The Business Secrets of Rock Bands

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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.

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