What did you wake up thinking about this morning? All the great new music coming out later this year. I'm still getting congratulatory calls and emails from the VIPs in radio and media who came to our boat show at the Country Radio Seminar, saying how much they loved the new Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney, Pistol Annies, Tate Stevens, the Henningsens, Chris Young, Jerrod Niemann and Kelly Clarkson. It's just further affirmation of what we're doing here. They also loved our special live guest, REO Speedwagon.
Who is your most important mentor and what did you learn? Some people have one mentor in their life, but I picked up things along the way from lots of people. Singer/songwriter and producer Keith Stegall taught me not to compromise about the music. Sony/ATV's Marty Bandier taught me how to monetize my love of music, and how to make a deal. Sony's Doug Morris taught me strength, class, honesty and how to successfully run a label group during the most challenging climate in the history of recorded music.
Describe a lesson you learned from a failure. When Thomas Edison had yet to invent a working light bulb, a journalist said to him, "You have failed 10,000 times to invent the light bulb." To which Edison replied, "I have successfully found 10,000 that won't work." I think it's about being unafraid to fail, to try to find something new or different. Failure is only failure if that's what you see it as. Failure is working toward a goal and just one of the steps on the way to success.
Name a project that you're not affiliated with that has most impressed you in the past year. Spotify. People want their music to be ubiquitous so they can hear it on any of their devices, anytime, anywhere. Consumers will be more than happy to make a monthly payment for this service, just like their cable or phone bill. I believe this model will create more than enough revenue for everyone--artists, labels, songwriters and publishers, along with the streaming services themselves.
What will define your career in the coming year? I don't believe one's career can be defined in a single time period like a year. It's defined over a much longer period of time, usually at the end of your professional life. I've had the great fortune to manage a superstar artist [Alan Jackson], run a large music publishing company and also run a major-label group. I've also been told that no one has done all three of those things before--or, at least, not successfully.
Name a desert island album. I hope we'll soon have worldwide music streaming, so I won't have to choose only one album. But, for now, I would say it's the Allman Brothers Band's "At Fillmore East." It's one of the best live albums ever. The songs and guitar solos were filled with pure, raw emotion.