Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development,
On June 13, 2005 the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) produced a report on digital music written by one of its top economists, Sacha Wunsch-Vincent. The world’s richest nations fund the OECD, which draws on a wealth of data supplied by its donor countries. The scope of the document is therefore multinational. Moreover, the public service-oriented organization looks at music in the context of the information revolution and is not directly involved in the fortunes of the business. The result is a report that is independent, remarkably comprehensive (it extends well over one hundred pages), full of useful information, and well balanced. It is a study of the music trade and its future unlike any other. A free download is available at www.oecd.org.
Part of the allure is in the scholarship. Rosy views about the empowerment of the consumer, the demise of the record label citadel, and the complete transformation of copyright law, have become common in recent literature.1 Yet, such an outlook of the music marketplace may be misleading. Instead, the OECD report proceeds by analysis of the evidence, and strives for accountability by reporting on the latest bibliography and business data, and pooling international consumer surveys. It treads carefully between the new and the old without pandering to the future.
It also gives ammunition to those that argue there is no clear causality between file sharing and the decline in recorded music sales since 1999. A plethora of specialized business findings across OECD countries, including data from Forrester Research and Jupiter Media Matrix in the U.S., appear inconclusive. Surveys of consumers are ambiguous. In addition, scholarly research shows both positive and statistically insignificant correlations. The drop in music sales is attributed to other factors too, such as physical piracy, the economy, the decline in teenage spending in OECD countries, the absence of new music formats, competition from other entertainment forms, and the focus on existing artist rosters.
The OECD is careful not to portray the major record labels as anachronistic and backward looking. They tried to join early the online fray in 2001, but failed commercially after sizeable financial investments in MusicNet and PressPlay. At the time, broadband connections in the U.S. and most OECD countries were almost nonexistent. The majors also moved forward without a common set of terms and conditions either to coordinate the clearance of rights or their catalogs, were not given access by their top artists to their songs, and lacked a viable business model to compete with free downloads. It would take several more years for other online music offerings to come into existence. Out of two hundred sites licensed today to sell music online, iTunes is by far the most popular, and is vertically integrated into Apple computers—hardly a record company.
The OECD report suggests that relations in the music trade have in fact become much more complex since the advent of the internet. Like Apple Computer, Inc., a new set of companies, which were not traditionally involved in the distribution of music, have entered the picture. Some players, such as the consumer electronics industry, had links to the major labels and are now moving upstream. Others, such as the ISPs and consumer brands like Coca-Cola (in the U.K.), were traditionally not related to the distribution of music. Furthermore, the new digital music value chain has produced an array of new digital intermediaries for digital rights clearance, software, DRMs, and online billing. All of these participants are driven by ultimately different business incentives than just selling music: Unlike the record labels, the goal of most is to be involved long term in the supply of rich media content, so that they often seek more upward and downward integration into the digital value chain. The implication is that the logistics of a direct artist-to-fan connection in the mass market for music via the internet come with a degree of extra-musical pollution.
Interestingly, the OECD is concerned about the so-called “cultural costs of unbundling music”. As a single download replaces an album, access to the less “commercial” work of artists suffers. Unbundling music to sell a single song is also less profitable for the labels, and download revenue would have to grow by a factor of around sixty in the U.S. for artists and their labels to receive comparable revenue streams to replace the value generated by CD sales. This may explain why labels have not agreed to a higher artist share in the sale of a download. For iTunes, the number compares to the artist royalty on a U.S. CD and is roughly ten cents to the dollar. Globally, moreover, it is not clear that sites licensing music online, including Apple, are making a profit from music sales.
Nevertheless, for the OECD the future of music is predicated, above all, on the development of better broadband connections and mobile tele-phony—both would propel music online and take up the slack in physical sales. It notes that 2004 led to a breakthrough of broadband penetration in its member countries, with more than 100 million users and a record number of new legitimate music services. Subscription services, in particular, offer the highest long-term revenue potential—even if they have not found favor yet among the public. At portable subscription prices of US$14.95 per month, the yearly contribution of a single subscriber would equal US$180. This figure far exceeds national per capita data of annual recorded music consumption, which Norway led in 2003 with U$56.
The OECD, moreover, shows that France’s present broadband subscriber base of nearly six million could generate nearly half the income of its annual recorded music sales. There is much promise in South Korea and Japan, where broadband penetration enables media rich consumer experiences. In addition, various OECD studies show that among all new internet activities broadband has the greatest effect on downloading of music in terms of time spent, and that broadband users in Japan, the U.S. and France are shown to download music significantly more than narrowband users.
Contrary to what might be expected, the OECD report finds that the internet has not necessarily brought easier accessibility or full price competition. Its findings are identical with more detailed, large-scale research on book prices. Rather than bringing about uniformity of price due to transparency, prices for books on the internet vary even more significantly than in the offline context. Online music stores are national, and price comparisons for downloadable songs show much international variance. Moreover, megastar product is not always available in legitimate sites.
The internet is a boon for catalog and music is generally cheaper there (especially because songs are unbundled from albums). However, the OECD notes a limit to the downward adjustment of prices. Music CDs, like other so-called “information goods,” have high fixed costs that override the negligible online marginal costs from reproduction and distribution. Unless the music business finds cheaper ways of bringing product to market, i.e. by reducing fixed costs, lower prices will not be profitable. The OECD praises the restructuring and labor saving efforts of the major labels. Yet, it also notes that the growing clout among international brick-and-mortar retailers is diminishing the market power of the majors to influence the selling price of music—a point, which it says was taken into con-sideration by the E.C. and U.S. competition authorities in the analysis of the Sony BMG merger.
OECD economies increasingly rely on intangible assets and the creation and protection of intellectual property for economic growth and employment. The report seeks the right balance between such property rights and innovative uses of new technologies, understanding that developments in online music raise many challenges and issues likely to be relevant for other digital content sectors. The report supplies a lengthy history of online litigation and the WIPO internet treaties. It is also concerned with the high business costs and administrative burden of clearing rights for country-specific online music services. Copyrights for music, like the interoperability of software and hardware across the internet, would benefit from standardization.
PETER ALHADEFF is a founding faculty member (1992) and Professor in the Music Business/Management Department at Berklee College of Music. He is the former Editor of Recording Magazine en Español, a part of Music Maker Publications (MMP). Also with MMP, he has been the Associate Editor of Músico Pro for the last ten years. Alhadeff’s music business articles include publications by the Recording Academy’s Grammy 2000 and Grammy Latino. He has served on the faculty of the Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS) and King’s College of the University of London, the Inter-American Bank at the Instituto Di Tella, and the University of Buenos Aires. Alhadeff, who has a doctorate from the University of Oxford, has published in refereed economic journals and books, including the St. Antony’s/Macmillan Series, and is the author of Algebra de Vectores y de Matrices (Editorial Tesis, Buenos Aires, 1989).
1 See D. Kusek and G. Leonhard, The Future of Music: A Manifesto for the Digital Revolution (Boston: Berklee Press, 2005).
The recurring changes, restructuring, and fluctuation in the music industry have made it increasingly difficult for a newcomer to land a desirable job. If a good position is found, industry downsizing, rather than employee performance, may determine how long the newcomer remains in the job. All of this compels us, as music business educators, to rethink how we can best help our students in this area. If we can teach them how to create and direct their own careers, we offer them an option that is largely independent of the mishaps of the music industry.
Numerous music business books claim to show the reader how to develop an independent career in the business, but most merely suggest new strategies for plugging into the current music industry. Texts dedicated to the type of entrepreneurial career development I am suggesting are available, but they are found in the business—not the music business— section of the bookstore. One of the best I have used is Launching New Ventures: An Entrepreneurial Approach by Kathleen R. Allen.
This text is an academic, yet comprehensive study of entrepreneurship. Applications to specific entrepreneurial businesses are included in each chapter; however, few examples deal with the music industry. On the other hand, customizing the material is not difficult. For example, chapter five contains a discussion of the life cycle of an industry. After presenting this material, I ask the students to think about the music industry and determine its position in the cycle. The discussion is always lively as they begin to see the industry—and their careers—from a new vantage point. Each semester, I find that my illustrations have changed because the music industry has changed. Therefore, the course remains up-to-date, and what at first appeared to be a liability, is actually an asset.
The first portion of the book offers an overview of entrepreneurship. Topics include understanding entrepreneurship, preparing for the entrepreneurial journey, recognizing and creating opportunity, and developing a business model.
The development of a feasibility study and a business plan comprise the heart of the text. I use both as class projects. The purpose of the feasibility study is to create a business concept and then test the market to determine whether the concept is viable. In my classes, each student submits a business concept. Once the concept is clear, the student develops and imple-ments a market study. If the market reacts favorably to the concept, the student then drafts a feasibility study that includes an analysis of the industry, market, product or service, a basic financial plan, and a general timeline to launch. A format for the study is included in the text. From the feasibility study, each student constructs a business plan detailing exactly how the idea will become a successful business. Again, the text contains a format for the business plan.
The final section of the book deals with growth and change. Topics include funding a rapidly growing venture, planning for growth, and planning for change. Because this is not the only text I use in the course, I consider this last section reference material. However, if one chooses to develop the course content based entirely on this text, there is more than enough material for a one-semester course.
In addition to a fine text, the publisher provides supplemental resource material that includes an instructor’s resource manual, examination questions, PowerPoint slides, and case studies of selected entrepreneurial businesses. Several of those businesses are also featured in a supplemental video. Each segment of the video deals with one aspect of the entrepreneurial process, making it an excellent teaching aid. (A guide for coordinating video segments with the text accompanies the tape.)
Launching New Ventures is an excellent introduction to approaching any career as an entrepreneur, including a career in the music business. In my opinion, the emphasis on the feasibility study and business plan, coupled with high quality supplemental resource material, makes it a top choice.
TERRY FANSLER, PhD. is Director of Studies in Music Business at Dallas Baptist University. He currently teaches two courses on entrepreneurship in the music business: one designed for students pursuing a career as a musical performer, the other for students aspiring to build an entrepreneurial business.
Scams and Shams of the Music Business, 3rd ed. San Francisco:
There are an astonishing numbers of books that come out each year claiming to “tell it like it is” in the music business, some not worth a second look (see the review of Ty Cohen’s recent offering for a perfect example of this) and some that are must-reads. Moses Avalon’s Confessions of a Record Producer: How to Survive the Scams and Shams of the Music Business is a must-read, a book that operates on many levels and for that reason is of use to many types of individuals, from neophytes in the music business to those of us who teach about it. It is also an enjoyable, albeit opinionated view from a record industry insider.
Avalon has been inside on deals, beginning as an engineer, progressing to producer, and more recently as consultant and educator. His information is good, especially as he looks at the structure of the music business from many different angles. For example, he breaks down a major label record deal from the point of view of all concerned: the artist, the producer, and the label. He also looks at the wide variety of other kinds of current deals that exist in the business, from “indie” deals (which, in some ways, he debunks as often just being major label deals slightly removed from the corporate “suits”), and even vanity label deals. Also, rather than just laying out the facts, Avalon makes an effort to illustrate and support his opinions with examples from his long career. (Though, annoyingly, he sometimes uses fictitious case studies—no doubt so that he can keep working—rather than real life examples.)
He is not afraid to crunch numbers, either, which is an important aspect of this or any book that attempts to “tell it like it is.” A new artist searching longingly for a record deal will learn why it is so hard to make money with a major label deal, why it might take years to recoup an advance, how one might fair better with an “indie” label or even self-pro-duced “vanity” album, and what to look out for when analyzing each aspect of any of these deals, from publicity support to publishing deals to compulsory licenses to synch licenses; he even devotes a chapter to a discussion of the differences between the performing rights organizations, ASCAP and BMI, and gives the up-and-coming artist the tools to help make an informed decision before affiliating with one or the other.
There are other books that discuss these aspects of the music business, of course, but Avalon’s tone is lively and easy to digest. He is irreverent when it comes to just about everything: his allegiance is not to the big four music record labels/distributors, nor is it to the struggling and sometimes desperate artists (though he is consistent about not liking lawyers). He is interested in new media and new ideas—such as satellite radio and the influence of the internet—but he is suspicious of those who believe new media will completely alter the music business landscape as we know it.
His seasoning and realistic view is to our benefit. Avalon recognizes scams and typical maneuvers that he has seen and he lets the reader know what is common practice. Take for example the whole notion of payola that first came to light in the 1950s and has recently reared its head again. He acknowledges it, gives us a brief history, reminds us how it exists today, and lets us know that, in his opinion, payola is probably here to stay in one form or another.
This is an updated edition of an older book, and Avalon usually points out where his thinking has changed, or when his information is new. He outlines a typical iTunes deal, for example, a music business that did not exist in the last edition. It is not always clear, however, how the author gets his information or how he decides what to update, other than his self-pro-claimed years of experience. For example, did his opinions on payola take into account the recent case in which Sony music settled with the State of New York in July 2005? We don’t know. There is no bibliography, no endnotes, few sources cited, and almost no researchable references to what he bases his opinions on, or where his opinions come from. It is just his point of view, and this is a major weakness of Confessions.
As I have outlined above, it is also the strength of this book; his opinions are noteworthy. It brings to mind the writings of another author, from the early eighteenth century: “I am not made like any one I have been acquainted with, perhaps like no one in existence; if not better, I at least claim originality, and whether Nature has acted rightly or wrongly in destroying the mold in which she cast me, can only be decided after I have been read.” (The Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 1782). Similarly, it is Avalon’s originality that makes Confessions of a Record Producer an excellent and valuable read.
More” a Year in the Music Industry by Doing It Yourself. Bridge
port, Conn.: Platinum Millennium Publishing, 2006 (paperback,
At 72 pages, this is a slim volume indeed. Sadly, we can’t use the line “brevity is the soul of wit,” to describe this book. That line, from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, is actually a bit of a joke since the character who recites this line, Polonius, is quite a long-winded fellow. So let’s get to the point: the joke is on you if you buy The Music Business: How You Can Make $500,000.00 “Or More” a Year in the Music Industry by Doing It Yourself, by Ty Cohen. It would be a tragedy if you were to spend your $19.99 (Amazon.com) on this publication, much of which is filled with ads for other books and CDs by Ty Cohen, and all of it is much ado about nothing.
Berkeley and Los Angeles, Calif.: University of California Press,
Historically speaking, the digital music revolution is in its infancy. Consider that the widespread acceptance of the compact disc is barely a twenty-year affair. The viability of transporting digital files on the internet— a technology that will likely supercede CDs—is scarcely a decade old. Indeed, the changes that have been occurring in music due to new technologies have been breathtaking in the last several years.
It is clear that our patterns of consumption have changed dramatically since the not-so-distant days of the once ubiquitous long-playing vinyl record. It is also clear that new technologies have engendered many changes in the way that music is made. In Capturing Sound: How Technology Has Changed Music, author Mark Katz tackles the issue of how music making has changed in modern times. Central to his thesis is what he calls the “phonograph effect,” discernible effects that sound recording has had upon music and music making. In his introduction, Katz notes that Igor Stravinsky tailored a 1925 composition so that each movement fit neatly on a single side of a ten-inch, 78 rpm recording (about three minutes per side).1 This, he says, is a clear and obvious example of the phonograph effect; not coincidentally, the length of one side of a 45 rpm “single” is also usually around three minutes in length, the standard length of a “hit” made for radio airplay, even today.
Song or movement length probably is a manifestation of the influence of phonographic technology, and it is easy to see the evidence and to make the correlation between song/movement length and available space on a playback platter. The not-so-obvious effects of recording are more difficult to understand. Katz takes on the issues—the hidden “phonograph effects,” if you will—beginning in chapter two. We are introduced to an imaginary American family making music at the piano. Fast forward only a few years and the same family is listening to music on its brand new Victrola. No longer did a person have to spend arduous hours learning an instrument to make music: now a child with no musical training could crank up the Victrola and a performance would magically occur.
A shift in focus occurred, from the ubiquity of live music to the overwhelming presence of recorded music. One such effect—taken up by Katz in chapter three, “Capturing Jazz,” is that jazz musicians began learning their craft from recordings. Cornetist Bix Beiderbecke, from Davenport, Iowa, grew up far from jazz meccas such as New Orleans or New York City; instead of watching and listening to jazz musicians live, he began his education by listening to the first commercial jazz recordings.2 Later on, in chapter seven, “The Art and Politics of Digital Sampling,” Katz notes that recordings in hip-hop are sometimes considered “authentic” only if they are made from prerecorded loops taken from earlier recordings. Katz quotes the record producer Jake One, who says, “There’s something about the way old records sound when they’re put together right. You can’t really recapture ’em when you play [live].”3
Katz’ research is noteworthy for its breadth and for his informed opinions. He makes a strong case that the rise of pronounced vibrato among solo violinists in the early twentieth century was a likely result of the phonograph effect. Katz also reveals a brief period in music history when composers such as John Cage, Paul Hindemith, and Ernst Toch used the phonograph to enable live compositions. Some of the recordings that Katz mentions are included on an accompanying CD, along with an intriguing collection of violinists, a jazz artist, hip-hop artist, and a few others.
What he includes on the CD, and in the book, mirrors both the strength and weakness of this volume. Capturing Sound deals with many genres of music that are relatively well-known—nineteenth-century classical music, early jazz, hip-hop—and not-so-well-known, such as contemporary classical music and turntablists (those who use turntables as musical instruments rather than as strict playback machines). He includes a long, thought-pro-voking discussion about file sharing and the internet. He argues, quite convincingly, that the CD format may likely continue to exist side-by-side with downloadable formats because of the CD’s tangibility, i.e., we can hold it in our hands and touch it. Yet, he mostly ignores the revolution that took place in popular music from 1955-1980, perhaps the most important period in music recording history. This era is barely in evidence in Capturing Sound. Considering that popular music redefined the entire notion of recording in that period—with artists such as Elvis Presley and Pink Floyd, record labels such as Stax and Motown, not to mention the widespread use of multi-track recording, among many other examples—that is not an inconsiderable omission. Knowing about Paul Hindemith and Ernst Toch’s forgotten experiments with phonographs is interesting, but I would have preferred that Katz use his considerable intellect to also tackle the changes in recording wrought by the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band or The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds.
Another omission has to do with the title of the book. Katz lets us know right up front that this book is about the phonograph effect in all of its manifestations, yet he also suggests he might deal with all technologies when he adds How Technology Has Changed Music as a subtitle. He didn’t take into account the rise of the electric guitar or the amplifier, for example, without which rock and roll’s development might have stalled indefinitely, nor is synthesis or digital signal processing discussed in any detail. The theremin, one of the first electronic instruments and Robert Moog’s inspiration to design the first practical synthesizers, is dismissed as a novelty.
Even with these weaknesses, this is an important book. Few writers in music are dealing with technology in a holistic sense. Books on gear predominate: how to use Pro Tools, how to create your own home studio for next to nothing, what microphone to use for what recording purpose, how to get your guitar to sound like so-and-so, etc. Cultural theorists have analyzed hip-hop sampling and Eminem videos, episodes of Hullabaloo and Jimi Hendrix guitar solos, but few scholars have wrestled with music technology and its implication from a multi-faceted point of view as Katz does in this volume. Capturing Sound would make an excellent book for a classroom text—especially a class concerning technology and its philosophical and cultural implications—and certainly is a must-read for any scholar of music technology.
DAVE KOPPLIN, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Commercial Music at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.
1 Katz, 3. 2 Ibid., 73. 3 Ibid., 155.
Maximizing Your Music Marketing. Boston: MBS Business
Peter Spellman has provided us with yet another excellent resource in this recent addition to his collection of books published by Music Business Solutions. Indie Marketing Power is a well-written and comprehensive text on the marketing of artists in the twenty-first century. Notable within the book are the very interesting and illuminating historical perspectives and the great references to resources available on the web.
The book is in two sections, with the first being theoretical in nature. Spellman takes us through various marketing concepts and explores what it takes to become a marketing professional—including a discussion of necessary skills and personality traits. He also includes a diagram for matrixing a person’s passions, resources, and opportunities to help find one’s niche in this market. I see this as a useful exercise for all of our students as they near the commencement of their professional careers.
The second, and much larger section of the book, is dedicated to the practical application of the theories discussed in the first section. In this “action” section, he gives practical advice and outlines the steps necessary to market to entities such as “fans and customers,” “producers and record labels,” “radio,” and “B-2-B licensing.” As with the other ones in this section, I found the chapter “Marketing Through Sponsorship” to be well written and full of information as to how to approach a potential sponsor. If people follow Mr. Spellman’s advice they will undoubtedly create strong proposals.
I would highly recommend this resource as an excellent addition to any music business teacher’s library. For those who don’t teach a dedicated course in marketing it provides wonderful insights—and the charts, diagrams, and excellent web links are worth the price alone. It is quite detailed and (as Mr. Spellman writes) he is approaching it as a work for someone who already has some marketing experience. Therefore, it is thorough and somewhat technical, and would only be appropriate as a required text for an upper-division course dedicated to music marketing. Finally, if you are “green-minded,” it is worth noting that Mr. Spellman also makes this book available in an e-version downloadable at www.mbsolutions.com.
Kim L. Wangler
KIM L. WANGLER, M.M., M.B.A joined the faculty of Appalachian State University in 2005 and is the Director of the Music Industries Program. Ms. Wangler teaches management, marketing, and music products. She has served in the industry as President of the board of directors for the Orchestra of Northern New York, House Manager for the Community Performance Series (serving audiences of over one thousand people), and as CEO of Bel Canto Reeds, a successful online venture. She has been published by the Music & Entertainment Industry Educator’s Association (MEIEA), National Association of Collegiate Wind and Percussion Instructors (NACWPI), Hal Leonard Publications, and Sage Publishing, and is regularly featured in the MEIEA eZine with her column, “Wisdom from the Web.” Ms. Wangler has served on the executive board for NAMBI (NAMM Affiliated Music Business Institutions), and currently serves on the MEIEA board of directors and the College Music Society Mid-Atlantic Chapter board as the first ever Music Industry Representative.
There are relatively few books about classical music that relate to studies in the business of music. Loft was the second violinist in the Fine Arts Quartet for twenty-five years. The group had its own record label, Concert Discs, which did not prove to be a money maker in terms of record sales, but it enabled the group to record dozens of string quartets.
The most astonishing aspect of the book is learning the sheer difficulty of the physical struggles being in a leading, but not a superstar, group entails. The quartet members commuted for years from their Chicago-area residences to their steady artist-in-residence positions at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. The author relates numerous anecdotes about European engagements where the quartet found itself literally running from one train to another in order to make engagements.
Loft also details some of the difficulties of remaining in a performing group for this length of time. Experienced pop music observers will not be surprised to learn that the group has received no royalties from various CD reissues of albums they recorded for other record labels. Another issue brought up in the book is the problem of paying double commissions on European tours, when American managers tried to collect commissions on tours set up by European agents. Loft also relates an encounter with a young American mixed ensemble that performs regularly on cruise ships. He discusses his opinions on the teaching of chamber music (relying on his experiences in Milwaukee) and his subsequent career as head of the string department at the Eastman School of Music.
For anyone contemplating a career as a classical string player, this book provides useful insights based on real life experiences.
Stapinski is a freelance writer who for years fantasized about playing in a rock and roll band. This autobiographical work chronicles her attempts as a late-blooming drummer to invade the New York indie rock world. Stapinski meets singer-guitarist Julie Stepanek through a freelance writing assignment, and soon Stepanek enlists her to play drums in her band Stephonic. Helen’s husband Martin plays bass in the band for a while, before giving it up to concentrate on his own newspaper work.
The book provides a bleak and accurate description of the band’s attempts to find gigs in the New York downtown scene. It also chronicles the rock and roll life of late nights and endless rehearsals. Along the way Martin tells Helen that he has been having an affair with a co-worker at the newspaper. The marriage ultimately survives this crisis, but after Stapinski throws herself more and more into the band, Julie fires her. By her own admission, the author finds this even more traumatic than her marital difficulties. Stephonic never is able to record anything other than glorified demos, and at the end of the book Stapinski attends the last performance of the new band.
As the author tells it, Julie had that magical quality that distinguishes stars from other performers. The book provides ample evidence, if we need any, that despite the A&R cliché that the cream rises to the top, there are undoubtedly hundreds or even thousands of talented bands that are consigned to gig hell, where the band makes little or no money, until the air leaks out of their musical balloon, and they break up. As my old music publisher used to say, “it’s rough out there.”
The authors make a few interesting points in a subject area that hasn’t yet been explored in any depth by academics. First of all, they underline the connection between such rap icons as Russell Simmons and Puff Diddy (or plain Diddy, if you wish.) and the various other enterprises that these moguls and other rap kingpins have become involved in. Diddy, for example is a restaurant owner, a movie and stage actor, a clothing designer and entrepreneur, head of an entertainment group (Bad Boy), has movie and TV production deals, is a platinum selling artist, and also has a marketing agency.
Along their many roads to success, the various rap moguls, according to this book, have amassed huge fortunes. Citing the research departments at Forbes and Fortune, the authors estimate Russell Simmons’ net worth at $380 million, Diddy’s (Sean Diddy Combs’) fortune at $315 million, Sean “Jay Z” Carter’s pot of gold at $286 million, and so forth.
Another interesting aspect of this book is that, unlike the bulk of the rock or R&B stars of earlier times, these moguls move easily between their roles as artists, producers, songwriters, record company and music publishing executives, and fashion industry leaders. The earlier black R&B artists, with the exceptions of Sam Cooke and Curtis Mayfield, tended to either be artists, producers, or executives.
Although the book is rather repetitious and poorly written, these points alone are ones that deserve thought and further research by students and professors.
DICK WEISSMAN is Associate Professor Emeritus at the University of Colorado at Denver and an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon and the University of Denver. A long-term musician, composer, and teacher, Dick Weissman has written thirteen books about music and the music business. His new work, The Global Music Industry: Three Perspectives, co-written with Arthur Bernstein of the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and Naoki Sekine of Sony/Japan will be published by Routledge in 2007. Weissman’s book Which Side Are You On?: An Inside History of the Folk Music Revival in America (Continuum) is a finalist for the Oregon Book award in non-fiction.