From Publishers Weekly
A former editor with Rolling Stone, Goodman (The Mansion on the Hill: Dylan, Young, Geffen, Springsteen, and the Collision of Rock and Commerce) probes further into the record business after conducting three years of interviews with Seagram™s Edgar Bronf-man Jr., CEO of Warner Music Group since 2004. The 1960s™ glory days of WMG (the Atlantic, Elektra, and Warner Bros. labels) are only a memory. Bronfman, who lost billion in failed deals, has a great passion for the entertainment industry, yet he faces huge difficulties because WMG has been "blown off its foundation" by "the gale force of cyberspace." What does the future hold if free digital copies are available of any recording? Beginning with Bronfman™s birth, Goodman covers his "dynastic destiny" from rebellious teen and anointed Seagram™s heir to his move into the film industry and Broadway, gaining full access to a trust worth millions on his 25th birthday. Covering the transitions from LP to CD, the rap controversies, musicians, mergers and acquisitions, hustlers and heavyweights, this hefty, well-researched book traces the trajectories of such companies as Apple, MCA, and Vivendi as CD sales plummeted, and the music business became a world of iTunes, MP3s, and online marketing.
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Who better than a former Rolling Stone editor to chronicle the ups and downs ups of Warner Music and its larger industry? Thanks to his journalism experience and unparalleled access to executives, author Goodman (The Mansion on the Hill, 1997, and others) sings the songs of excess, ego, and a creative worldview at a crossroads. The characters seem to appear straight from a comic book: Crusty Seagram founder Sam Seagram––and bound-for-success heirs Edgar Sr. and Jr. (Bronfman); the brilliant Ahmet Ertegun of Atlantic Records and all other industry (and greed-laden) copycats; demanding artists such as Madonna and Don Henley, who rebel against the labels’ Old World patronizing attitude. In the end, the story becomes one of increasing sobriety, asking if music and artists will survive in an Internet universe of illegal downloading. The author concludes, “the business record companies should be in: creating products and online services that add value to recordings and excite people rather than writing off a generation that never had anything worth buying.” --Barbara Jacobs