On the Music Industry Then
Though the story does not make it into his film, he revealed that he was once asked by Art Garfunkel if he thought Garfunkel should drop out of architecture school to pursue a career in music. "I told him to stay in school," admitted Geffen, who said there were plenty of acts that passed on working with Geffen, too, including REM, which signed with Warner Bros. at the time. "It's not about the ones that say no; it's about the ones that say yes," said Geffen. "Your life isn't made up of people who aren't in it." He acknowledged that he had set out to make a career in the movie business but was told early on that he'd have better luck with musicians as a young agent because they, too, were young.
On the Music Industry Now
Asked his thoughts about the opportunities and challenges of entering the music business as a producer or executive today, he deadpanned: "I'd kill myself." And it's no easier to break in as an artist now, he notes, attributing the difficulties to the absence of Top 40 radio and an outlet like MTV to air music videos on a loop. "You need repetition," he said of what he describes as a crucial element of discovery. "You need to be able to hear things a lot."
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