Music Television (and Barack)???

A quote from a friend of mine who photographed Paul McCartney and Barack Obama in the same week (last week):

It was less hassle to get credentials, we got to shoot from much closer, for longer, and there were less restrictions for the President of the United States then Paul McCartney. What does this say about the music industry??

On another note, this is the 30th anniversary of the founding of MTV. I remember having a drink at the bar after a Cheap Trick show 30 years ago with the local Epic Records promo guy. His name John Sykes. He told me he was quitting his job to help start a new business, along with a guy named Bob Pittman, who at the time was the program director of a country radio station in Chicago. His description of the business was this:

We are going to play videos of rock bands all day long- just like a radio station with visuals. I, of course, told him it was a lousy idea and he should keep his job in Chicago. Shows how smart I am! During the beginning time I did a lot of work with MTV, flying out to Los Angeles to shoot stills for a live “Alarm at UCLA” concert and a couple of days with Styx and Martha Quinn in Chicago.

John and Bob are now two of the most powerful guys in the music business:

John:

Sykes was instrumental in creating MTV some 25 years ago (makes me feel old, alright) as well as serving as President of VH1, which he rebranded and “lead to record audience ratings and profits, from 1994-2002″. He also spent time as Chairman and CEO of Infinity Broadcasting before returning to MTV Networks in 2005 as President Network Development.

Bob:

Pittman is now the Chairman of Media and Entertainment Platforms for Clear Channel Radio

Nice guys finish first! Even though I believe that MTV was the first step in ruining music photography. As soon as bands started shooting videos, they wanted to look like their videos in all of their photos. That brought out the first three songs rule.

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