Monday, December 8, 2008

Michael Rapino & Live Nation

Michael Rapino, the Chief Executive of Live Nation is a self made man on a very important and risky mission. It's no secret that the music industry is currently in dire straits. Most of the blame can be placed on the transition from distrubutable, tangible CDs to digitall encoded downloadable music, primarily provided legally through iTunes and of course illegally by means of bittorrent applications and the like. The survival of the music industry, or at least one of its largest players, Live Nation, is on the shoulder of Rapino, and it is quite the heavy load. Rapino's strategy thus far has been to sign major musical superstars, such as Jay-Z and Madonna, who are notoriously known for raking in the big bucks by selling out concert venues worldwide. Rapino's current strategy for success is to be involved in ALL of the artists' musical endeavours. This includes their concert sales, future albums, t-shirt revenue and just about every other means of income, in a 360 all encompassing contract. While some critics think that paying artists upwards of $17.5 million for their cd distribution rights (in the case of Madonna) is a risky move, Rapino sees it as Live Nation's best option. If the cd venture doesn't work out, Live Nation gets a tidy 30% of her t-shirt sales and 50% of her revenue from any licensing and endorsement contract she may have signed. By going broad and paying for access to basically all of an artists' sources of income, Live Nation feels they are covering their own asses. Although this business plan is safe, smart and will likely pay off, Live Nation is only dealing with the biggest and the best. By vastly limiting their artist selection, they aren't taking the risks on up and coming bands that could potentially earn them a ton of money. Not to mention the fact that artists are realizing they don't need a major partner in their musical career. Band's are reverting to the grassroots movement of self promotion. They are distributing their new cdsfor free via their websites (Radiohead being the obvious example), or simply hoping for word of mouth to take them to fame, such was the case for the much blogged about band Vampire Weekend. Though it might be the dream of many bands and artists to be able to partner with a company such as Live Nation in the hopes of making millions of dollars, some bands are still hoping that the quality music they create will be all they need to gain popularity and help them reach fame and fortune.

No comments: