Nonesuch Records’ Robert Hurwitz on Art vs. Commerce (Video)

As the Triple A Radio Conference kicks off in Boulder, it’s worth revisiting the perspective given to us by last year’s keynote speaker, former Nonesuch president Robert Hurwitz…

Robert Hurwitz bannerBy Paul Marszalek

“It’s easier to teach a musician about business than teach a businessman about music,” said Robert Hurwitz, repeating what he had been told by his first boss at Columbia Records.

Hurwitz, who retired earlier this year, spent more than three decades as president of critically acclaimed Nonesuch Records; prior to that nine years at jazz tastemaker ECM. He lent his considerable perspective in an interview with WFUV’s Rita Houston at last year’s Triple A Radio Conference.

Houston expertly pursued a line of questioning related to the relationship between art and commerce. Hurwitz immediately acknowledged the business side, but gave insight on how to try to have it both ways…

“It was our responsibility to make sure that the numbers took care of themselves, and if that happened, no one was going to question our artistic decisions…it’s not about the genre, it’s about the originality and quality of the music that touches you…we are complete amateurs in terms of understanding what the audience is actually going to do…”

Hurwitz touches on “getting hit by lightning” with projects such as Buena Vista Social Club, expanding Nonesuch beyond strict confines within classical, and more in the clip below…

Filed Under: Actual NewsFeaturedInterviewsNewsRadio and Records


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