Liz Rosenberg: ”The beginning of a new era – not the beginning of the end”
Here is more about the cover story of the new issue of Entertainment Weekly we reported about yesterday – an in-deep article about what the magazine calls “a week of maverick moves could forever change the industry’s tune”. Here are a few excerpts – including a new quote from The Validator herself.
One is arguably the biggest pop star of the last 20-plus years. The other is a quartet of pasty English eggheads given to song titles like ”Weird Fishes/Arpeggi.” On the surface, they don’t have a heck of a lot in common. But in a single week, Madonna and Radiohead just might have permanently transformed the music industry.
On Oct. 10, Radiohead, one of the world’s most beloved, respected, and unpredictable bands, self-released their first new album in four years, the rabidly anticipated new album, In Rainbows, currently available only as a download through the website InRainbows.com. When it comes time to pay, you’ll encounter four short words that might come as a surprise: “It’s up to you.”‘ The album’s price, that is. Five dollars? Your call. Ten? Sure, sounds good. Nothing at all? Hey, whatever works for you. “I’m just glad everyone’s hearing it at the same time,” says Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood. “That was the point, really.”
He’s being modest. Radiohead’s sliding-price release is a potentially game-changing tactic, perhaps the strongest indication yet that the record industry will in fact redefine itself – in order to survive. The same day In Rainbows went on sale, news broke that Madonna will leave Warner Bros., her home of 25 years, to sign a reported $120 million deal with tour promoter Live Nation that will include albums, touring, merchandising, and licensing. That’s right, Madonna is about to entrust her future to a company that has never sold a single album.
And it’s not just Radiohead and Madonna.
All of which makes us wonder: Could these developments herald the eventual demise of the label business? Well… maybe.
Liz Rosenberg, Madonna’s longtime Warner Bros. publicist, says: “I think it marks the beginning of a new era in how record companies function, but I wouldn’t call it the beginning of the end. For the last year or two it’s become much more crystallized that everyone in the business has to explore new ways of being profitable. The combination of Radiohead and Madonna these last few weeks is a big shift.”