Biggest Record Company Screw-Ups of All Time Revealed

Biggest Record Company Screw-Ups of All Time Revealed
Music is full of boners. And by boners we aren’t referring to the aroused male appendage, but rather big, ugly mistakes — ones that cost millions of dollars, general embarrassment and overall WTF. For ages, the biggest musical blunder has been considered talent scout Dick Rowe turning down the Beatles, costing him and Decca billions. But now Blender has named a new blunder as music’s number one boner: the failure of record companies to capitalise on the Internet.

In the magazine’s "20 Biggest Record Company Screw-ups of All Time,” major labels took the top spot for crushing file-sharing service Napster, instead of actually figuring out how to make money off the new technology.

"The labels’ campaign to stop their music from being acquired for free across the Internet has been like trying to cork a hurricane — upward of a billion files are swapped every month on peer-to-peer networks,” Blender said in the report.

Mr. Rowe and his Beatles debacle came in at number two, and Motown Records founder was third for selling the failing R&B/soul label for about $60 million in 1988. Perhaps 60 million big ones doesn’t seem so bad, but a year later A&M sold Motown for about $500 million.

Other entertaining highlights on the list include:

No. 5 – The RIAA suing a financially struggling single mom for digital piracy.

No. 11 – Geffen Records suing Neil Young in the ’80s because the label wasn’t pleased with his "uncommercial” new direction.

No. 12 – Geffen pumping a cool $13 million into Guns N’ Roses’ never-going-to-see-the-light-of-day Chinese Democracy.

No. 13 – Warner Bros. signing R.E.M. to a five-album contract in 1996 for a reported $80 million, which became the most costly record deal to date and one that elicited one of the lowest returns.

No. 16 – Warner saying Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was "so bad it would kill Wilco’s career.” And so bad that the label paid for the record twice, after dropping them and then signing them again to AOL Time Warner subsidiary, Nonesuch.

For your pleasure, the full list of boners can be found here.