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Thursday, September 13, 2012

It's True, The Music Business Is Not About The Art

Line Outside Club image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
Last week the entire music portion of the blogosphere seemed to be lit up by the following statement from Universal Music Group CEO Lucian Grainge when talking about Justin Bieber:

The company likes hits, the fans like hits, and that's what he's there to do--make hits. 
We're not in the art business.

Why this statement should be any surprise to anyone I'm not sure. First of all, except for the label pioneers of the 50s, 60s, and 70s like Motown's Berry Gordy, Warner Bros' Mo Ostin, and Elektra's Jac Holzman (among a few others), this has been the label mantra for at least 30 years since the majors were bought out by the international conglomerates. Why should it be any different today?

Here's the bottom line if you're an artist or band and want label interest: a label doesn't care how good or bad your music is, they only care if you have an audience.

Good and bad is so subjective anyway. What's great to one person may be crap to another and vice versa. Most record companies only care if you have a line around the block waiting to see you. Really when you get down to it, that's all that counts.

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2 comments:

Dreama said...

Although I'm well aware of this and have been for sometime, it is no less heartbreaking every-time it is repeated.

Craig said...

I've never understood why people are so shocked when the music industry says they're after acts that make money.

If they were ANY other business, people would say "Well of course, you have to make products people want to pay money for."

The fact is, like him or hate him, Bieber is probably better than you. Better looking, better connections, better producers, better dancer, heck even a better singer.

Just because he's marketed to teen-girls who eat it up, doesn't mean anything from a business perspective.

There's a reason pop-hits all sound the same... IT WORKS AND PEOPLE BUY IT... over and over and over again.

If you want to make obscure whale-song music that most people "don't understand because it's on a whole different level", don't complain that you can't make a living at it.

/rant

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