If you want insight on the music industry, these are the men to listen to.
Veteran music executives, Kevin Liles and Lyor Cohen, have been collaborating with one another for a long time. They both started out at Def Jam, where they were behind the rise of Beastie Boys, Run DMC, Public Enemy, and eventually founded 300 Entertainment, where they were behind the rise of Young Thug, Gunna and Megan Thee Stallion. These names don't even scratch the surface of the contributions that Liles and Cohen have made to the music industry. For this reason, Ari Melber brought these two men onto his digital content series with MSNBC, "Mavericks", to discuss their long and prosperous careers.
One of the most fascinating moments of the interview may have been when Liles and Cohen offered their thoughts on the question: "Where does the album come from?". The longtime friends' opinions diverged slightly on this topic, but they both expressed that the album may not be as important as some consider it to be. Lyor states, "I'm not a big believer of albums. I think the digital revolution has allowed people to understand that this was always a singles business... some guy said 'Hey, if we pour more oil we can make a bigger album and sell more and price it for more.' The album is still gonna be a really important canvas to paint on, but not everybody can paint on that canvas."
Liles also thinks too much prestige is placed on the concept of the album, but still finds a body of work in whatever form to be what allows a listener to understand an artist. "What the digital era has done has given people so much freedom of choice, but I still believe if you want to get to know an artist - if you want to get to know the art of an artist - you need a collection of records. I don't call them albums anymore. Call it playlists, call it whatever you want to call it, but you need to have a collection of music to really know who they are and what they are."
Do you agree with these takes? Have digital platforms made albums obsolete?