Where did you grow up?
I'm from the Midwest originally (Chicago and Kansas City), and have lived in
New York and New Jersey as well, but I moved to L.A. when I was
12. I've been here ever since.
How did you decide that you wanted to go into the music business?
Like you, Michael, I saw the Beatles on "The Ed Sullivan Show"
too. I was eight years old. In addition to being the shot heard
round the world for music, that was the moment when I determined
that I wanted to have something to do with whatever it was that
I saw on TV that night. I may have been too young to understand
that it was a business, but I knew that I wanted to be part of
Did you have a clue as to what aspect of the business you
might want to be involved in at that time?
I knew I was never going to be a performer, so I guess I wanted
to be behind the scenes. As I grew up, I became a voracious fan
of music. Since I was too young to go to clubs, we used to go
see bands at TV tapings like Midnight Special and Don Kirshner's
Rock Concert. That's where I first saw bands like Aerosmith, the
New York Dolls, Van Morrison, Todd Rundgren, ELO, and Mott the
Hoople. From there, I figured out the best way to get my hands
on a lot of music was to become a record reviewer. First, I did
it for my junior high and high school newspapers, and then I went
on to become a freelance journalist, writing for Creem and Rolling
Stone, among others. Because I was dealing with all the labels'
publicity departments, I eventually got a job at A&M as a college
rep. Their college department was located in their publicity bungalow
on the Chaplin lot in Hollywood. At that time I was doing everything
I could to get a broad background in the music business. Besides
being a journalist, I also worked in retail at the Licorice Pizza
record store chain. When I got to college--which was at the University
of California at Berkeley--I continued as a rep for A&M, as well
as a journalist and helping with the concert committee. We'd go
to Winterland in San Francisco nearly every weekend to see bands
like Fleetwood Mac, the Who, Genesis, Elvis Costello, and even
the final shows by the Sex Pistols and the Band's "Last Waltz".
It was an amazing time. Eventually, I became the music director
at the college station KALX-FM and helped bring bands like Blondie
and the Talking Heads to Berkeley..
How did you end up being a product manager at Warner Bros.?
I had a pretty broad background, and at the time, Warner Communications
ñ the predecessor to Time Warner ñ was starting a management training
program. About 3,000 people had applied for about three jobs,
and I kept making the cut. A week before I graduated from Berkeley,
I landed one of the three positions as a management trainee at
Warner Bros. Records in Burbank. The program was great, insofar
as it allowed me to spend a month in each of 12 different departments,
beginning with Roberta Peterson in A&R, to working in the promotion
and marketing departments, as well as spending a month on the
warehouse floor at WEA Distribution. It was a priceless education;
one day I'm at the WEA sales convention and the next day I'm in
the studio with Captain Beefheart! I got to work with great people.
To have the chance to have people like Mo Ostin, Lenny Warnoker,
Russ Titelman, Jerry Wexler, Bob Krasnow, Ed Rosenblatt, and Russ
Thyret as your instructors was an unbelievable opportunity. From
there, I obtained my dream job at the time, which was becoming
a product manager for WB.
Can you explain what a product manager does?
A product manager is like an in-house manager for a recording
artist. You're involved in everything: from following through
with what the A&R department delivers, to educating the company
about the artist, devising the overall marketing and imaging plans,
and working with every department to coordinate things like advertising,
touring, sales, publicity and promotion on behalf of your acts.
So that job would kick in from the point when the label decides
to sign an artist?
Yes. It's a very all-encompassing job, and it's a great training
ground for moving on in a lot of different directions. I was fortunate
at the time to work with a great roster of young and developing
artists, many of who have become very large stars from that point
forward. I was just out of college, and I was the very first product
manager for U2 in America. I also worked with artists like Prince,
Devo, Gang of Four, Van Morrison, Bob Marley, Pat Metheny, Laurie
Anderson, Steve Winwood and Little Feat. It was a great training
ground for people like myself, (Interscope President) Tom Whalley
and (Dreamworks President) Steven Baker and others at the time.
That must have been some pretty heady stuff for a 22-year-old,
working with artists of that calibre.
Absolutely! I was just out of college, and standing on stage
at Pauley Pavilion watching Bob Marley perform, knowing I was
his marketing guy in the States. The whole U2 experience from
their first day in America was an amazing journey. It was not
only a very great learning opportunity, but provided a lot of
satisfaction in terms of making a difference in people's careers.
I still have relationships with a lot of artists and managers
dating back to those days.
So what made you jump ship and go over to the A&R side of
Well, I had been courted for A&R positions even as a marketing
guy. I had had discussions with people like Chris Blackwell and
Clive Davis at the time, but I didn't want to jump into A&R until
I really knew the full spectrum of marketing. My fundamental belief
is that you can sign a great band and make a great record, but
if nobody hears it, what's the point? So eventually I was ready
to make the move because I wanted to get closer to the source
of the artistic nucleus, I guess.
Was it at that point that you went to Capitol?
Yeah. Actually, after I left Warner Bros., I managed some bands
like the Dream Syndicate, Gang of Four, Thin Lizzy and Ultravox.
Then I was head of artist development at MCA Records for a while.
But it was the move to Capitol that finally brought me into the
You did something that I always thought was amazing - you
signed Bonnie Raitt. You pretty much flew in the face of everything
that every A&R guy in the world was doing at the time, and had
a huge success with her. What did you see in her that everybody
Well, I knew that although she wasn't flavor-of-the-month, she
was a woman who was steeped in experience, and soul, and the blues,
and the great tradition of rock ën' roll.
Some labels sign an artist of that caliber just to have that
artist on the roster. Were you going for that kind of signing,
or did you think she was capable of having a hit record?
Initially my thought was, here is a great artist with a great
history, and Bonnie could be making records for the rest of her
career and someday end up in the Hall of Fame or the Smithsonian
as the great blues rocker of our time. My instincts were that
she might not have immediate hits, but that she could maintain
an incredible career up until the age of somebody like Aretha
Franklin or even a Bessie Smith. The fact that we had such an
overwhelming success ñ which was hardly overnight, but a year
in the making, for Nick of Time ñ I think was attributed to her
making a landmark album, really baring her soul on it, and to
the enthusiasm of the various participants including myself, Ron
Stone, Danny Goldberg, and the folks at Capitol especially Hale
Milgrim and our publicist Judy Kerr. It certainly was not something
you would have predicted on paper.
It was something that earned a lot of respect from all sides.
It was a good artistic move and a good career move.
I had always wanted to sign acts that would eventually end up
in the Hall of Fame, and I guess one way or another, I did.
When you signed her, did she have a pretty complete quiver
of material, or were you signing the artist and hoping to hook
her up with the right material?
I didn't hear a single new song before signing her. I went on
a Saturday night out to a club in an area near Malibu called Trancas.
I saw her perform with a small band, and I just saw the reaction
of the crowd and knew that there was greatness there. We didn't
listen to any demos. She didn't make any demos. She ended up with
Don Was as producer because of her experience with a Hal Willner
Disney tribute record that A&M had released. Everyone just set
about looking for material. It was funny because on the first
record, I think I got about 30 songs in to submit to her for consideration,
and on the second album, Luck of the Draw, I probably got 600
submissions! But Bonnie knows what writers she likes. She's very
inclined towards people like John Hiatt, Larry John McNally, and
Jerry Williams. So we looked in that area. Since then, Bonnie
has become much more of a songwriter in her own right. Each of
the Capitol albums contained more and more of her original compositions
as time went on.
With any artist you might sign, what are some of the elements
that can make you get excited enough to get on a plane, or excited
enough to sign an artist and not wait to see what everybody in
the A&R community is going to do?
What I look for when I sign someone is quite a number of things.
Some are definable and some are not. The definable ones include
having some kind of focused image. A consistency of good quality
material is important ñ consistency being the key word. Some kind
of seasoning is nice, so that they actually play with some kind
of confidence or virtuosity or dexterity. Most importantly, it's
an individualized musical message. You also have to feel that
an act has a very good chance of making it or else you can't commit
the kinds of resources necessary to break a band in today's environment.
The intangibles are just things like the power and the passion
and whatever star qualities that make the hairs on the back of
your neck stand up. You know it when you see it.
What percentage of the acts that you sign need more material
versus coming to the party with a full arsenal?
I have tended over the years to sign artists that come complete
with their own material. If you look at most of my signings over
the years whether it's bands like Blind Melon, Mazzy Star, the
Afghan Whigs, Concrete Blonde, Train, or individual artists like
John Hiatt, Tal Bachman, Lloyd Cole and even Sinead O'Connor who
I did a deal with at Columbia, they all are artists, not just
performers. I'm not looking for outside songs, per se. If a co-write
situation develops, it often comes from the artist themselves.
It's hard to force co-writes on self-contained rock bands. If
an artist is coming up short on material, I'm not beyond suggesting
it and helping to arrange for it. But my first choice is to have
the artist deliver the best material that they have to pursue
their vision. I find material written by a sole writer to have
a more personal impact than a group message. Can you imagine a
team writing a song like "No Woman, No Cry"? I can't. I will add
though that we have recently picked up a few acts that are songwriters,
not just for themselves, but for other people. One is a group
named Annetenna. They're the songwriting team of Anne Previn and
Scott Cutler, who were the creative nucleus of Edna Swap and who
wrote Natalie Imbruglia's "Torn," as well as writing and producing
tracks on the current Sinead O'Connor record. They're well known
throughout the songwriting community and are currently finishing
their album for us with Tchad Blake who just did the latest Pearl
Jam record. We also have a great duo named Evan and Jaron who
I put with T-Bone Burnett for their Columbia debut, who love to
co-write with people. Their original demo contained a number of
solid hit singles when we first heard it. Both acts have big pop
hooks, but with a rock leaning sensibility.
How important is it for an artist who writes their own material
to stick to fairly traditional song structures?
It depends. Unfortunately, for new bands, it's more about having
songs that are of a convenient length for programming on the radio,
which is usually about four minutes max. However, can you imagine
the classic songs we never would have heard if this were always
the case? I mean the Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again", tons of Floyd
tracks, "Stairway to Heaven," "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes," "Light
My Fire". C'mon, even Zeppelin's "Kashmir" is eight and a half
minutes and I'd dare a new band to come up with a song as good
as that! Of course the Ramones we're lucky to hit two minutes
on a song. So what's it all mean? Write songs with impact. That's
all that matters.
When you sign a band, do you often get involved in the choice
of producer, or do you tend to find bands that have a producer
in mind whose work they admire and you just help facilitate it?
I've done a lot of producer searching over the years and have
a pretty good idea of different producers strengths and weaknesses,
in terms of their backgrounds. Are they song guys, engineering-based,
etc. It's about experience, intuition and a certain degree of
What kind of stuff do you look for in a producer? Are there
tangibles that you can look for?
Since the record making process tends to be an expensive one,
and so much is riding on each artist's album, I tend to try to
work with producers who have a fair amount of experience. I've
done records with Bob Rock, Brendan O'Brien, Don Was, T-Bone Burnett,
Dave Jerden, Andy Wallace, and whole host of producers, because
you generally have one shot to get your record right. At this
point in my career, I have relationships with most of the established,
and quite a few of the up and coming, rock and pop record producers,
as well as some great engineers and even arrangers like Paul Buckmaster
and David Campbell, so there is generally a pretty wide list of
people to choose from.
What are some of the differences in how a record would be
made and marketed for a rock act, like the Offspring, versus a
pop act like Britney Spears or the Spice Girls?
Rock acts have to make credible albums that are worth listening
to all the way through. This is the basic tenet of the rock idiom.
They have to define themselves as much through their records as
they do through their live show. A touring base is still very
important to the success of a rock band. If you look at some of
the bands I work with, whether it's the Offspring or Train or
back to Blind Melon, these are bands that paid their dues on the
road and may do upwards of 200 shows or more in the life of an
album. This is how bands like Korn, Limp Bizkit, Rage Against
the Machine, 311, Incubus all became "overnight" successes. Look
at Dave Matthews. He was selling out shows in 11 states before
he had a record deal! A pop act is more reliant of the impact
of a 3-1/2 minute single at radio. Only after a pop act has had
airplay success can they usually generate enough interest to go
out and tour as a live act.
What are the odds of getting a pop act on the radio with playlists
being as tight as they are?
Well, I think the current climate is rather favorable for pop
acts. Radio programmers seem to be focused on the ability of single
songs to react and deliver an audience. I don't think we've had
as big a market for pop music since probably the mid-Sixties.
Having said that, each artist has to approach the market in their
own way, utilizing the strength of what assets they bring to the
table. Every situation is different.
A good number of artists believe that major labels are the
evil empire. Make a case for signing with a major as opposed to
an independent label.
The first and obvious one is take one look at the charts, and
think of all the acts that the public is familiar with. I bet
you 98% of them are on major labels either directly or through
various affiliations. Sure, occasionally you do have an act like
the Offspring on Epitaph or an Ani DiFranco that breaks through,
but in the main, most of your biggest acts are on majors. So you
have to say to yourself, why is that?
Hmmm . . . I don't know Tim. Why don't you tell us (laughs)?
It's because the major label has the resources to fund a top-notch
commercial quality recording and a full staff of people, not just
in America, but all around the world, who are daily and diligently
pursuing avenues of mass exposure ñ whether it's publicity, or
radio promotion, tour opportunities, or sales support. It takes
a lot of manpower to be able to get an act above the radar in
the crowded modern day record environment. It is an extensive
proposition, both in terms of finances and manpower. When a company
can deploy 5,000 people around the world on behalf of your record,
you probably have a better chance of getting enough exposure to
find an audience than you would from someone working out of a
You have been involved in bringing some outside labels into
the Columbia fold. Tell us about that.
When I first came here, I tried to look at some areas we could
strengthen. When Rick Rubin's deal ended at Warners, I advocated
bringing his American Recordings label back to Columbia. Rick
had had his biggest records here in the 80's with the Beastie
Boys, Public Enemy and LL Cool J. His work with Tom Petty and
the Red Hot Chili Peppers among others made him one of the best
producers in America as well. The first record he did here was
System of A Down, which has done very well obviously, and he's
got some exciting new projects coming soon from bands like Palo
Alto and Loudermilk. I also brought in Aware Records run by a
guy named Gregg Latterman out of Chicago. They were the first
label to provide national exposure to some regional bands like
Hootie and the Blowfish, Better Than Ezra, the Verve Pipe and
Tabatha's Secret, who eventually became Matchbox 20. We put the
first Train record through Aware and they have a great slate of
new artists coming this year. We are putting the finishing touches
on a new label with Andy Gould and Ric Wake. Andy manages a number
of successful bands in the hard rock genre, including Rob Zombie,
Powerman 5000, Static X and Monster Magnet. Our first signing
is a band from Florida called Endo which just did some work with
Static's producer Ulrich Wild, which will knock you on your ass!
I think that musicians think, "Oh if I sign with a major,
they're going to rape me monetarily and I'll be one of 230 acts
that they're going to release this year. What are my chances of
getting noticed?" However, my take is, those odds are probably
better than being signed to an indie label that is going to put
out 2,000 CDs per acts and has a marketing budget of $5,000 at
Musicians come up to me in every city and say, "I've got finished
product, and I'm just looking for a record company to distribute
me." Would you please explain the fact and fantasy involved in
that scenario? Do record companies ever just find an act and say,
"Gee, you did such a good job with your ADAT and your Mackie,
we're going to put this record out as is, and we're just distributing
it for you."
Record companies can and do pick up finished masters. I think
it just depends on the material you're given. When I heard Train,
they had a finished independent record that they had just begun
selling in the Bay Area. We went and recorded two additional songs
with Matt Wallace and resequenced and remastered the record, but
essentially, that debut album (that eventually went platinum)
is the result of the creative work embodied in their independent
release. However, record companies are so much more than just
a distribution vehicle. If somebody is merely looking for distribution,
they should probably contact an independent distributor, because
a record company is not a distribution company. The record companies
have names like Columbia, Epic, Warner Bros., Atlantic, RCA, Capitol,
Virgin and Arista. The distributors are the companies known as
Sony, WEA, BMG, Universal, etc. These are two closely related,
but ultimately different, kinds of companies.
And the major distributors don't take on unsigned, unknown
independent artists and put them in their chain, though, do they?
I imagine only an indie distributor like RED would take them on.
Yes. Sony owns a piece of an independent distributor named RED.
In fact, I have put records out through RED as a way of developing
them outside the major label system.
Is that because RED has distribution to stores and buyers
that more closely fit the demographic that you're looking for
in that project?
Sometimes. I think it can more closely fit the needs of certain
projects without engaging the major label machinery at first.
I've done this on records like Train. I did it with Dr. Octagon
rapper Kool Keith. We began the career of a guy named P.J. Olsson
by putting an independent EP through RED prior to his Columbia
Have you met with desirable results by doing it?
Yes, it can be a good way to warm up the marketplace before pushing
the big button on a project.
So it's kind of a test run, if you will. You're getting a
feel for market acceptance before you spend the big bucks?
Sure, it can be a way to lay a base for an artist to set up the
next hopefully successful venture with a major. I signed a band
out of Orange County called Zebrahead who is in the Offspring/Blink
182 vein. They had wanted to put out an independent record through
a Southern California label named Dr. Dream. I was happy to let
them go ahead and do that because it gave them a piece of product
to tour behind, and it allowed them to create a fanbase at the
same time they were working on their debut for us. They ended
up getting on the Warped tour as a result of that release, had
a number one video on MTV2 and went on to sell 100,000 copies
of their debut album, so it can be a win-win situation under the
A&R people always ask us to find them "something new and
different." But when we do, they squirm in their seats and pass
on the act. Are they just looking for more of the same, but with
a new twist, or are they really looking for something new?
I can't speak for other A&R people, but as far as I'm concerned
artistic originality is the zenith of what we look for. There's
no denying the most important artists over time are the true originals.
When the history of the music business is written, there are always
big chapters on Dylan, Hendrix, Springsteen, Bowie, Sly Stone,
Kurt Cobain, etc. An A&R person would give their eye teeth to
discover just one of them. However, "new and different," doesn't
necessarily mean "good and marketable." You can be different and
just not fit the game so it's a judgement call. Nowadays, it's
really hard to get something different through. Programmers want
catchy hits, pure and simple. This can often result in a sort
of generic, pablum rock. I don't have to name the bands but we
all know them. Trouble is, without an overall importance, your
days are numbered. You may be big today, but you're not gonna
be making records as long as Neil Young or Lauryn Hill. The only
advice I can give to young musicians is to try the best you can
to make a real difference.
How about if an act says to you, "Our music covers a wide
range of genres." How would you feel about that?
I think an act has to be focused on what they do best and has
to come to the table with a largely singular vision before branching
out musically. Even the Beatles, who went on to be some of the
most creative and mind-expanding musicians of all time, still
began as a four-piece pop band. Essentially, I would say figure
out what you do best and put that best foot forward. If somebody
is not interested in that, then you probably have to rethink your
What is a typical day for you like in the world of A&R?
Surprisingly, it's not what a lot of people think . . .
You mean you don't listen to music from 8:30 am to 7:30 at
I am constantly running into people who think an A&R person's
job is to listen to demo tapes all day until they find one they
like. This is far from the case although we take a lot of pitches,
do showcases and demo deals frequently as well. A good A&R person
spends a lot of time working with their existing roster to try
to develop it, both creatively and eventually in the marketplace.
I spend a lot of my time, of course, building the records of the
acts I work with. I work with them creatively with songs and song
structure, and on the dynamics of recording, the choice of studio
and producer, and trying to assist in the creative realization
of the artist's vision, combined with the marketplace necessities
for singles to sell the record. I've also worked with a lot of
artists that I may not have signed, because of personnel changes
at a label and so forth, so that adds to one's responsibilities,
too. At various times I have worked with acts like the Beastie
Boys, Butthole Surfers, Cocteau Twins, Luscious Jackson, Soul
Asylum, Stabbing Westward, the Offspring and even Paul McCartney
handling their A&R duties after they were signed by someone else
along the way. You try to ultilize your resources to lend a hand
to artists and managers in navigating the complexities of this
business. Because it's a packaged goods business as well and each
and every project is completely unique from each other, there
are a lot of below-the-radar elements involved with the nuts and
bolts of releasing records. Things the public doesn't really think
about like label copy, b-sides for different territories, remixes
for various formats of clubs and radio, packaging issues, cover
art for albums and singles, etc. Because of my marketing background,
I interact with the various departments within Columbia to achieve
the best results for my artists in terms of exposure, promotion,
publicity, touring, video, retail programs, online marketing,
international, etc. Fortunately, we've got a great staff of professionals
in every area who are the best at what they do yet still welcome
input and work on a collaborative basis to achieve as much success
as possible for the artists we represent.
How many artists a year do you typically sign personally?
I would say I probably sign about three or four acts a year.
Are those acts that you find, or is it a combination of acts
you find and acts that people in your department find and you
give the green light to?
I have two scouts in this office, Jon Pikus, who works with me
on Crazytown and Liars Inc., and Barry Squire, that go out every
night and look for bands, cover conventions and go through all
of the submissions that come in the mail, as do I. We also have
John Weakland, who signed Neve and Union Underground, and Rod
Kukla who both report to John Kalodner here in LA. We have a lot
of coverage both on this coast and New York as well as a series
of regional reps around the country. So we hear about most of
the good stuff out there.
Do you take unsolicited tapes?
No, not really. The flood of material coming into an A&R office
every week can be upwards of several hundreds submissions. When
you've worked in the business as long as I have, you know a lot
of people, and a lot of people know you. All I can say is there
are always more pitches than the day is long. My time for dealing
with new pitches is somewhat limited. So I try to start at the
top of the pyramid and work down.
In other words, the top of the pyramid are the people you
have the closest relationships with, and you work your way down
Yeah. I'm not just looking for an act that is "good enough,"
or "deserves a deal." Every day that I come in, I'm looking to
find the best act the world has to offer. Of course, that's easier
said than done, but it's also the only thing that really matters.
Right now I'm handling about a dozen artists. Given all the aspects
of the job, you have to be very selective about who you add to
Is it the time element, or because you don't want conflicts
where you have two artists that are too similar to each other,
or all of the above?
First of all, let's be honest. There aren't dozens of brilliant
unsigned artists sitting around looking for record deals. If anything,
this industry has over-signed, not under-signed. Secondly, like
being a manager, an A&R person--or a record company for that matter--can
only take on so many artists and still fulfill the qualitative
and quantitative commitment to the artists that you've already
acquired. You want to do the best possible job for every artist
you sign, and that takes a lot of time and a lot of work. It doesn't
allow room to sign a new band every week if you're doing your
TAXI shopped Tal Bachman to at least a dozen major label A&R
people about two years before you signed him. What did you hear
that everybody else didn't?
A couple of things happened. I saw that the end was near for
the current wave of indie lo-fi four-piece shoegazing bands that
had had a good run throughout the early Nineties. A lot of the
people who passed on Tal did so because I think they thought he
wasn't cool enough. But what I saw was what I referred to before
when I was talking about the consistency of material. Actually,
it was one of your TAXI screeners, Jackie Holland, who first brought
Tal to my attention. When she played me the tape, I heard hit,
after hit, after hit. He flew to New York to showcase. I brought
our chairman, Don Ienner, down to see him at Mercury Lounge. And
three songs into the show, Donnie had me go to the car to call
Tal's lawyer and make the deal. Tal is a great pop-rock singer-songwriter.
He has written over a dozen songs that could someday be classic
copyrights. We met with a bunch of producers and eventually did
a great record over in Maui with a great guy, Bob Rock. At the
time, Bob had wanted to get out from under the heavy metal producer
tag with Metallica, Motley Crue, the Cult, etc.
I thought that was an interesting choice for producer. Was
that your call or Tal's call?
We talked to a lot of different producers; Chris Thomas, Jerry
Harrison, Rupert Hine, etc. But Bob turned out to be the perfect
match. A lot of people may not know of Bob's background in bands
like the Payolas and Rock & Hyde, who were on I.R.S. and Capitol
respectively. Bob was a pop-rock writer-performer himself before
he became a hard rock record producer. Because Bob and Tal are
both from Vancouver, and Bob knew of Tal growing up, we all thought
this was the perfect combination for Tal's debut album. The fact
that Bob had a studio in Maui was just icing on the cake. And
now Tal is at work demoing songs for album two.
Let's talk about Cake for a minute. What made you guys decide
to do that signing? How long had you been romancing the band?
What was it that first got you intrigued?
Will Botwin and I became aware that Cake was coming to the end
of their deal with Capricorn. Will and I had always been fans
of the group, and we decided to pursue bringing them to Columbia.
They are a great self-contained creative unit. Their frontman
John McCrea has a very distinctive musical vision. Based on their
previous platinum level success, we felt we could take them to
the next level on a worldwide basis. We spent the better part
of a year pursuing them about joining us here at Columbia. They
are working on their first record for us right now.
What do you think the next five years in the music industry
might look like overall?
No one has a crystal ball as to where this business is headed.
It's pretty obvious that the Internet will have a large role to
play within it. Certainly more musicians will have access to a
greater audience. The public, however, it strikes me, will always
need some kind of filtering mechanism to help separate quality
music from that which is not. There are certainly systems in place
to deal with that already--record labels, radio stations, critical
press, etc. The greater number of artists that come to market
will inherently require greater levels of promotion to ultimately
reach a mass audience. However, once the business can get a handle
on monetizing digital music for the benefit of all the hard working
musicians, producers, engineers, publishing, labels, and managers,
the better off all musicians will be.
How about musically? How long do you think the current pop
trend will last?
I've seen a lot of cycles come and go. Every time some musical
trend gets bigger than life itself, it seems that we are historically
around the corner from something new happening. It was true in
1967 when the psychedelic groups overtook the pop crooners. It
was true in 1987 when new wave and punk out of Britain and the
U.S. knocked off the corporate rock of the Seventies, and it will
probably be true of the current wave in teen pop. Who will be
the next Jimi Hendrix, the next John Lennon, the next Kurt Cobain
to break through and change the world? That's what makes this
job interesting, isn't it?