The music business in the heady nineties


“I quickly learnt a key fundamental for survival in meetings – say everything with absolute certainty and as though your life depended upon it. I saw a very senior industry figure (someone who, in all likelihood, has signed and developed music which you own) throw the first White Stripes record out of a fourth floor window with the words: “No one will ever – ever – be having this f***ing nonsense!”

I went one further. As the last chords of a mildy hot demo hung in the air I punctured the silence in the conference room with: “Is anyone really going to be having another bunch of sub-Radiohead drivel?” Thus did I terminate our company’s interest in the emerging Coldplay.

As you’ve probably gathered, there was a problem with my A&R career. I was absolutely terrible at it. But then again, so was everyone else. You were a success if you could produce a profitable act every two or three years. Which meant picking the right act just once biennially out of thousands of demos and hundreds of gigs. Of course virtually no one manages this. In a neat twist on “the unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable”, the Wildean epithet about the foxhunting English upper classes, here was the unbelievable in pursuit of the unlistenable.”

Read the full article here


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