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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Words Of Wisdom

One of the smartest guys in the music business I know is Bob Ohlsson.

Bob was never an influential music executive for a big label.  In fact, he wasn't an executive at all. Bob was an engineer for Motown during their best, most productive years in Detroit and while he was there, he watched Berry Gordy build a world-class company and studied how the history of the entertainment business repeated itself.  From this came a worldly view of the business of music that always provides a "D'uh" moment whenever I read one of his posts. Bob sees the music biz (really the entire entertainment biz) on a global scale unlike anyone I've ever met.

Here's an excerpt from a recent post on the Mastering list regarding the state of live music that really hit home.

"The minute anybody has begun trying to treat entertainment as some kind of a generic commodity historically-speaking, they have always been headed for a financial train wreck.
Corporate investors really want to believe in movie mogul mythology because it appeals to their quest for power. The press loves to believe they know what people want and support the same myth endlessly as something to blame the failure of their pet projects on. Artists who fail to connect with a large enough audience to quit their day jobs also love to use "the evil industry" as their excuse. Obviously label execs love for people to believe they have great power and I think one of our biggest current problems are sorcerers apprentices at the labels who actually believe this pretention."
After some interesting private discussions at the recent AES show, I believe that we're going to see some of the great record makers of our time exit the business soon just for the reason that Bob outlined. For them, the record making process has become no fun and you have to have fun on some level to make great music.

It all comes back to a little saying that I have - "Art is something that you do for yourself; a craft is something you do for someone else."  The business of making music has turned far too much into a craft in recent years.


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