Epic Records chairman/CEO Antonio "L.A." Reid, a former "X Factor" U.S. judge, has made huge changes in Epic's staff as the label struggles to get big hits with its new artists, including several former "X Factor" U.S. contestants. According to an article published by The Hollywood Reporter on January 9, 2013, Reid has fired Mark Shimmel (who was Epic's COO) and Erik Olesen (who was Epic's senior VP of promotion).
Shimmel, who was Reid's right-hand man, joined Epic in January 2012. Olesen had been with the company since August 2011 and was named senior VP of promotion in March 2012. Olesen was responsible for overseeing radio and video promotion for Epic's artists.
As previously reported, Epic Records fired Angelica Cob-Baehler in August 2012, less than a year after she was appointed Epic's executive VP of marketing.
The replacements for these executives have not been named yet.
While these executives have been fired from Epic, someone will be shown getting hired at the company. Epic is one of the companies participating in the reality-competition series "The Job," which premieres on CBS on February 8, 2013. In each episode, five different contestants compete for a junior-level job at a different company. At the end of the episode, the winner gets hired by the company. The episode featuring Epic will be televised on a date to be announced. A CBS spokesperson says that Reid will not be one of the Epic executives in the episode and that the names of the Epic executives featured in the episode will be announced. (UPDATE: "The Job" was cancelled after two low-rated episodes aired. The Epic Records episode was never televised.)
In December 2012, Reid quit "The X Factor" U.S., where he was a judge on the show's first and second seasons in 2011 and 2012. Reid said he quit the show to spend more time on his job at Epic.
Epic Records and Columbia Records are both owned by Sony Music, the record-company partner of "The X Factor." Syco Music (the label to many "X Factor" alumni) is co-owned by Sony Music and "The X Factor" executive producer Simon Cowell.
The "X Factor" alumni signed to Epic Records in the U.S. so far are:
- Melanie Amaro, winner of "The X Factor" U.S. in 2011 (signed to Syco/Epic)
- Chris Rene, third place on "The X Factor" U.S. in 2011 (signed to Syco/Epic)
- Marcus Canty, fourth place on "The X Factor" U.S. in 2011 (signed to Epic)
- Astro, seventh place on "The X Factor" U.S. in 2011 (signed to Epic)
- Cher Lloyd, fourth place on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2010 (signed to Syco/Epic)
Of these acts, only Lloyd had a big hit in the U.S. in 2012: Her first U.S. single, "Want U Back," reached No. 12 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart and sold 2 million copies in the United States. Her first album, "Stick & Stones," was released in the U.S. in October 2012, and the album debuted in the U.S. at No. 9 on the Billboard 200 chart.
However, Lloyd's second U.S. single, "Oath" (featuring Becky G.), was a flop. It peaked at No. 99 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Insiders are speculating that Lloyd would have been better off having "With Ur Love" as her second U.S. single, which was the original plan, but Epic changed those plans and released "Oath" instead. "With Ur Love" was a No. 4 hit in the U.K.
The sales for the former "X Factor" U.S contestants have been lackluster or downright pathetic.
None of them has had hits on Billboard's Hot 100 songs chart, as all songs released by these former contestants have failed to make it on the chart except for Canty's first single, "Won't Make a Fool Out of You," which was released in 2012 and peaked at a lowly No. 98.
R&B/pop singer Amaro won $5 million as part of her "X Factor" prize but she has been a $5 million flop. All of her songs released so far — "Respect" (a cover version of the Aretha Franklin/Otis Redding classic), "Don't Fail Me Now," "Love Me Now" and "Long Distance" — have been embarrassing bombs. Her first album, "Truly," was originally supposed to be released on December 4, 2012, but the album's release has been postponed to a date to be announced. Reid is an executive producer of the album.
In October 2012, hip-hop artist Rene's "I'm Right Here" EP debuted at No. 55 on the Billboard 200 chart, but the EP quickly dropped off the chart after a few weeks. His singles released by Epic so far ("Young Homie," "Trouble" and "Rockin' With You") have had decreasing sales with each subsequent single. Although Rene has failed to make it on Billboard's Hot 100 chart in the U.S., he has had big hits in New Zealand, where "Young Home" was No. 1, "Trouble" was No. 10, and "Rockin' With You" was No. 26.
R&B singer Canty's EP "This ... Is Marcus Canty" was scheduled for release on October 30, 2012, but the release was delayed to an undetermined date. His singles so far have been "Won't Make a Fool Out of You," "In & Out" and "Used by You," which all got some airplay at R&B radio stations, but sales for the songs were not enough for the song to become hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Epic has not announced any new information about teen rapper Astro's first Epic Records album or when he will release any singles with the label. In 2012, he was a featured artist on a remix of Lloyd's "Want U Back," but so far there's been no word on when any of his own music will be released on Epic. In 2012, Astro (whose real name is Brian Bradley) was working with Grammy-winning producers Pharrell Williams and Boi-1da on the album, whose title, songs and release date are to be announced.
It has not been announced yet if any "X Factor" U.S. contestants from 2012 will be signed to Epic. But as previously reported, Reid's "X Factor" exit will probably affect Epic's relationship with the show from now on.
Syco/Columbia is the U.S. label for "X Factor" U.K. alumni One Direction, Olly Murs and Rebecca Ferguson and "X Factor" U.S. alum Rachel Crow.
Emblem3, the male pop trio that came in fourth place on "The X Factor" U.S. in 2012, has been signed by Mr. Kanani/Syco/Columbia. Emblem3's first album is due out before the end of 2013. The album's title, songs and release date are to be announced. Savan Kotecha is executive producing the album, which will be the first release on his Mr. Kanani label imprint.
"X Factor" U.S. alumni Carly Rose Sonenclar (second place in 2012) and Fifth Harmony (third place in 2012) are signed to Syco, but it has not been announced if Syco has partnered with Epic or Columbia for Sonenclar and Fifth Harmony.