Antonio "L.A." Reid
The Real X-Factor...
When "The X Factor" was whittling down its contestants in late fall, Antonio "L.A." Reid's dressing room became much more than a place to relax or change clothes. On show days it was Epic Records' de facto headquarters. He auditioned tracks and took meetings with the likes of Irving Azoff (see No. 1), and by the time "The X Factor" was down to its final four, he had his full staff in place. Officially appointed by Sony Music Entertainment CEO Doug Morris (No. 5) in July, Reid-LaFace Records co-founder, former Artista Records president and former chairman/CEO of Island Def Jam Music Group-has been stealthily preparing for a relaunch of Epic with a new roster of at least a dozen acts that includes four "X Factor" contestants. So little is public about the label that even its website is a single red place-holder without any information. But don't be fooled. "The X Factor," coupled with his role in Justin Bieber's success, not to mention the sheen of his superhuman efforts with Mariah Carey and a proven track record building stars like TLC, Usher, P!nk, OutKast and Toni Braxton, give Reid a leg up on just about any other executive rejuvenating a brand. Rumors are already swirling that OutKast and Ciara-acts that got their start at LaFace-would soon be joining Reid at his new home. As Reid tweeted recently: "Lots of good music coming from @epic_records in the next few weeks. Stay tuned music fans. Welcome back Fiona!" The #epiclife, indeed.
Order the special edition Billboard Power 100 issue, printed on glossy stock with lavish original photography (available now).
What do you think of the 2012 Billboard Power 100? Sound off in the comments area of the Letter From the Editor page, where the criteria is explained.