This is not the future of the music business, this is old men trying to cash in one more time to
support their egregious, expansive, expensive lifestyles.
How many times has Michael Cohl sold his company? Do you think anything different is going on
here? That he's not gussying up the "assets" to sell to someone more stupid than a beer
company, otherwise known as the PUBLIC?
Don't sit down and analyze the dollars and cents. This is no different from Richard Branson
signing the Rolling Stones so he could sell Virgin Records for a billion dollars. An act with
marquee value but very few record sales. And this was before the days of 360 deals, when it was
only about the record sales…
God, if Live Nation has Madonna and U2 and Jay-Z, the company must be worth a fortune, just like
Warner has Led Zeppelin, CSNY and Neil Young. The only difference being Warner doesn't share in
the touring revenues… Then again, is the catalog of these classic acts a better mover than
Jay-Z's? And what's this you tell me, Live Nation DOESN'T GET THE CATALOG??
Granted, Jay-Z does better live business than most rappers, whose shows are not must see
events… But isn't this tour propped up by Mary J. Blige? And isn't it kind of a post exec
gig victory lap from Jay-Z who has come out of "retirement"? What does the future augur for Mr.
Carter? Looking into my crystal ball, not zillions of dollars. If LL Cool J finally turned to
ice, don't you think Jay-Z will too? Who would you rather be in business with, Michael Jordan
or a twenty one year old NBA star? Live Nation is only interested in young talent to the degree
it looks like it's a full service business so they can lay the company off on the public.
Now maybe Michael Cohl is a good match for Jay-Z. Both hustlers, willing to do almost anything
to make a buck. The public might not know Cohl, but he's the guy dealing with resellers, he's
doing whatever it takes to get his money back. The act gives up so much control for that
guaranteed payment. If this is the music business, it's not the late sixties/early seventies
heyday as much as a bizarre "Jetsons" construction wherein the artists are a pawn in the
businessman's game… Speaking of which, why not a deal with Mr.
Zimmerman himself? He'd like an upfront payment!
Where is the benefit to the public? These guarantees result in sky high prices. Breaking a
track on the road? I think Jay-Z's been too far from the street. Not enough people are in
attendance and people pay a fortune to hear the HITS! They don't want new stuff, which is hard
to decipher in the cavernous halls these acts play in anyway…
Sure, there's no real money in records right now, touring is where it's at. But that doesn't
mean in the twenty first century it will just be gallivanting dinosaurs and no one else. There
will be new acts. They will have a following. Building them won't be easy, but will be helped
with Internet word of mouth. You'll have to invest in their success. Maybe with sweat equity
more than dollars. And maybe arenas will be a long shot for most. But that's the future.
Theatre acts with rabid followings. The meanderings of these lumbering old acts is just the
final breath of an industry that's run on fumes for far too long.
Invest in Live Nation? Yup, that's who I want to be in business with, concert promoters. Known
for their honesty, and upfront business practices. Then again, look at Bear Stearns and its
rescue by the government. The tiny music business is just a reflection of our country at large.
Run by thieving men playing with funny money believing they have a right to power and a right
to lifestyle. And it's always the public that bails them out, always the public that loses.
This is a Hail Mary pass to save Live Nation's stock. To freeze AEG out of the game. To make
investors think Live Nation is the only team in town. It would be like the Yankees guaranteeing
they're going to win the World Series EVERY year and saying it's not worth it to invest in any
other team. Then again, it's worse. You can't get a new Major League Baseball franchise. You
can't buy in. But anybody can buy into the record business. Hell, a lot of the venues are open
to anybody willing to pay. A new model with new acts will emerge. These old players will be
gone. And it won't be soon enough for me.
Hell, one more analogy and then I'm going to go…
To build his eponymous record label, David Geffen signed three of the biggest stars in the
universe, Donna Summer, Elton John and John Lennon. The first two acts' albums stiffed
outright. Lennon's was headed for the dumper, but he was unfortunately killed. It wasn't until
the label signed NEW acts that it truly became successful. Guns N' Roses built Geffen Records,
that's what got Mr. Geffen his half a billion dollar check. If you want to get rich in the
music business, you've got to invest in the NEW!