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Recommended: Sony Music Exec Admits He Made ‘Radical Decision’ in Hiring Amanda Ghost

Recommended: Sony Music Exec Admits He Made ‘Radical Decision’ in Hiring Amanda Ghost (photo)

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Epic Records, one of the many smaller labels under the giant Sony Music umbrella, has a respectable history that dates back to it’s humble beginnings in 1953 as a jazz and classical label. It came into its own in the 1970’s with the Yardbirds, Boston, and The Clash. Then in the 1980’s Epic exploded with acts like Sade, Cyndi Lauper, and Michael Jackson. The label’s successes continued into the 90’s with bands like Pearl Jam and Rage Against the Machine.

More recently, a marginalized roster and vastly diminished record sales along with rumors of internal trouble may have gone unnoticed in an industry that continues to suffer all around — but it has all come to a head with the firing of the label’s president, an obscure songwriter named Amanda Ghost whose public tantrum at CMJ in New York last month was the final one she’d have as head of Epic.

In a piece for The Hollywood Reporter, Shirley Halperin details the event, the lead up and what it all means for the future of the label in a crowded, struggling industry.

According to eyewitnesses in the crowd, Epic Records president Amanda Ghost, 36, a career songwriter who had held the top spot at the label for 20 months, stepped onto the stage, grabbed the microphone and, with her native North London accent, spoke her mind. Among a string of expletives, says a source: “She was screaming: ‘Who booked this fucking place? It sounds like shit! We don’t treat our artists this way at Epic. I’m not letting them play another minute!’ ” — and pulled the plug on the show. “The room just got silent.”

Ghost was fired within the week by Sony Music Label Group chairman Rob Stringer, who no doubt regrets his decision to hire such a loose cannon in the first place. Initially, it was a kind of hail Mary to revitalize the label by bringing in a creative type, a recording artist herself – Ghost was also a writer on “James Blunt’s 2005 international smash ‘You’re Beautiful,’ which garnered three Grammy noms, helped spur worldwide sales of 13 million for his Atlantic Records debut, ‘Back to Bedlam,’ and made Ghost an instant millionaire…. and it led directly to the Epic presidency.”

“The reason I made a radical decision with Amanda, rightly or wrongly, was that I wanted someone to try and inject that adrenaline back into the creative side of it,” Stringer said. But for every maverick idea she had that worked she had several more that didn’t, and seemed to rub everyone else at Epic wrong with mood swings and outbursts. A staffer described her throwing a CD across the room once, “She thought it was cool and edgy to do stuff like that. She’d say, ‘This is shit; you know we can’t put this out!'”

She was reportedly burning one all time in her office too, a vice you can’t fault people in the music industry for, but she was apparently overly zealous about the reefer. “Her motto was, ‘If you don’t smoke pot, you can’t work here,’ ” a former staffer said. “In her A&R meetings, she’d say things like, ‘If you’re not high, like, how do you like music?'”

It seems there is a consensus that in her short 20 months, Ghost caused ruinous trouble for the label, though whether it is irreversible remains to be seen. Rumors of demise are already circulating (though they have been for years). The prospects of Epic returning to their former glory are not promising, but one at least one hope remains — they are getting ready to ship 900,000 copies of Michael Jackson’s posthumous album, “Michael,” out Dec. 14th and expect to sell nearly half of them in the first week alone.

“That’s why we get up in the morning,” Stringer says. “Because something can happen the next day that can change the destiny of an artist, of a record, of a record label. That’s what I believe in.”

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Bro and Tell

BFFs And Night Court For Sports

Bromance and Comeuppance On Two New Comedy Crib Series

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“Silicon Valley meets Girls meets black male educators with lots of unrealized potential.”

That’s how Carl Foreman Jr. and Anthony Gaskins categorize their new series Frank and Lamar which joins Joe Schiappa’s Sport Court in the latest wave of new series available now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. To better acquaint you with the newbies, we went right to the creators for their candid POVs. And they did not disappoint. Here are snippets of their interviews:

Frank and Lamar

via GIPHY

IFC: How would you describe Frank and Lamar to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Carl: Best bros from college live and work together teaching at a fancy Manhattan private school, valiantly trying to transition into a more mature phase of personal and professional life while clinging to their boyish ways.

IFC: And to a friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Carl: The same way, slightly less coherent.

Anthony: I’d probably speak about it with much louder volume, due to the bar which would probably be playing the new Kendrick Lamar album. I might also include additional jokes about Carl, or unrelated political tangents.

Carl: He really delights in randomly slandering me for no reason. I get him back though. Our rapport on the page, screen, and in real life, comes out of a lot of that back and forth.

IFC: In what way is Frank and Lamar a poignant series for this moment in time?
Carl: It tells a story I feel most people aren’t familiar with, having young black males teach in a very affluent white world, while never making it expressly about that either. Then in tackling their personal lives, we see these three-dimensional guys navigate a pivotal moment in time from a perspective I feel mainstream audiences tend not to see portrayed.

Anthony: I feel like Frank and Lamar continues to push the envelope within the genre by presenting interesting and non stereotypical content about people of color. The fact that this show brought together so many talented creative people, from the cast and crew to the producers, who believe in the project, makes the work that much more intentional and truthful. I also think it’s pretty incredible that we got to employ many of our friends!

Sport Court

Sport Court gavel

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Joe: SPORT COURT follows Judge David Linda, a circuit court judge assigned to handle an ad hoc courtroom put together to prosecute rowdy fan behavior in the basement of the Hartford Ultradome. Think an updated Night Court.

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Joe: Remember when you put those firecrackers down that guy’s pants at the baseball game? It’s about a judge who works in a court in the stadium that puts you in jail right then and there. I know, you actually did spend the night in jail, but imagine you went to court right that second and didn’t have to get your brother to take off work from GameStop to take you to your hearing.

IFC: Is there a method to your madness when coming up with sports fan faux pas?
Joe: I just think of the worst things that would ruin a sporting event for everyone. Peeing in the slushy machine in open view of a crowd seemed like a good one.

IFC: Honestly now, how many of the fan transgressions are things you’ve done or thought about doing?
Joe: I’ve thought about ripping out a whole row of chairs at a theater or stadium, so I would have my own private space. I like to think of that really whenever I have to sit crammed next to lots of people. Imagine the leg room!

Check out the full seasons of Frank and Lamar and Sport Court now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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