With Glassnote’s distribution deal with RED ending on the last day of February, Daniel Glass is pitting Doug Morris against Lucian Grainge in hopes of coming out with a multi-million-dollar payday, according to sources.
With the tit-for-tat battle royal between Morris (former CEO of the Universal Music Group and now CEO of Sony Music Entertainment) and current UMG CEO Grainge, the Glassnote price tag might even escalate to actually meet what two executives familiar with the deal termed Glass’ “outlandish expectations.”
Since Morris joined Sony Music Entertainment — instead of carrying out the succession plan that placed Grainge at the top of UMG — the two executives have been slugging it out over label executives, with UMG scoring Barry Weiss and Steve Barnett from Sony; and Sony getting Joel Klaiman and Morris.
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According to the New York Post, which first reported on the Glassnote situation, Glass already has an offer on the table for $20 million for a 49% stake in the label.
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Glassnote has hit paydirt with Mumford & Sons, whose two albums have sold 4 million units in the U.S. But since reinventing himself by starting Glassnote in 2007, industry veteran Glass has had a pretty good batting average. The label, with an 18-artist label roster according to its website, has issued albums from 14 different acts since opening its doors, and seven of those acts have album sales over 100,000 units in the U.S.: Phoenix, with over 700,000 units; Two Doors Cinema Club, 204,000 units; the Temper Trap, through Columbia, 196,000 units; Childish Gambino, 207,000 units; Justin Nozuka, 110,000 units; and Secondhand Serenade, 407,000 units, as well as Mumford & Sons, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Sources estimate Glassnote, with an album plus track equivalent market share of 0.61%; has annual sales at about $30 million annually.
Yet, other sources says that in shopping for a deal, Glass has been of two minds, one that sees him seeking just a distribution deal for Glassnote; and another in which he is seeking a joint-venture partner in the label as well as a distributor. The latter kind of deal, according to sources, is where a big payout would come from, although one source says that Glass would still like to retain control of the company, even if he sells off a stake in it.
“Glass seems to be sitting back and waiting for offers to come in,” says another source, ” and I bet he has every kind of deal on the table.”
Daniel Glass was unavailable for comment at press time and executives at the major labels either declined to comment or didn’t respond to a request for comment.