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Martin Kierszenbaum and Cherrytree Records, Home to LMFAO and Feist, Part Ways With Interscope

Martin Kierszenbaum - H 2012
Jem Aswad
CherryTree Records' Martin Kierszenbaum (left) backstage at the 2012 Billboard Music Awards with Kev Nish from Far East Movement

With his deal expiring on June 30, the beloved A&R veteran, who had a hand in bringing Lady Gaga to the masses, could not come to terms with the Universal-owned label.

Cherrytree Records head Martin Kierszenbaum, who brought Robyn, Feist, Far East Movement and others to Interscope, has parted ways with the label, he confirmed to Billboard.biz today.

He said that his and Cherrytree's deals with Interscope end on June 30, and that he looks "forward to sharing our plans for the next chapter of Cherrytree" soon. The future status of artists already under the Cherrytree/Interscope partnership was unclear at press time.

A source close to the situation said that a Hits report stating that "While talks continued into the night, Interscope ultimately pulled the deal off the table" is an accurate assessment of the situation.

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Kierszenbaum and Interscope joined forces in 2005. His departure from the label comes just as one of its artists, Ellie Goulding, is making a major breakthrough on the U.S. Billboard charts. This week, the British singer's "Lights" rises 13-12 on the Billboard Hot 100, after steadily climbing the tally for months. The song has sold 1.2 million downloads this year in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. The album of the same name has moved 165,000.

Other acts on Cherrytree's eclectic roster include LMFAO (through a joint deal with will.i.am's own label), La Roux, Robyn and Feist.

Kierszenbaum and his imprint also had a hand in bringing Lady Gaga to the masses. Her first two studio albums -- The Fame and The Fame Monster -- were released in a complicated structure via Akon's KonLive label, Streamline Records, Cherrytree and Interscope. Kierszenbaum also produced and co-wrote four songs on The Fame. Combined, the two Fame albums have shifted 6.7 million in the U.S.

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LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem" was the No. 2 year-end Hot 100 hit for 2011. It recently won the award for Top Hot 100 Song at the Billboard Music Awards in May. "Party Rock" is currently the third-biggest selling digital song of all time, with 6.95 million sold in the U.S.

While Cherrytree has found great success with LMFAO and others, its had its share of misfires recently. Far East Movement -- which scored a No. 1 Hot 100 hit with "Like a G6" -- made a tepid debut on the Billboard 200 this week with its second album, Dirty Bass (3,000 sold). Its first set, Free Wired, debuted and peaked at No. 24 off a 17,000 start. It has moved 175,000 to date. Other acts in the past year that have seen their albums fly under the radar include Natalia Kills, FrankMusik and the Knux.

Kills' Perfectionist, issued in August of 2011, has moved 11,000. FrankMusik's Do It In The AM and the Knux's Eraser have each shifted about 2,000 copies since their release last September.

Twitter: @billboardbiz