"ART FOR ART'S SAKE IS FOR LOSERS"
The Mega Conglomerates are publicly traded companies, they answer to shareholders and shareholders only. They are monopolies and most have totally forgotten why they got into this business in the first place.
Except in rare circumstances the status quo is consistent. Promoting from within doesn’t hardly happen unless someone quits, but then their job is just usually dumped on someone else who is given a raise and a nicer title to compensate for the fact that they will be working 18 hours a day instead of 15.
Usually, the Mega Conglomerate (MC) prefers to steal senior staff from another successful company or hire from an established artist management firm, it’s the appearance, the cache….so…..if you think you can work your way up to running the company, that’s unlikely, unless you're related to the boss. But, you can invent a complementary ‘service’ company that they can buy. Then they’ll bestow a title upon you but keep you and your remaining staff (they will fire people) in an obscure little corner of the basement, never to see the light of day.
Here are a few other basic things about the Mega Conglomerate:
* They're the folks who, for example, upon learning of the assassination of John Lennon, don’t take a moment to remember the man, his music, his affect on the world, or even personal memories of working with him. No, these guys interrupt your grief and say "Quick, get Beatlemania’s people on the phone, let’s get a cross country tour on sale before people get over this.”
* The MC has a lot of contingency plans. Sponsorship, the not so secret private ticket list that sells good seats at a premium, the suppliers they own, other kick-backs and creative accounting, just to name a few. These guys don’t stand to lose nearly as much as the independents. It’s unfortunate their riches don’t trickle down to the hard working staff.
* The 'Faces of the company' come in all shapes and sizes. Some are flamboyant, preferring to be front and centre, stars in and of themselves, while others prefer to remain behind the scenes, until someone makes them shiny in a movie.
* Another 'Face,' former AEG honcho Randy Phillips was famously outed on the way he spoke about Michael Jackson. It all came out in the lawsuit Jackson’s Mother filed against AEG, it was vile, a link to the transcript can be found here. The gentle soul that was Michael Jackson and who was, at the time of the described behaviour, about to make AEG a boatload of money, was subjected to inexcusable humiliation and other abuse. Randy Phillips and company referred to MJ as ‘The Freak,’ and Phillips even bragged that he slapped and screamed at MJ to ‘show him who’s boss.’ That creep is still in the business, and thriving.
*The MC owns the venues, so artists are forced to work with them, this often means dropping the little guy that played a huge role in the development of their career.
* On working for an MC: titles are handed out in lieu of decent pay for most, but are also a form of compensation for Old Dogs and valued employees. Some titles are just so preposterous, others not very exclusive. There are many Senior Vice Presidents, and Executive Vice Presidents, and mere Presidents. They’ll just group a few people together, call them a ‘Department’ and then give someone the title ‘President’ of that department.
* MCs have huge staffs and the big boss is very insulated, you’ll probably never even see him. The big boss has an inner circle, usually consisting of Old Dogs, a trusted assistant or two or three and other Executives.
* I won’t pretend to understand the mergers and acquisitions. How a promoter can sell his company for a bazillion dollars, go live in one of those sunny places for shady people to wait for the non-compete clause to run out, then reappear with a different name, but work with the exact same people and do the exact same thing with the exact same acts. That’s a head-scratcher.
There are no more free tickets to shows for staff, unless a show isn't selling all that well, the perks have definitely been curtailed since MC's changed the landscape. There is also no motivation to develop an artist when they can just wait until the artist is a success and has to work with them. Personally, I prefer the indies, but it's hard to make a living that way.
I will explain more about how the MC works in other blogs, i.e., in 'The Accountants.