The Business Secrets of Rock Bands

A Harvard Business School professor has written up a case study on how U2's world-conquering success can be emulated by corporate professionals. The takeaway:

Strategy: "In an industry notorious for its focus on short-term hits and for taking control of an artist's work and profits, the band members and their long-time manager Paul McGuiness always looked to build an enterprise that would have a long life."

Tactics: "Toward this end, they obtained the rights to their own copyrights back from Island Records; they oversaw the vast majority of decisions about touring, record production, graphics, and packaging themselves; they focused on touring and a direct relationship with their audience (versus relying on radio station distribution and the roller coaster of trying to generate "Top 40" hits); and they acquired a 10 percent ownership stake in Island Records worth $30 million when the record company was acquired by PolyGram in 1989."

Real-world application: Buy lots of company stock; micromanage.

Possible real world drawbacks: May only work for complete egomaniacs with a messiah complex.

U2 isn't the first band to be praised for their business acumen; the Grateful Dead, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones each have lessons to teach as well. Read the full story at The Atlantic Wire.

articlePromo.png

Presented by

The Atlantic Wire is your authoritative guide to the news and ideas that matter most right now.

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This wildly inventive short film takes you on a whirling, spinning tour of the Big Apple

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

Video

The Faces of #BlackLivesMatter

Scenes from a recent protest in New York City

Video

Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life

The Supreme Court justice talks gender equality and marriage.

Video

The Pentagon's $1.5 Trillion Mistake

The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do everything. Instead, it can barely do anything.

More in Entertainment

Just In