Irving Azoff in his office (Photo: Bryce Duffy)

Billboard: Do people always take your calls?
Irving Azoff: Only the ones that want to complain about something.

What constitutes power in the music business?

The trust of artists.

The balance of power has shifted?

It's all about live, live, live. Since the traditional recorded-music business models have drastically changed, there is truly diminished income derived from recorded music by artists-both current and catalog. The touring industry has become much more important as a majority revenue stream and the ancillary fan experiences and promotions that may be derived from it. It's all about artists and those they empower to execute their business plans.

How is power best wielded? What's the worst one can do with power?

Follow through on principled decisions. The worst thing one can do is think [the power] is yours-and not the artist's.

When is it time to yell, and when is it time to chill?
Depends on who you're dealing with.

Are things playing out the way you thought five years ago they might?
Between the worldwide economy and the lack of respect for intellectual property, you can be sure it will get tougher and tougher as time goes on.

And guys like me? Any power there?
Ray Waddell and Billboard hold all the power cards.

I guess now is when I start playing "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You."

I'd prefer "Life in the Fast Lane."