the structure of the music industry is rooted in a corporate structure. It’s a quarterly business, but art is not a quarterly business. At Columbia, if Beyoncé didn’t deliver a record one year, for whatever reason, that really affected the whole economics of the company. And it’s impossible to build a music company as if you were selling shoes.
I remember when the bankers came in to meet with my boss when I worked at New Line Cinema. They wanted to know about the second quarter films slated this year and then were going to compare them to last years second quarter. And I was only 24 and had only worked there for less than a year but it was clear to me that they had no idea what they were talking about. We weren’t making pencils, or as Rick Rubin puts it, shoes. The desire for predictability means the bankers want to decrease risk. But you decrease risk really differently in making art. Value isn’t created by avoiding risk. And as you would in a business, any business, you have to take the right risk to grow and benefit. And you have to keep taking risk to get good at it. And the knowing of art is not a thinking knowing. It is a feeling knowing. That’s where the value is.