All Articles Tagged "music business"
It has been confirmed. Rihanna teamed up with Chris Brown — musically — for a track called “Nobodies Business” on her upcoming album, Unapologetic. The album also features collaborations with Eminem, Future and Mikky Ekko. It is set for release on Nov. 19.
So is “Nobodies Business” a good business move? Or will it backfire? We asked a few music industry pros what they thought.
Lee Cadena, owner of Lee Cadena Management, has been in the business for more than two decades, so he has seen his share of artist controversy. “As an artist manager with a background in marketing/promotions and PR, I can tell you the Rihanna/Chris Brown situation makes for public voyeurism, conversation and scrutiny… all of which equals sales. It pushes tweets, Facebook postings and tickles all social media platforms, which from a business standpoint is great,” says Cadena, who has worked with the likes of Teena Marie, Snoop Dogg, and Mary J. Blige.
Radio producer/personality Portia Kirkland agrees. “There’s music and then there’s the business. As a music marketer, you think hits, sales, synergy, creativity, but also free expression. Both Rihanna and Chris Brown are highly talented and I believe can create great music together,” she points out.
Loyal fans of both will probably read a message in the music, looking for a deeper meaning from the song. “I don’t see the collaboration disturbing the fan base unless it says ‘we haven’t grown; we haven’t healed; and we are the same couple that we were three years ago’,” Kirkland, who has also worked at 1017 Brick Squad where she handled marketing for French Montana, Nicki Minaj, Waka Flocka, points out. “Their collaboration should be deeper than just having a hot record. I think Rihanna and Chris should send a message to their fans that ‘we’re human, we’ve learned our lesson; and moving forward in a healthier space.’ Music is a powerful platform and Rihanna and Chris should use it to highlight their growth and healing. That’s what classic hits and strong brands are made of — life’s lessons, second chances and change.”
The boldness of the move also continues with the philosophy of Rihanna’s brand—one of a daring and independent artist. “[I]t will work to solidify her independent and unpredictable persona. I think it’s a good idea because she should not let the public guide or determine her individual choices in life,” notes former record company executive Jackie Rhinehart, who is CEO and president of entertainment marketing firm Organic Soul Marketing. “That plus sex – implied– will sell, sell, sell!”
At the end of the day, however, the music still has to be good. A bad song, no matter how intriguing won’t have staying power. “The controversy may work in the moment and drive people to the record, but is the music good enough for consumers to purchase ten years from now?” says Cadena. “Building a career on quality music is key for catalog sales, which is what you want as an artist. Will it be considered a classic? Doubtful, but only time will tell. Until then, Rihanna… keep ya’ dukes up.”
Women have held their own the music charts since the charts were invented. But behind the scenes females in the music industry could boast of having little to know say. My, have things changed. Today’s black woman is not only filling the seats of the concert arenas, she’s taking her seat in the musical boardroom. From trailblazers like Sylvia Rhone, to innovators like Carmen Murray, women are calling the shots. Here’s our list of the top black woman music executives:
Sylvia Rhone is not done yet. The music world is eagerly anticipating the legendary executive to launch her own label through Epic Records. It will be the latest in a decades long list, of profound accomplishments. In 1994 she took the helm of chairman and CEO of Elektra Entertainment Group, making her the only African-American and the first woman in the history of the recording industry to earn that title. After her time in EEG’s C-suite, Rhone moved on to become president of Universal Motown Records. She departed in 2011. Her new label, which she is currently working on, will be overseen by Epic chief, L.A. Reid.
By Eric L. Hinton
For the rare few that get to experience it…fame is fleeting. A hit single, or random guest spot on the reality TV show of the moment gives a few fame mongers their 10 minutes before they slip back into mediocrity. Some, like Amy Winehouse, wither and self-destruct tragically under the white hot supernova of celebrity, while an elite group of others ride the ups and downs of fame most of their adult lives…think Tom Cruise or music phenoms like Madonna.
Then there are the very very select few for whom fame extends… even grows… into their deaths. In life they were celebrities, but in death Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Jimmy Hendrix, Elvis… more recently Michael Jackson, they’ve become iconic.
Included on that eclectic list are Tupac Shakur and Christopher Wallace, aka Biggie Smalls. The two men, former friends turned bitter rivals murdered at their creative peaks within 6 months of each other, are now linked in death in the minds of millions of fans much as they were in life.
Jeffrey Ogbar, professor of history and Associate Dean of the Humanities at the University of Connecticut, has researched the impact both men had during their lives and the sway that they both continue to have in death. “If they had been marginal figures at the time of their deaths this wouldn’t have happened,” said Ogbar, author of Hip-Hop Revolution: The Culture and Politics of Rap. “But because they were the two biggest figures in the industry at the time, it made them attractive figures for canonization as hip hop icons.”
by Candice Hardy
You may sing these songs everyday driving to work, at the club, or even at after a bad break-up. These anthems help you through the ups and downs of life. But, do you know who is behind these lyrics? Songwriting is dominated by men these days, especially in the R&B and Hip-Hop genres. However, African American women are rightfully earning top spots next to their male counterparts. Here are five female songwriters you may not know…
Angela Hunte-This singer and songwriter has written songs for Britney Spears, Danity Kane and newcomer, Melanie Fiona. However, Hunte became even more recognized after she co-wrote the Grammy winning New York anthem “Empire State of Mind”, performed by Jay-z and Alicia Keys. She sites growing up in New York as the reason for her love of all genres of music.
The recent departure of Sylvia Rhone, from her position as President of Motown, received much attention, in part, because Erykah Badu’s cryptic tweet “Motown folded.” The subsequent obituaries and premature obituaries for the label, seemed odd, if only because Motown has for decades existed as little more than a shell of the company that Berry Gordy founded in 1959, living off the fumes of one of the most impressive back catalogues in all of American pop music—managed by Universal Music. Motown, for all intents “died” when it was sold to MCA in 1988, though Gordy wisely kept control of the Jobete Publishing company, which has proven more lucrative that the label ever was.
Instead the emotional reaction that many had to the potential “death” of Motown, speaks volumes, not only about the role of Soul music in the lives of many Americans, but also the cultural meanings that were assigned to record labels like Motown, Stax and later Philadelphia International Records (PIR), whose songs served as the soundtrack to Civil Rights struggles and post-Civil Rights era ambition.
Berry Gordy had a hustler’s instinct that was emblematic of the immediate years after post-World War II in American culture. The American hustle was to sell the good life to as many buyers as possible. The expansion of advertising culture, as evidenced in Mad Men’s throwback glance at the 1960s, went hand-in-hand with the institutionalization of corporate popular culture. Gordy learned his hustle from every other self-made business “man” of the 1950s, including record execs like Ahmet Ertugen, Jerry Wexler, and Don Robey (a loose inspiration for The Five Heart Beats’ “Big Red”).
Gordy may have loved music—he wrote hits for Jackie Wilson before founding Motown—but he was clear that Motown was, above all, a business. Gordy’s genius was linking that hustling ethos to the assembly-line production he witnessed first hand working in Detroit’s automobile factories. In creating Motown, Gordy was also establishing a brand; he called it “The Sound of Young America” and was intent that young Americans—particularly, young White Americans would enjoy leisurely summer trips to the beach listening to Motown artists such as the Temptations, The Four Tops, Mary Wells, Marvin Gaye and most famously the Supremes.
With attention to detail, which included etiquette classes for artists, highly choreographed stage performances and a structured recording environment that even included an elaborate quality control process, Motown earned a reputation for hit records that were polished and crisp.
(New York Times) — Following a recent court decision that gave Eminem and his producers a higher royalty rate for digital music, the estate of Rick James has filed a class-action suit against the Universal Music Group, saying that the company has failed to properly account for royalties and may owe its artists “tens of millions of dollars.” The suit, filed on Friday in United States District Court in San Francisco, seeks unspecified damages from Universal as compensation for unpaid royalties. The case was filed on behalf of a trust representing James, the singer of hits like “Super Freak” who signed with Motown — now owned by Universal — in 1977, and died in 2004. In response, Universal said in a statement: “The complaint filed by the estate of Rick James suffers from many infirmities, not the least of which is that the claims asserted are not appropriate for class treatment. We intend to vigorously defend against it.”
(Eurweb.com) — After seven years of cultivating the careers of Island Def Jam superstars like Rihanna, Kanye West, and Justin Bieber, Island Def Jam Chairman LA Reid resigned this morning, reports EW.com. In a letter to his staff, Reid explains that he’s “always thrived on growth and the next great challenge, and I look forward with much enthusiasm to what the future holds.”
(The Atlantic) — Perhaps no entertainment industry has been challenged by the Internet like music. Consider this statistic: At the end of the 1990s, artists made $15 million a year from record sales. In the digital decade that followed, music sales fell 60 percent. What’s an artist to do? Diversify, diversify, diversify. These are boom times if, like the Dave Matthews Band, you’re a popular group with affluent middle-aged fans who are willing to shell out $50 – $100 for a concert ticket. That’s one reason why DMB made $500 million in the last ten years from touring alone, as Annie Lowrey writes.
(The Sydney Morning Herald) — Albums are very last century to Chuck D. As is record-company power. The rhyme-animal from Public Enemy, who helped shape the foundation stone of hip-hop, has moved on from both, having spent the past decade immersed in cyberspace, building online communities outside corporate governance. “My joy over the last 12 years [firstly] has been in the digital forefront, seeing some of the big monster [companies] being levelled down to planet Earth,” he says. “[Secondly], building portals on the web . . . seeing that there’s a world connected beyond the power and the corporations of radio stations and TV.” “But you have other artists who have not been so fortunate because of the lack of infrastructure, so I built hiphopgods.com . . . So if someone like Dana Dane or a Digital Underground comes out with a single, they don’t have to go through the whole bureaucracy.”
Once upon a time, it was all about the major music label deal. But today, as every type of business is taking a loss, some business-savvy artists are doing things their own way with independent labels. Here are some of rap’s richest who continue to thrive in a slow economy with their own label imprints.
The legendary rapper-producer is also one of hip-hop’s savviest–unlike many who sell away the rights to their songs, Dr. Dre hangs on to most of his. and still collects royalties on multiplatinum albums like the 1992 classic The Chronic, which sold nearly 10 million copies worldwide. He also rakes in cash from his headphones line Beats by Dre, a partnership with Interscope Records. He served as executive producer for Eminem’s “Recovery,” which sold over 1 million U.S. copies in its first two weeks; solo album Detox is slated for release this fall.
It’s been a good year for Aftermath Entertainment. The Dr. Dre founded label is enjoying the fruits of Eminem’s latest release with the Detroit rapper earning 10 Grammy Award nominations for Recovery, capping a comeback year for the once-troubled rap star.
Aftermath operates as a subsidiary of, and is distributed through, Universal Music Group’s Interscope Records. Upon his departure from Death Row Records in June 1996, Dr. Dre quickly launched Aftermath Entertainment through Interscope Records (which at the time was Death Row’s distributing label). It was founded as a “boutique label” that prides itself on “quality over quantity”, focusing on small numbers of high-profile releases.