The business of pop music


  • Photo 1 of 4

    Linda Perry’s studio 

    - Tommy Andres/Marketplace

  • Photo 2 of 4

    Drums in Linda Perry’s studio, located in North Hollywood.

    - Tommy Andres/Marketplace

  • Photo 3 of 4

    Another view of Linda Perry's studio.

    - Tommy Andres/Marketplace

  • Photo 4 of 4

    Artists like Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguilera, and Pink have all recorded here.

    - Tommy Andres/Marketplace

Musician Linda Perry speaks onstage at the VH1/Palladia House At Northside Festival 2014 at Knitting Factory on June 13, 2014 in New York City.

It's hard to think of a side of the music industry Linda Perry hasn't seen; from playing out of a coffee bar in San Francisco to producing music to having her own VH1 reality show. It's a career path some might call unstable, even with all of her successes.

"I've lived out in a park sleeping on the grass with no place to go, I've not eaten, I've been there," says Perry. "There's nothing you could do to me, nothing you could take away from me that would make me feel like I wasn't going to be all right. I would just start all over again."

But even when she's had success, Perry doesn't feel she's actually tasted it.

"Honestly, I don't feel ever very successful because I haven't had a hit in a while, because I don't search for them," Perry says. "To be where I am now, I love it -- I love writing songs, but I don't want to write the songs everyone else is asking me to write. I'm waiting for when people want the real thing again, and that's when you'll start hearing my hits again."

Part of the reason music has become so big, she says, is because of the business that drives a sort of endless cycle.

"Things get greedy, music gets s***ty, movies start losing the plot, we complain, independents show up, there's going to be a girl who's going to sell a million records out of the trunk of her car, you know what I mean?" she says. "And then the next time it'll be even bigger."

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

Musician Linda Perry speaks onstage at the VH1/Palladia House At Northside Festival 2014 at Knitting Factory on June 13, 2014 in New York City.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...