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POP EYE

Cbs Severs Ties To Private I Label

March 09, 1986|PATRICK GOLDSTEIN

It's already being called the Ten Days That Shook the Record Business.

Responding to a growing series of media reports that have pointed to possible ties between independent record promoters and organized crime, the music industry in recent days has hurriedly severed its longstanding ties with outside record promotion firms.

The drama began Feb. 27, with the news that a New York grand jury had issued a subpoena to the Recording Industry Assn. of America (RIAA), demanding all RIAA documents detailing record company ties with independent promoters. Since then, every major record label has issued statements saying they were suspending most or all contacts with independent record promoters, who supplement the labels' own in-house promotion staffs.

But a look at the Billboard charts reveals that at least one major label, CBS Records, is still promoting and distributing several records on Private I/Epic Records, a label run by Joe Isgro, head of one of the industry's leading independent promotion firms. The Private I records currently on the charts include "He's a Pretender" by La Toya jackson and "Sugar Free" by Juicy.

However, a CBS corporate spokesman insisted that, due to "marketing reasons," CBS no longer has any links with Private I. "Our distribution deal was terminated about three months ago," said the spokesman, who declined to be named. "We decided it was in the best interests of both sides that we discontinue the relationship."

When asked why CBS has continued to distribute the Private I records now on the charts, the spokesman explained: "After we terminated the deal, some records did dribble out. But what are we supposed to do--just stop working the records? It would be unfair to the artists involved to abandon their records in mid-stream."

"To my knowledge," the spokesman added, any future Private I records would not be distributed by CBS.

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