Explodes the Rules

Explodes the Rules
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The Highs, Hits, Hype, Heroes, and Hustlers of the Warner Music Group
512 pages
First Edition edition
February 05, 2002
ISBN 10:
ISBN 13:

Here is the music business as you've never seen it: at its wildest, in its wackiest fifty years, bursting with hits and cash, until, by the end, it's just plain "Exploding."

Warner Brothers Records was an oasis of honest, innovative and lasting music from the late sixties through the seventies, nurturing the careers Captain Beefheart, Joni Mitchell, Randy Newman, Van Dyke Parks, Ry Cooder, Neil Young and many more. Stan Cornyn gleefully spun in the midst of it all, heading up what was loosely called "creative services," and which simultaneously broke existing rules and created a template for marketing and advertising that's still being copied. He started out writing liner notes for Frank Sinatra's Reprise label (later folded into Warners) in the late fifties. In the seventies the label's market share increased dramatically, which was further enhanced by mergergs with Atlantic and Elektra, making them known collectively as WEA. By the the nineties the market had changed, and the company's sheer size made their ability to maneuver at a grassroots level rather difficult — they were no longer creating trends, rather, monitoring them and watching the bottom line.

While music is at the core of the business enterprise that Cornyn played a role in, it here takes a backseat to the comings and goings behind the scenes. It's a testament to Stan Cornyn and Paul Scanlon that the former's innate wit and charm comes shining through over the course of this rather lengthy tome. He's a trustworthy narrator, emboldened by formidable researcher (and he ties with Nicholson Baker as Master of the Entertaining Footnote)