Exposé of Shady Music Biz of Decades Past Has Today's Record Labels Abuzz
Dorothy Carvello's Anything for a Hit: An A&R Woman's Story of Surviving the Music Industry was years in the making but finally hit the market Sept. 4.
The book, which sheds light on some shady business practices and heinous behavior that women in the music business have endured from their male counterparts over the years, comes as the #MeToo movement continues to build: On Sept. 9, CBS chief executive Les Moonves resigned following the publication of a New Yorker story detailing his alleged sexual misconduct. Former Warner, Universal and Sony Music leader Doug Morris, a central figure in Carvello's book who is now running the Apple-backed record label 12 Tone Music, left CBS' board of directors the same day as the network announced a slew of new board members, though CBS gave no reason for his or other directors' departures. A rep for Morris did not comment.
Carvello, who started as an assistant to the late Ahmet Ertegun and alleges that Ertegun fired her for making a sexual-harassment claim, says that so far the response "has been overwhelmingly positive," with many current and former music executives sending her congratulatory notes. One woman told Carvello in an email that she was similarly abused and even "punched" by men in the music business; another wrote, "Think of what you could have accomplished without the barriers."
But whether the book will prompt fresh claims of sexual misconduct perpetuated by current music executives remains to be seen.
Melanie Bonvicino, a publicist and crisis manager mentioned in the book, told Billboard that "by being a whistleblower, you mark yourself, [and] it taints your career, and going forward, it can destroy your career. This book gave me great insight into the plight of victims where [the victim] becomes as guilty as the perpetrator."
"She pretty much hits the mark," says Jerry Blair, a former Columbia radio promotion executive also featured in the book, now a principal at Global Entertainment Management. Jerry Greenberg, who worked at Warner Music Group with Carvello, says, "I feel very badly for Dorothy or any women who suffered abuse like that. It's evident Dorothy was trying to follow her dream to become a successful A&R person. I know for a fact she has great ears and today would have been a major exec."