Masters in Business

Thoughts on Music and Money From Guitarist Laurence Juber

The business has changed. Even the Paul McCartneys of the industry are not immune.

What happens when Paul McCartney asks, “What are you doing for the next few years?” Guitarist Laurence Juber (better known as “LJ”) says he thought about it for a nanosecond, before saying: “I guess I am playing with you.” 

The musicologist, former Wings guitarist and Grammy-award winning composer with 25 albums to his name describes rehearsing with Paul and Linda McCartney before their next tour. Paul McCartney wanted to record some tracks, but his favorite studio, Abbey Road, was unavailable -- so he built an exact reproduction of Abbey Road inside his own studio. LJ was invited to join Paul McCartney’s band Wings in 1978 for its world tour.

In this conversation, Juber explains the finance of music these days, how composers and performers get paid a meager amount from music streaming, and why the real money is in television and movie soundtracks. The music business model has changed from record sales to live performances and merchandise sales.

Juber began playing guitar the week that “I Want to Hold Your Hand” by The Beatles was released, when he was 11. He began earning money playing at the age of 13, and began to study classical guitar at 15. He was voted “Guitarist of the Year” by readers of Fingerstyle Guitar magazine, and was deemed one of the top acoustic players of all time by Acoustic Guitar magazine.

If you are at all interested in either music, copyright law, guitars, The Beatles, Paul McCartney or Wings, then you must check out this conversation with Laurence Juber. Be sure to stick around until the end of the podcast, when he demonstrates his unique style on multiple songs. Luckily, I had the presence of mind to grab the iPhone and record videos of two of his songs (posted here).

You can stream/download the full conversation, including the podcast extras, on BloombergiTunesOvercast and Soundcloud.

Our earlier podcasts can all be found on iTunes, Soundcloud, Overcast and Bloomberg.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

    To contact the author of this story:
    Barry Ritholtz at britholtz3@bloomberg.net

    To contact the editor responsible for this story:
    Philip Gray at philipgray@bloomberg.net

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