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Why I joined Beats Music

It’s a cliché for sure – it’s been a long, strange trip. From starting out as a founding member of Gang of Four in 1978 and delivering two seminal albums – Entertainment! and Solid Gold, through forming my second outfit Shriekback, then moving from London to Los Angeles in 1989 where I created a record label and first met Ian Rogers who is now Beats Music’s CEO, to realizing in 1993 that the Web was here to stay and wholeheartedly embracing it, which led me to join eMusic.com in 1998 before moving on from there to join Intel. My web work lead me to immerse myself in digital strategy and user behavior and through that I ended up working for many Portland, Oregon advertising agencies. So we could perhaps say that the cliché may actually be appropriate.

And now here I am working at Beats Music, reunited with Ian and spending time with Trent Reznor, having met with him again for only the third time in our careers, and realizing that I am back in the music business after 13 years. A new music business. A music business that looks to the future without being burdened with the baggage of the past two decades of online disruption. One that follows music fans or Users as they are often described – where they means me and you too – and researches their actions as those user actions “tell” us what they want in a music service and how they want it delivered. The web is a people-powered construct, we must never forget that.

What will I be doing for Beats Music? Well, I have signed on as Director, Artist & Music Industry Advocacy. What does that mean? It means I will continue to do what I’ve been doing for many years now – writing about the issues that artists have with these new music business models; speaking at conferences or giving Keynote speeches on the state of the union as it were; writing op-ed articles to elicit awareness and receive comments on my views that help me refine them; by adjusting to the new while admitting to my mistakes in the past. I will also continue to expand my reach to a broader audience as a LinkedIn Influencer.

In short I will act as an ambassador for Beats Music, reaching out to artists and the recorded music industry to find common ground and debate real issues and real problems, problems that can hopefully be solved without resorting to rhetoric that inflames rather than assuages doubts.

I am very happy to join a dedicated team of people here at Beats Music, who are extremely passionate about music.