Friday, February 27, 2009

Picking the Hits

A few years back, I worked as an A&R director for a digital record label... it didn't last long. By the time I came on board, the Founder and CEO had already signed 11 artists. Unfortunately, only two of those artists should have ever been considered for the label... and to be completely honest, only one of them had a real chance of ever succeeding in the digital space. I quickly discovered that although the CEO had a passion for music, his ability to "pick the hits" was sorely lacking. He loved the music of his youth and was drawn to those same dated styles of music. Not that it was all bad, some of it was quite good, but it wasn't right for the market... or the times.

The company ran out of money before I could bring my first project to market. Luckily, an employee was able to connect some investors to the founder and the company reinvented itself as a media aggregator... although it never made a profit. A few months after the record company bit the dust, the COO said to me, "We should have never been in the business of picking hits, it was too risky. Nobody wants to be in that business." I disagreed then... and I still do today.

Every successful company is in the business of picking hits, whether it's software or soft rock. I understand that the concept of identifying what's going to be popular ahead of time is terrifying to most investors... but that's where the game is won... or, as in the case of my former employer, lost.

1 comment:

Ryan said...

We certainly need someone picking hits. Lord knows the ones doing it now are pretty bad at it!