Friday, June 13, 2008

Selling The Beatles

I've read more books about the Beatles, Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan than any other acts. When I go to Borders the Beatles and Dylan sections outnumber the Elvis one, but all three still reign. There's a reason for this. All of 'em were cultural icons. The Beatles and Elvis transformed the way the music business marketed itself and Dylan changed the way words can be used for meaning. There's been books about Elvis being marketed, and now there's one (at least that I've read) on the Beatles. Beatles For Sale by John Blaney (Jawbone Press) looks at how the Beatles were marketed and while it offers no startling revelations (at least if you know the history of the Beatles, and who doesn't), it still makes some points that can be used for today's music acts. The Beatles were marketed to the masses, alright, but never had complete control over their images or products. Everything around them was coming at such a fast pace that they couldn't keep up with all the extra stuff. Beatles For Sale is rather clinical. Blaney won't get you to fill the music. He's not a music critic anyway, and a lot of numbers and percentages are thrown at you. But it should be read by all artists who wonder what goes on around them while they're busy creating the music.
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