Odds and Sods: Popular Rockers Die Young and Rick Rubin Says Record Labels Don’t Get it

I was was roaming around the web trolling for music news I came across the usual assortment of crap but two things really stuck for me today but for completely different reasons.

keith-richards.jpgIt appears that the longevity of Keith Richards is a bit of an anomaly according to How rock stardom can take years off your life. It seems that the rock star lifestyle (you know the ol’ buggaboo of sex, drugs and rock and roll) that comes with the territory once a rock star becomes popular causes them to die pretty quickly. Citing examples of Kurt Cobain, Buddy Holly, Sid Vicious and Pete Doherty (oops he’s not dead yet!) as rockers who keeled over once stardom struck, British scientists claim that after extensive study they have come to the conclusion that “The results suggest that the most dangerous time for a star is during their first flush of fame. Stars are over three times more likely to die than ordinary people in the first five years after chart success, and in the first 10 years they are still at more than two and a half times the risk. And right up to 25 years after launching a career in showbiz, rock and pop stars are still more likely to meet their maker than the rest of us.”

What does this say to the young wannabe rock stars of today? What kind of a message does this send to them? I can just here the local garage band huddled in their rehearsal space with their collective finger poised over the “send” button of their email program- “Boys, this could mean we may become, you know popular and then we could die!” Rock and roll is a vicious game indeed!

rick-rubin.jpgAt the other end of the spectrum you have Rick Rubin perhaps being a bit to honest when the recently named co-chairman of Columbia Records stated in the New York Times magazine that “I have great confidence that we will have the best record company in the industry, but the reality is, in today’s world, we might have the best dinosaur. Until a new model is agreed upon and rolling, we can be the best at the existing paradigm, but until the paradigm shifts, it’s going to be a declining business. This model is done.” I’m sure that the powers that be at Columbia didn’t expect this so quick in Rubin’s tenure but really, the man was just stating the truth. The old model is dead and right now everybody is staggering in the dark trying to come up with something that works in this Web 2.0 world. Until the major record labels face the fact that they are no longer the gatekeepers to the music anymore, the sooner we can figure out what will make both them and the artists they represent money, the sooner we can start promoting new and exciting artists without fear that taking a risk means the end of life as we know it. It is pretty cool that Rubin is so upfront and at least he is a “music guy” as opposed to a bean counter so don’t rule out the majors just yet.