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Exploding: The Highs, Hits, Hype, Heroes, and Hustlers of the Warner Music Group Hardcover – Bargain Price, February 1, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
A creative executive at Warner Bros. Records for 30 years, Cornyn presents a provocative, witty, and engrossing insider's story of that label and the cutthroat machinations of the record industry. Beginning with the takeover of Warner Bros. Pictures by the despicable Jack Warner, he charts the rise of Warner Records in the late 1950s with Mike Maitland, who first brought success to the label. He then moves to the merger of Warner Bros. Records with Frank Sinatra's Reprise label, its absorption of successful independents Atlantic and Elektra, and the buyout of Warner by Steve Ross of Kinney National, who created Warner Communications. Cornyn continues with Warner's assimilation of Asylum Records, its merger with Time, and its eventual union with Ted Turner's communications empire. Giving little emphasis to the artists except as fleeting commodities, the author graphically reveals the transition of Warner from a fledgling record company dedicated to unearthing the newest music trends to a corporate conglomerate obsessed with greater market share and escalating profits. Fans of record mogul tell-alls will enjoy this. Highly recommended for popular music collections. Dave Szatmary, Univ. of Washington, Seattle
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The artists are merely footnotes in this saga; weirdos to be tolerated (barely) and joked about. I spent a lot of money on this tome hoping to read about some of them. Instead I got 450 pages of business talk with about 4500 witticisms to amuse and confuse.
At least I found out why their awesome back catalogue has shamefully been left to earn whatever dollars it can in crappy 80's CD output (in the main) while other labels remaster properly and expand on their reissues - Warners just don't give a damn.
Won't be reading it again, I assure you.
In a way, the "record business" was almost too successful, in that the songs seemed to appear before you out of nowhere, and just as miraculously, the record would be in the bins to be purchased; the work of hundreds of people, the big organizations, the payola, the agents and the deals all hidden away, unnoticed.
Stan Cornyn was uniquely positioned as one of the original employees of Warner Brothers Music from its founding in the Fifties, through its heyday as the world's biggest music label group in the Seventies and Eighties, to its later decline. Not only that, but he became a major executive within the company but was a creative, music person and not a 'Suit". I first noticed him as a writer of Frank Sinatra's liner notes (for which he won Grammy awards) and also of delightfully over-the-top notes for Petula Clark's LP's. He went on as head of Warner's advertising and promotion to be a major creator of a label whose atmosphere appealed to the new crowd of singer-songwriters and rock stars who wanted to sign with this label and not its stodgy competitors.Read more ›
I've been in the record biz for the last ten years and got an awful lot out of reading this - it tells the business story in an entertaining manner - it's about the personalities behind the music, but not as much about the hype (as much as it's possible to take hype out of anything about the entertainment industry).
now with the record biz in a rough spell is a particularly timely point to put your book out - the perspective of this book (which covers about 40 years quite well) is well needed.
I especially liked the focus on the business end, all the numbers, the annual growth, etc. This is the rare (only?) record biz tale that really gets to the bottom of how records get out there and in the public's hands - the nuts and bolts like NARM conventions and less emphasis on A&R stories than in most books about the biz (yet it's still a great tale of personalities).
It's up there with Hit Men, definitely.
Cornyn worked his way from an anonymous liner-note jockey in the '50s, during Warner's formative years, to its Communications Director in the '70s and '80s, to head of the Warner New Media division in the '90s. He was there when Jack Warner nearly pulled the plug; there when Mo Ostin got the big chair, there when Atlantic, then Elektra came into the WEA fold. He saw it all firsthand, and as a talented writer should, weaves a tale that any rock music fan, record collector or follower of the Hollywood machine will find absolutely spellbinding.
I guarantee: when you're done with this, you'll want more. Luckily, you can cruise over to the Rhino Records website and get it, where Stan is now writing a twice-weekly column that fills in the gaps and gives many, many personal recollections of everyone from Dick & Dee Dee to Neil Young.
Recommended highly for music lovers - vinyl lovers especially - and anyone who looks back with fondness on the days when you could happily spend an afternoon of discovery pawing through the bins at your local record store, staring at cover art and reading liner notes, charting your own path through the universe of pop music. A+++. An easy 5 stars.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a fantastic read! Anyone interested in the music business from the outside looking in will enjoy Stan's insider view. Very entertaining and highly recommended.Published 19 months ago by Mark Kaufman
Lame encyclopedia from the 80s instead... It says I need 14 more words but thats all I have to say lolPublished on December 8, 2012 by Jonathan Snyder
This book is one long ego trip by the author. That's all I have to say.Published on November 6, 2009 by M. Buisman
Stan Cornyn should know all about hustlers. He took the art to a new low, and this book barely scratches the surface. Read morePublished on December 6, 2003 by J. Jaisun
...music and the people who create it, or music executives and the deals they grind out?
If you answered the latter, this book is for you. Read more
Cornyn's role at Warner Brothers Records throughout its incredible rise and fall provided him a bird's-eye view of the construction, and eventually disassembly, of what was at its... Read morePublished on August 17, 2003 by hyperbolium
I expected a book with some inside dirt on the recording industry but this is a sleeper recounting the author's 40 years working in Warner management. Read morePublished on June 12, 2003 by Boraxo
Not only is this a wonderful and ambitious book by Cornyn & Scanlon, but it is also a great tool for young musicians because this book takes the mystery out of the record business. Read morePublished on May 29, 2002 by Sue Few