David Geffen with Michael Jackson & Madonna; PC: Horiwood.com
When the man who made a living signing rock legends such as Nirvana, Sonic Youth and John Lennon says it’s tough to make it in the music business, you’d be wise to listen.
Echoing sentiments expressed earlier in the month by Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan, music businessman heavyweight David Geffen says that it is harder than ever now for new artists to break into the mainstream, thus crushing the dreams of future Kurt Cobain’s everywhere.
And just in case that didn’t sound bleak enough, Billboard reports that when asked about his thoughts about the challenges and opportunities on working in the music industry if he were to try and break into the business today, the music titan simply answered: “I’d kill myself.”
During interview sessions for the brand new documentary based on the man himself, entitled Inventing David Geffen, he attributes the current climate of the industry as a result of the demise of rock radio as well as the propensity of music television channels to focus less on actual music and more on generic reality programming, referring to such high-brow MTV staples as Sixteen and Pregnant and Pimp My Ride.
When asked about what it takes for new artists to succeed in today’s music industry, Geffen simply said, “You need repetition. You need to be able to hear things a lot."
Interestingly enough, Geffen recalls the moment when he was once asked by industry survivor Art Garfunkel if the singer should quit architecture school in order to try and get into the music business. “I told him to stay in school,” said Geffen, adding, “It’s not about the ones that say no; it’s about the ones that say yes. Your life isn’t made up of people who aren’t in it.”
There you have it, honest words from the man who brought the world Lennon’s Double Fantasy, Geffen Records, Asylum Records and even co-founded DreamWorks Studio with Steven Spielberg. Well future rock stars – good luck! Sounds like you'll need it.