In Conversation with Jim Messina, Musician, Songwriter, Singer, Guitarist, Recording Engineer and Record Producer

I recently interviewed Jim Messina on All Access Radio and what a terrific conversation we had! Jim’s legacy spans five decades, three acclaimed rock groups, a vibrant solo career and an array of producing and engineering credits. He’s one of those guys who can do it all.  We spent the time reflecting on his dynamic career, collaborations and his current tour. (more…)

In Conversation with Shep Gordon — Supermensch

I had the pleasure of interviewing “supermensch” and artist manager extraordinaire Shep Gordon a short while ago on All Access Radio.  Shep’s been a real inspiration throughout my career, and it’s been fascinating to follow his journey over the years — and a real pleasure to a catch up with him for our fireside chat on my podcast.

Shep is truly a visionary Hollywood manager, agent and producer responsible for building some of the biggest careers in entertainment. He’s worked with many incredible artists over the years — including Alice Cooper, whom he continues to manage today after nearly 50 years (!). He’s also the subject of the acclaimed Mike Myers-produced documentary “Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon.”

What I enjoyed most about our conversation was learning more about how he approaches life – how he manages the challenges, successes, failures – the ups and downs in life and career. (more…)

Gathering of the Tribe: A Reunion of the Visionaries Who Launched the Digital Music Revolution

Last week I was honored to join an invite-only gathering of my peers at the City Vineyard in NYC (owned and run by one of my colleagues, Michael Dorf and one of the hosts of this reunion event).

The gathering was meant to honor us crazy visionaries who saw the future of the convergence of music and tech over 20 years ago…and who lived in a crystal ball waiting for the world to catch up with our visions for what would be possible. In my case the future started at the beginning of 1988 when I was part of a small team who birthed the music and entertainment focus at Apple. (more…)

Dave Jaworski Shares Microsoft Secrets

Dave Jaworski Shares Microsoft Secrets

With over thirty years of experience in sales, technology, and executive management, Dave Jaworski currently serves as CEO of Meta Media Partners, which leverages technology, techniques and processes to help people and organizations achieve their dreams and potential. Previously Dave held positions as VP of Sales and Marketing at NetSteps; CTO of Intero Alliance; and founder and CEO of PassAlong Networks, which was the first company in the world to implement micro-payments with PayPal. (more…)

A Conversation with Ken Kragen, Legendary Organizer of “We Are the World”

City-columnAmong his many other achievements, Ken Kragen is the legendary organizer behind “We are the World”, with an illustrious career that transcends the music and entertainment industries where he has managed several notable entertainers including Kenny Rogers, Lionel Richie, Olivia Newton-John, The Bee Gees and Burt Reynolds. Ken was a recent guest on my podcast show, All Access Radio, and I thought I’d share some of my favorite parts of our talk. (more…)

Beatles Fans Rejoice — Plenty of Reasons to Celebrate!

beatles-fans-2Many people in my world know that the Beatles are far and away my favorite group of all time; in fact, I’m known as a “Beatle-ologist” given my vast knowledge of far too much trivia having to do with the band. Like so many others, they inspired me to pursue my career in music from a very young age (I can recall being very deliberate about that choice as early as when I was 8 years old as a direct result of the Beatles).

The Beatles have never really gone away (well their music hasn’t anyway), and to that end Beatle fans have a couple of reasons to celebrate of late including the following: (more…)

Observations from the set of “The Voice”

the-voice-setUnless you’ve been living under a rock for the past several years (or just don’t watch network TV), you’ve probably heard about or watched the wildly popular TV show, “The Voice” on NBC; where aspiring singers compete for a recording contract with the help of four successful artists as coaches. Having been an A&R exec at EMI Music in my past, my role was to scout, sign and develop artists for the label — so I’m intimately familiar with the process that these aspiring artists are going through in an attempt to become a star in the music industry For awhile, we had “American Idol” and “The Voice” on air at the same time — but since Idol wound down, “The Voice” has reigned supreme in this category. The current celeb coaches are Blake Shelton, Alicia Keys, Gwen Stefani and Adam Levine.

Recently I was invited to take a tour of the set and watch a taping of the show as a member of the studio audience. I’ll admit right upfront that I’m a bit jaded as I’m in the industry, and it wasn’t my first taping of a show; whereas nearly everyone else participating was a tourist where this was a first time event and a really big deal for them.

Having been a talent producer as well for decades, honestly I couldn’t stop myself from wearing my ‘behind the scenes’ glasses. (more…)

Ken Kragen, Legendary Organizer of “We Are the World” with Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie

Ken Kragen, Legendary Organizer of “We Are the World” with Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie

Ken Kragen Shares His Best Tips on Career and Cause Marketing

A graduate of Harvard Business School Ken Kragen’s illustrious career transcends the music and entertainment industries where he has spent many successful years and managed some of the world’s most important entertainers, including Kenny Rogers, Lionel Richie, Trisha Yearwood, Olivia Newton John, The Bee Gees, Burt Reynolds, The Smothers Brothers and many others. (more…)

Beth Harrington, Independent Producer, Director and Writer


Beth Harrington is an independent producer, director and writer, whose fervor for American history, music and culture has led to a series of award-winning and critically acclaimed films. Beth’s most recent works, The Winding Stream – The Carters, The Cashes and The Course of Country Music and the Grammy-nominated Welcome to the Club – The Women of Rockabilly, reflect her long-standing love of music. (more…)

An Intimate Chat with Greg Kihn

greg kin croppedNBC has described Greg Kihn as Rock’s True Renaissance Man” and I could not agree more. With a career that spans the dawn of punk and Indie rock, to the disco of the 70’s, to the glory days of MTV, you may know him best for his worldwide #1 hits “Jeopardy” and “The Break-up Song”, and for those of you local to the SF Bay Area, you likely tuned in to DJ Greg every morning on KFOX Radio during his 18 years with the station. He’s also a published author of four novels, the most recent being Painted Black, a mystery/thriller about the death of Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones.

I interviewed Greg recently on All Access Radio to discuss his career, his life philosophy and what he’s up to these days. I’ve been a colleague, collaborator and supporter of Greg’s for many years so it was great to have him in the hot seat for a change to catch up, and to be able to share with you insights from someone I think is one of the greatest success stories in music — a true renaissance artist. (more…)

The Launch of Amazon Music Unlimited

amazon musicThis past week saw the launch of Amazon’s foray into an unlimited music streaming service to rival Apple Music and Spotify — it’s called “Amazon Music Unlimited” (AMU). It’s designed to add more value to Echo users offering “tens of millions of songs and thousands of hand-curated playlists and personalized stations” according to Amazon. It’s effectively an upgrade from Amazon’s Prime Music offering. Prime is now the basic service, Unlimited is the full one. This is a really strategic move for Amazon (more…)

Taylor Swift and Other Top Artists Stand United Against DMCA & YouTube

taylor swift 2In the past couple of months things have been getting more heated as a coalition of over 180 top musicians have aligned to complain about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The 1998 law governs the way big internet companies can use material uploaded by their users. As technology has progressed over the past two decades, the artists’ stance is that their royalties have been diminishing relative to the many new devices and services that have sprung up in that timeframe. And in tandem as they’re making their voices heard about concerns suggesting that the DMCA is broken in today’s terms, they’re taking aim squarely at YouTube as a primary example of how this structure no longer works for artists (if it ever did). (more…)

Close Encounters with Prince

princeWe lost a unique legend and pioneer last month in Prince’s passing. The man was multi-dimensional, and though he was revered as an artist by many, he was so much more — and I think the other facets of who he was and his contributions will be revealed as time goes on. I was fortunate to have interacted with Prince on several occasions during the past couple of decades, and I’ve been reflecting on those experiences over the past few days. I never really shared much ’til now about these interactions because he was fiercely private, and I respected and honored his desire for that. (more…)

The Quiet Passing of a Giant

The music industry has experienced whBeatles_and_George_Martin_in_studio_1966at seems like an unprecedented string of losses since the year began. Add to that list, a legend in Sir George Martin who passed a few days ago at the age of 90, and was considered by many to be “The Fifth Beatle”. Sir George was perhaps among the most talented record producers, music arrangers, and A&R men of all time. He was a true master at his craft — he pioneered all mann
er of unique things artists could do in the studio — and truly co-created with the artists he worked with to amazing results.Unusual things like running the tape backwards to create new sounds as in “Tomorrow Never Knows” or adding in unique instrumentation like strings over “Eleanor Rigby” and “Yesterday” or weaving a mellotron into “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite”. And as gifted as he was and a master at his art, equally important is how well-loved and respected he was by all who had the chance to meet and work with him. I’ve never heard a bad word said about George by anyone throughout his career which is telling; quite the contrary. (more…)

Zeeshan Zaidi, Ticketmaster

Zeeshan Zaidi, Ticketmaster

Zeeshan Zaidi is the General Manager of Artist Services at Ticketmaster, a division of Live Nation Entertainment, where he works with artists, managers, agents, promoters and labels to help make tours more successful through leveraging Ticketmaster’s marketing reach, data insights, and commerce opportunities. He’s also the lead vocalist, songwriter, guitarist, and founder of alternative rock band The Commuters. (more…)