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Elton John: ‘The Record Business is ‘Disappearing’

Mike Coppola, Getty Images

Sir Elton John has a pretty gloomy view of the music industry, saying it’s “disappearing” because of the lack of artist development, resulting in musicians being dropped from labels if they don’t instantly score a No. 1 selling album.

“A record company can drop an artist after one or two albums,” he told Music Week. “My first record was (1969’s) ‘Empty Sky,’ which didn’t sell that many. I lucked out with the ‘Elton John’ record (1970), and I was getting known as a live artist. So the record company knew there was something there, and it’s essential we have live artists as that is the only way they are going to sustain a career.”

He added, with concern, that “the record business is disappearing. The record shops are disappearing.”

To combat this trend, John is launching his own music company, the Rocket Music Entertainment Group, and he promises to use his direction to help nurture new artists and give them ample time to break through.

“The worst thing to do is to rush people to have a record out,” he said. “They’ll make a record when they’re ready and it comes out when it is ready.

“… we just tell our acts, ‘We’ve signed you because we believe in you and we’re trying to do it the right way by slowing down the process and making sure, by slowing down, you have a career 30 years from now.’”

The new organization has several facets: management — his roster already boasts James Blunt, Lily Allen, Leon Russell, Ed Sheeran and himself — a record company, and a music publishing division.

Elton John recently topped Forbes’ list of the World’s 25 Highest-Paid Musicians.

Watch Elton John Perform ‘Rocket Man’

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