Sony Music built the palace where last week's Grammy darlings and indisputable music industry queens Barbra Streisand and Aretha Franklin live. Both honored for a lifetime of artistry, the world was reminded of the solo female artists lasting magical power. But for Sony, the list doesn't end there. A closer look will show that label bloodline filled with more industry queens, princesses, and duchesses than any other, and a proven half-century of lady-centric executive leadership in Clive, Tommy, Donnie and Barry. So if you have the keys to the castle Sony, why live anywhere else?
Out of 2010s Top 5 #1 hits, 3 were from solo female artists -- beyond that, 8 out of the Top 15. Out of those 8, Sony Music was the home to 6. Sony's dominance in the category is not isolated to 2010; their successes span decades and are textbook examples of brilliant solo female development and success. From Whitney to Celine, Mariah to Christina, and Alicia to Britney -- there are billions of dollars in net receipts and a legacy that runs strong with Beyonce, Kelly Clarkson, Kesha, Pink, and Shakira. Not only is there no label better -- there's no one even close. And with more than 30 solo female multi-platinum artists on the roster and in the catalog, Sony should cease all operations involving anything else.
The recorded music industry is looking to cut costs and map out a future, yet attempts to artificially engineer Top 40 radio and secure precious percentages of it's chest thumping market share continue. Get back to basics and follow the forgotten rule of business -- do the one thing you do better than anyone else. The history and expertise is undeniable. The worldwide relationships are intact. The distribution channels are set. The marketing machine is well oiled.
As a cost-cutting measure, the numbers speak for themselves. In the current 360 climate, by streamlining staff and creative services Sony can command sweetheart deals with all high-cost vendors in the industry: touring services, choreographers, stylists, hair/make up agencies, and producer fees. The benefit of potential packaged tours between Sony's developing artists and established stars is obvious. Smaller roster and female-savvy specialists at the helm of all areas. The "see what sticks" method in every genre of music cannot sustain in the digital era. Focus your efforts and no other label could compete.
Why stop at Sony? Shouldn't Interscope commandeer all of hip-hop in the same manner? Sounds good, but the economics don't match. Hip-hop is historically flat outside of the US, and catalog sales don't withstand the test of time. The boring, lackluster hip-hop tours cannot compete with the spectacle of Pink on a trapeze, Shakira as a she wolf, and Beyonce as well, Beyonce. No other concentration could support a major international label like Sony. Solo females cross all genres with worldwide appeal and major numbers.
Sony: You are uniquely qualified to be king of the queens. Make a serious commitment -- these ladies have been good to you and the engagement has lasted long enough. Why not outshine the Brits with a royal wedding of your own this year?
Jeffrey Rabhan is the Chair of The Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. As an artist manager his clients have garnered more than a dozen Grammy Awards and generated in excess of one billion dollars in global receipts.
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