News / USA

Beatles' Business Model Inspires Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Book offers lessons learned from legendary band

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

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt 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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid