This is an utterly great article in the NYTimes Magazine about the chaos in the music industry and superstar producer Rick Rubin’s new gig as co-CEO of Columbia Records. Rubin has made great albums with unknowns (Beastie Boys, RHCP) and so-well-knowns (Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond) and now he’s trying to reinvent Columbia Records. It’s not an easy project and it’s not clear there’s any easy path to success.
Like all content industries comics is going through big changes. I’m not sure who the equivalent of Rick Rubin would be for comics. Could you imagine handing over the reins of Marvel to Warren Ellis? I’d like to see that future actually…
UPDATE: While we’re here let’s throw in a link to a recent on-webomics post from our wandering Websnark, Eric Burns. The first half is nice review of how wrong Berke Breathed was about the path of the comics industry when he introduced his newspaper strip Opus. Breathed tried to draw a newspaper-only line in the sand and the sand has shifted so much that he’s now on Salon and the web with everyone else. (The other half of Burns’ post is musing about conspiracies between the Washington Post newspaper and the Washington Post Comic Syndicate to gin up controversery over a recent series of Opus strips on religon. Note to Eric: The paper Washington Post doesn’t even play that nice with the website Washington Post (they are two different divisions actually) so I’d say odds are pretty good that the paper and the syndicate don’t talk much either.)