Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Doug Morris: The Music Business Is All About Making Hits...do you agree?

In case you were wondering about the approach at Sony Music Entertainment, or any other major label, for that matter. "Our core focus still needs to be developing hits," Sony Music CEO Doug Morris just told the New York Times. "That's the only constant amidst all the change. So if you don't get that right it doesn't matter how revolutionary the distribution model is or how many revenue streams you have. You still have to have the hits."

The philosophy explains an expensive mega-deal involving successful pop producer Dr. Luke. And it also reaffirms the more limited strategy currently being employed by the majors. The game plan typically involves heavily-produced tracks and extremely heavy, mainstream radio promotion.

And, a very top-heavy balance sheet, especially when superstars are involved. NPR recently pegged the cost of creating a recent Rihanna song at more than $1,078,000, and insiders continue to point to a cash-lubricated radio promotional pipeline.

Unfortunately for artists, this also seems to spell a loss of creative control. Lupe Fiasco has been extremely vocal on that point, blaming his label Atlantic (WMG) for meddling and completely altering his creative vision. But all that knob-twiddling happened for a reason: Fiasco still enjoys mainstream radio play and experienced fairly healthy sales on Lasers, most likely because of these exact compromises.

All of which begs the question: is a major label deal really for you? South Africa-based Die Antwoord, which recently announced a break-away from Interscope, has decided that the answer to that question is no. "So anyway, Interscope offered us a bunch of money again to release our new album TEN$ION," the band blogged. "But this time, they also tried to get involved with our music, to try and make us sound like everyone else out there at the moment. So we said: 'U know what, rather hang on to your money, buy yourself something nice... we gonna do our own thing. Bye bye.'"

SOURCE