More Rubin/Columbia

I don’t get it. If kids aren’t listening to radio and MTV plays no music and CDs are dying, what exactly does an act need a major label FOR?

They want a percentage of touring revenue. But what are they giving up in return?


So, you need to give up a huge chunk of your upside so that execs can blow it as they play hedge fund wannabes?

Credit hitsdailydouble, but did you READ Austin Scaggs’ bit on Lyor Cohen? If what I’m getting for giving up so much of my income is the ability for you to hype the scion of a has-been rocker by giving him the keys to the castle for the weekend, COUNT ME OUT! There are better ways to spend money. Like taking care of your EMPLOYEES instead of having them constantly walking on hot coals, believing they’re gonna be fired any minute.

Look at the major labels… The A&R is being done by lawyers. These same lawyers and independent contractors could feed someone else with money. Someone more in touch with TODAY! Who wouldn’t blow all their income and deliver meager results.

Who says the major labels have to be in control of music in the future? Isn’t this like saying GM should rule the auto world? After making inefficient SUVs and being trumped by the Japanese? The Japanese companies made cars that didn’t break, with good gas mileage. Instead of focusing on the bells and whistles, they put all their energy into substance. How the car actually drove. Isn’t it funny that Toyota is poised to be the biggest car company in the world?

Don’t ask what can be done to save the major labels, ask what they can do for YOU! And reading the Rick Rubin article, it appears very little.

Want to sell your music online and get paid? You don’t need the major label, you can use Tunecore, the Orchard or CDBaby. And make MORE!

Want to get on the radio? Well, do you make the kind of music that’s PLAYED on the radio? If you’re a no-talent wannabe, who needs publicity to get noticed as you sell singles and never generate any touring income, the major label is FOR YOU! Out of touch, generating heat in the dying world of mainstream media. But, if you’re anything but a Top Forty popster, you can’t GET ON THE RADIO! Not in any way that generates significant returns. And is it worth paying the labels for the slot? You can use indies, who will gain in power as the majors decline, or admit to yourself that NO station will ever play your music and save your cash.

Or maybe you need the label’s ONLINE STREET TEAM!

Do you send money to Africans? Do you buy penny stocks on the advice of strangers? Are you a FUCKING IDIOT? ANYBODY can tell when they’re being hyped. Our shit detectors are BUILT IN! Sure, word of mouth is king, but from people we TRUST! Not the paid hypester who enters our forum and tries to sell us on a new act in such a bogus moonie manner that even a child knows the jig is up. Did anyone say SPAM?

I’m still trying to figure out what the major label gives your average credible act. Want to use Rick Rubin to produce your record? You don’t even need to be SIGNED to Columbia, his deal’s not exclusive. Come to him with the cash and a story and you can use him too, without giving up all the ancillary bullshit.

Want to get in a commercial, on "Grey’s Anatomy"? You don’t need a major for that either. Indies have entered the field, and a lot of these shows want HIP acts, which means NOT ON A MAJOR LABEL!

If you’re looking for easy answers, maybe you’re tempted by the major label deal. But really, it’s like joining a cult. Giving up all control to an out of touch entity who tells you how to act. It’s scarier to forge your own way. But it’s the only true way out of the wilderness.

The old guard is stumped. If radio is dead and MTV doesn’t play any music and you can’t hype shit, HOW WILL THEY BE SUCCESSFUL?

Do you want to put your career in the hands of THESE people? So out of touch? Jim Guerinot fought with Columbia to give away an Offspring track online seven years ago. Now, finally, in 2007, Columbia allows Springsteen to give away "Radio Nowhere". So who’s smarter here? Jim or the Columbia brass? Who should you trust?

You need a quarterback who’s not guaranteed a salary, but a manager, who’s HUNGRY! Whose livelihood DEPENDS on your success. Someone who doesn’t manage EVERYONE who NEEDS you to hit. That’s motivation for you.

What’s Lyor Cohen’s motivation? Hell, he’s seen enough hit records. He’s rich enough. He wants to go to the society ball. Russell Simmons is a self-help guru. They’ve all jumped the shark, to use a burned-out expression.

You need HUNGRY people. Who don’t want to take most of your upside with only a PROMISE in return. People who can see the new world. Not labels who don’t even let you OWN your music and tell you how to make it and what you can do with it.

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  1. Trackback by Bold As Love | 2007/09/07 at 20:16:59

    He’s right

    For those of you who have an interest in the business of music and, if you don’t read him already, you really should check out Bob Lefsetz. His is definitely an opinionated view of what’s ailing the music industry. Many

This is a read-only blog. E-mail comments directly to Bob.