EAMONN FORDE – Leaving the Building: The Lucrative Afterlife of Music Estates
Having thoroughly enjoyed reading "The Final Days of EMI: Selling the Pig" (2019) by author Eamonn Forde, I was very much looking forward to immersing myself in his latest opus bearing the Elvis Presley-inspired title "Leaving the Building", which shines a spotlight on every conceivable aspect of what it means to run a music estate and how the names of deceased artists are kept visible and alive out there in today’s market.
Weaving the past, present, and any future scenario you can possibly think of together, this is an incredibly thought-provoking piece of work that is as neatly structured and eloquently written as it is enlightening and entertaining. A lesser writer might have presented a much less balanced overview or perhaps a less nuanced discussion of what Forde does here, which is testament to the fact that this is a two-dimensional effort that approaches every discussion and problem contained within its 502 pages in a reflective, balanced way. With the main discussion revolving around the pros and cons of managing a music estate and how to market said entity, numerous voices are heard throughout the book; industry experts are consulted, lawyers rear their heads constantly, friends and relatives of dead artists air their thoughts on all manner of things relating to the management of an estate, and record company executives and concert promoters all have their say as well. I found it all utterly illuminating and also deftly composed in terms of how the text flows and the subtle cliffhangers that appear throughout and keep the reader engaged and with eyes glued to the page. Did you ever wonder about the problems pertaining to the music estates of the Ramones, Frank Zappa, or perhaps James Brown? And what about the moral and ethical aspects of the Ronnie James Dio hologram and the Dio Returns tour? And what happens when Hollywood wishes to make a biopic and allows that whole tumultuous process to unfold? Are you curious as to how David Bowie organized his legacy and will before he departed our earthly dimension? In short, you have no possible idea just how many things Forde covers here, and I guarantee you that it will reveal countless aspects of the music industry that you have never even thought about before regardless of genre and stye of music.
"Leaving the Building" is told with vivacity and rare insight, and although there is obviously plenty of stuff for you to absorb and wrap your head around throughout, it is above all a great and satisfying read that leaves no stone unturned with respect to the workings and mechanisms of music estates and their role in popular culture. Recommended.