(UPDATED) Mega-manager and Live Nation Executive Chairman Irving Azoff had strong words for his co-witnesses - Warner’s Edgar Bronfman Jr and Beggars’ Martin Mills - after they appeared together at a recent hearing by a U.S. Senate subcommittee on the anti-trust proposed Universal/EMI deal. Azoff, along with Lucian Grainge and Roger Faxon were testifying in support of the deal, while Bronfman and Mills were presenting opposing arguments.
One of these comments was a remark made by Mills, who said: "Mr. Azoff says 40% of his artists manage without a label. When I Google his site, the Eagles, Christina Aguilera, Kings of Leon, Kenny Chesney, John Mayer, Van Halen, Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Hudson, Aerosmith, Jimmy Buffett, Kid Rock, Avril Lavigne are all on the front page. I don't recall any of them becoming successful without a record label. All of them, I believe, released their last albums in association with a major label."
Azoff countered this in his Billboard interview, noting that: “The Eagles did an exclusive deal in North America with Wal-Mart. Everybody remembers it, I guess, except Mr. Mills. So for him to lump the Eagles into that list of Irving Azoff clients that are on major labels was disingenuous.
Azoff continued, stating: “And I never said that artists' careers aren't best served by major labels. What I said was the business is really changing, and going forward artists are going to have more choices. And when [Mills] listed all those other [Front Line] artists, I can say that the reason nearly every one of them are on major labels now is because they're under contract, and I'm sure that every one of them, when they reach the end of their contracts, will contemplate not re-signing to a major."
Azoff also expressed his surprise to Billboard about some of the things that Bronfman said during the hearing.
“As far as Mr. Bronfman goes, I don't really know what his agenda is, but, gosh, he must have one. I was shocked by a lot of what came out of Edgar's mouth," Azoff told Billboard. “[Bronfman] gleefully told the committee that he presided over two huge firings of both artists and employees at both Warner and Universal Polygram, and he was completely ignoring what Mr. Faxon was saying, which was that EMI has already done all the cutting, and he ignored what Lucian was saying, that, ‘we're buying all this so we can make EMI great again.’"
If you haven't had a chance to watch the video of the hearing, here is a link. via CelebrityAccess