Jay-Z Operates Like An Indie Band: A New Business Model?

Jay-Z Indie

The New York Times is running an article under the misleading headline In Rapper’s Deal, A New Model for Music Business. Jeff Leeds reports that Jay-Z is being offered a $150 million package from Live Nation, a move that “reflects the anarchy sweeping the music business.” That quote, taken from the first sentence of the story, suggests a chaotic environment in the music world, wherein the business models are anything but certain.

The story continues to emphasize this uncertainty. Sure, Madonna and U2 received similar deals from Live Nation, but the company lost $12 million last year and has its share of critics who cite “the mixed track record of artist-run ventures.” The only supporters of this new business model mentioned in the article are Live Nation Chairman Michael Cohn, Jay-Z, and an LA entertainment attorney who says he’d rather market a superstar than take a crapshoot on an artist, as in the traditional record company model that we already know is failing. Somehow I’m not convinced.

Perhaps Jay-Z will bring something new to the table, something that will truly revolutionize the industry. He says “I want to operate like an indie band, play the music on tour instead of relying on radio.” Eureka! Live music, why didn’t we think of that before?! I guess it was really only indie bands who operated like that in the past, and nobody listens to them anymore because, according to another Jeff Leeds gem, Starbucks has shockingly gone mainstream.


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