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BMG Confirm Release & Bad Fiscal Year...

BMG sees bad year in fiscal 2001

FRANKFURT, May 31 (Reuters) -
Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) , the world's fifth largest music company, is having a bad year as a stagnant music market and one-time restructuring costs hurt earnings, its chief executive said.
In an interview with the German daily Handelsblatt published on Thursday, Rolf Schmidt-Holtz said he did not expect BMG to make a profit in the year ending June 30, 2001, or see any sales growth in the period. A spokesman for the company confirmed the statements.

That compares with a record year in 1999/2000, when the New York-based unit achieved earnings before interest, tax and amortisation (EBITA) of 223 million euros ($189 million) and sales of 4.7 billion euros.

A global economic slowdown as well as music piracy have cut into results, a spokesman for the company said. The restructuring is part of efforts to prepare the unit for Bertelsmann's potential listing, and to deal with challenges afforded by the Internet.

Schmidt-Holtz said he expects BMG to rebound and post "record results" in calendar 2002. The company will in future post earnings at the end of the year.

BMG is building a new leaner management structure and plans to have an executive board focused more specifically on cost cuts, acquisitions of new labels and investment in artists.

It says it has an aggressive schedule for releases of new and established artists, among them Carlos Santana, Eros Ramazzotti, Whitney Houston and Misia in Japan.

As part of the restructuring, the online music division will no longer be run by BMG, but by Bertelsmann's E-Commerce Group (BECG), which on Wednesday bought the web-music provider Myplay Inc. in Redwood City in a deal estimated at $30 million.

Myplay lets consumers store music on the Internet. With about six million customers, it has not faced any legal challenges, because it requires users to upload their own CDs.

Myplay rivals online producer MP3.com, recently bought by Bertelsmann rival Vivendi Universal in Paris.

BECG chief Andreas Schmidt plans to integrate Myplay.com into its newly formed digital music service Bemusic. Together the two will have 35 million customers, and sales of 2.2 billion marks ($954 million), Schmidt said.

With 20 percent of the CD market in the United States, Bemusic would be the world's biggest music services company.


Cool Again...

THE FACE - June 1999 Reinventing The Wail
THE FACE - June 1999

During the summer that Whitney Houston took over the airwaves with 'It's Not Right But It's Okay' and 'My Love Is Your Love', THE FACE discussed why Whitney was considered 'cool' yet again and what made her musical reinvention acceptable this time around.

Read The Complete Article Here

UK Chart Update...

UK Chart For Week Ending 2 June 2001

Dance Singles - Re-Entry at No.25 - 2 weeks on chart



Billboard Update...

The Billboard update for the week ending 2 June 2001:

Maxi-Singles Sales - Down to No.29 (from No.26) - 32 weeks on chart.

Maxi-Singles Sales - Down to No.17 (from No.16) - 36 weeks on chart.

[Compiled By Tony C.]

Songs Of The Summer...

MTV Europe are asking people to vote in their Top 100 Songs Of The Summer poll.  The show will air next weekend, 2 & 3 June 2001.

Whitney Houston's 'My Love Is Your Love' is listed so please take a moment to vote.

[Thanks Marie]

Terry McMillan...

Terry McMillan is in the UK to promote her new book, A Day Late And A Dollar Short, and the Guardian UK has published an interview with the writer.

The article talks of the cultural phenomenon that 'Waiting To Exhale' became and McMillan discusses the influence that book had on other writers who set out to pen the next 'Waiting To Exhale', and the impact the movie had.

McMillan also takes a quick swipe at Oprah Winfrey's taste in books which she describes as "pretty narrow".

Read The Complete Interview Here.

Jam & Lewis...

[From Billboard Magazine]

Superproducers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis are staying super-busy, having scored their 15th No. 1 pop single with Janet's "All for You" this spring. They are currently finishing the soundtrack to Mariah Carey's film All That Glitters and working on projects with Usher, Jordan Knight, Enrique Iglesias, Luther Vandross, Deborah Cox, Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Blu Cantrell and Morrison Slick, the first act on their new Flyte Tyme label.

[Thanks Lisa D.]

Clive Davis: Ain't No Way...

[From Billboard Magazine]

Excerpt from the Billboard Magazine interview with Clive Davis:

"For the record, I must say that it's been incorrectly reported, and it never was imagined, that Whitney [Houston] or Carlos [Santana] would join us. It was always impossible for those two franchise artists that were 100% owned to become 50% owned [by BMG] when they accounted for $350 million in revenues from their latest albums. So that was never on the table. But the list of artists that I did submit--100% of them--did come to J Records, first with the consent of BMG and then from the artists themselves."

Count On Me...

From May 28, 2001 Jet Magazine article, Stars And Their Best Celebrity Friends:

Gospel singer CeCe Winans and her best friend Whitney Houston celebrated the joy of friendship in their duet, Count On Me. "There's so much jealousy, competition and anxiety in the music business, especially between women, that it surprised both of us, I suppose, that we could genuinely complement each other and enjoy each other's company," Winans says.

She reveals, "Whitney and I are like sisters. She's one of the family now. My brother Marvin was the minister at her wedding. She once managed my sisters Angie and Debbie. She invited BeBe to produce a track on the Bodyguard soundtrack. I'm Bobbi Kristina's godmother. We have a lot in common."


The NYC Daily Express includes a small article which talks about Luther Vandross' new completed album, due for release in June. Separately, the article also states he will be working with a lot of different people including Whitney Houston.

[Thanks Lisa D.]

She's Got That Vibe...

[From Vibe Magazine]

Whitney talks about Mary J. Blige:

When Mary sings, I hear a refreshing honesty in her voice. I loved her first album, "What's The 411?" Clive [Davis] and I thought Mary would be the perfect choice [to duet with me on Aretha Franklin's "Ain't No Way" on VH1's Divas Live.] I was very excited about performing with Mary. Coincidentally, we ended up wearing the same color - red. That's how in tune we were. I always knew it would be a great collaboration. Once we started to sing it, it was all over. The energy was through the roof!

A Fine Remix...

Jameson recently remixed Destiny's Child's 'Survivor' for the UK release of the single.  The remixer re-worked Whitney Houston's 'Fine' into a garage anthem for UK clubs. 

No word as yet on whether or not the song will get a UK issue or whether or not this still unofficial remix of the song will surface at any time commercially.

Check Out This 40 Second MP3 Clip Of The Jameson 'Fine' Remix.



Christina Aguilera To Perform Tribute...

Christina Aguilera will perform a Whitney Houston hit as part of the BET tribute in which Whitney will receive a lifetime achievement award.

A message was posted on the Christina Aguilera message board by the singer's mother, Shelly Aguilera:

Hi everyone! I just wanted to drop by here to give you all a scoop on a performance Christina will be doing.   Christina is going to be on the BET special for Whitney Houston. She is going to perform a Whitney hit on the show in Vegas on June 19. This is confirmed!

[Thanks Karly]

Billboard Update...

The Billboard update for the week ending 26 May 2001:

Maxi-Singles Sales - Up to No.26 (from No.29) - 31 weeks on chart.

Maxi-Singles Sales - Up to No.16 (from No.22) with bullet - 35 weeks on chart.

[Compiled By Tony C.]

Destiny Loves Whitney...

The latest issue of American magazine Teen Vogue features an interview with Destiny's Child where they mention Michael Jackson. Here are excerpts from the interview.

Teen Vogue: Which male celebrity would you be nervous to meet and why?

Michelle: Well, we had the pleasure of meeting Michael Jackson at a Christmas concert, and he came onstage for the finale. I was very nervous because he's the biggest male artist in history and you have to be careful not to do or say something stupid!

Beyoncé: Michael Jackson. I met him once onstage, but I only got to hug him. He's my favorite singer.

Teen Vogue: What talent do you wish you had?

I wish I could moonwalk!

I wish I could dance like Michael Jackson!

Teen Vogue: Before you became famous, what celebrity were you crazy about?

Michelle: Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson and Ms Whitney Houston!

Kelly: Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson!

[Thanks Franz]

South African TV...

On 13 May 2001, the national broadcaster of South Africa (SABC3) ran a programme called "This Is Black Entertainment."  The programme is chronicling the biggest names in black entertainment and what their influence on pop culture has been.

Whitney was featured in the "Divas" section. It began with Bessie Smith, leading on to Dorothy Dandridge, Josephine Baker, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Eartha Kitt, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross and finally Whitney. Whitney said how grateful she is to the former generation of Divas like Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne and Diana Ross.

There was basically consensus from Quincy Jones, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and others that Whitney is the consummate Diva of her generation. Quincy in particular praised Whitney for the ground breaking work that Whitney has done and in particular he said that "Nobody, not even Prince, managed to do what Whitney did with The Bodyguard".

[Thanks Shaun C.]


'The Bodyguard' is down to No.103 (from No.64), 162 weeks charted on the French Album Chart.

[Thanks Sebastien D.]


BET Honour Whitney...

Destiny's Child leads music nominees for the first BET Awards with nods for best female group, video of the year, and viewers' choice award. Artists with double nominations are Janet Jackson, Jill Scott, Nelly, Outkast, and Musiq Soulchild.

Whitney Houston will be honored with a lifetime achievement award at the inaugural ceremony, slated to take place June 19 at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas. The two-hour live telecast -- hosted by Steve Harvey and Cedric "The Entertainer" -- will also honor film and sports nominees.

MTV 20th Anniversary...

[From Whitney Houston Platinum Club]

Whitney Interviewed For MTV's 20th Anniversary Special!

Whitney was interviewed recently for an MTV special celebrating the music network's 20th Anniversary. The interview will be included among a segment documenting MTV's influence on and association to Whitney throughout the span of her career. Whitney's husband Bobby was also interviewed for a separate segment to air documenting his career during MTV's anniversary special. MTV's interview with Whitney will air on July 7th during a segment dedicated to MTV's 20th Anniversary beginning at 1p.m. (ET.)

One Year...

It's a year ago this week that 'Whitney: The Greatest Hits' received it's global release.  The album has sold over 7 million copies worldwide to date.



No Recorded Duet...

Whitney Houston & Michael Jackson have not recorded a duet together.  The story that appears on some Michael Jackson websites is false.

Whitney will be singing with Michael in September for his tribute concert as previously reported but it is not yet confirmed which song they will sing.

In The Works...

The German BMG website reports that the next Whitney Houston album will probably be out in the Summer of 2002.

Whitney is reviewing material for possible inclusion at the moment.  An actual date for delivery of an album has not been set - it is very much dependent on how recording  proceeds during the year --Manish.

[Thanks Andre]



David Morales...

DJ and remixer David Morales was featured on UK pop TV show PopWorld in which he mentioned that he felt Whitney Houston was the most difficult "diva" to work with.

The entire context of the interview is not clear as it was a short clip.

David Morales' has had minimal remixing honours for Whitney, the last of which was for the 'Whitney: The Unreleased Mixes' in which he reworked 'So Emotional'.

Brown National Anthem...

[From New York Daily News]

Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown had just finished meeting with Arista Records execs at the JW Marriott Hotel on W. 54th St. when Don King called out to Houston in the lobby. King invited her to the Madison Square Garden fight he's promoting tonight between Felix Trinidad and William Joppy. Houston must have agreed to go, because her husband was talked into singing the national anthem.

[Thanks Lisa D.]


According to USA Weekend's "Who's News" Q&A column, Whitney is "renegotiating her contract with Arista so she can record a new album and look for a movie role." It also adds from her publicist that Whitney and Bobby remain happily married. The information was written in response to a question from a reader.

[Thanks Lisa D.]



No Backstreet Boys Collaboration...

Whitney Houston has not worked on a song or video with the Backstreet Boys.

The rumour began as part of a footnote in a report by British tabloid newspaper The Sun that originally revealed Whitney was considering featuring in the forthcoming Bond movie.

Whitney, as producer of The Princess Diaries movie, attended the video shoot for the first video from the movie.   The song is called 'Supergirl' and is performed by Krystal who is managed by the Backstreet Boys.  Two of the Backstreet Boys were also at the video shoot and are featured in the video with Krystal.



Billboard Update...

The Billboard update for the week ending 19 May 2001:

Maxi-Singles Sales - Down to No.29 (from No.25) - 30 weeks on chart.

Maxi-Singles Sales - Remains at No.22 (second week) - 34 weeks on chart.

[Compiled By Chris B.]

Casino Deal Denied...

Hip-hop casino in the making?

(Launch) - It's being reported that the gaming industry wants to cash in on the public's love of hip-hop. According to New York's Daily News Tuesday, investors in Las Vegas and Atlantic City are considering financing and building casinos inspired by hip-hop culture, and are also reportedly eyeing remaking Vegas' Aladdin Hotel into such a place. The Daily News also reported that investors have reached out to singers Whitney Houston and Mary J. Blige as well as rap music mogul Russell Simmons looking for potential involvement, a report Houston's representatives denied in the paper.

[Thanks Rodney W.]


'The Bodyguard' is down to No.64 (from No.62), 161 weeks charted on the French Album Chart.

[Thanks Sebastien D.]

Lycos Top 50 Moms...

Just in Time for Mother's Day, The Lycos 50 Announces the Most Popular Celebrity Moms Online Based On Web User Searches

WALTHAM, Mass.--(ENTERTAINMENT WIRE)--May 10, 2001--
Step Aside Britney, Christina and J-Lo: Pamela Anderson, Madonna, Martha Stewart, Andrea Thompson and Faith Hill are the Most Searched for Moms Terra Lycos, the leading global Internet network, today announced the following information from The Lycos 50(TM), the 50 most popular user searches for the week ending May 5, 2001.

For a complete list of The Lycos 50(TM) and for in-depth text of The Lycos 50 Daily Report, go to http://50.lycos.com.

Whitney Houston is ranked at No.16 on the Lycos list.

[Thanks Lopez]


Lionel Richie...

On VIVA TV, Germany, Lionel Richie has said that he's written two songs for Whitney, one of them a duet for her next project.

It is too early to say whether or not these songs will actually feature in the finished project.

[Thanks Chris]


Parade Publications (Newsday magazine)
05/06/2001 - Sunday - Page 4
Walter Scott's Personality Parade

Q. The James Bond Films always feature a hot new babe. Why is Whitney Houston reportedly being considered the next Bond girl? --William Harrison, Chicago, IL

A. Each time a Bond flick is announced, agents float rumors that their client will be the next Bond girl. Houston, 37, isn't the only star whose name has been attached to the next 007 caper, 20th in the series. Ex-bond girls Shirley Eaton, 64, Minnie Driver, 31, and Michelle Yeoh, 38, have been mentioned -- also Catherine Zeta-Jones, 31, and ballerina Darcey Bussell, 32. Some may appear in the film, but Bond's "hot new babe" is yet to be cast.

This report features a photo of Whitney in her 'It's Not Right But It's Okay' leather outfit and the caption: "Houston sizzles onstage: Who says she's not hot enough to be a "hot new babe"?

[Thanks Monte]

Whitney Houston Foundation...

It's been down for some weeks but the Whitney Houston Foundation Website is now up and running.  Anyone who's emailed me queries about this can now log into the website directly and hopefully you will have your questions answered on the site if you haven't already had contact.


Recording Exclusive....

Whitney Houston - Photo From 'One Moment In Time' 1988 Recording

Whitney Houston will begin recording the follow-up to her 1998 critically acclaimed album, 'My Love Is Your Love' towards the end of the month.

Confirmation about producers and songwriters for the project is yet to come although Missy 'Misdemeanour' Elliott has already said in an interview with Blues & Soul that her next working project is for Whitney.

The new album, which does not have a working title as yet,  has a tentative  commercial release date of November 2001.

Billboard Update...

The Billboard update for the week ending 12 May 2001:

Maxi-Singles Sales - Up to No.25 (from No.26) - 29 weeks on chart.

Maxi-Singles Sales - Down to No.22 (from No.13) - 33 weeks on chart.

[Compiled By Tony C.]


Whitney Houston's 'The Bodyguard' soundtrack continues to climb the French Album Chart.  This week it's up to No.62 (from No.75), 160 weeks on the chart.

The renewed interest across some European territories is due to a limited discount on the CD.

[Thanks Sebastien D./Jeffrey B.]


The E! True Hollywood Story about Whitney and Bobby will air on Channel 29 in Peru at 9pm, May 29 2001.

[Thanks Oscar]



INTERVIEW-BMG looking at bite-size deals after EMI flop

By Paul Carrel

FRANKFURT, May 2 (Reuters) - Bertelsmann Music Group Chief Executive Rolf Schmidt-Holtz said on Wednesday the company was looking to make cooperation deals or small acquisitions following the collapse of merger talks with UK-based EMI Group (LSE: EMI.L - news) .

"We can easily cooperate with anybody. We have of course identified partners," Schmidt-Holtz told Reuters in an interview from his car phone in the United States.

BMG, the music division of German media giant Bertelsmann , said on Tuesday it had abandoned merger talks with EMI after failing to crack regulatory problems.

The setback derails Bertelsmann Chief Executive Thomas Middelhoff's plan to create the world's No. 1 music major.

BMG ranks No. 5 on its own among the music majors, behind Universal Music Group , Sony Music Entertainment , EMI and Warner Music .

Schmidt-Holtz said BMG was now looking more at "cooperation talks, not at takeover talks."

"I may also think about some acquisitions...but not comparable with EMI, not big moves...they would be acquisitions in order to broaden our trading basis."

Such moves could involve the acquisition of minor record labels.

Though BMG boasts Whitney Houston on its books, a major portion of the successful acts it distributes come through Jive Records, whose artists include Britney Spears, 'N Sync, and Backstreet Boys.

The distribution deal with Jive, in which BMG has a 20 percent stake, is expected to come up for renegotiation in June.

Schmidt-Holtz said BMG would not be looking to the renegotiation as an opportunity to take over Jive, and poach the company's chief Clive Calder -- reknowned as an excellent music manager.

"I wouldn't speculate that we could buy Jive," he said.

"Our thinking is that we have a very good partnership and relationship to Jive and to Clive Calder... and we are happy about it. It's not an idea to buy it but maybe to reinforce and, if possible, to broaden the partnership."

Schmidt-Holtz, regarded as a good media manager rather than a music sector specialist, became BMG chief executive in January following the sudden death of CEO-designate Rudi Gassner.

Gassner was due to take up the position after former BMG Chairman Michael Dornemann and Chief Executive Strauss Zelnick quit the company dramatically amid a management shake-up by Bertelsmann.

The loss of all three left BMG with a dearth of quality top executives with knowledge of the music industry.

Schmidt-Holtz, who some industry observers have speculated could just be holding the fort at BMG, said he would carry on in his role.

"I have a five-year contract and I always intend to fulfill my contracts," he said.



Missy To Begin Work On New Whitney Material...

The current issue of Blues & Soul features an interview with Missy "Middemeanor" Elliott in which Missy confirms that she "is about to start work on the next Whitney Houston project".

[Thanks Sadiq]

Whitney On TV...

[From Whitney Houston Platinum Club]

Be sure to watch out for the episode of Saturday Night Live featuring a spectacular performance by Whitney of her two classic hits "I'm Your Baby Tonight"* and "All The Man You Need." This episode will re-air on Comedy Central on May 2nd. Check you local listing for scheduled air times.

In other TV news, ABC will be airing The Bodyguard staring Whitney and Kevin Costner on May 19th beginning at 8 p.m. ET and The Disney Channel will be re-airing Whitney's BrownHouse Productions first feature film Cinderella staring Whitney, Brandy and Whoopi Goldberg on May 24th at 8:30 p.m. ET.

The Upcoming TV Appearances Section Has Been Updated.

[Thanks Jeffrey B.]

Not Posh Like Whitney...

Brooklyn sings on Posh Spice's new album

Brooklyn Beckham is to feature on his mum's new album.    The two-year-old's voice has been used on a ballad on Posh Spice's forthcoming release Girlfriend.

The toddler can be heard at the start of the song Every Part Of Me singing the chorus, reports The Sun.  The idea from came Eminem, who sampled his daughter Hailie for his track '97 Bonnie And Clyde.

Producer Soulshock said: "Victoria wanted to go the extra mile with this track because she'd written it about Brooklyn. "She'd heard the Eminem song with his daughter and wanted to go a step further. So we got Brooklyn to sing along to the song and put him on at the beginning."

Soulshock defended the Spice Girl's voice, which has come in for criticism.   "I wouldn't say Victoria's a bad singer at all. She doesn't have the vocal range of Whitney Houston, but that's not what she's about," he said.



Billboard Update...

The Billboard update for the week ending 5 May 2001:

Maxi-Singles Sales - Re-Entry at No.26 - 28 weeks on chart.

Hot 100 Singles Sales - Down to No.71 (from No.63) - 19 weeks on chart;
Maxi-Singles Sales - Up to No.13 (from No.14) - 32 weeks on chart.

[Compiled By Lisa D.]

BMG/EMI Deal Off...

[From Sky News]

Emi Abandons Whitney & Co Deal

EMI has called off its merger plans with Bertelsmann in the face of opposition from regulators.A deal would have brought the likes of EMI's Spice Girls and German counterpart's Whitney Houston under the same publishing house.

Virgin Records

The two music groups have been in talks for the last six months to put together a deal which would gain regulatory approval.

They did not submit an official merger proposal, instead sounding out regulators to see if the deal would be blocked before dragging shareholders through what is often a lengthy and time consuming process.

But the main sticking points was the size of a merged company. Regulators feared a company made up of two of the world's five biggest music groups would have had a stranglehold on the music industry.

One of the ways round this was for the companies to slim down, offloading highly prized assets like EMI's Virgin Records. But neither company were prepared go through with this for the sake of the deal.


EMI and Bertelsmann argued instead the emergence of online music distribution meant a merged company would not dominate the market.

Despite Bertelsmann signing a deal with online music swapping site Napster last year, the regulators were not convinced. It is a devastating blow for EMI, which failed last year in its bid to merge with Warner Music.

To reassure shareholders it can make it as a stand-alone company, it published results showing increased profits three weeks before they were due. Profits were up six per cent to £260, for the year, boosting the share price by over three per cent.


This Thursday, 3 May 2001, VH1 (USA) will air al All Access show featuring Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Celine Dion.

[Thanks Margaret]

Mariah Plays Whitney...

Mariah Carey's official website features a section called 'Mariah Radio' and one of the songs she plays is Whitney Houston's 'Heartbreak Hotel'.

[Thanks Jason]




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