By Hans Ebert
It’s not always about finding new talent. It’s often about going back in time and revisiting that back catalogue.
It’s like being Indiana Jones. It’s about rediscovering those gems lying there dormant. All the great music that’s still relevant. Often in a different class. With legendary back stories. But unknown to at least two generations of music fans. It’s all about embarking on a wonderful journey of discovery. Making up for lost time. And lost musical notes. It’s reviving that Indie spirit.
Great that a young band like Greta van Fleet have made the charts with their very much Led Zeppelin inspired Rock. But what about the original product from the combined Cock and Roll power of Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Bonham and John Paul Jones? How’s their catalogue being mined?
Add to this list the back catalogue of artists that will appeal to the same demographic? The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Cream. The Who. Blind Faith.
Think there’s no market today for the music of Pink Floyd?
King Crimson? The Kinks and the Small Faces? Free? Bad Company? The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, Poco? Doors?
Question: Why are the Stones still rolling? Why are so many waiting for the release of the movie “Bohemian Rhapsody”?
It’s about moving away from nebulous streaming sites. It’s about not being fooled again. It’s about not being part of the Spotify Generation that’s going nowhere. And fast.
When with Universal Music, my old friend and the major’s Chairman and CEO Max Hole, below, formed a special division to “resurrect” the Universal Music back catalogue.
This division was also to help those artists still able to deliver. But without the backing of those with the necessary A&R skills to make things happen for them again. Like the comebacks of Tom Jones with Art Of Noise. Cher entering Dance with the Vocoder and auto tuning.
Max hand picked the team he wanted. I was fortunate enough to be part of this team. It didn’t happen the way it should have. Or was meant to. But with his covers of classic Motown hits, it revived the career of the great Michael McDonald.
Ironically, that particular project was meant for Boyz11Men. The sales of the Boyz output was not meeting the desired numbers. Fortunately, they baulked at the idea and walked. From Motown to Sony. They wanted a home to record their originals. This didn’t happen. Michael McDonald did. To the tune of over 15 million in sales. And touring opportunities.
Boyz11Men? They limped back to Motown. Released the record they should have released ten years earlier. It failed. It separated the Boyz from the men.
What we’re talking about here are not nostalgia acts. We’re talking about huge opportunities that have been lost to what’s being called “progress”. This “progress” has created a world of illusion and delusion. It’s where the blind lead the blind. Where, as Bob Dylan warned, Don’t follow leaders and watch your parking meters.
We need and must get back to the garden. That garden of reality. And when music was very real. Because it was honest. It spoke from the heart.
It was when the music produced came from the right place. And it’s still here. Waiting to be discovered by generations of music fans being ignored by music executives happy to be part of the crowd. Followers. Never leaders. Heavens, this might even mean accountability.
#music #musicindustry #UniversalMusic #MaxHole #Backcatalogue #A&R #MichaelMcDonald #GretaVanFleet #LedZeppelin