Is MySpace The New Whisky A Go Go?
November 19, 2007 at 5:57 AM (PT)
Could JOHN HAMMOND have discovered BILLIE HOLIDAY, BOB DYLAN or BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN by scrolling through MYSPACE pages? CNET's GREG SANDOVAL poses that question in his blog.
The BABE RUTH of talent scouts, HAMMOND made A&R guys famous. These music-label reps have a storied history of haunting backwater honkey-tonks, nightclubs, and dive bars in a quest for hot new acts. In the future, some may be asked to forget the clubs and restrict their searches to the Web.
Private-equity firm TERRA FIRMA, the company that acquired record company EMI in MAY, is now trying to attract investors by floating a plan that includes drastic cost cuts at the struggling label, according to a story in THE NEW YORK POST. The paper said that according to a "confidential investor presentation," TERRA FIRMA is considering slashing EMI's fixed costs by $223 million.
Under the proposal, EMI would slice $58 million from its A&R and marketing budget. The savings would come from requiring talent scouts to rely more heavily on sites such as MYSPACE to find talent, THE POST reported. The company would also use social-networking sites to promote acts. The plan is only under consideration and final decisions have not been made, one of the label's spokesmen told CNET NEWS.COM.
Nonetheless, this shows just how much influence MYSPACE has acquired in music circles. Can MYSPACE really an effective tool for A&R guys?
"It's true, you can find some interesting music on MYSPACE," said one music record executive, who asked to remain anonymous because he has dealings with EMI. "Yet, I look for bands with strong live followings and a strong live presence and there's no substituting getting out there and seeing whether someone can actually play. I don't think you're going to find the next BOB DYLAN on MYSPACE."