LEGAL EAGLES: MCA Records seems to relish...
LEGAL EAGLES: MCA Records seems to relish its adversarial relationship with the rest of the music industry. In recent months, it feuded with Spin magazine and ran a year-end ad in Hits magazine where the execs taunted industry rivals by making an obscene gesture in a photo.
But MCA also has a sense of humor about its nose-thumbing antics. The company recently hired CBS Records business affairs exec Rob Biniaz--known as one of the toughest negotiators in the industry--to help oversee the expansion of MCA’s nationwide concert facilities. Figuring Biniaz’s adversaries at entertainment law firms would be delighted to get the savvy negotiator out of their hair, MCA top gun Irving Azoff sent a mock invoice to heavyweight industry attorneys, charging them $250,000 for the “removal of Rob Biniaz from the record business.”
The billing notice prompted several amused phone calls--and a limerick from attorney Donald Passman, who handles Tina Turner, Don Henley and Randy Newman. Asked to assess the poem (sample lyric: “There once was a young man named Rob/who at last made a switch in his job/CBS it got wimpy/his salary got skimpy. . . .”).
Azoff responded: “Don’s not that funny--I bet Randy Newman wrote it. He’s got plenty of time between albums.” Azoff insisted that the invoice was a success. “We’ve been getting calls from attorneys asking for another copy. I think some of their secretaries may have sent the invoice to the firms’ accounting department. So I’m waiting for the first $250,000 check to come here in the mail.”
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