The Big Picture

Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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Live Nation's Irving Azoff thinks Twitter is only for Don Rickles fans

August 5, 2010 |  5:20 pm

Twitter I know that Interscope Records czar Jimmy Iovine is supposedly assuming a big new role on "American Idol" (maybe he'll make the judges all wear baseball caps, like he does 24-7). But the news that has my pals in the music biz buzzing with sheer delirious delight is that Irving Azoff has discovered Twitter. The famously acid-tongued Live Nation Entertainment chief has always been known to shoot from the hip, so it's no surprise that in his first day on the Twitter beat, he's managed to shower Don Rickles-style insults and imprecations on a wide range of media and showbiz figures.

As the Wall Street Journal's Ethan Smith points out in this blog post, Azoff has gotten into dust-ups with Perez Hilton ("Shame on you for your fair weather fandom"), rival concert promoter Randy Phillips ("Randy is a genius inventor. he invented 'managers who scalp' ") and Billboard business columnist Glenn Peoples ("u r a jerk"). Azoff led off his tweeting jamboree with a whopper, saying to the loyal fans that pay top-dollar concert ticket prices to see his artists: "so if you want ticket prices to go down stop stealing music."

The great thing about Twitter, as we all know, is that allows celebrities--and showbiz moguls like Azoff--to say exactly what they want right off the top of their heads with oh-so-little self censorship. The problem with most celebs is that they have so little to say that it's hardly worth the time to follow their tweets. Not so with Azoff. He clearly didn't like the tone of Smith's initial response to Azoff's Twitter debut, so before you knew it, he'd sent out the following tweet: "Fact of the Day: Esteemed journalist Ethan Smith from WSJ is ranked 1,348,614 on Twitter Grader."

All I can say, having once received a gigantic bouquet of black roses from Azoff, is that Smith should take solace from the fact that it's something of a badge of honor to make the Irving enemies list. And now that Azoff is tweeting with his trigger finger, I suspect the enemies list is going to grow by leaps and bounds every day.

Photo: The Internet home page for Twitter. Credit: Loic Venance / AFP / Getty Images