Kill Your Friends, John Niven’s darkly funny book set in the coke-fueled music industry during the Britpop era, has been made into a movie. I, for one, am really looking forward to it.
If you read the book and watch the film, you’ll glean these ten lessons about how to make it in the biz as a ruthless amoral A&R asshole courtesy of Drowned in Sound.
1) Become the King of ‘Six Degrees of Separation’.
There is no one you don’t know; only a route to everyone you haven’t quite figured out yet.
2) Get into the office early.
In A&R this only means before noon. Read Billboard and Music Week before anyone else has. Pass articles off as obscure bits of gossip you’ve picked up personally.
3) Read other people’s post and email.
David Geffen used to steam open letters at the William Morris agency. In most industries this is called mail fraud and is punishable by a jail sentence. In the music business it is called ‘initiative’ and is rewarded by cash and promotion.