News / USA

Beatles' Business Model Inspires Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Book offers lessons learned from legendary band

The Beatles perform on the CBS
The Beatles perform on the CBS "Ed Sullivan Show" in New York on Feb. 9, 1964.

Multimedia

Audio
Faiza Elmasry

Business advice is available from many sources - books, workshops, the Internet but - the Beatles?

Authors George Cassidy and Richard Courtney believe the Fab Four followed a classic business model on their way to success. For example, Cassidy says, in any enterprise, you have to be careful about picking your business partners. That’s what young John Lennon and Paul McCartney did when they started a band in Liverpool.

“They were fortunate in that they had an enormous personal charm; their personalities seemed to work together well. They were also extremely gifted in several areas. You have great singers and you have great song writers and great performers.”

Once they found each other, they set a goal.

“They wanted to be that successful. They wanted to be bigger than Elvis," Courtney says. "They wanted to be the absolute best that there was in their field. That was really a business decision, even though it may not seem that way to a group of teenage musicians.”

'Come Together: The Business Wisdom of the Beatles,' focuses on the group's persistence and creativity in becoming one of the world's greatest bands.
'Come Together: The Business Wisdom of the Beatles,' focuses on the group's persistence and creativity in becoming one of the world's greatest bands.

In "Come Together: The Business Wisdom of the Beatles," Courtney, an entrepreneur, and Cassidy, a business writer, focus on the Beatles’ persistence and creativity in achieving their goal.

Even after the success of “Please, Please Me,” a number one album in Britain, it took the band another year to hit the U.S. charts. Capitol Records, the American subsidiary of their British label, refused to issue any of their music.

Instead of arguing about the album’s merits or giving up on conquering America, the band kept recording new songs and sending them to Capitol. Finally in 1964, after a news report about Beatlemania in Britain, Capitol released “I Want to Hold your Hand," which became the Beatles’ first number one hit in the United States.

Working together, if not exactly holding hands, was instrumental to the band’s success.

“The period between 1964 and 1966, when they were all lined up together, when they were of a common mind and a common purpose, is when they did amazing things," says Cassidy. "When they were touring the world and released two albums a year and they made several movies, they were just able to accomplish an incredible amount in a very short period of time, when they all were in sync.”

It was part of the work ethic the four members of the group grew up with.

“We interviewed several people who knew them in Liverpool before they were famous, and they said they had very much a working class mentality in as much as they expected to work 50 weeks a year and maybe take two weeks off,” says Cassidy.

Another important business lesson from the Beatles: admit your mistakes and learn from them. The group reportedly disliked touring but for several years, it was its primary source of income and consumed much time and energy. So, the Beatles steadily developed other revenue streams from royalties and films, eventually abandoning the concert circuit altogether in favor of more creative studio work.

The Beatles, (from left) Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon and George Harrison board a plane for England at a New York airport in 1964.
The Beatles, (from left) Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon and George Harrison board a plane for England at a New York airport in 1964.

“They were expanding into different markets. They decided to stop touring," Courtney says. "They decided, as their music evolved, that they could actually let their records go on tour for them, in place of them. So as their career developed, their music developed. And as their music developed, their career developed.”

Just as vital as picking the right business partners, Cassidy says, is finding good managers. The Fab Four’s success is due, in no small measure, to Brian Epstein.

“When Brian Epstein, their manager, came on the scene, they were wise enough to give up a certain amount of control over the way they looked, the way they presented themselves and to allow him to get them ready for their close-ups. He put them into the matching suits and began to shop them to record labels in London - all things that they would never have been able to accomplish on their own.”

That helped the Beatles create an image, a trademark of sorts, that set them apart from other bands of the era.

“They did have a certain natural flair for creating an impression on people. They all sported the same haircut, the logo on the drumhead and the way they shook their heads when they were singing, even down to their sense of humor and their accent," Cassidy says. "They all came to America speaking with a very distinct Liverpool accent called 'Scouse.' It seems to me that they were very much aware of creating a distinctive and sort of consistent presence in the marketplace, which you could call a brand.”

And one of the most important elements of that brand, says Courtney, was the sheer creative joy the Beatles shared with their audiences.

“They had so much fun doing what they were doing. They loved the press conferences. They loved to have those short answers. They had fun with each other. That was an important part of their success and it’s sometimes overlooked in their success and in the success of other businesses.”

Courtney and Cassidy hope their book, "Come Together," encourages small business owners to see the Beatles in a new light, and to find inspiration and guidance in the famous band’s extraordinary business.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More