Go to any trivia night in any bar on any given night and you will see embers burn as teams compete. But 14 tables of music industry heavy hitters had more of a playful, friendly vibe as teams from Apple, ASCAP, Rhino, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and Sony Music Group gathered in the sacred space that is The Village recording studio in West Los Angeles. The Music Trivia Bowl, held on Thursday, Feb. 20, was organized for the benefit of a greater good: leading Cancer hospital and research facility City of Hope.
Manager Jeff Jampol (pictured), whose Jam Inc. looks after the estates of the Doors, the Ramones, the Mamas and the Papas and others, oversaw the event, which elicited several moments of taunting cackles throughout. One such ribbing came when Universal subsidiary UME missed a question about the Weeknd, an artist on the UMG roster. Rhino and Warner, which handle the Ramones catalog, also stumbled: incorrectly answering what was the first Ramones song to hit the Billboard chart (it was “Sheena Is A Punk Rocker”). Thankfully, since Shaun Cassidy was the guest emcee, every table answered correctly the bonus question of what song he covered for a 1978 top 40 hit (“Da Doo Run Run”).
After a 90-minute first round, three teams tied for first — Rhino, ASCAP and Apple — and squared off on a bonus question to determine which two would go to the finals: How many songs were collectively on the Beatles U.K. releases? ASCAP and Apple got closest to the correct answer of 186.
The final matchup was played “Family Feud”-style and included such rapid-fire questions as: what song did Stevie Wonder win an Oscar for in 1984 (“I Just Called To Say I Love You”), what festival was inspired by Pearl Jam’s 1993 battle with Ticketmaster (Coachella) and which artist played both the London and Philadelphia Live-Aid concerts (Phil Collins).
Apple took the trophy on the last question, though the big winner was City of Hope.
Following the event, Jampol explained to Variety how the Music Trivial Bowl morphed into an industry-wide benefit. “It started when a few of us ‘elder nerds’ — Ian Rogers, Scott Bauman, Bob Lefsetz, Dave DiMartino, Michael Rosenblatt and myself — first got together about a dozen years ago and started a regular, invite-only music biz insiders trivia game,” Jampol said. “The game quickly grew to over 80 regular attendees and I was handed the reins. We moved around — from Microsoft’s private space in Venice, to John Branca’s home — and eventually, Gary Stiffelman and Zach Horowitz approached me and asked if we’d consider conducting the game as a City of Hope charity event, open to the public. … The Village owner Jeff Greenberg graciously provided the space for gathering, and it worked so well.”
For more information on Music Trivia Bowl, head to the City of Hope site.