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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Rubin's Time Up At Sony?

There's no question that Rick Rubin is a brilliant producer and has been for many years. From diverse acts such as Metallica, Johnny Cash, and the Beastie Boys (among many others), Rick has proved that he indeed is a hit and taste-maker.

But a record label exec he has proved not to be. The current underground buzz is that Sony is about to quietly push him out of the label's co-chairmanship, proving that having a magic touch in the studio doesn't automatically translate to the boardroom.

We live in interesting times for the music business, and it's in desperate need of visionary guidance. But it's too much to expect of anyone who's on the creative end of the business to lead it from the financial desert. The music industry has a reputation for constantly looking in the wrong place for leadership (save for the glory times of true music lovers like Ahmet Ertegan, Alpert & Moss, Mo Ostin and Berry Gordy), lately settling on attorneys and accountants as their chief execs instead of true music people. At least Rubin's pick was outside the box, but not far enough.

The industry is now living and dying electronically. Maybe it's time to look to Silicon Valley for a new generations of leaders?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ertegan, Alpert/Moss, Ostin and Gordy were all pioneers, not managers. Their success was based upon having invented an industry and, more important, continuing to reinvent it every decade or so. Also, they were artists in their own right. With few exceptions, the music industry has never supported artists, it merely tolerated them.

Today, the sad fact is that music has become a commodity, like corn or oil, so the next executives will more lokely come from Exxon or P&G than Silicon Valley. Of course, that will fail miserably also while artists reconnect with their audiences in new and innovative ways without the "help" of middlemen who will continue to choke themselves into oblivion.

There will always be a handful of big, corporate Brands, like Beyonce, Bon Jovi or Miley Cyrus, but in the new distribution model many thousands of musicians will earn a living selling music directly to their fans.

It's already happening.



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