MARTY BANDIER, 68, chief executive of the music publishing giant Sony/ATV, is leaning back, hands locked across his midsection, as he takes stock of Mike Posner, a 21-year-old college student sitting in front of him in a black T-shirt and black jeans. Mr. Bandier is deciding whether the time has come to cut a deal with him.
Sony already has a recording contract with Mr. Posner, and Mr. Bandier is weighing whether he should lock up publishing rights as well, which would allow the company to collect fees every time Mr. Posner’s songs are played on the radio, in movies or in commercials, or are downloaded as a ring tone on phones.
Mr. Posner yanks a computer from his backpack, plugs it into Mr. Bandier’s stereo system and hits “play.” A deep, pounding bass shakes the floor and the windows vibrate. Mr. Posner sings along and waves his hands in the air while Mr. Bandier bounces up and down in his chair.
“I’ve been singing for a year and a half,” Mr. Posner says when the music ends. “And I recorded that song in my mother’s basement.” Mr. Bandier, beaming, signs Mr. Posner that very day.
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