Sir Paul McCartney: ‘I Also Downloaded Radiohead’s ‘In Rainbows”December 26, 2007
British rock legend Sir Paul McCartney criticized his former record label EMI for its “boring” approach, and accused it of taking him for granted in an interview with the UK’s “The Times.”
Sir McCartney said he also became frustrated with the amount of time it took for EMI to release a song – while he wanted them released within weeks, record label executives expected to take months.
“I’d started saying to them: ‘Look, we could write a thing and have it released the next week.’ And they would say: ‘You can’t do that these days.’ So I would say: ‘Well, how much time do you need?’ And they’d say six months. I said: ‘Why do you need that long?’ And do you know what they said? ‘To figure out how to market it.’ I said: ‘Wait a minute, are you sure you need six months for that? Couldn’t some bright people do that in two days?’ Jesus Christ. I said: ‘Look boys, I’m sorry, I’m digging a new furrow.”
He also noted that he too was one of the millions who downloaded Radiohead’s “In Rainbows,” paying “something reasonable.”
“This was how we used to operate,” he noted. “I remember John [Lennon], for instance, writing Instant Karma and demanding it was released the following week.”
EMI, on the other hand, wasn’t able to perform such a “miraculous” task and he lamented that music artists there “had become a part of the furniture.”
“I’d be a couch; Coldplay are an armchair. And Robbie Williams, I dread to think what he was … But the most important thing was, I’d felt (the people at EMI) had become really very boring, y’know? And I dreaded going to see them.”
Asked what he meant by accusing the record company of being “boring”, Sir McCartney responded: “Well, because I could guess what they were going to say.” He added that he became frustrated with what he described as the “treadmill” approach of the company when it came to marketing music. “You go somewhere, speak to a million journalists for one day, and you get all the same questions. It’s mind-numbing.
“So I started saying: ‘God, we’ve got to do something else’.” McCartney split with EMI earlier this year, and released his latest album Memory Almost Full with coffee giant Starbucks’s newly-launched Hear Music label.
Now I can only imagine what it was like when EMI execs would meet with Sir McCartney, but you’d think that they’d give him carte blanche to do as he pleases. I think as a former Beatle, and as a music artist in every sense of the word, he’s at least earned that courtesy. When a guy like Sir McCartney says “Well this is what John and I used to do,” and “John” is the John of all Johns besides that baptist fella, it’s probably safe to bet that his plan will work out just fine.
I mean honestly, 6 months to market what he can do in 6 hours? No wonder the music biz is falling apart.
What’s also telling about Sir McCartney is that he really is all about the music. Always has and always will. Unlike Prince and others who seem to try and sue any website that allows fans to hear their music unless they benefit financially, he has own official YouTube channel. Sure he can afford it, but can’t Prince?