Rock Biz

“It’s not about the art”

“It’s not about the art.” That was the comment Rick Rubin made about the sale of Dreamworks Records to Interscope in the article “Music meets the bottom line” by Tom Moon of the Philadelphia Inquirer. (I couldn’t for the life of me find a free link to this article but you can buy access at the Inquirer’s web site if you must. I read it in the Montreal Gazette so obviously it has been syndicated. Do an online search as it is a worthy read.) The article uses the sale of Warner Music and Dreamworks Records as a lament on the decline of the music industry as a place where artist development and artistic integrity once counted more than the bottom line. One of the important points Moon makes is that “no matter how much emphasis is placed on sales charts, the music industry still needs representatives from the fringes, warriors (like Mo Ostin) willing to stick with an unproven talent long enough for the talent to mature” something that the independent record labels have always been more adept at, especially in the last 5-10 years. As a matter of fact, independent record labels have always been the spur to the majors side by acting as a breeding ground for new, “off the beaten path” talent and will probably continue to be so for the near future. But as Moon rightly points out, “if they (the major record labels) are to remain relevant, the major labels will sooner or later have to return to that philosophy of nurturing artists instead of going for the one hot record.” Let’s hope that that will come sooner rather than later. An interesting read. Read it if you can find it.