The Music Man

rick.jpg

Sehr, sehr (sehr!) - sehr! - langes Interview mit Rick Rubin in der New York Times:

"Before Def Jam, hip-hop records were typically really long, and they rarely had a hook," he continued. "Those songs didn't deliver in the way the Beatles did. By making our rap records sound more like pop songs, we changed the form. And we sold a lot of records." The Beastie Boys' "Licensed to Ill" (released in 1986) went on to sell what was then an astonishing four million plus records; earlier that year, "Walk This Way," which combined Run-D.M.C. and Aerosmith, was the first crossover rap single and revitalized Aerosmith's career. Rubin masterminded both.

[...]

Rubin works slowly — it can take him years to finish an album. "A lot of that is because of the songs," Rubin explained. "I try to get the artist to feel like they are writing songs for the ages rather than songs for an album. As they write, they come over and play the songs for me. For some reason, most people will write 10 songs and think, That's enough for a record, I'm done. When they play the songs for me, invariably the last two songs they've written are the best. I'll then say, 'You have two songs, go back and write eight more.' "

[...]

"Until very recently," Rubin told me over lunch at Hugo's, a health-conscious restaurant in Hollywood, "there were a handful of channels in the music business that the gatekeepers controlled. They were radio, Tower Records, MTV, certain mainstream press like Rolling Stone. That's how people found out about new things. Every record company in the industry was built to work that model. There was a time when if you had something that wasn't so good, through muscle and lack of other choices, you could push that not very good product through those channels. And that's how the music business functioned for 50 years. Well, the world has changed. And the industry has not."

[...]

From Napster to the iPod, the music business has been wrong about how much it can dictate to its audience. "Steve Jobs understood Napster better than the record business did," David Geffen told me. "IPods made it easy for people to share music, and Apple took a big percentage of the business that once belonged to the record companies. The subscription model is the only way to save the music business. If music is easily available at a price of five or six dollars a month, then nobody will steal it."

For this model to be effective, all the record companies will have to agree. "It's like getting the heads of the five families together," said Mark DiDia, referencing "The Godfather." "It will be very difficult, but what else are we going to do?"

Rubin sees no other solution. "Either all the record companies will get together or the industry will fall apart and someone like Microsoft will come in and buy one of the companies at wholesale and do what needs to be done," he said. "The future technology companies will either wait for the record companies to smarten up, or they'll let them sink until they can buy them for 10 cents on the dollar and own the whole thing."

(via)