The two numb skulls that run RCA gave an illuminating interview. Notice how they continually pat themselves on the back over the success of acts that are already well established and or would sell well even if we were in the middle of a fucking zombie apocalypse. That’s the equivalent of patting yourselves on the back because WATER IS WET.
But where are all the super successful new acts? Acts you nurtured and developed who finally broke through?
That’s right. That takes time and effort and MONEY and working radio and that’s too hard.
(Nope. Not bitter at all why do you ask?)
ENJOY THIS INTERVIEW. YOU KNOW I DID!
It’s the end of the second full year of running the label. I thought you could both say a little bit about what has been key to your success so far.
Peter: I always feel great records are the basis of any great company. Tom and I have witnessed it over the many years we’ve worked together. It’s more than 10 years, as a matter of fact.
Tom: We’re not gonna tell you how many more, though. More than 10 and less than 100.
Peter: Great records are definitely the core of it, and I think we have a great team that’s come together across what came out of J Records and the older RCA format and Jive Records, and just new signings, like Miley and A$AP and breaking through with Miguel. Those things are really hard to do, candidly.
Tom: And teamwork. Peter and I set the example for teamwork with our relationship and partnership. Everybody’s rowing in the same direction, and when you have the right music and you apply a creative marketing approach, it really sets you apart from your competition.
That brings me to my next question, which is about that magic formula of your partnership.
Peter: There’s a trust that comes out of knowing each other so long and being in several different work situations together—from the fact that we know what we’re doing together.
Tom: We feel that trust and understanding really [permeates] the whole company. Because of that, there’s a ceiling above RCA that’s different than our competitors. You get a different vibe when you come in here. There’s collaboration and openness. And this isn’t just us saying this—we’ve gotten this feedback from every corner of the business. Of course, you always focus on your core assets, which is mainly to never lose sight of the fact that it all starts and ends with great music and great artists.
Peter: We’re still very hungry. We still have a lot to prove.
Tom: We feel like we’ve just reached a point where we can really get down to what we want to do.
Let’s talk about the roster that was part of your “inheritance” as you came in.
Peter: Well, there’s just an amazing selection of artists. P!nk, Justin, Alicia Keys, Usher, Chris Brown, Britney Spears, it goes on. Great roster.
Tom: It could be the best superstar roster in the business. It was a blessing, but also a responsibility. These are major artists and major brands and they’re fully functioning. They’ve got great teams around them. We were sort of pleasantly awestruck by this. But then it was time to get to work, and we worked super hard—building and forging relationships and extending contractual relationships and making sure there was a real avenue of communication through every level of the company.
With Justin Timberlake’s albums both debuting at #1, I wondered if you could kind of give a little retrospective on the campaign and the year he’s had.
Peter: It’s been one hell of a year. He has the best-selling album of the year, the biggest tour of the year and, with “Mirrors,” one of the songs of the year. We were thrilled to be in a position to roll out a campaign like that.
YES YOU ASSHAT BECAUSE HIS 5 MILLION CORPORATE SPONSORSHIPS PROVIDED ALL THE MONEY. YOU DIDN’T DO SHIT. PLUS HE COULD HAVE RELEASED AN ALBUM OF FART SOUNDS AND SOLD TEN MILLION ALBUMS.
Tom: It was a great partnership with [JT manager] Johnny [Wright], Justin, [publicist] Sonia [Muckle] and the team. It’s been very organic—Justin is in the center of his campaign. He’s owns it. Not to mention that he’s an incredible superstar delivering great music and working hard, and he’s got a great management team and a great record company behind him.
Even with a superstar, there’s some risk in putting out two full-length albums of new material in the same year.
Tom: They’re not different albums; it’s a double album. That’s another concept that people are still grasping right now, and here’s a guy who’s doubling down on his concept. And he’s not done. He’s talking about follow-up singles and maybe going back to the first part of the project. We’re gonna be in the Justin business for a lot longer. There are no rules here.
IT’S SO AMAZING HOW YOU MANAGED NOT TO FUCK UP A SURE THING. PAT YOURSELF ON THE BACK SOME MORE.
Let’s get to Miley. Tell me a little bit about the signing process.
Peter: Bruce Flohr actually brought Miley to us – he manages Dave Matthews. It was clear from those first meetings that she was a big personality who had fully transformed herself from the Hannah Montana character that people knew her for, and she was now a young woman who had reimaged herself. She had the punky white hair and had plenty to say about how she wanted to be moving forward. A lot of what you see with Miley is what you’ll get.
What we helped with was crafting and introducing people musically and making that whole vision come to life. The whole company was involved: Doug Morris, who was very key in closing the deal; Tom, myself, Rani Hancock—who worked really closely with Miley on a day-to-day A&R basis—and Mike Will, who was a really key character in building the Bangerz album with Miley. She already had “Wrecking Ball” coming in.
DIDN’T SHE PRETTY MUCH MAKE HER ALBUM ON HER OWN AN THEN SHOP IT TO LABELS? YOU PROBABLY ONCE AGAIN DIDN’T DO SHIT.
Tom: Only two labels really threw down; the rest of them chickened out. I want to give Peter and the A&R team full credit, because they understood what the potential was. She had a big, big mold to break out of. She showed everybody that she’s a real talent and can sing, she got a great album together, which is selling like hotcakes everywhere around the world, and she went out and backed it up with stunning creative. We went for it and it’s really working. She is another act who is at the center of her campaign. A lot of this comes from her. It’s all her vision that we’re helping to realize.
OH HOW NICE YOU ARE WILLING TO REALIZE SOMEONE’S VISION WITHOUT THRUSTING SOMEONE ELSE’S CAST OFF SONGS ON THEM.
You’ve had a lot of success with producer/writers like Dr. Luke and Max Martin, among others. Who else have you signed who performs that function?
Peter: Mikky Ekko is one. Obviously he’s had one of the biggest hits of the year, which he wrote, produced and sang with Rihanna, and he’s got an amazing album coming out at the top of next year. Sia’s another; she’s clearly one of the songwriters of the year, if not the last couple of years. She’s phenomenal and her album is outstanding. Mike Posner is great. He wrote [Labrinth’s] “Beneath Your Beautiful,” which is one of the biggest international hits of the year.
DR. LUKE. DR. LUUUUUUUUUUUKE.
Tom: Don’t forget about R. Kelly, and Miguel—his new album is great and he’s very focused. We shouldn’t overlook Chris Brown. He’s such a talent.
Peter: Kid Ink is a new rapper we signed out of L.A. We have a record he did with Chris Brown that’s going to be a #1. It’s called “Show Me.” It’s a smash.
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