“The lobby of the Sony building in New York is 70-feet high and heavy with music business ambience – gold records, photographs and the ‘Sony Shop of New Technology’. Upstairs, the main reception is like the lounge of an exclusive club. Young people, dreaming of stardom, stand in wonder breathing in the atmosphere, looking at memorabilia – platinum CDs, photos of stars, framed press reports, Billboard charts. For an aspiring artist or manager, just to step into the building is a thrill. The impression is of a corporation dedicated to the success of its artists, almost altruistic in its understanding of their needs,” Simon Napier-Bell writes for The Observer Music Monthly.
MacDailyNews Note: Simon Napier-Bell has spent over 40 years in the music industry a producer, songwriter, and manager of The Yardbirds, John’s Children, Marc Bolan, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Japan, London, Wham!, Blue Mercedes, and many others.
Napier-Bell continues, “Yet it’s nothing but a flytrap. Artists go there dreaming of being signed. But out of every 10 signed nine will fail. A contract with a major record company was always a 90 per cent guarantee of failure. In the boardroom the talk was never of music, only of units sold. Artists were never the product; the product was discs – 10 cents’ worth of vinyl selling for $10 – 10,000 per cent profit – the highest mark-up in all of retail marketing. Artists were simply an ingredient, without even the basic rights of employees.”
“For 50 years the major labels have thought of themselves as guardians of the music industry; in fact they’ve been its bouncers. Getting into the club used to be highly desirable. Now it doesn’t matter any more,” Napier-Bell writes.
For artists and managers, this is the moment to take things into their own hands. Artists no longer need to be held for 10 years and they no longer need to sign away ownership of their recorded copyrights. These days, an artist working closely with his manager can ensure that everything is done in the artist’s best interest. Majors have never done that. And never will,” Napier-Bell writes.
Much, much more in the full article, which about the music industry and, although the company is never mentioned, obliquely about Apple here.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Data Potato” for the heads up.]