The former manager of the Yardbirds and Wham, Simon Napier-Bell, writes 5,000 words about the music industry for Observer Music Monthly:
In 1966 I came into a business that was alive with excitement and optimism. I was one of a select group – the young managers, like Brian Epstein, Andrew Loog Oldham and Kit Lambert – who had taken over the UK’s new pop groups – the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who, the Kinks, the Yardbirds, the Animals. We young managers were on fire. We hustled, and we were free. We weren’t even friends, yet we knew each other from hanging out at the Ad Lib club or the Scotch of St James. Despite enormous differences between us, we found one thing in common. We all saw our principal job as going to war with the record company.
Great, historical perspective on how the major labels have always been the enemy. And why.
Napier-Bell, 68, is the rare old person who realizes that music is as important today as it’s ever been: “Pop music has never sounded better or more vibrant, never been more easily available to the listener. The only people who are suffering are the people who brought it on themselves. The major record companies.”