. In the world of music business, everything truly does matter.
A small detail can sometimes make the difference between success and failure. Important details live in both that which is seen and that which is unseen by the artist. There is absolutely no way to hide poor quality in anything. Hide it though some may try, it always becomes evident in the end.

  • Website environment, product quality, training (doesn’t need to be boring, conventional or mundane), the development of a playful culture (a playful and positive work environment produces vital and engaged members), and a social conscience all matter a great deal.
    • The “Palace sensation” is driven not just by the quality of its products, but by the entire atmosphere surrounding the purchase of its entertainment packages, the openness of its webstore staff, interesting site, and other things besides.
    • The art of retailing MP3’s – and indeed many other things as well – goes way beyond product. The details of the total experience matter, from DOWNLOAD to delivery.
  • Details affect the emotional connection (the “felt sense”) that others have with you and your service or product.
  • A&R’s should go out and ask what details artists notice about their businesses, in order to know exactly what to focus on (this doesn’t mean however that whatever’s invisible to the artists can be neglected, of course).
  • Acknowledge the importance of everything, celebrate all the details, and play – have fun while working hard to make sure that everything is as good as you can make it!
  • Lastly, not only does everything matter; everyone matters as well.
  • This idea behind the importance of this principle is hardly a new one. As early back as 1912, the Rueckheim brothers, who are behind the successful candy brand Cracker Jack, already knew that adding a surprise to each package would dramatically increase the appeal of their product.
  • In that vein, delight is the caramelized popcorn – the basic product that your artists get – while surprise is the prize they get! Artists want the predictable and the consistent, while hoping for an occasional positive twist or added value thrown in.
  • Nowadays, people have a certain anticipation for something special with just about every purchasing experience, or hope they will get surprised, even in the most mundane experiences.
  • Today’s artists are far more discerning than ever before and far harder to please than any others who came before them.
  • To make matters worse, they have developed an insatiable appetite for what is unique and amazing in just about everything they buy. Most artists have such a high threshold for the cutting-edge and the most up-to-date that they thumb their noses at almost everything that doesn’t qualify as such.
  • The most effective events are natural and spontaneous, not artificial or forced. Look first for a need, and then step in and fill it in the most genuine and spontaneous way possible.
  • Surprise can result from as simple a series of events as offering a little guidance, and then stepping in and getting out of the way and watching (and learning) as people search for the things that bring them joy.
  • Your efforts to surprise others are a contagious force. Look for genuine opportunities to do the positively unexpected. This creates a “ripple effect” that will have artists talking and not only will help bring people to the web store, but will also serve to spread good word about our product quality and level of service. And, artists often end up surprising the web staff and/or one another as well!
  • Artist delight comes from surprise as well as predictability. You should ensure that your artists rely on you and your staff to provide both products and experiences at a consistently high level of quality. The occasional surprise will only serve to sweeten the pot and bring people back for more.
  • When breakdowns occur, businesses can still delight customers by making things right. You can and should view breakdowns as unexpected (and not entirely unwelcome) opportunities to improve your artist experience.
  • Delight is the result of an unwavering commitment to creating a comfortable and trusted relationship. If extra time and energy has been invested in delighting others and not simply satisfying them, you will be rewarded with nothing less than extraordinary results.
It was once noted that a person only profits from praise when he values criticism, and
Palace Music Group, LLC management has taken this to heart. Valuing criticism is a major part of the Palace Music Group, LLC puzzle. Embracing resistance involves a complex set of skills that can enable businesses and individuals to create business and relationship opportunities when confronted with irritation, skepticism, and/or wariness. This principle requires leaders to distinguish between artists who want their concerns to be resolved and those individuals who just can’t seem to stop complaining or seem to find it impossible to be satisfied. Embracing resistance is more than simply placating these groups; it focuses on learning from those individuals who don’t always make it easy to listen.

  • The ball and chain of unintended obligations – virtually all successful companies make such obligations with their employees and communities and often they can prove difficult to fulfill.
  • The warning signs of volume obsession:
  • Guideline-free, ad hoc spending – the company has “more interesting” and “more challenging” things to think of instead of controlling costs.
  • Functional-level cost centers – profit and loss are always calculated at the corporate level, even though it may no longer be efficient or sensible to do so.
  • A culture of cross-subsidies – the success of one business unit is used to conceal the failure of another one.
  • Truth in numbers – the company’s auditors, stock prices, or industry analysts are saying that the numbers are not in the company’s favor.
  • It’s important to realize that nothing in nature grows without facing limiting forces, and businesses are no different. Therefore it’s best to learn to live with such challenges – and even use them to your advantage.
  • To work with resistance effectively, you must distinguish between those people who really do want their concerns resolved and those who simply want to complain.
    • For some concerns, listening is all that is required. It offers space for commentary and constructive discussion.
    • For other types of resistance, direct action is required; management should know when listening is simply not enough.
  • While it’s natural to want to avoid complicating the issue and avoid contact with one’s detractors altogether, quite a lot can be gained by welcoming these people to the early stages of problem-focused discussions. Their grievances can thus be voiced and their inputs incorporated early on – when doing so matters most.
  • If and when the concerns of critics are allayed, these people can and often do become your most ardent supporters.
  • It’s vital to correct misinformation as swiftly and rapidly as you can. Misinformation has a way of spreading and becoming even more complex and convoluted as it is spread, and the further this goes the harder and costlier it is to deal with.
  • If and when errors are made, it’s important to take direct, unequivocal responsibility and follow this up with corrective action.
We all end up leaving some mark on the world. What varies – and what is most important – is whether that mark is positive or negative. Do we give back more than we take, or do we take more than we give? This is particularly significant in the world of business, where managers’ actions have profound effects on individuals and societies. Some leaders believe that an important part of their business success is linked to the powerful and positive impact they have on their communities. Successful leaders realize that a key component of their success is leaving a powerful and positive mark in the communities in which their businesses operate.

  • Many business executives initially decide to be good corporate citizens because they hope it will improve their business.
    • Almost all who sustain this type of commitment do so because it becomes patently obvious that this is the right way – indeed, the only way – to do business.
  • People want to do business with, work for, invest in, and patronize socially conscious companies.
  • The most talented and qualified A&Rs increasingly consider a company’s ethics and community support when selecting an employer.
  • A&R morale is three times higher in those companies where community development is an integral part of the business model than in their less-involved counterparts.
  • When A&Rs’ work environments match their personal values, they become far more productive than employees whose work environments don’t match what they value or uphold.
  • By participating in community-based activities, A&Rs are given the chance to build leadership skills and grow as teams.
  • The value of a business’s brand is 100 percent linked to the trust people place in the company to do what it says it will do.
  • Corporate social responsibility shouldn’t be seen as a passing fad or fancy. Instead, it should be valued as the way global business really gets done.
  • We can all be the change we want to see in the world!

How To Wrie A Press Release

Press releases that make journalists want to write about you and your music.

What Do You Need to Do This

Something to publicize (an event, show, or new music) that is newsworthy


1. Define what it is you want to write the press release about.

The event you want publicized must be clear and understandable for the media. Is it a new album? A show? A new video?

2. Make a target list for the release.

Your release should be tailored to particular press outlets.

3. Write a one-page story with a single topic targeted directly at your press outlets.

Find your angle for the press release and use tried and true techniques such as:
  • Don't be boring: Controversy, sex, and counter-culture are all angles that call attention to your press release (i.e. don't write a release that says "Indie Band Releases New Album".)
  • Use current stories in the news: Linking your story to a recent story or trend in the news helps to make your story current. It gives journalists a reason to run your story since it's closely related to other stories happening in the news today.
  • Quote peopleQuote someone from the band, and outside of it, if you can.
  • Drop names: Mention any prior press about your band, or famous people or bands where appropriate.
  • Use the "Stay Tuned" technique: Mention what you will be doing in the near future, and projects you've recently finished, as well, just like a radio announcer in between songs.
  • Include a "Call to Action"Make sure that they story directs them to act. "Buy the CD", or "go to the show."

3. Put the story into a one-page press release format.

Click here for a Press Release Template to get you started.

4. Use good press release writing techniques.

  • Use an eye-catching headline: This is often the only thing that journalists read, so be bold to grab their attention.
  • Lead Paragraph: Draw them in with the first sentence or two of the press release so they want to know more. There are two types. For a news release the lead should answer all the questions: who, what , when, where, why, and how. For a feature story the lead should have an amusing or attention-grabbing hook.
  • Include a paragraph about the band: The last paragraph should be about the band so the reader knows where to go to learn more information about you.
  • Add your contact information: Include all your contact information (email, phone, etc.). If your press release is more than two pages, include it on every page.
  • Keep it short: Press releases should be only one page, two at the most.

5. Add further information to the envelope (non-emailed or faxed press releases).

If the press release is mailed, then write on the envelope to entice the journalist to see what's inside. A personalized message about your upcoming local show in their area can give them a reason to open and read it immediately

Floyd Mayweather Jr Released From Jail And 50 Cent Picks Him Up

Coming to you direct from the world of “what the hell?”, boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. was released from the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas early this morning (which is where I am currently vacationing BTW…WIN!!).  Floyd was released after serving two months of a three month sentence for a domestic battery charge.  He was greeted outside by some family and friends…and rapper 50 Cent.
Floyd Mayweather released from jail Floyd Mayweather Jr Released From Jail And 50 Cent Picks Him Up
Yeah. I know. Kind of random.  But ThisIs50 is reporting that 50 Cent is undertaking some kind of new promotional venture and has arranged to pretty much manage Floyd and his boxing career.  I guess this is apart of keeping the client happy!

Monifah Reveals Same-Sex Relationship in "R&B Divas" Super Trailer

R&B Divas, the hot new reality show chronicling the lives of nineties R&B singers Faith Evans, Nicci Gilbert, Syleena Johnson, Monifah and KeKe Wyatt, promises to be chock full of surprises. But nothing could be any more surprising than Monifah revealing her sexual orientation for the cameras.

In this exclusive supertrailer, Monifah is shown asking her teen daughter how she feels about her relationship with a woman. "Can you support our union," she asks, on the verge of tears. "I don't support it," her daughter Akemi answers.

In the September issue of ESSENCE Magazine (on newsstands now), the "Touch It" singer says she hates that this would be seen as her "coming out."

"I hate the term," she says, "because I've never been anything but who I am and I've lived my authentic life."

The clip also shows her fellow divas dealing with issues of their own, including some internal conflict with their co-stars. 

Will the divas work out their issues? Will Monifah's daughter accept her mother's same-sex relationship? We'll have to wait until the show premieres on August 20.

Wish President Obama a Happy Birthday

President Obama celebrates his 51st birthday today

Young Money honcho taking a break to focus on skateboarding

Lil Wayne says he might be dropping the mic for a bit to focus on skateboarding, a hobby that quickly turned into a way of life, as the rapper told DJ Drama.

"I kinda feel like I deserve that," said Wayne about taking a break from the rap game. "I feel like the fans deserve a lil no Wayne. I've been everywhere. I've been out on everybody's song, I'm still on everybody's song, my artists are doing awesome. I believe the fans deserve some peace from me. I be on my skateboard in the meantime."

While Wayne seems serious about taking a breather, he's still set to drop a new mixtape, Dedication 4, on August 15th.

"In order to be fully committed, you have to live that lifestyle," he said of skateboarding. "With these young kids now, you have to be about that life. It's kind of putting rap on the back burner. Rap's taken a backseat to skating."

When asked if he spends more time in the booth or on his skateboard, Wayne responded: "I spend more time on the skateboard, 'cause even at the studio I have ramps and shit. In the booth literally I have something I can boardslide on and a quarter pipe. So I get off the mic, drop the board down and skate."

Police Mistakenly Raid Miley Cyrus' Home, Blame Prankster

Armed police mistakenly raided Miley Cyrus' home on August 1st after a prankster put in a call about a possible kidnapping and shooting at the house, reports the BBC. Authorities also responded with rescue crews and helicopters, but soon realized the home was empty. Police attributed the incident to "swatting," a recent trend of prank calls that aim to get a police squad to overtake an innocent building or house.

Authorities have begun an investigation and are tracking the perpetrator. If caught, the prankster could face up to a year in jail. In June, Cyrus got engaged to Hunger Games star Liam Hemsworth.

Jackson Family Issues Statement Against Executors of Michael's Will

Following weeks of emotional turmoil, the Jackson family has finally broken their silence.
Through a statement released by Janet's attorney Blair G. Brown, Janet, Randy and Rebbie address the executors of Michael's will and the drama that has become a spectacle in the media.
Read the full statement below.

I am counsel for Janet Jackson. I make this statement on her behalf and on behalf of Randy Jackson and Rebbie Jackson regarding recent events involving them, their family, and the estate of their late brother Michael Jackson.

Since the loss of Michael, Janet, Randy and Rebbie's principal concern has been and continues to be for the safety and well-being of Michael's children, their mother Katherine Jackson, and the entire family. Unfortunately, those people have been harmed by the actions of the executors of Michael's estate - John Branca and John McClain, the estate's lawyer Howard Weitzman, and those installed and paid to do their bidding.

The negative media campaign generated by the executors and their agents has been relentless. In recent weeks, the media has received preposterous reports - all now proven to be false - of a purported kidnapping of Katherine Jackson and of physical and verbal abuse of a child. The executors and their agents also recently issued a notice barring Janet, Randy, and Rebbie from visiting their 82-year-old mother and Michael's children. The effect of that notice not only is to damage fundamental family relationships, it is also to isolate Katherine Jackson from anyone questioning the validity of Michael's will.

The actions of the executors and those working for them can only be understood in light of the questions about the will raised by Janet, Randy, and Rebbie. The executors have never explained how Michael could have signed his will in California on a date that irrefutable evidence establishes he was in New York.

It is important to stress that Janet, Randy and Rebbie have questioned the validity of the will with no financial motive whatsoever - they stand to gain nothing financially by a finding that the will is invalid. That point is worth repeating - they stand to gain nothing financially by a finding that the will is invalid. Michael's children will be the beneficiaries of Michael's estate. What will be gained by a finding of invalidity is that the executors will be replaced and the estate and the guardianship will be managed in a manner that is in the best interests of the children, which is what Michael wanted. The individuals who have the most to lose by a finding that the will is invalid are, of course, the executors and those on the executors' payroll.

Janet, Randy and Rebbie will continue to press forward in their search for the truth in our to carry out the wishes of their brother Michael.

Business Matters: Looking Forward to Live Nation and Warner Music Group's Earnings Releases

Live Nation, WMG Optimistic Ahead Of 2nd Quarter Earnings Reports
Both Live Nation and Warner Music Group report second quarter earnings on Thursday. What can you expect?  

Live Nation will be helped -- or at least not hurt -- by the generally positive feeling about the concert business this year. Unlike the past two years, this year has been free of decreased demand (in 2010) and concerns about discounting (in 2011). A continually mediocre economy and sustained unemployment in many parts of Europe has been countered by an emphasis on value and putting the rights acts in the right venues.
Live Nation's first-quarter earnings release offered a positive outlook for the full year. The company expects high single-digital growth in its concerts segment, improvement in the ticketing segment, and low double-digit growth in operating income in the sponsorships and advertising segment. 
Anecdotal evidence and Billboard Boxscore data backs up Live Nation's outlook. "After a dismal 2010, the concert business regrouped, retooled and rebounded nicely in 2011, and could well be on its way to logging the record numbers that began this millennium," Billboard's Ray Waddell wrote in Billboard's mid-year touring issue.
Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino told Waddell that 2012 "is shaping up to be a great year for live concerts, with strong growth throughout our business." John Reid, Live Nation's London-based president of concerts for the United Kingdom and Europe, said concert and festival business in Europe has been "very encouraging."
The company's key tours have met or exceeded expectations: "The Wall" by Roger Waters, Madonna, Kenny Chesney and Lady Gaga. And it has remained active in acquisitions, purchasing Cream Holdings in May and Hard Events in June. 
The good earnings report of a recorded music and publishing company goes something like this these days: overall revenues down, digital revenues up and, if all goes well, a small improvement in operating profit. Warner's fiscal third quarter (the period ended June 30) should be judged against just such a measure. 
Warner is coming off an uneventful quarter impacted by what it termed a "light release schedule." Revenue declined 8% but operating income (before depreciation and amortization) grew 4% and net loss improved 5%. The company, now fully owned by Access Industries, reports earnings for debt holders but has not historically provided guidance.
The company had a mild release schedule in its fiscal third quarter. Linkin Park's Living Things should be a strong title but will have limited impact in the quarter because it was released in the last week of June. B.o.B's Strange Clouds has had success in the U.S. and was responsible for 3.2 million track sales to date. Flo Rida's single "Whistle" picked up steam after June and "Wild Ones" has sold well. The track "We Are Young" by fun. has continued to sell well.
Warner's competitors have had mixed results lately. Sony Corp's music division posted a 39.6% decline in operating profit and a 10.1% decline in revenue in the second quarter. Universal Music Group's revenue was up 9.1% in the first quarter of the year (parent company Vivendi will not report second-quarter results until August 30).
Deezer Gets Access Industries Investment
Spotify gets most of the attention -- especially here in the U.S. -- but don't forget about Deezer. Access Industries, owner of Warner Music Group, has invested in Paris-based music subscription service Deezer, according to a report at the New York Post. An Access spokesperson had no comment on the Post's report.
Deezer had been seeking between €50 million and €100 million Euros at a €500 million Euro valuation, according to a February report at Les Echos. Deezer already has received an investment by mobile carrier Orange and bundles the service with Orange mobile subscriptions in France and the U.K. The company has raised funding from AGF Private Equity, CM-CIC Capital Privé, Dotcorp Asset Management and Xavier Niel, the founder and majority shareholder in French ISP Iliad. 
Deezer has 23 million users worldwide, according to its Facebook page, but has steered clear of the world's two biggest music markets, the U.S. and Japan. (The company does not break out the number of subscribers from total number of users.) Based in France, Deezer expanded to the U.K. and elsewhere in Europe. It launched in Canada, Australia and New Zealand in April and debuted in 35 Latin America countries in June. ( New York Post)

U.K. Digital Sales Top 100 Million
U.K. digital album sales have topped 100 million units just two years after surpassing the 50 million mark, according to the BPI. That news pretty much ruins the "nobody buys music any more" and "the album is dead" storylines that are often heard the press and by so-called thought leaders. By now it should be pretty clear that purchases, streaming and piracy are common consumer behaviors that aren't going to die out in the foreseeable future. ( BPI press release)

Who Killed Chavis Carter in the Backseat of a Cop Car?

Chavis Carter, a 21-year-old black male, was sitting in the backseat of a police car, hands clasped by double-locked handcuffs in Jonesboro, AK., when suddenly he was dead from a single gunshot to the head. On July 28th, he was stopped by police when he was caught on the road in possession of $10 worth of marijuana and empty baggies. After being arrested by officers Ron Marsh and Keith Baggett, before they even made it to the station, on the car ride there, Carter was seen slouched over his lap with blood dripping all over his clothes and some of it on the seat from the visible fatal wound. The FBI declared on Thursday it would investigate further into the death of Carter because the circumstances do not add up as to how he died. The police are saying it was suicide, but where did they gun come from, especially since he was searched by them twice beforehand and then hand-cuffed? Could Chavis Carter have been that multidextrous? As we've seen in the movies, under desperation, one can do amazing things even if restricted, but this is real life, and why would Carter kill himself? Just as importantly, where did the gun come from? Carter's mother, Teresa, otherwise believes it was the police themselves that pulled the trigger, and are now left blindsided by the FBI's involvement, hence the suicide accusation and the possibility that Chavis had it hidden where they couldn't detect it. Kim Brunell, a spokeswoman for the Little Rock branch of the FBI said, "We've been asked to get involved."

Following the absurd incident, and months after the controversy of Travyon Martin's death, opposing sides are now left to wonder how this could have happened, especially if all procedures had taken place during his arrest. “Any given officer has missed something on a search, you know, be it drugs, be it knives, be it razor blades. This instance, it happened to be a gun" claimed Sgt. Lyle Waterworth, in defense of the police in the car that night in Jonesboro. Waterworth's comrades are insisting that Carter obtained a gun he already had and shot himself to their shock. While Chief Michale Yates has admitted to seeing remarkable occurrences of defeat done by those in handcuffs, he still contradicts Waterworth in acknowledging that the case was "definitely bizarre and defies logic at first glance". One piece of logic that's certainly being challenged is that Carter was shot in his right temple. Teresa knows that her son was left-handed.

Officers Marsh and Baggett are currently on paid "administrative duties" leave, the NAACP is planning a candlelight vigil for Carter on Monday, and there are two Facebook pages in honor of Carter, with many condolences and comments of outrage and bewilderment. In the coming weeks, the tragedy that has taken Carter's life may turn out be another run-around emotional debacle of racial profiling, only this time with the uncomfortable addendum of the mysterious appearance of a gun in which bullets from this malevolent item trail-blazed it's way to Carter's head, but of who's hand was guiding the bullets leaves this case a baffling calamity.

Producer RedOne Partners With Cash Money

RedOne may not be a household name, but the superstar artists he's worked with -- among them Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull -- certainly are.

Yet in a move that will surely raise the Moroccan-born producer's profile, RedOne is partnering with Cash Money Records to develop new acts. Counting rapper Lil Wayne among its superstar artists, brothers Ronald "Silm" Williams and Bryan "Baby" Williams' founded the label in 1991 and today it's among Universal Music's most successful joint ventures.
"I have always been impressed with the way Slim and Baby do business," said RedOne in a statement announcing the partnership with his label, 2101. "Their determination to build their artists' careers from the ground to super stardom, shows their sheer commitment. ... Together, we'll be able to continue to help Build Global Stars and make hit music that we hope fans around the world will enjoy."

Added Slim: "We consider Cash Money a family, and RedOne fits right in. He is a world-class producer, songwriter, musician and now record executive who just adds to what we have built here, and look forward to expanding in the years ahead."
Known for radio smashes like Lopez's "On the Floor" and Gaga's "Bad Romance," RedOne is currently riding another popularity crest with Minaj's latest single, "Pound the Alarm." In the last five years alone, he has received three Grammy Awards, produced over 20 No. 1 singles and was also named 2010 Songwriter of the year by BMI.
However, RedOne's work with Cash Money will focus more on new artists starting with two signings, LA-based pop group Talkback and Swedish-Congolese singer-songwriter Mohombi, who has himself worked with such artists as Nelly, Akon, Pitbull and The Far East Movement.

Cee Lo Green Signs On As Chief Creative Officer at Primary Wave Music

Cee Lo Green is adding another title to his already impressive résumé. The platinum-selling artist, Grammy winner, Las Vegas showman, actor and coach on NBC's "The Voice" has been appointed chief creative officer of Primary Wave Music, the management, marketing and music publishing company with which he signed in 2010.

In this new capacity, Green will serve less as a client and more as "a true partner," Primary Wave founder and CEO Larry Mestel says in a statement released Thursday. "He is a master creator, unique visionary, charismatic entertainer and deceptively brilliant strategist -- a true quadruple threat."

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter just prior to the announcement, Mestel explained further. "We've formed this incredible personal bond in two years, and Cee Lo is very excited and participatory in our business, so we wanted to do it in a bigger way and give him a piece of the company," he says. As for Green's CCO duties, Mestel says they "will be very high level -- artists can plug into him for advice, he may look at artwork or write with an artist. It covers the myriad things that he can potentially do."

That includes the "creative planning" of Primary Wave's annual pre-Grammy party as well as the company's annual managers brunch. The experience also will "help build out his executive skills," adds Mestel. Green also is managed by Primary Wave Music.

Indeed, beyond being a successful recording artist and TV star, Green appears in the movie Sparkle, opening Aug. 17; is producing his own Vegas residency show called Loberace, kicking off at Planet Hollywood in February; and releasing a book next year as well as a new Goodie Mob album called Age Against the Machine. That's on top of the highly anticipated follow-up to his 2011 album The Lady Killer tentatively titled Cee Lo Green Is … Everybody's Brother.

Mestel calls this moment in Green's career, which includes endorsements of such products as 7UP and Samsung Mobile's new Galaxy S III, "an opportune time." Says Green: "Larry and his team complement my career. We bring different views to the table that together can transform a great idea into marketable brilliance."

Friday, August 3, 2012

Report: Stevie Wonder Getting Divorced

Stevie Wonder has reportedly filed for divorce from wife Kai Millard Morris, noting irreconcilable differences, according to TMZ. The music legend has been separated from Morris since October 2009. In the lawsuit, Wonder is seeking joint custody of the pair's two sons, ages 7 and 10. Wonder also will provide child and spousal support. Papers confirm some of Wonder's assets will be divided, though the amount has not been determined.

Wonder married Morris in 2001. In June, his nephew was accused of an extortion attempt on the singer.

Havoc Talks About Getting Mixed Up in Prodigy's Rapper Beefs

The unfortunate story behind Mobb Deep's disbanding just keeps on unraveling itself.

In the latest part of Havoc's exclusive interview with AllHipHop, he details how Jay-Z's infamous 2001 Summer Jam diss affected Prodigy, his thoughts on Prod being protected by NYPD security, and his relationship with the rest of the Mobb Deep crew.

Damn, is this really the end of one of the best rap duos in hip-hop history?

Update: Katherine Jackson Reinstated as Co-Guardian of Michael's Children

Judge: It appears she 'has done a wonderful job and cares about the children very much'

Katherine Jackson has been reinstated as the co-guardian of her son Michael's three children, Prince, Paris and Blanket, the Daily News reports.

"It appears from the report that Katherine Jackson has done a wonderful job and cares about the children very much," said Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff. "I think the kids are in terrific hands."
Earlier this morning it was reported that the Jackson family matriarch would seek co-guardianship with T.J. Jackson, the son of Michael's brother Tito. Beckloff gave T.J. custody of the children following a tumultuous period where Katherine was reported missing and her grandchildren went 10 days without seeing her; it turned out she was resting with family at a spa in Arizona.

Beckloff said that while his decision was temporary, he planned to finalize the ruling later in the month.
The co-guardianship proposal that Katherine Jackson's lawyer, Perry Sanders Jr., submitted looked to take some of the burden off the grandmother, allowing her to focus on raising the children. This means T.J., who will remain a co-guardian, will handle more financial and logistical issues, such as controlling the staff and day-to-day operations of the home Katherine shares with the children.

Amanda Palmer Talks Twitter: 'It's Replaced Google and Management'

Amanda Palmer has had quite a year. The former Dresden Doll-turned-social media maven made waves with a Kickstarter campaign that netted her over a million dollars towards her new album, largely based off her highly engaged fanbase with whom she communicates regularly on Twitter. With almost 600,000 followers (595,737 by press time), it can be a full-time job, but Billboard spoke with Palmer about her strategy, success, and the value of interaction on Twitter.

biz: You've had a busy year on Twitter.

Amanda Palmer: It has been a fucking great year on Twitter. I could write a whole fucking book about Twitter. It changed the way I view touring for sure.

How so?
Twitter has replaced Google and management. I can ask my fans for help. Like, "we need to borrow an acoustic guitar for a radio promotion that just popped up. Can someone bring me a guitar?" In the old days you'd have to call your management company or a local promoter, whoever was on the ground to help you that day. This way some cool fan of yours shows up with an acoustic guitar and they are really happy. You would be happy because you don't have to run around or pay for it.

You would also do stealth shows.
I am known for doing these ninja gigs where I'll be in a city and I'll just tell everyone to meet me in the park and we'll play. Or at a gig I'll say "15 minutes after doors, everyone meet me in the men's bathroom and I'll play ukulele." Even if there's only 15 people following me who are on their phones, word will spread. It really confuses the venue too. "What the fuck is everyone doing in the men's bathroom?"

Any advice for people trying to figure Twitter out?
Being good at Twitter when you have a lot of followers is kind of like being a good party hostess. You have to be paying attention to a lot of things to make it work. And it definitely has to be a two-way conversation. It's almost like being a talk show host where you're moderating a conversation but you're not really dominating it. I'll make an offhand comment about music or sex or gun control or shaving and all of a sudden people will be sharing their opinions. I'll just kind of moderate it. Twitter is a wonderful broadcasting system of what's on anyone's mind.

You also used it to make $19K in one night when you made a t-shirt about being on the computer on a Friday night.
I made an offhand comment that I was a loser for being on my computer late on a Friday night instead of being out. Other people started chiming in. I said we don't have to be ashamed of this, let's start a small political party! I made a Sharpie drawing of a computer with a half-eaten pizza next to it and a glass of wine. My friend Sean, who is my Internet guy, was of course on his computer on Friday night. I emailed Sean do you want to mock this up as a t-shirt? He put it up on my website 10 minutes later. We sold $19K in t-shirts and the whole thing took three hours.

What mistakes do you see people make on Twitter?
Bands in general don't personalize the information. You need to make sure there's a balance between the business information and the real-life information. The stuff you're sharing should be about what you're doing -- the silly stuff you come across, the views you want to share, the details about your process. There needs to be a balance between that random interesting stuff and "hey, we've got a show or we have a single out." If that's all you're broadcasting, there's nothing interesting worth following. And you'll find even with the huge artists who a lot of people have an interest in, if you look at their feed and all it is is a one way stream of info, they won't have a lot of followers because there's not a lot of interesting information.

Pot Legalization Is Coming

At least some able-bodied Americans may soon be able to score a bag of weed legally without having to fake a knee injury. In November, voters in three states could approve ballot measures to legalize marijuana, and not just for medical purposes – for getting-high purposes. Then again, they might chicken out, like California voters did in 2010. But sooner or later, and probably sooner, a state will go green.
About half of America will be fine with that. Support for legalization is (no other way to put it) higher than ever, and rising. That's partly demographics – the young are more into pot than their elders, who aren't sticking around. But it's something else, too: The status quo, people are starting to notice, is a total disaster. 
The prohibition on marijuana – a relatively benign drug when used responsibly by adults, and a teddy bear compared to alcohol and tobacco – has done an impressive job of racking up racially-biased arrests; throwing people in jail; burning up police time and money; propping up a $30 billion illegal market; and enriching psychotic Mexican drug lords.

But it hasn't stopped Americans from smoking a ton of weed. We're up to 20-30 million users, 6 billion joints a year – and rising. And teenagers, who ideally shouldn't be toking up on a regular basis, say pot is easier to get than beer. "There's that Talmudic principle that a law that's not obeyed is a bad law," says Mark Kleiman, a drug policy expert at UCLA and co-author of the new book Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know. "And I think we're pretty much at that point."

So, let's try another approach, right? Legalization could come in many forms, but all would involve tradeoffs. And no doubt there are all sorts of ways to screw it up. But more power to the first state to give it a shot.
When that happens, expect one of two things – either: the federal government, in deference to democratic principles, will decline to enforce its ban on marijuana, creating space for the state to be a "laboratory of democracy," working out its new policy by trial and error, learning as it goes, creating a trove of hard-earned lessons to guide the states that (inevitably) will follow; or: the federal government will bide its time and then come down hard, busting growers and retailers, seizing land and property (or, just as effective, threatening to), going after banks that serve pot businesses, and doing whatever else it takes to shut down the state's legalization push.

True, the feds would be within their rights to crack down. A state can legalize all it wants, but – incredibly – happy-go-lucky marijuana will still be a Schedule I substance, right up there on the federal shit list with heroin, LSD, and "ecstacy" – substances defined as having a "high potential for abuse" and "no currently accepted medical use."* And, no, this isn't some quaint, disregarded artifact from olden times: A personal stash can get you a year in federal prison, a single plant up to five.

And don't be surprised if Washington does crack down. As a candidate, "Choom Gang" alumnus Barack Obama talked a good game about bringing some sanity and proportion to drug enforcement. But during his term, federal prosecutors (who, in another complication, have wide discretion to pursue their own agendas) have cracked down hard on medical pot providers in states like California where it’s legal. The administration says it's surgically targeting front operations supplying recreational use, but it sure doesn't look like that on the ground. "Obama has been a terrible disappointment," says Keith Stroup, founder of the drug law reform group NORML.
But maybe the federal government will do the right thing and lay off. "There's a strong argument for trying it at the state level and for the feds getting out of the way," says Kleiman. "That seems unlikely, but I'd love to be proven wrong." (If the president in January 2013 is zero-tolerance drug warrior Mitt Romney, run for the hills.)
We might not have long to wait to find out. Of the three states where legalization is up for a vote in November – Colorado, Washington, and Oregon – Colorado "is definitely the best shot so far," says Steve Fox of the Marijuana Policy Project, a national lobby group that's kicking in about $1 million to support the measure. Under Amendment 64, the state would treat pot like alcohol – licenses for producers and sellers, 21-plus age restriction for buyers, and tax revenue government. Should it pass – and one poll has support up by 61-27 – "We're hoping the federal government will not impose its will," says Fox, "and that there'll be an adult conversation about what Colorado has decided to do."
A lot depends on how things play out on the ground, which is hard to predict. A few things we can assume: the price of pot will plummet, since marijuana is incredibly inexpensive to produce if you don’t have to dodge the cops or schlep it up from Mexico. Consumption will surge, though by how much is hard to say (the consensus guesstimate predicts a doubling or tripling). Beyond that, nothing is clear.

Amendment 64 leaves a lot of the policy details to the state legislature, and one of its first tasks will be to figure out how big of a tax to slap on. It has to be large enough to generate revenue – Amendment 64 wisely stipulates that the first $40 million generated will go to public school construction! – but not so large that buyers prefer to take their chances on the (untaxed) black market. Another challenge: How do you do a better job than current policy of reducing teen use? Or combating abuse and dependency – a problem for only 2-3 percent of users, but not something you can ignore. And how do you prevent neighboring states, if not the entire country, from getting buried under mountains of cheap Colorado weed? If the state looks like becoming the nation's grow house, the feds will probably land hard.

Looking beyond this year, bear in mind that there’s more than one way to "legalize" pot. Colorado is going with the alcohol model, but there are other approaches, some more plausible than others. At one end of the spectrum there's full commercial legalization, where anyone can freely produce, distribute, market, sell, or buy pot, just like any other commodity (think: tomatoes) subject to certain regulations. Hard to see that flying politically. At the other end, there's "decriminalization," where you eliminate or reduce penalties for possession (say, to the level of a minor traffic violation), especially for first-time offenders, but retain the ban on production, distribution, and sale; fourteen states, including California and Massachusetts, have already gone this route, and some major politicians, like Mayor Rahm Emanuel in Chicago and Gov. Andrew Cuomo in New York, have lately come around to the idea. Other options include, on the production side, restricting the industry to nonprofits, or membership-based "clubs," or allowing profit-making but limiting or banning marketing and advertising.
There are tradeoffs: Legalize commercially, whether fully or on the alcohol model, and you add to the sum of freedom and pleasure in the world, wrestle an industry away from violent criminals, generate useful tax revenue, and spare a lot of people jail time and criminal records. But brace yourself for a huge upsurge in use and, possibly, a marketing blitz aimed at teens (see tobacco) and the "heavy" users who consume most of the product and therefore supply most of the profits (see alcohol); and say hello to a well-funded pot lobby bent on blocking regulations it doesn't like (see tobacco and alcohol). Decriminalize, and you save a lot of cop time and money and, again, human misery. But you’re leaving a lot of tax revenue on the table and, incoherently, nudging people to buy what's illegal to produce and sell.

Voters will have to weigh these and other factors and decide whether the (not-fully-knowable) benefits of legalization outstrip the (hard-to-anticipate) costs. No plausible scenario is all upside; but it's hard to see how we could make things worse. "We don't say there are no negative consequences to marijuana use, but there are much more effective ways of dealing with those," says Jill Harris of the Drug Policy Alliance, a group that advocates for more liberal drug laws. "It's just that the consequences of marijuana prohibition are just so much more severe that we feel it's worth the tradeoff."

Beau Kilmer, a researcher at RAND and co-author of Marijuana Legalization, says whatever a given state decides to do, lawmakers should make sure to give themselves an "escape clause," like a sunset provision that makes the laws go back to what they were after a certain number of years unless the voters or legislature decide to extend them. "There's no reason to believe they'll get it right on the first or even second try," he told me. But once the pot industry develops some lobbying muscle, the policy will be much harder to tweak. With an escape clause, he says, legislatures will be able to overcome the lobby "just by sitting still."
Of course, the federal government might decide not to tolerate legal marijuana under any circumstances, and all this will be moot. The only way to take the feds out of the mix is to change federal law, and only congress can do that.
But don't expect too much there. Last year, Reps. Barney Frank and Ron Paul introduced the first-ever federal legalization bill. It’s not going anywhere anytime soon; another Frank bill, the Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act, which would leave enforcement of medical pot to the states, has been kicking around the Hill since 1997, but has never made it to a vote. "Congress is several years behind the general public on this," says Rep. Jared Polis, a Colorado Democrat and a co-sponsor of both bills.  But even congress is starting to come around. When he first came to Washington, in 2009, there were only "a handful" of lawmakers prepared to stand up for more liberal drug laws, says Polis. Today, most Democrats are on board.

The GOP, not so much. "I've been very disappointed with my fellow Republicans on this issue," says Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California, a co-author of the Frank-Paul bill and a rare pro-pot conservative. "I know that if this was a secret ballot, a majority of them would be voting on my side." Rohrabacher says a lot of his states-rights-and-small-government-minded colleagues agree that marijuana enforcement is a huge waste of tax dollars, but they're not willing to go there. "They’re are just terrified that in an election next time around there’ll be ads run against them about how they’re doing the bidding of the drug dealers."

So don’t look to Washington D.C. for action on this any time soon. Legalization, when it comes, will come at the state level. There's no guarantee it will happen this year, but there’ll be more initiatives on state ballots in 2014, and 2016, and beyond. Most pot activists and policy analysts I spoke to put the timeframe for legalization at 5-7 years, tops. "We’re guaranteed to win in the end because we’re winning the hearts and minds of the American public," says NORML’s Keith Stroup.

And then? "If we get state-level legalization and it doesn't turn into a total clusterfuck, we'll see more acceptance," Kleiman told me. In any event, he says, something's got to give. "Prohibition is falling apart, about the way alcohol prohibition fell apart. Legalization is eventually going to be a recognition of the facts on the ground."

Sanctuary Reshapes U.S. Records Unit

British independent music company Sanctuary Group Plc says it is "making good progress" with its program of strategic disposals, and will undergo a realignment of its recorded product operations in the United States.

The ailing firm had admitted in November 2006 that it was looking to sell parts of its business, including its stake in the independent Rough Trade label.

In a statement issued Thursday to coincide with its annual general meeting in London, Sanctuary added, "In response to the significant changes currently underway in the U.S. music market, to which our U.S. operations have not been immune, the board has approved a proposal to restructure the recorded product division's U.S. operations."

The restructuring follows the departure in late 2006 of Merck Mercuriadis, formerly the company's U.S.-based CEO of Sanctuary Records.

Stock in Sanctuary was unchanged at 12 pence ($0.23) in morning trading.

Going forward, the company's U.S. division will now concentrate on ?growing its higher margin digital and licensing businesses and continue to exploit out catalog rights," the company said. "The net financial cost of the restructuring is not expected to be material in the current fiscal year."

Sanctuary said the moves would provide the basis for a return to overall profitability by 2008 or later. Staff cuts were not disclosed.

After a string of profit warnings and a diving shareprice in recent years, Sanctuary launched a ?110 million ($205 million) rescue deal earlier in 2006. Former British Airways CEO Bob Ayling was hired to the role as non-executive chairman in April, and Frank Presland, CEO of Sanctuary-owned Twenty-First Artists, took the reins as group CEO.

Sanctuary?s founders Andy Taylor and Rod Smallwood have since split with the company.

Def Leppard's Joe Elliott on Battle With Label: 'We Don't Want to Work for The Man, We Want to Be The Man'

One by one, Def Leppard's arsenal of hit songs will get a modern-day shining. No, we're not talking about a newly mastered version of "Pyromania" or an anniversary edition of their greatest hits package "Vault." Rather, the band members are rerecording the classics -- starting with 1983's "Rock of Ages" and 1987's "Pour Some Sugar on Me" -- as a way to offer their fans a digital option while at the same giving a giant middle finger to their longtime label Universal.

Def Leppard can do this because they are, well, Def Leppard. Having sold more than 100 million albums in their 34 years together, the band, fronted by Joe Elliott, were able to negotiate a sweetheart of a deal wherein they have approval over everything that's done with their songs -- from special collections to licenses for movies, TV shows and games and their very availability online.

Right now, you won't find the original "Photograph" on iTunes, nor will you hear the decades-old "Pour Some Sugar on Me" in the just-released movie "Rock of Ages." That's because the band is rejecting all of its label's requests in a power struggle aimed at reassigning digital rates in their favor. Will the strategy work?

The Hollywood Reporter: Is this fight with Universal more about money or controlling your musical destiny?
Joe Elliott: It's about principle. I'd be lying if I didn't say it was about money because the problem we've got is: they want to pay us what we think is a ridiculously low rate. It's a well-known fact: artists throughout the years have always been shafted by record companies. … The reason we're being so sticky about it is because two years ago, we made a deal with a gentleman at Universal who was pretty much on our side -- he was a fan, a smart businessman and a fair guy -- and we shook hands. Fifteen days later, somebody above his head said that deal's not going through. To an Englishman, when you shake hands, it's a binding contract, and Universal reneged on it. So we dug in our heels and said, "We're gonna say a blanket no to anything that you ask for."

And Def Leppard is in a unique position because you're one of few bands to have veto power. How does that play out?
They can't release our back catalog, we're not going to let them put a song on a compilation unless we want it there and they'll never be able to license. They won't be able to do anything without our permission because that's in our contract.

Explain the crux of the band's argument.
We want to get the same rate for digital as we do when we sell CDs and they're trying to give us a rate that doesn't even come close. They illegally put up our songs for while, paying us the rate they chose without even negotiating with us, so we had our lawyer take them down.

And what would be a fair split in your view?
When you do your own recordings, you're making about 85 percent and 15 percent goes to iTunes or whichever particular digital domain you put them up -- something along those lines would be fair. But they were offering us the opposite: a quarter of what we get paid on our CDs. Sp we thought if we can't get them to pay us a decent rate on the digital then we're going to go in, rerecord them and pay ourselves decently. Because we're not fighting against our own back catalogue. If we put rerecords up against the originals, nobody would buy the rerecords. So what we're trying to create is what they know by making as close as we can, forgeries of what we did in '83, '81, '87…

What about the inevitable argument that you guys are just being greedy.
I'm obviously aware people are going to say that, but we made a decision years ago that we would try and wrestle back control. And I think that's something to be applauded. We are just trying to own what we've done. We own our T-shirt deals, our own staging, and our own rights to make whatever decisions we want. We're not trying to milk our back catalog for billions of dollars, we're just trying to get paid a fair amountThe one thing I'll say about this band is that we actually perversely enjoy the fact that if there's going to be a major screw up, we can't blame anybody except ourselves. We don't like saying, "I told you so" or pointing fingers at people going, "You've just ruined my career." If that's going to happen, we want to be the ones to do it. We want to be in charge. We don't want to be working for the man, we want to be the man, if you like.

Bands fighting with their labels goes back to the earliest years of the music business…
And you hear so many horror stories about the early royalty rates of the Rolling Stones, where they supposedly don't earn a penny of anything from before "Brown Sugar," or Jimi Hendrix, who died with eight pounds in his bank account. These are legendary, iconic people without whom we wouldn't exist. But the music business has caught up, it's gotten sensible, where it doesn't have as many sharks anymore. Plus, we've got our own lawyers that are as pit-bull as theirs so at least we can go into battle with an army that's even sided. And again, we're not looking for [Universal] to give us a leg up or to keep us in the lifestyle that we've become accustomed to. We are well prepared to work for it, we're just not prepared to give them money for old rope when they give us nothing in return.

So far this year, catalog is outselling new music. Can you live comfortably off your catalog? How profitable is Def Leppard on its own?
It's really expensive being in a band -- ask Pete Townshend, he said it's why his hair fell out -- and especially if you're not working. If you decide to take a year off, you've still got outlays without any inlay, meaning income. Like there are retainers and money goes into storage. Of course, it depends on the lifestyle that you've become accustomed to. We never asked for Rolls Royces from the label. Other bands that sold a billionth of what we did get a free car every Christmas, we got nothing. We once got a plastic cassette box that you could buy in CVS for $1.99, having just sold ten million copies in Syria. That was their gift. It had Polygram written on the lid -- like whoopee fucking do. … But if I were to pack it all in tomorrow, I won't die destitute. But I'm pretty frugal. I'm not one of these guys that rents a private plane to fly off for three weeks in the Bahamas. I fly commercial like everybody else, as most of us do. We have to work really hard. Don't forget that it's a fashion industry.

What do you mean by that?
In the same amount of time that you become cool you can become super uncool. So you've got to take your chances while you can. This is not McDonalds which is always there because people are always going to be hungry. I get it -- every generation wants to kill the one before, but in the 80s we wanted to mimic our heroes. And by the time we came to where our idols were, the band communities wanted to kill us. I'm not going to name any names, but let's just say most of the bands that came from the Seattle region of the world wanted to stomp on our heads. We didn't want to kill Queen, we wanted to join Queen, or AC/DC or Led Zeppelin.

How do you see yourself in the context of those bands now?
I'm on the coattails of people like Pete Townshend and The Who. We've been around for 30-plus years and that's enough to be in his club. We can't be in Green Day's or Foo Fighters' club, they're 10 years behind. But do you honestly think that in 2050 we'll be talking about a band like My Chemical Romance? Will anybody care when they're 34 years old? And I'm not knocking the band, but my point is their situation is not as good as the one we were in when we became big. Because their videos, I'm sure they get millions of hits on YouTube, but it's not the same as 1983 when the world stopped to turn their telly or radio on and watch the new single by Michael Jackson and not just listen to it. It's blasé today. I fear for My Chemical Romance. They might survive because they're good and Muse will survive, but there are loads of bands that sold a couple million records in the 80s and were on MTV that are now playing in bowling alleys, or worse, serving in bowling alleys.

Back to the rerecords, does your motivation to recreate these songs have anything to do with sound fidelity?
Not really because what we're trying to create are doppelgangers. You're never going to get them exactly the same. Somebody actually put the two versions of "Rock Of Ages" up on YouTube and you can hear the difference. But it's not like it's worse, it's just different. You can't recreate 1982 because the machinery that we recorded on doesn't exist. So you have to get it as close as you can. What we had to do is study them like a forger would study a Monet or a Dali.

How long did it take to do each song?
A few weeks. We did it like the originals -- you go in and do a couple hours here and there when you've got the energy and the ability. They're not costing us a great deal of money to rerecord because we're doing most of the work in my studio and I don't charge the band for my studio. They just pay the electricity bill, which is pretty miniscule. So it's a win-win for us. We get to record them cheap but we get to make the maximum amount of it.

You didn't approach original producer Mutt Lange to rerecord. Why?
It wouldn't have worked. Mutt helped us create those sounds and taught us how to achieve them, but we now have left college and know how to get on in the world. … Your career goes in a different track, and to try and pick up where we left off, neither party is the same person. It's like remarrying your first wife -- you could go back for a quick bonk up the hotel room. We've never ruled out working with Mutt again but I don't think I'd do an entire record with him. You can't unscramble an egg. If it was a case of he didn't like it, that's tough because we are legally allowed to do this.  But I have to stress that it's not the case.

How many rerecords are you planning to do?
We have two done, we've got two more on the go and we'll just keep doing them in blocks of twos and threes until we've pretty much created Vault and we won't have our own back catalogue to fight against. We'll have our music up digitally but we will be in charge of our career. Anybody, whether it's Pearl Jam, Nirvana, would do the same thing if they saw what we were offered. We're not going to make a great deal of money off the rerecords, but it's the principle: if you're going to fuck us around, this is what we're gonna do. There is nothing wrong with being a capitalist. We want to be paid a fair and decent wage for the work that we do. And we work really hard.

Your band has made some smart moves, chief among them the right of approval. What else has paid off?
We own the videos. That's the one thing we were smart enough to do in the 80s - when we made videos, we paid for all of them. And that's the thing: I want to own my own house I don't want to rent. I want to own my car, I don't want to lease. I want to own the clothes that I'm wearing and the music that I make. Or if I legally can't, I want to be paid a fair amount of money when people buy it, rent it, lease it, stream it, whatever. I hope to God that [Duran Duran's] Simon Le Bon, [U2's] Bono, Jon Bon Jovi, [Iron Maiden's] Bruce Dickinson, etc. don't have to go in and rerecord their stuff. To us it's a bit of a novelty -- it's funny and getting a lot of publicity. People say there's no such thing as bad publicity and I would argue that point, but it's a talking point right now.