Tim Tebow And The Downfall of Record Labels

I had a half-formed thought this morning that I've tried to spit out below in a stream of consciousness.  After reading it all the way through, I recognize it rambles.  But I kind of like it for some reason.

Tim Tebow.  Record Labels.

One is a God-fearing southpaw who can't hit the side of a barn on a 10 yard out pattern.  Yet all he's done is win at every level.

The other used to be THE central means by which we discovered music.  Despite years of domination in the larger machine known as the music industry, record companies are in ruins.

So what on earth do they have in common?

DogmaThe failure for their respective thought-leaders - football pundits and record executives - to acknowledge, embrace and explore paradigm shifts impacting their business.

I remember someone saying to me as a young buck at Sony Music in 1999 or 2000, around when Napster first hit the scene:  What incentive does a 50 year old, wealthy record executive have to change their entire business model at this point in their career?  None!

All these years later that's stuck with me.  It speaks to fear.  To motivation.  To ego.  To how and why people do or don't make decisions.  It was an industry fully committed to a model that we all see now was deeply flawed.  An industry run by legends like Tommy Mottola, Donnie Ienner and Clive Davis - guys with golden ears, but who ruled with an iron fist (no one dared question their decisions - they were scary dudes).

Their dogma - their refusal to see what was right in front of them - caused financial ruin, changed lives and has altered the music landscape forever.

Now, Tebow.  The guy is a phenomenon right now.  Blogs pay homage to him (kind of).  Non-sports fans know his name.  And pundits can't stop talking about him.  But I've noticed something odd.  Despite a 5-1 record as a starter - and his teammates rallying around him like I've never seen before - the "experts" can't accept his style of play (relentless running, little passing, ball control) as worthy of the great NFL.  They say it's a temporary thing - that opposing teams will eventually figure it out.  They say his success is less to do with talent than adrenaline.  They say he's doesn't have the right "tools" to be a big-time NFL quarterback.

The guy was a college football legend and has an 83% win rate at the pro level.  Tell me again what tools he doesn't have?

I say to all the Sunday morning studio crews: talk to Tommy Mottola about holding on to long-held beliefs out of fear, ego or total failure of imagination.

The NFL won't crumble like the record labels; but if Tebow pans out there will be a lot of pundit careers left in ruins.

Photo: Dogma by Antje Blumenstein.