(Undergraduate Director Catherine Radbill interviews Fred Goodman)
On Wednesday, September 29th, acclaimed author Fred Goodman came to speak to Music Business undergraduates at Collegium, our weekly program meeting. Goodman’s most recent book, Fortune’s Fool, follows Edgar Bronfman Jr.’s rise to power as CEO of Warner Music Group. Fortune’s Fool takes an in-depth look into Bronfman’s life as an heir to the Seagram’s fortune and his dive into the recording industry. Goodman’s examination of Bronfman sheds light on the evolution and inner workings of Warner Music Group since it became a publicly traded company in 2005. More broadly, Fortune’s Fool provides a detailed study of current major label business models as they struggle to protect and control the value of their content in an increasingly digital industry, as well as the history of record labels’ relationship with Wall Street and big business over the last 30 years.
Fortune’s Fool portrays Bronfman and his high-profile cronies as being driven by inflated egos, big deals, and chart performance, and asks us to consider the future of the recording industry as the current financial stability of Warner Music Group denotes optimism and other major players continue to fade. In response to a student question, Goodman hypothesized that in the future, record labels are likely to outsource more and more, focusing on A&R and marketing as their areas of expertise.