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The H.R. files: Take a peek into Adele, Kanye and Taylor’s performance reviews

Photographs by Larry Busacca / Getty Images and Ben Stansall / AFT/Getty Images.

Photographs by Larry Busacca / Getty Images and Ben Stansall / AFT/Getty Images.

(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

How are Adele, Kanye West and Taylor Swift doing? Sneak a peek at their performance files.

Sometimes, we get email. Who are we to ignore emails? We are not that collective person. So when Honus Wagner, who we thought was dead, emails us from a label that doesn't exist, we don't say "hoax." We say, "Do go on." He has evaluated three important, talented and popular artists. (He also evaluated Rihanna by drawing lots of hearts and mushroom clouds. Reproduce at home, as needed.) Though Wagner is a vexing duppy from the molten beyond, we think he made some good points. He also included a little note on mylar saying, "Mets in five," so proceed with caution.

Adele

Kanye West

Taylor Swift

Click on an image to read the H.R. evaluations for each artist. (Los Angeles Times)

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(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Employee's Name: Kanye West

Title: Artist

Supervisor: Honus Wagner, HR director for iVersal

Review Period: Jan. 1-present

Performance Review:

A. Responsibilities

  1. Audio, video content. Social media feeds. Fashion widgets. Public appearances.

B. Performance Assessment

  1. Notable discord during visioning sessions. One staffer revised survey pages to read "Artist Performance Survey" and wrote repeatedly, "Gods cannot be measured."
  2. No staffer was entirely sure whether artist released any music this year. Several were convinced that 2015 singles were from 2014, and one staffer insists artist lives in Belgium. Some asked whether iVersal could turn to marketing the child North West while artist is in "weird-ass hibernation." Two staffers are convinced that artist has shown same runway line twice. One staffer claims to own Yeezy Boost sneakers but is "afraid" to bring them to HQ. Another professes to have heard "Swish," and says it is actually called "Very Swish" and is "total flames." One staffer claims to have sent artist "bars" and states that "his bars are going to be on the next album #blessed."

    One staffer insists the artist met with Pope Francis; another asserts that artist has his own line of hosiery. Staffers were unsure whether artist was apologizing to Taylor Swift during his MTV Video Music Awards speech or to someone else. Since the staff mostly watched on Twitter, several were unaware that he had announced a bid for president. Two younger staffers asked whether "President Trump" were "mad" at the artist. Staffer who saw artist's presentation of "808s & Heartbreak" widget said it was "like a movie I saw once."

C. Professional Development Plan

  1. Staff is hoping for a commercial release of some sort.

D. Staff Comments

  1. Most common request was for artist to bring his family to iVersal offices. Artist has never been to iVersal offices, so we are hoping to get a licensed hologram for interfaith December party.

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(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Employee's Name: Taylor Swift

Title: Artist

Supervisor: Honus Wagner, HR director for iVersal

Review Period: Jan. 1-present

Performance Review:

A. Responsibilities

Audio content; video content; streaming auxiliaries; ticket sales; fragrances; partnerships with various brands (see attached 16-page PDF); unnamed varieties of inspiration; social media strategies and material for pending Prime™ Partnership initiative.

B. Performance Assessment

  1. Artist outperformed expectations. Audience response to "1989" widget was acute and commercially robust. In-house reactions are close to a 9.8 positive consensus. Several staffers are unable to transition to other content.

    In public window, artist was both omnipresent and inspirational. Tour was popular among staff, except for two regional executives who were unable to procure tickets and have petitioned HR to change "corrupt" lottery system.
  2. Artist paid especial attention to co-branding and associative generation, i.e., inviting an artist from another demo to share the stage (briefly) with artist.
  3. Staff was confused by some activities Artist undertook, including the #squad and #girlgang initiatives, as well as artist team's prosecution of copyright and trademark law. The #squad and #girlgang initiatives seem exclusive and risk triggering a downward PR shift if there is not immediate motion toward more diverse vision of the "squad." Some staff are recommending a brief underplay tour in at-risk communities.
  4. There is near consensus (8.8) among staff that prosecution of legitimate copyright concerns is not prudent when civilians are seeing homemade materials confiscated or altered when said materials are of little commercial threat to the artist or iVersal. There is also anecdotal evidence that artist's core audience has harassed other non-iVersal artists online.

    Third-party psychology consultants shared input that artist may be approaching music business as if it were a "fear-based culture." We have seen artist oscillate between courting fans and implementing punitive measures against same fans. One psych-team member used the term "27-hour workday" in brief. A blind test group of teenagers wrote the words "lack of chill" on 430 separate pieces of paper. Artist's representative noted that test group was underage and "no longer her problem." Artist still provided every member of test group with a hang glider and a turtle.
  5. Upcoming events apparently include a long hiatus. Considering the number of spreadsheets staff must review, a commercial deceleration is prudent and hereby approved.

C. Professional Development Plan

  1. Artist has never attended a meeting at iVersal, so staff assumes there will be a public announcement of plans beyond 2016 at some point.

D. Staff Comments

  1. None of iVersal staff would agree to attribution, so only one anonymous author is credited here. (NOTE: Please add #TSPTSD to next strategic visioning section.)
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    (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

    Employee's Name: Adele

    Title: Artist

    Supervisor: Honus Wagner, HR director for iVersal

    Review Period: Jan. 1-present

    Performance Review:

    A. Responsibilities

    Audio, video content. Public appearances.

    B. Performance Assessment

    1. Artist's strong return surprised and pleased staff. Several staff assumed executive summary contained typo, but artist's Instagram account was established on Oct. 22, 2015, not 2010. (Latter was the year Twitter account was established, though artist rarely uses this feed.) There was potential intramural friction in some unattributed commentary that this artist achieved the same effect as the Prime™ [PARTNERSHIP PENDING] Artist, but with much less effort. Staff is trying to promote unity at UniBrand retreats and wants to explicitly reduce artist-versus-artist scenarios.
    2. Staff posted conflicting views in regards to latest audio-video widget, "Hello." There was statistically negligible input that artist's style might not be viable deep into 21st century. Remainder of staff was crying and did not fill out feedback forms.
    3. Staff assumes artist's full-length widget will sell in all formats and has arranged for 780 million iterations of master to be available to the public.

    C. Professional Development Plan

    1. Staff votes to retract previous social media plan and suspend iVersal marketing input. Some younger staff members are not connecting with artist and are identifying as "birthers." Staffer Ashley Spronce — who quit and thereby relinquished her contractual right to anonymity — wrote, "No WAY Adele is only 19 months older than Taylor. 1989 4ever!" Staffer confused as to what "leap year" is.

    D. Staff Comments

    1. Staff was unable to generate any specific feedback. Several staffers submitted "shruggies." One senior executive wrote, "Get out of her way and go home early."

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