It was a short week, but there was no shortage of action in the music business this week–with the emphasis on business. We know most of you (okay, all of you), have probably never heard of the name Roger Faxon, but the low-key EMI chief executive rocked the music industry this week. As head of EMI, one of the four remaining major record companies, he tossed out most of the key creative players and decided to start over again. The move comes as EMI”s revenues were up 5% over last year. Hey, it”s not sexy, but it”s what people are talking about. But if it”s sexy you”re looking for, Eminem and Katy Perry still manage to make this week”s list.
1) Roger Faxon (not ranked last week): He took over the whole EMI enchilada in June after years of running the publishing division, and, after observing for a little while, he made a few changes this week. And by a few changes, we mean he basically gutted the place, with lots of great execs –from North American head Ron Werre down to the heads of A&R, Billy Mann and Nick Gatfield, and the longtime corp communication chiefs–leaving. With success from acts like Katy Perry and Lady Antebellum, the ship seems to be righting itself, but he clearly wants his own team. It is all too little too late or is he steering EMI into its possible post-Terra Firma days?
2) Disturbed (No. 4): Hard rock band topples Katy Perry from the top spot on the Billboard 200 and, in the process, lands its fourth consecutive album on album chart. We wouldn”t mind checking into this “Asylum” and never leaving.
3) The xx (not ranked): Co-ed trio wins Britain”s prestigious Mercury Prize and instantly sees a bump in sales in the U.K. of more than 150%. Someone needs to wake them up to tell them… or it it only me that finds their music a great little sleep aid.
4) Eminem (not ranked): He gets the nod for the prime slot to open the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday and he wins a legal appeal in a royalties battle with his label. Slim Shady”s having some mighty sunny days lately.
5) Katy Perry (No. 2): “Teenage Dream,” the album, may have only lasted one week atop the Billboard 200, but the single of the same name builds up enough steam to knock Eminem”s ‘Love the Way You Lie” off the top of the Billboard Hot 100; an accomplishment no other song could achieve in seven weeks of trying.
6) Lou Reed (not ranked): Nice work, Lou, making a mentally unstable woman cry. The Velvet Undergound founder got more publicity than he”s gotten in decades when he nixed Boyle”s performance of his Perfect Day” for “America”s Got Talent” at the last minute. But maybe he should have taken a walk on the mild side and let this one go.
7) Ping (not ranked): Despite pinging from tech pundits who found it severely lacking (or as one Business Insider”s Jay Yarrow said, it “kinda sucks,” Apple”s new social media music service signs up more than 1 million users in its first 48 hours. Of course, without the battle with FB, we would have been adding at least one zero behind the 1 million.
8) Google (not ranked): Its music service is full-speed ahead as the labels greet the idea of a true competitor to iTunes with open arms. Now if they could just find someone to run the damn thing…
9) MTV (not ranked): No, not the cable channel, silly. The internet component of MTV Networks, including MTV.com, VH1.com and CMT.com,, sees a surge of more than 165% in viewership over the past year, according to Comscore Media Metrix, as the web continues to be the main (i.e.: only) outlet for music videos (in other words, expect MTV to show 24/7 “Jersey Shore” marathons and leave Lady GaGa to the website). Somehow, “I want my MTV.com” doesn”t have the same ring.
10) Live Nation (not ranked): The world”s biggest promoter sees analysts downgrade its stock from buy to hold, citing to much supply and not enough demand (duh). Even though this is bad news, what affects Live Nation reverberates through much of the touring world.