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News October 27, 2015

US music execs a-buzz on Taylor Swift but not rap or Tidal, in Billboard survey

Senior Journalist, B2B
US music execs a-buzz on Taylor Swift but not rap or Tidal, in Billboard survey

An anonymous survey of 50 “top” US music industry executives by Billboard magazine found that Taylor Swift is the artist they would sign if starting a label, but rap music and Tidal got the thumbs-down.

The results of the survey won’t be published until its September 19 edition but some of these have leaked online.

It’s not certain how representative the execs chosen were, but 70% of them said they “rooted for Taylor Swift”. Lady Gaga and Adele were in second and third spot. Gaga was also the artist who should be running a record company.

Rap was the type of music they despised the most, followed by EDM and pop.

An eye-raising 71% thought that Tidal would go belly-up in a year. 17% gave it up to two years and only 12% figured it would be around for some time.

More than half (58%) considered that the music industry is not fair to artists.

Most regarded themselves tech-savvy. 62% thought they knew more about technology than the average 14-year-old, and 54% would switch over to work at Apple or Spotify if offered the same money.

Some of Billboard’s questions irked commentators as being flippant or venomous.

The one creating the most bad vibes asked who they believed in the court case between Ke$ha and producer and songwriter Dr Luke. Ke$ha is suing him alleging rape and the cause of an eating disorder which put her in rehab. He contends she’s using blackmail tactics to break her contract.

The 50 had to name which music biz exec they considered (1) most overpaid; (2) most devious; and (3) most press hungry. Others quizzed, "Which artist's private behavior belies his/her sterling public persona?" and "Have you ever witnessed an act of racism or sexism in the industry in the past year? If so, please describe."

They were asked to respond: “In three years, Justin Bieber will be: (i) Headlining arenas or (ii) On a VH1 reality show?”

Artist manager Irving Azoff was one who refused to be part of the survey. He told the New York Post, “If Billboard wants to survey the music industry, they shouldask people in the biz what they think about their publication. Maybe then they’d understand how fully they’ve turned a formerly respected brand into an irrelevant joke.”

It should be remembered that the Azoff and Billboard feud goes back years. In December 1980, Azoff was apoplectic when the magazine covered the death of John Lennon (who was signed to his Geffen label) with how his records started selling again and tried to get the industry to boycott it.

Billboard replied: “We are aware of the personal grousings of Irving Azoff about Billboard and are sorry he won’t be filling out the survey.”


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