7 Artists Who Changed the Business of Music

Inc. magazine looks at seven artists who looked at the business of music in a different way and ending up changing everything.

1.  KISS

2. Led Zeppelin

3.  The Rolling Stones

4.  The Grateful Dead

5.  Journey (?!?)

6.  Moby

7.  Metallica

Honourable mention:  Steve Jobs (Think about it for a sec).

The reasoning behind their choices can be found here.  I, however, would like to add the following names to this list:

8. Pearl Jam:  For more than twenty years, they’ve been the quintessenial fan’s band, building on the traditions first laid down by The Dead.

9. Jack White:  For consistently doing things his way, from the music he makes to the records he presses himself.

10.  David Bowie:  Anyone remember the brilliant Bowie Bonds move?

11.  U2:  For taking bold financial risks with their tours, sometimes flirting with bankruptcy (see Zoo-TV tour.)

Can you think of anyone else who has shaken up the business of music as much as these people?

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

12 thoughts on “7 Artists Who Changed the Business of Music

  • January 31, 2013 at 2:33 pm
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    Michael Jackson!

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  • January 31, 2013 at 3:08 pm
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    Great call on Pearl Jam. The constant touring (not so much anymore), pushing the limits on each record, fair ticket prices, and of course their official concert bootleg series made them and their music very accessible to the people

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  • January 31, 2013 at 3:24 pm
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    Insane Clown Posse (seriously). Fugazi.

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  • January 31, 2013 at 3:42 pm
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    I disagree with Steve Jobs' honourable mention. He's not an artist, should not be included with this group.

    Umm…no Beatles? Was anyone merchandising before they came along?

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  • January 31, 2013 at 4:25 pm
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    The Ramones, The Clash, and The Sex Pistols.

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  • January 31, 2013 at 5:25 pm
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    Yeah, where are the Beatles? The idea of the album as an artistic statement, the merchandising, the invention of the music video, the protection of their images and music licensing, just to scratch the surface…

    Reply
  • January 31, 2013 at 5:40 pm
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    Steve Jobs is an artist, just because he didn't make music himself, doesn't mean that he didn't change music as we know it today. Possibly the most widespread contribution of anyone on the list, who doesn't own an iPod and/or other Apple product these days?!

    Reply
  • January 31, 2013 at 7:26 pm
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    Shut up whoever said Macklemore.

    Also you are giving U2 entirely too much credit. Their entire career has been built around them not taking risks. At no point has anything they've done been bold, and certainly never a known financial risk. Zooropa wasn't a period of creative or artistic adventure; it was creative and artistic drought.

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  • February 1, 2013 at 3:23 am
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    Um Radiohead are a blindingly obvious omission!

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  • February 1, 2013 at 3:24 am
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    The Beatles should've been included. Nevermind the business of music, but entire Western Culture. Anything rooted in Eastern mysticism, The New Age, etc, is all because of The Beatles.

    Reply

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