July 7, 2010
Staff Picks: Fortune's Fool
A lot of business is not only getting back on it's feet, some companies are even downright starting to thrive. Except, it seems, any involved in the music industry. While there's certainly some interesting things happening in the independent realm, the major labels are struggling hard, and it's very questionable if they'll ever get back to where they were. Enter Fred Goodman's new book, Fortune's Fool, about Edgar Bronfman, Jr's time with Warner Music Group, and the slew of bad deals that went down post-Napster (which already put a major dent in the game). As opposed to all the stories published about Wall Street, Bronfman isn't an evil character we despise - he just made some poor choices, and now, most interesting to me, the industry is desperately focused on major acts like Lady Gaga, unable to release important, but less popular work. Even Lady Gaga isn't seeing the numbers that a not much younger Britney Spears once saw, as detailed in a New York Times piece about the book by Devin Leonard. Really, the whole industry is a mess, and whether Bronfman is someone music fans can point the finger at or not, there needs to be a healthy recovery. It's an interesting saga that continues to play out, and I hope it plays as long as it can. Change is good, but the crumbling of the music industry is something I'd rather not see in my lifetime. This is a great book to read to better understand the failures, struggles, and in the end, hope, for an industry that has helped shape this country and our lives.