The Impossible Rise of Warner Bros. Records, From Hendrix to Fleetwood Mac to Madonna to PrinceSatisfaction:
The most compelling figures in the Warner Bros. story are the sagacious Mo Ostin and the unlikely crew of hippies, eccentrics, and enlightened execs who were the first in the music business to read the generational writing on the wall in the mid-1960s. By recruiting outsider artists and allowing them to make the music they wanted, Ostin and his staff transformed an out-of-touch company into the voice of a generation. Along the way, they revolutionized the music industry and, within just a few years, created the most successful record label in the history of the American music industry.
Ostin ushered in a counterintuitive model that matched the counterculture. His offbeat crew reinvented the way business was done, giving their artists free rein while rejecting out-of-date methods of advertising, promotion, and distribution. And even as they set new standards for in-house weirdness, the upstarts' experiments and innovations paid off, to the tune of hundreds of legendary hit albums.
It may sound like a fairy tale, but once upon a time Warner Bros Records conquered the music business by focusing on the music rather than the business. Their story is as raucous as it is inspiring, pure entertainment that also maps a route to that holy grail: love and money.