Vital Signs

Rock Around the Bank

Now that ain't workin'
that's the way you do it
You play the guitar on the MTV
That ain't workin'
that's the way you do it
Money for nothin' and your
chicks for free

(©1985 Chariscourt Ltd./Adm. Almo Music)


Dire Straits' "Money for Nothing" ironically sums up the popular attitude toward the music business. After all, performing on stage for an hour or two a night does not seem all that tough. And we all know that little "work" goes on in recording studios. Yet groups like Motley Crüe have financial portfolios that the rest of us can only read about in Money magazine case studies.

Readers of Tarnished Gold: The Record Industry Revisited by R. Serge Denisoff, assisted by William Schurk (Transaction Books; New Brunswick, NJ), will have a different opinion of making it in the music industry, at least in the pop/rock segment, which represents more than 50 percent of the market. First, "Talent is commonly defined as a natural or acquired ability or as a natural endowment of ability of superior quality. This common and popular definition does not totally apply in the music industry. Talent is the commodity that has economic potential." In many cases,...

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