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New To The Board: First Question For EC

Marc Nathan

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Hey Eric,

I'm a 36 year veteran of the music industry, and 10 weeks ago I started a new chapter of my sordid life ;) --- working for Capitol Music Group, and based in the famed "tower."

So, my question to you is: What are some of your memories of this illustrious building?

I think my three favorite non-Beatle/non-Todd Rundgren/non-Barenaked Ladies musical acts of all time are Badfinger, The Beach Boys and The Raspberries, and I would love to know more about the vibe in this place back when it was vibrant and full of music. (Yeah, I know, I'm kind of condemning the industry in the 21st century, but I can't imagine how this place was when you were delivering your finished albums to the execs here...) Any stories?

Marc Nathan

(who has a couple of other far more pointed questions, but will hope we can start with a far more cinematic experience.)

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Hey Marc, First of all...¦welcome. Second of all, if you happen to see any master tapes with the word RASPBERRIES scrawled on them in some dark, forgotten closet somewhere in the "tower," put Eric's name on 'em and let somebody know :) I'm afraid some of the kids in that building might think they're boxes of old fruit roll-ups and toss 'em.


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The very first thing that popped into my mind, Marc, was the first time the elevator doors opened and we stepped out, a cute girl with pigtails, who was someone's assistant, came flying by on roller skates and introduced herself as "Janet Planet" which, at the time, seemed very apropos. It really was alive and bustling with activity back then. The sense of history in that building was overpowering. We were so young, probably no more than twenty-two, and we were just coming off our first big hit, all wide eyed and innocent. I think we were all a little bit apprehensive, because the Capitol Tower represented "The Big Time." Exciting and scary, all at once. We were also keenly aware that The Beatles and The Beach Boys might have walked these same halls. Heady stuff! ec

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Eric, I got into the business when I was just a month shy of my 16th birthday, after writing a fan letter to Todd Rundgren.

I've never quite known the full story on his "It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference" vs. your "I Can Remember" though I was at Sigma Sound Studios in Philly when Todd played his song live for the very first time (June 30, 1971) --- so, could you put the whole thing into a time line for me?

I love both songs, so this is NOT Avril vs. The Rubinoos here (grin.)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Marc, I know you're new at Capitol, but... I'm wondering if there's somebody, anybody, in an executive position at Capitol who's noticing the great advance PR the new live Raspberries package is getting (USA Today, Billboard, etc.) and is thinking:

"You know, we should have kept that band in the house..."

PS: Welcome to the board!

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Sorry it took me a week, LC...

Honestly, my guess (educated?) is no.

The catalog music department is very separate from the main "Capitol Music Group" and I have no real contact with them (which is a shame, because there's probably a person or two that I would have far more in common with than the "kids" I work with.)

As for the "great advance PR"... you honestly have to look at the big picture and realize how little that means in terms of the actual audience. People here at ec.com are in a bit of a coccoon and while not delusional, tend to believe that something may be bigger than it is.

I'm sure that the live package will do just fine from the group's perspective, but I don't expect it to come near the numbers that would make a major label like Capitol stand and take notice. Are they wrong for not doing so? Perhaps, but in the grand scheme of things I understand how it can fall under the radar.

Just be happy you're a part of the musical goodness and know that you know something that most people don't (grin.)

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Marc Nathan said:

People here at ec.com are in a bit of a coccoon and while not delusional, tend to believe that something may be bigger than it is.

Probably true. But the optimist in me remembers 1988 and me arguing with a store manager (nicely) about the Camelot Music "Superstore" in Louisville not stocking Eric's "Make Me Lose Control" when it was released.

Me: "But 'Hungry Eyes' made the Top 5..."

Mr. Clueless Manager: "That was because of 'Dirty Dancing.' We're not stocking 'Make Me Lose Control' unless it hits the Top 50."

Me: "If you don't stock it so customers can buy it, how does it make the Top 50?'

Mr. Clueless Manager: "It's not going anywhere. We're not stocking it."

So, I walked out and bought it elsewhere. Moral of the story, "Make Me Lose Control" went Top 5, CREEM magazine named Aerosmith and Eric Carmen as "Comebacks Of The Year," Billboard magazine's Year-End Issue in 1988 named Eric as the 7th biggest Pop Singles artist of 1988, and that Camelot Music Superstore went out of business. True story.

Sometimes history repeats itself...

Don Krider :)

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What I find interesting about the record companies is the lack of effort to meet their "target customers" needs.

The "target customer" these days is more likely the 35+ audience not the 16-25 male. The younger group are not buying music from stores, they download and more likely than not for Free.

Adults looking for music to buy are finding very little and are leaving empty handed.

Gone are the days when we had to save for a record or a concert, but there is little being offered to our age group.

You might want to notice how quickly the Limited Edition Pkg sold out.

It was offered to this small cocooned Internet group, at $125, at Christmas time when we have gifts to buy, family travel expenses as well as charity obligations and next term college expenses.

It is time for the Music Industry to notice who is willing to PAY for the music and market in that direction.

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