Where’s My Mogul?

On Nov. 30, Amplify broke the story that veteran journalist Ray Waddell was leaving Billboard to work with Tim Leiweke and Irving Azoff at the Oak View Group. Together the three will launch a new conference that will bring together the biggest names in music and sports, as well as plans to either launch or acquire a trade publication.

Who replaces Waddell at Billboard is unclear. But looking at the bigger picture, Waddell’s decision to work with two of the biggest power brokers in live entertainment has me asking, “Where’s my mogul?”

Do I need to “mogul-up” to compete in this space? And how do I find a power player to boost Amplify?

Perhaps I should run the following ad:

Mogul Wanted: Concert industry startup is seeking music power broker to open doors and turn the screws on music biz. Applicants should be ranked lower than No. 40 on the Billboard Power 100. Please attach resume and enemies list with cover letter.

First question for applicants would be “How are we going to handle potential conflicts of interest?”

How are you going to help me break big stories and scrutinize the industry without getting bogged down in politics and squabbles?

Of course I’d never write puff pieces on their behalf, or use my platform to investigate and embarrass one’s rivals. That would be way too obvious.

Where conflicts of interest get tricky is with the stories that don’t get published. What’s going to happen when I land a big scoop and my mogul pressures me to kill the story because it could be detrimental to a client or business deal?

To me, that’s the important firewall: What assurances would I have that someone is not going to interfere with my work and try to kill a story?

That’s not unique to Waddell and OVG. Trade media is driven by advertising and there are always conflicts between editorial and sales.

If anything, Waddell doesn’t have to deal with that part of the advertising business anymore. Perhaps he’ll be freed up to tackle larger editorial projects and work on stories that don’t fit neatly within the bounds of trade media.

It’s going to be fascinating to watch, especially as more big names continue to sign on with OVG. Looks like I better get my own mogul, soon, before Waddell scoops all the good ones up!

Fore more, visit Amplify at www.ampthemag.com