Thursday, October 10, 2013

This Day in Black History: Oct. 10, 1917

Thelonious Monk
Jazz music would not be the same without pianist and composer Thelonious Sphere Monk. Monk was born on Oct. 10, 1917 in Rocky Mountain, North Carolina, and relocated with his family to Manhattan in 1922, where he began playing the piano at the age of six. He is recognized as one of the pioneers of jazz and architects of bebop.

Monk was a music enthusiast who was both self- and institutionally-trained, having spent time studying at Juilliard School of Music. His ear for music and talent was so undeniable that by the age of 13 he had won the weekly amateur contest at the Apollo Theater so many times that he was barred from entering anymore.

When he was 19, Monk joined Milton's Playhouse in Harlem; and in a collaborative effort with musicians, including Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, he helped found bebop, a modern style jazz. It was set off by the swing movement, which provided a more upbeat tempo than traditional jazz.  

Monk made his first recordings in 1947 as the leader of the Blue Note, a famous jazz club in Lower Manhattan. That same year he married Nellie Smith, and the couple would have two children Thelonious, Jr. and Barbara. Over the course of a decade, Monk would record with Miles Davis, Charles Parker and Sonny Rollins. He gained international fame for his work on Brilliant Corners and Thelonious Monk With John Coltrane. The Thelonious Monk Quartet, which included John Coltrane and other musicians, became a staple in Manhattan with weekly performances at the jazz club The Five Spot.

Monk’s contributions to jazz music led him to cover Time magazine in 1964, becoming one of five jazz musicians to do so. Monk toured the world and performed at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and the Newport Jazz Festival. Although he died of a stoke on February 17, 1982, Monk’s legacy lives on. The U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp in honor of the musician, the Smithsonian Institution immortalized his work and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, a non-profit educational organization founded by the Monk family in 1986, helps teach and train up-and-coming musicians.

How Business Managers Handle Money for Stars Who Make Less Than They Think

A cable paycheck is all the rage, but taxes, commissions and fees can reduce that to $200K per year, says Scott Feinstein, who manages Taylor Lautner, Mila Kunis and Aaron Paul -- so a client might dream of Lamborghini but wake up to BMW instead.

It's easy to overestimate the wealth of a celebrity.

"Take someone who stars on a popular cable TV show," says Scott Feinstein, a business manager who represents Taylor Lautner, Mila Kunis and Aaron Paul, among others. "Most people assume they're making good money, but each cycle has nine to 12 episodes. Let's say they make $50,000 per episode. Factor in taxes, union dues and commissions, and it might come out to only about $200,000 per year."
So what happens when one of these stars wants to buy a multimillion-dollar house, an extravagant car or a piece of jewelry that's astronomically priced?

That's when the business manager steps in.

Of all the members on a celebrity's robust advisory team, the one who arguably calls the most upon the art of persuasion is the low-key position of business manager. With financial savvy, they advise clients on how to spend and save their money, including investments and real estate holdings. They also quarterback the retirement fund for the inevitable day when a star's popularity has faded -- requiring them to say "no" to a client who, if ascendant or A-list, most likely has been utterly seduced by Hollywood's ever-present, evanescent "yes."

"A client comes to me and says he wants a Lamborghini," says Alan Reback, a top business manager. "I say: 'Where are you going to drive that Lamborghini? Twenty-five miles per hour on Wilshire? What you love is style. Look at this top-of-the-line BMW. It's cheaper.' "

Sometimes common sense doesn't cut it. A business manager can point out that it makes more financial sense to charter a private jet than to buy one, but for many stars, that's not the point. Money buys status, and celebrities want to trade on their cultural cachet while they have it. That $35,000 watch is an investment, a client might argue. At this point, a business manager might break out the next weapon in the arsenal: explaining real costs. For example, Feinstein might divert attention away from the retailer's price tag and toward the desired object's equivalent value in earnings. That watch, he'll say, actually costs $100,000. That's how much money must be earned to support a $35,000 purchase once the necessary subtractions occur. Buying that watch now could mean forgoing your freedom to choose TV and film projects later, Feinstein might hint.

Such logic can fail. "The client told me to go f--- myself," says Feinstein. "Another time, a client yelled, 'You are not my father.' "

Contending with difficult clients is one thing, but clients who don't know what they want is another. Business manager Shane Glass, who represents such artists as Motley Crue and Julie Andrews, remembers a client who came to him when Tesla Motors introduced its stylish electric cars. The client just had to have one. The problem? There was a three-year waiting list. But as many top Hollywood business managers often do, Glass pulled strings and got Tesla's head of sales on the phone, who then arranged to have the car transported to his client's house for a personal test-drive. "It's too small," his client responded upon seeing the Tesla. "I don't want it." Says Glass, "I had to call Tesla back and come up with some excuse and stress how appreciative I was."

Perhaps even more challenging are the client's friends and family members who deploy their own persuasive art of guilt and filial ties to get what they want. Glass says that one of his client's "kids" -- who was in her early 30s -- once demanded an increase in allowance. The business manager was tasked with being the "bad guy" who said no. "The 'child' threatened to earn money in illegal ways if we didn't raise [her] salary," says Glass, who stood firm. (Click here for more on mixing family dynamics with finances.)

Despite typically being paid 5 percent of their clients' earnings in commissions, it's not unprecedented for a business manager to fire a client when financial conscience dictates. Reback tells the story of a former client who was starring on a hit TV show and wanted to buy a beautiful house across from the Hollywood Bowl. The home was judged to be way too expensive, but it didn't matter. The client wanted it. Reback was charged with finding a good mortgage rate. He did, only to be confronted with the client's boyfriend, who touted a mortgage with an even better rate -- but it also had some catches and assumed risks that Reback determined to be financially unwise. Forced to choose, the client sided with her boyfriend. Reback decided to stop representing her.

"She turned into one of the bigger TV stars around," says Reback. "I probably lost a boatload of money, but if I had to do it again, I would." Referring to a Hollywood star who came close to financial ruin after an outrageous spending spree that included buying nine Rolls-Royces, a pyramid-shaped super-tomb and a medieval castle, he adds, "I don't want the perception of being Nic Cage's business manager."

Power Lawyers: 5 Music Attorneys to Know

John Branca Eric Greenspan Kenny Meiselas Split - H 2013

1. John BrancaZiffren Brittenham
UCLA School of Law

Why he matters: Once known for representing Michael Jackson, Branca has expanded his focus to touring, buying and selling companies and management. That’s in addition to handling the Jackson estate as one of its trustees.

Big deal: The Ferrari-loving Branca consulted on Sony/ATV’s June 2012 acquisition of EMI publishing for $2.2 billion and serves as executive producer of Cirque du Soleil’s immortal tour, which has passed $300 million in total box office. Other recent deals include Carlos Santana’s residency at Las Vegas’ House of Blues and a new joint venture for Rick Rubin’s American recordings label with Universal Music. A source of great pride for Branca is his co-management of the Beach Boys’ 50th anniversary reunion last year, which marked the first time founding members Brian Wilson and Mike Love performed together in two decades.

2. John FrankenheimerLoeb & Loeb
UCLA School of Law

Why he matters: Founder of his firm’s music industry group, Frankenheimer represents both talent and record labels, emerging tech companies and storied publishing libraries.

Big deal: He recently negotiated the sale of Criterion music, bringing a catalog that spans seven decades of music — among its titles: “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’ ” and Jackson Browne’s “doctor my eyes” — to Universal Music Group. “For the first time in many years, there seems to be a renewed interest on the recorded music side as opposed to just pub- lishing,” he says. “We’re a long way from fully understanding what the impact of streaming will be, but we’re seeing very encouraging signs.”

3. Eric GreenspanMyman Greenspan Fineman Fox Rosenberg & Light
Washington College of Law

Why he matters: As head of his firm’s music department, the onetime concert promoter handles major names such as Red Hot Chili Peppers and Slash — along with his former cook, Food network’s Giada De Laurentiis, who for five years fixed dinner for his family three times a week.

Big deal: Greenspan ran point for the complicated, ultrasecret negotiations to bring Christina Aguilera back to NBC’s The Voice for the fall season. He notes, “It’s a process that lasted months.”

PHOTOS: Power Lawyers: 'Star Trek's' JJ Abrams, Michael Bay and Les Moonves Pose with their Attorneys

4. Kenny Meiselas, Grubman Indursky Shire & Meiselas
Hofstra University

Why he matters: With clients like P. Diddy, Usher and Nicki Minaj, he’s helping several top artists graduate from mere pop stars to multiplatform giants. That includes putting Usher on The Voice, Minaj on American Idol and Diddy in the film Draft Day opposite Kevin Costner that’s due out in 2014.
Big deal: “This has become the year of electronic dance music,” says Meiselas, who represents three of the genre’s busiest acts: Avicii, Afrojack and Swedish House Mafia.

5. Don Passman, Gang Tyre Ramer & Brown 

Harvard Law School

Why he matters: Aside from representing such superstars as Adele, Pink and Paul Simon, Passman is the author of industry bible All You Need to Know About the Music Business, which was released in an eighth edition in December.

Big deal: Client Mariah Carey scored a reported $18 million to judge American Idol this season. Passman won’t comment on the number, saying only, “our job is to maximize what our clients are able to get.”

Katy Perry Will Perform Her Next 'Prism' Single, 'Unconditionally,' LIVE At The 2013 MTV EMA!!!!

Katy Perry will perform her new "Prism" single "Unconditionally" at the 2013 EMAs!
We're gonna hear Katy roar all over again, you guys!

Stop whatever you're doing (inappropriately Snapchatting your Facebook crushes, feeling like a plastic bag), because we have some veryyyy important news! Internationally renowned pop megastar and legally recognized queen of the jungle, Katy Perry, will perform her new Prism single, "Unconditionally" LIVE at the 2013 MTV EMA!

Even though we often think of Katy as, like, the all-American girl next door who just happens to have access to crazy multimillion-dollar neon-colored styling, the "Walking On Air" singer is actually no stranger to the Europe Music Awards stage. In fact, she's performed at MTV's international awards show three times and hosted twice! We're assuming that's at least two more times than you've hosted the EMA, so... uh, #BowDown.

The "Roar" songstress is even nominated for two EMA herself: Best Pop and Best Female. To find out if she wins and to see the live performance of "Unconditionally," make sure to tune in on Nov. 10. What, it's not like you're off, oh, hosting the EMA or something! Sorry, we didn't realize that was such a sore spot. Let's heal and move past this.

The 20th annual MTV EMA from Amsterdam’s cutting-edge Ziggo Dome will air on Sunday, Nov. 10, at 6:30 p.m. ET on MTV. Catch it on MTV channels around the world (air times may differ by region).

SiriusXM Radio Names George White SVP of Music Licensing

SiriusXM Radio appoints George White senior VP of music licensing. 

In addition to covering all areas of music licensing, White will work closely with programming and business development on strategic partnerships with labels and performing rights organizations. He will also work with finance, legal, IT and engineering to oversee operational aspects of royalty reporting and payments.
He reports to SiriusXM CFO David Frear. 

White is a former senior VP of strategy and product development at Warner Music Group. He also previously served as GM of Billboard Digital.

Rick Ross Dropping Mastermind Before 2013 Wraps

We're inching closer to the end of 2013, and while we've already seen several major hip-hop releases from artists like Jay Z, Kanye West, Drake and J.Cole, Rick Ross wasn't going to let the year finish up without leaving his mark. Rozay has confirmed that his latest solo album Mastermind will be dropping in December.
December 17 to be exact. He took to Twitter on Wednesday (October 9) to announce the big news, writing, "Mastermind. 4th Quarter. Takeover. Its Over. Get Ready. 12/17."

'I love making those 'Cigar Music' records, those 'Amsterdam' records, and that was most definitely the energy,' Ross previously told MTV News of the upcoming LP.

Jennifer Hudson, Tamar Braxton, Smokey Robinson Lead Soul Train Awards Lineup

Jennifer Hudson, Tamar Braxton and Smokey Robinson are among the marquee names announced today as performers for the 2013 Soul Train Awards. The fifth annual show is being taped on Nov. 8 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. It will premiere on Centric and BET on Dec. 1 at 8 p.m. ET.

Rounding out the performer lineup thus far: K. Michelle, Wale, Kem, Chrisette Michelle, Eric BenĂ©t, Ronald Isley, Bobby Caldwell, Joss Stone and "American Idol" season 12 winner Candice Glover. Notes Robinson, "I'm very excited to be a part of this year's ‘Soul Train Awards.' I'm thrilled that the show is honoring Dionne Warwick -- one of my favorite people -- and that I'll be performing in tribute to her."

Rapper Kendrick Lamar leads with six award nominations, including best new artist, album of the year and song of the year. Tied with five nominations each are Miguel, Justin Timberlake, Robin Thicke, Chris Brown and Braxton. Actor/comedian Anthony Anderson will host.

CENTRIC exec. VP/GM Paxton Baker says the network is "80%-90% finished" with the show's booking and adds there are a "couple of big surprises we are close to closing." After three years in Atlanta, this marks the award show's second year in Las Vegas. Notes Baker, "Don Cornelius shaped ‘Soul Train' into the premier place to celebrate soul and the African-American culture, and its legacy is just as meaningful today." 
In addition to the Soul Train Awards, CENTRIC also presents the annual Soul Train Cruise. Gladys Knight and Earth, Wind & Fire are among the headliners for the current cruise (Oct. 5-12) in Mexico. The next cruise takes place Feb. 23-March 2, with stops in the Caribbean ports of St. Maarten, St. Barths and Half Moon Cay, Bahamas. Headliners include Charlie Wilson, the Isley Brothers, Roberta Flack and Stephanie Mills.