Last week the Irish rock legends were named the music industries biggest earners by Forbes and now their being hailed by Harvard University for their “savvy business” skills.
Harvard Business School has officially labeled Bono, The Ede, Larry Mullins and Adam Clayton as “business pioneers” as reported in the Atlantic Wire. The Irish band come at the end of a long list in lessons of business through rock and roll, the other great successes including the Grateful Dead, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
For more stories on Bono and U2
Nancy Koehn, a Harvard Business School Professor has come up with a case study of the band which focus on the long haul. Koehn sees that U2 were never in it for a quick fix and now that the band, who were founded during their teenage years, are entering their fifties and still going strong, this fact is certain.
She says “In an industry notorious for its focus on short-term hits and for taking control of an artist's work and profits, the band members and their long-time manager Paul McGuiness always looked to build an enterprise that would have a long life.”
Koehn also explains how the band achieved this. This smart bunch of rockers “obtained the rights to their own copyrights back from Island Records; they oversaw the vast majority of decisions about touring, record production, graphics, and packaging themselves; they focused on touring and a direct relationship with their audience (versus relying on radio station distribution and the roller coaster of trying to generate "Top 40" hits); and they acquired a 10 percent ownership stake in Island Records worth $30 million when the record company was acquired by PolyGram in 1989."
As the band makes plans to re-enter the studio to record another album next year and this weekend are headlining at the worlds most famous music festival, Glastonbury, it seems there is life in these business savvy musicians yet.