Francis Ford Coppola Weighs In On Music Industry Woes

Videos by American Songwriter

“I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

As recently noted, in an interview with the daily web magazine, The 99%, the legendary director Francis Ford Coppola had some interesting things to say about business models for artists.

Summed up, Coppola’s view is that the artist’s plight has always been a struggle between creative freedom and money. “Artists never got money,” Coppola told The 99%. “Artists had a patron, either the leader of the state or the duke of Weimar or somewhere, or the church, the pope. Or they had another job.” Case in point: Coppola’s wine business, which he says has financed his making of less commercial movies like the forthcoming Twixt Now And Sunrise.

Coppola also discusses risk taking in art and film in a way that recalls the shrinking music industry’s reluctance to take a chance on artists that don’t fit into a mold. “You try to go to a producer today and say you want to make a film that hasn’t been made before; they will throw you out because they want the same film that works, that makes money,” says Coppola.

It’s not the first time someone in the entertainment industry has thought back to the patronage model. In several recent stories, we’ve discussed how mainstream brands like Mountain Dew have turned to a kind of patronage model for indie artists like Wavves and Neon Indian as well as bigger artists like Chromeo, offering tour support and music video budgets that would typically have been supplied by record labels.

Read the insightful full interview here, where the maker of The Godfather touches on everything from Kurosawa and Balzac to artistic immortality.


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