Motley Crue Manager: Band Doesn’t Need Radio Airplay for Success
Motley Crue have come a long way from their '80s heyday. But thanks to some smart business decisions, the band's success today is practically parallel to that of their rock radio peak over three decades ago. These days, the group doesn't even need radio play to justify their success or continue their career.
That's how longtime Motley Crue manager Allen Kovac put it in a recent interview that goes behind the scenes of the act's resurgence. Kovac is also the CEO of Better Noise Music (formerly Eleven Seven Music), a record label that focuses on artist development and counts the Crue among its current roster.
Speaking to Forbes this week (Dec. 31, 2019), the executive explained how Motley Crue's recent Netflix biopic The Dirt helped strengthen the act's fanbase while attracting a new audience. It's a strategy the group members themselves have underlined as an important aspect of their heralded reunion.
"There's a demand that we could see from data and streaming, where the audience changed and the streaming went up 600 percent when the film was out and has stayed up 300 percent, and will stay there because their followers tripled," Kovac said. "And that's what you're aiming for. You're aiming for followers. Not quick playlisting or radio airplay."
The Motley Crue manager went on to highlight the shift in standards from classic rock's golden era to today's focus on streaming numbers. Still, he indicated that Motley Crue's bread and butter is the concert experience they'll be rekindling across the United States this summer on the massive "The Stadium Tour."
"Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty would never have a career in today's environment," Kovac added. "Bruce Springsteen broke fan by fan, live. Tom Petty, same thing. It's their second albums that broke. So our standard is different than other companies, and we want to work with people that want to measure against that standard as opposed to, 'Hey, radio, go develop our artists with spins overnight to go No. 1.'"
Kovac began managing Motley Crue in 1994. Four years later, he had helped the group get out of their contract with Elektra Records and buy back their own master recordings. It's a move that cost them an estimated "$10 million of $12 million they were owed" at the time, but it reaped dividends for the outfit in the long run.
"If they own that music, it doesn't need to be current hits," Kovac said. "It needs to be the soundtrack to their fans' lives. So they were making more money in a year than they were making in two years by getting their masters."
Motley Crue and Def Leppard kick off "The Stadium Tour" with special guests Poison and Joan Jett in July. Whispers about the trek first surfaced last November before Crue confirmed the rumors were true.
See Motley Crue in 20 Rock + Metal Bands That Reunited This Decade