The New York Times ran a pretty good article on Rick Rubin taking over the helm at Sony/Columbia. It touches on all the ailments of the music industry, and gives some interesting insight on Rubin and Johnny Cash.
Here is a link to the article: The Music Man
I am stealing it for my blog, so I can access it later.
September 2, 2007
The Music Man
By LYNN HIRSCHBERG
Rick Rubin is listening. A song by a new band called the Gossip is playing, and he is concentrating. He appears to be in a trance. His eyes are tightly closed and he is swaying back and forth to the beat, trying at once to hear what is right and wrong about the music. Rubin, who resembles a medium-size bear with a long, gray beard, is curled into the corner of a tufted velvet couch in the library of a house he owns but where he no longer lives. This three-story 1923 Spanish villa steeped in music history — Johnny Cash recorded in the basement studio; Jakob Dylan is recording a solo album there now — is used by Rubin for meetings. And ever since May, when he officially became co-head of Columbia Records, Rubin has been having nearly constant meetings. Beginning in 1984, when he started Def Jam Recordings, until his more recent occupation as a career-transforming, chart-topping, Grammy Award-winning producer for dozens of artists, as diverse as the Dixie Chicks, Slayer, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Neil Diamond, Rubin, who is 44, has never gone to an office of any kind. One of his conditions for taking the job at Sony, which owns Columbia, was that he wouldn’t be required to have a desk or a phone in any of the corporate outposts. That wasn’t a problem: Columbia didn’t want Rubin to punch a clock. It wanted him to save the company. And just maybe the record business. (full story)