The Internet is full of interesting things to read outside of The A.V. Club—no, really! In our periodic Read This posts, we point you toward interesting or noteworthy pieces that caught our eye.
While ideally music should be made by artistic minds who think not of monetary gain or business, that’s not always the case. Take, for example, Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger. Though almost universally despised in nerd or “alternative” (read: A.V. Club reader) culture, Nickelback is one of the most popular bands in North America. They’re rich, bitch, and a fascinating new article from Bloomberg Businessweek attempts to detail why.
“Genius: The Nickelback Story” explains that in order to sell almost 50 million records, a band has to think beyond genre and toward multiple revenue streams. Kroeger, for instance,
“has found ways for his band to make money onstage and off, through licensing, merchandising, and product-placement agreements. He’s also helped groom many other acts, including some that the haters might even like. He co-owns the record company that released Carly Rae Jepsen’s ubiquitous summer smash, Call Me Maybe. He co-writes songs for other major artists and helps to promote them. As of May 2011, the rock-star-cum-business-mogul was earning $9.7 million a year from his various ventures, according to court records filed with the Supreme Court of British Columbia. He has a vacation home with friends in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, a 20-acre farm with stables in British Columbia, and his own home recording studio. Chad Kroeger is not just a drunken rock god: He’s a kingmaker.”
Kroeger is successful because, in the words of the guitarist of My Darkest Days, a band he works with, he has “applied 100 percent corporate efficiency to rock ’n’ roll.” While that might seem exceptionally sleazy, it might also be the reality of what sells in rock today. With bands like Cat Power and Grizzly Bear saying they can’t afford to pay their rent, this article is a powerful argument that maybe the Nickelback method is the musical way of the future. May God have mercy on all our ears.