Epic Gives Up the Ghost: Gal President is Fired for Smoking Pot and Being a Bitch
Is the firing of Epic President, Amanda Ghost a sign that women are the new scapegoat for the failing" music biz?
Ah, what happened to the days when being a music executive meant you could party with the acts in your office, sleep late, yell at underlings and get rewarded even if your numbers were bad? Well, we still have them; they're still here, unless you happen to have one important character flaw a vagina.
You gotta read this Hollywood Reporter article on the firing of Epic President, Amanda Ghost first, if you haven't already.
Y'know I've always said that as far as sexism is concerned the music space defied the odds. We have far more female executives in positions of true power than probably just about any other industry, except maybe TV.
In my first book, Confessions of a Record Producer, in the Miscellaneous Myths section I actually have a chapter called Are Women Discriminated Against in the Music business." Using statistics and raw data it proves the answer is no." We have a great deal more gals in the driver's seat than any other biz. But after what Epic and independently, the law firm of Boies Schiller have done, I think I need to take another look.
In the past week it seems like the ladies are taking the axe for the shortcomings of decisions made by their presumably male higher ups. In addition to Epic's high profile firing of Ghost, Boies Schiller, who represented EMI in their parent company's losing case against CitiGroup, laid off three associates, all women, according to the New York Times DealBook blog.
If you've already read the Hollywood Reporter piece above, then never mind, you'll understand the points I'm about to make. If not, take a click (or a tap). When you're done, or while you're reading it, ask yourself this question, would Ghost be fired if she were a man? I think you already know the answer.
Shit, LA Reid used to waste big cash to cater staff meetings that no one attended, Mottolla, Iovine, Yetnikoff, and countless others are famous for their eccentric behavior. (Let's not even get into Phil Spector and what we tolerated from him as an industry.)
This business requires erratic and over the top personalities to function. Anyone who's produced an album will tell ya, it ain't easy and it takes a bit of ball busting to get things done the right way. The very reason we've always hired loose cannons" in upper and middle management is because the higher ups (the board and CEOs) don't want the job they don't have the stomach for it.
By most corporate standards Ghost was not a good executive. She didn't set a good example, she broke the rules. And that's exactly what it takes to be a success in a transitional business where the future is uncertain.
Her boss went on record with, She smoked pot." Are you f-ing kidding me?!?! Is Rob Stringer really going to let that be the epitaph of this story? Does he expect Epic's acts to trust him if they think he's being judgmental about their 4:20 habits? Man, we are really through the looking glass if labels are concerned about pot interfering with productivity.
Obviously the pot thing is a PR spin and I hope it is exposed as such. Because if labels are really that out of touch to think the public will swallow firing a female because she was a stoner, it's no wonder that most of their releases are also out of touch. Most people probably assumed that she got the job because she WAS a stoner.
The fascinating thing revealed about this story for the rest of us, is that Ghost is pulling down seven figures in her go-nowhere job. Did they really have to offer a songwriter a million bucks a year to run a label? Wouldn't most of them jump at the chance for half that amount? It's like I've been saying for a long time. The music space should be doing better than ever, margins are higher than they were ten years ago, because of lower manufacturing costs and digital distribution, and we're moving about the same amount of product (despite the spin of we're broke because CD sales are down" BS). So if the labels are not making enough money it can only be for one reason they pay their executives too much.
Clearly this story has revealed exactly that.
I hope this is really about her quitting a lose-lose scenario rather than Epic firing her for being a bit loony. Because, if sanity is the prerequisite for running a label then it becomes like running for Congress, the smartest and most qualified don't want the job.
Hey, Amanda, you can work over here if ya need a gig. We have a Hookah lounge, no sweat.