BACK TO THE FUTURE: With Senate subcommittees and grand juries gearing up payola investigations, most of the record industry has noisily severed its ties with independent promotion firms. But that didn't stop PolyGram Records from hiring Fred Deane last week as its new senior director of rock radio promotion.
According to insiders, the appointment of Deane, a prominent independent promotion man based in Cherry Hill, N.J., may signal the beginning of a new series of alliances between outside promotion men and label promotion departments. Deane recently legally changed his name from Fred DiSipio Jr. His father, Freddy DiSipio, who also operates in Cherry Hill, is a leading promotion man who was linked to organized crime figures in an "NBC Nightly News" report on payola in the record biz.
Insiders have predicted that major labels, who claim that it's increasingly difficult to break new artists since cutting ties with outside promotion firms, would find a way to rehire many independents, either as staff or as outside consultants.
Neither Deane nor PolyGram officials would comment on his new post. But Deane told Billboard magazine, "I would like to see the indies come back as soon as possible. You can't supplant their overall expertise. . . . I know what makes a good indie; if I can apply that to PolyGram's game plan and strategies, the field staff will know our priorities."