Doug Morris will become head of Sony Music on July 1st, it was announced today. I told you this in a column on February 11th. Morris has had an unbelievably successful run at Universal Music Group. The feisty 72 year old was going to retire and had passed the baton to Lucien Grange. But Sony lacked a chief following the departure of Rolf Schmidt Holz.
Now Doug will come in and focus Columbia and Epic Records. Expect a lot of housecleaning, both with staff and artists. One house that’s in order: Clive Davis’s. Clive is 78, which means Sony will now have 150 combined years of brilliant music making to lead them. Clive’s team, with Peter Edge, can pull rabbits out of the hat. And they also have Tom Corson and Richard Palmese, two great record execs who still care about the industry.
Sony’s in a good position, too, what with “Glee” and “X Factor,” not to mention lots of veterans from Springsteen to Streisand. Morris may actually be able to figure out how to exploit the Michael Jackson catalog and all future releases. (Let him tangle with Jackson co-executor John McClain, who I believe contributed to the “Michael” album’s disappointing launch.) They also have the Number 1 album of the week with Adele’s “21.” It sold an impressive 320,000 copies.
Now comes the fun stuff: today, Sony’s RCA chief Barry Weiss leaves for Universal, in a round robin of exec chair changing. Morris could now bring LA Reid over–who knows? Stranger things have happened. Reid could revamp RCA out of its moribundity. Morris also has Simon Cowell to play with, because of “X Factor.”
PS Hopefully all these changes won’t inspire multi million dollar redecorating at the respective companies. Gentlemen, it’s the fodder of gossip columns. Spend the money on the music!