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

Video Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney 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.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid