Published Jun 24, 2015Ask anyone working in the music business, and they'll confirm that it's as tough as ever to make money as an artist. Hip-hoppin' nü metal/alt-rock hybrid Linkin Park just may have figured out the secret, however. They're becoming a venture capital firm.
A new profile from the Harvard Business Review reveals that Linkin Park sought the help of Harvard Business School professor Anita Elberse, along with three of her students, to come up with a new business plan.
The result is Machine Shop, the band's new "innovation company." They used that brand to help launch last year's album The Hunting Party, but the initiative now operates more like a tech start-up.
Specifically, Machine Shop's executive VP Kiel Berry explains that the brand will "focus on innovation through non-traditional business partnerships, not just in music, but in fashion, design, and technology."
"To be clear, we are still in the music business, but creating and selling music now plays more of a supporting role in our overall business mix," Berry adds. "Of course we'll play the shows and meet with fans, as we've always done. But along with continuing to make great music, today's Linkin Park is now better positioned to operate in the ever-evolving cultural and business landscape."
As could be expected, businessy phrases like "brand ecosystem" and "diversify revenue streams" are thrown around, along with the promise of a "multi-pronged innovation model based on four verticals: video content, global brand partnerships, merchandise, and venture capital."
In other words, Linkin Park will soon be more brand than band, which can be seen as either an intelligent business move as the music industry continues to change or potentially the ultimate act of selling out.
Thanks to Billboard for the tip.