January 24, 2008

Variations On A Theme...

by Chris Randall

There's an article that has been making the rounds written by Simon Napier-Bell, the manager of quite a few name artists, including the Yardbirds, Wham!, Japan, Ultravox, and Asia. It appeared in The Observer last weekend and has caused quite a splash among the Various People that Know.

Interestingly, the article doesn't say anything that anyone who has had a recording contract with a proper label doesn't know, but it puts the entire experience in this sort of meta-framework which is interesting. Even to those of us that Know. It does make me pine for the 70s a bit, though. Read and discuss...



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Jan.24.2008 @ 3:09 PM
It's a great article with some interesting characters.

Reminds me of all those great books of memos and memoirs from the so-called golden age of Hollywood and makes me wonder are we seeing the end of an era?

If so, I'm looking forward to more tell-all articles and books!


Jan.24.2008 @ 3:09 PM

Jan.24.2008 @ 3:24 PM
It's amazing how much the concept of a"music industry" gets written about. It often seems like the thing only exists as long as we constantly reinforce its existence.

Jan.24.2008 @ 3:45 PM
Chris Randall
Oh, it absolutely exists. Every emo band on the planet would tell you the truth of that. It is definitely weirder now than it was in 1995.



Jan.24.2008 @ 6:18 PM
any favorite tales you'd care to share, chris?

Jan.24.2008 @ 7:20 PM
Boo Hoo! Poor musicians!

...the article simply describes being employed.

Or perhaps even 'life'.

Here in the UK I remember being told during my A-levels that we were among the top 13% in the country and told something similar again, with a smaller %, whilst at Uni. Out of all those students - how many do you think actually got the 'top job'?

Do the educational institutions care? ...about as much as a major record label does about its artists.

If an artist or employee enters into any kind of agreement without checking the small print then they usually get what they deserve.

...course it's not fair but then, when has life ever been fair?


Jan.24.2008 @ 7:33 PM
Christ. If James Ellroy hasn't written a novel about the industry in 1966, then he should.

Jan.24.2008 @ 10:37 PM
Well... at least the majors will have greatest hits compilations from Bread and C+C Music factory to fall back on.

Jan.24.2008 @ 10:46 PM
I went to a conference type thing a while back with Hank Shocklee (Public Enemy), among other people, and the shit he had to say about being an A&R rep and voting for the grammies was hilarious. If an artist's career was to suddenly skyrocket, they would literally cancel another artist's gig and steal their travel budget as they were driving to the airport and divert it to the hot artist. The gist of it was that the records labels are a complete joke.. nothing more than a bunch of con artists conspiring to bleed everyone dry.

Check out the video the Turtles posted on Youtube about their career trajectory and the assload of managers they went through...

link [www.youtube.com]">link [www.youtube.com]


Jan.25.2008 @ 7:22 AM
CR, I seem to remember you talking positively about a book that covered the legal and business aspects of the music business, particularly contracts, but I can't locate the reference - can you remind me?


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