It’s very important that we don’t pile all of America’s powerful business moguls into one catagory. Just because an exec is rich and successful doesn’t mean they have the same knowledge, power and influence that the other has. Saying that Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey speak for the top tier of the recorded music industry is completely untrue. Bill Gates is an IT master, Oprah is a television mogul, Donald Trump is a real-estate tycoon. If you asked them anything about the inner workings of the music industry, they would not have a clue how to answer you.
People like Seymour Stein, the founder of Sire Records, L.A. Reid, the founder of LaFace Records, and the current CEO of Epic Records and Lyor Cohen, the former North American Chairman of Recorded Music at Warner Music Group, and one of the most prolific business insiders at Def Jam Records (developing legendary hip hop acts like L.L. Cool J and Beastie Boys) are people you should be praising or complaining about if you are serious about taking your band or career to new heights in the music industry.
Let me introduce you to one of the most innovative, and down to earth music executives of the 20th century. I’m not saying that any music executive is right or wrong in regards to their methods or ideology, but if you don’t know who to learn from, your information will always be skewed and so will your results. When you know better, you do better!
Cohen has recently resigned from his 8 year stint at Warner Music Group, he had this to say to his staff:
“To all the artists and employees who live and die for the music every day,” he said in a statement, “and who personally sacrifice for the good of the creative process: ‘keep on keepin’ on’ in the tradition of a company that respects and honors the artistic community.” - New York Times
His insight on the new digital music age and industry is also invaluable: