And the big subject of the day today is money...
Money: Alan McGee
The label boss on investing in talent.
I love money, so I’ve got no embarrassment. I come from nothing so that’s why I don’t have any problem with it. My mum was a shopkeeper and my dad was a panel beater. I’ve got one ‘O’ level.
Would you say that you’re good with money?
I seem to make a lot of it, so I must be pretty good. I thought of Creation [Records] at twenty three. I always lived within my means, and then it got to the Sony deal in 1992. I just thought, “I’ve got fuck all to lose,” and I did it and I made about two-and-a‑half million out of that deal. And then I smashed it with Oasis and made a lot more money. I started buying art. I bought property. I bought nine fucking houses. I have sold one or two, but I’ve got houses literally all over the place.
Rock music is rife with stories of money tearing bands apart. Is that something you’ve witnessed in your time in the industry?
Yeah, money’s a weird one within bands. If the publishing isn’t split evenly within bands, it can tear bands apart. There’s chaos in the music business – they need to sort out the way that people are going to get paid from streaming, which they’ve got to fucking do.
Apart from Kasabian, Arctic Monkeys and The Libertines when they can actually keep it together, no festival headliners have come through in the last fifteen years, so you’re going to have a problem in ten years unless you grow some bands. Where are Oasis? Where are the fucking Stones? The Stones are about to retire, Oasis have given it up because they don’t need to do that, Dylan’s about to fucking die, Bowie doesn’t tour. You’ve got a real hole.
Are you enjoying life now you’re back in the music business?
I’m enjoying doing [his new label] 359, because it’s very unpressurised. I’m not signing people for six albums, I’m signing people for an album and an option. Generally speaking, I’m really only doing one album and then they’ll hopefully go off to a major. So it’s a good launchpad and that’s cool.
It’s that nurturing, A&R side to the major labels that’s really been seen since so many of them have gone down the pan.
Half the people I know that have got little indie bands have been approached by The Voice, and some of the people are actually going for it. What they don’t understand is that they’re going to be run out of town because they’ll always be known as that divvy fucker that went on the fucking Voice.
You’ve been in the business a long time and you’ve made a lot of money. Do you think it can buy you happiness?
I would say it can buy you a fucking good time, dude.