Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Exploding - Stan Cornyn

Another good record industry history read - this time recommended by Louis Barfe - who knows a thing or two about the subject.  This tells the story from the inside of the beginning of Warner Music Group.  A second try at entering the record industry by film legend Jack Warner (the first, Brunswick - died with huge losses in the 30s) this was Warner's bid to capitalise on the lucrative soundtrack market that had developed alongside the new microgroove LP.  Acquisition of Sinatra's Reprise gave growth and credibility and after Frank's reluctantance to go into pop and rock was overcome the labels took off - cornering the market on the west coast in particular.  Warners was THE label in the 70s and 80s when there were majors and then there was Warners.  Growth from the deals that took in Atlantic then Elektra, Geffen's Asylum and later Geffen itself.  Artists like James Taylor; Madonna; The Doors; Paul Simon; Hendrix; Joni Mitchell; CSN+Y; Carly Simon; Led Zeppelin; Bad Company; Bette Midler; three Tenors; Roberta Flack; The Rolling Stones; The Eagles; AC/DC etc etc

Cornyn initially ran the graphics side working on the album covers and corporate ads that set them apart in the States at least.  He progressed through the corporate ladder and led the labels way into the CD launch amongst other things.  Here's a huge label (or set of them) that managed to hold onto their identities through massive growth.

This is an easy read for anyone interested in the industry, the music or even the corporate world - it tells of the sales conferences, the people, the artists, the deals and the development of the market from the 50s through to the merger of the business to become Time-Warner and beyond.  The musical chairs of the characters is amazing but the respect for the "record men" - Mo Ostin in particular shines through.

Highly recommended

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