"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side."
The evil record label is a staple of the public's perception of the music industry. After hours digging through our brain's files on the music industry as represented in film, television and literature, the only positive example we could come up with was Jerrica Benton of the cartoon Jem.
The reality is sometimes better than fiction, sometimes worse, but either way it got us thinking about whom we would hire to run the most evil record label in the world. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Team Douchebag Records.
Position: CEO Swan from Phantom of the Paradise
Pros: While Swan is a musician himself, his real skill is that of a master producer, able to turn any act into the perfect fit for whatever musical climate may be happening. His ability to tell what the next big movement in music will be is second to none. His influence over law enforcement screens his most debauched activities, and he can bring down any enemy with the greatest ease. Cold, calculating, he is the perfect choice to head the label.
Cons: Swan is immortal after a deal with a demon. He has to hide to keep his un-aging state a secret, and permits no pictures or videos. This can sometimes hamper his ability to serve as the public face of the label. He is also vulnerable to the destruction of the cursed videotape that ages in his place. If destroyed, Swan is destroyed as well.
Position: Head of Legal Lou from Guitar Hero
Pros: When it comes to writing contracts, who better to have on your team than the devil himself? Lou has had millennia to perfect the art of temptation and seduction, and music has always been a favorite interest. He can also assume a human form, allowing him to step in for Swan as the label's spokesman.
Cons: Lou's appreciation for true musical genius is absolute, and if you can outplay him he will live up to any bargain no matter what the consequences to himself or the label. Be the best and the devil will back you up!
Position: Head of Marketing Fiona from Josie and the Pussycats
Pros: Fiona has access to cutting-edge mind control technology that enables her to encode signals into any tune. Having used this technology at the behest of the highest bidders, there's not a fast-food chain, department store or clothing manufacturer that doesn't owe her favors. She also has influence with military leaders all over the world who want the technology. Since she is in the business of setting trends, not discovering them, marketing acts is a cinch.
Cons: Fiona's not really a bad person deep down, just deeply insecure after being bullied throughout high school. A little bootlicking about how much better you think she is than you should be all the leverage you need to get around her.
Position: Talent Scouts John Tell from Sneakers, Joey from Rock Bottom, and Ian the Shark from Airheads
Pros: Tell was a bass player who decided to work the other side of the music industry, and became both a talented producer and shrewd talent scout. After an encounter with the ghost of a dead drug dealer murdered by one of his colleagues, Tell pretty much fears nothing.
Joey turned her settlement in a traffic accident into an artist rep agency, and will visit the lowest dives in the world in order to track down the next big act. Ian was a famous DJ who turned agent after being held up at gunpoint by a band who just wanted some airtime. He's cool under pressure and has an encyclopedic knowledge of music.
Cons: All three have been in the game a long time, and the ups and downs of the music industry have made each a little burned out. Tell tends towards melancholy over the direction music is taking. Joey is known for her temper and her cocaine habit. Ian's just a little past his prime. Their love of music runs true, though, and like Lou, if you've got the goods they'll play ball.
Position: Head of Human Resources Sleazy P. Martini from GWAR
Pros: As the man who freed GWAR from the frozen wastelands of Antarctica, Martini is the one man in all of written history who has ever controlled the Scumbuckets of the Universe. Now retired from the management game, Martini is perfect to head up the human resource department. There's nothing he hasn't seen, and he can fix any problem with drugs, money, encouragement, or a sawed-off shotgun.
Cons: He spent a lot of time with GWAR. You know he smells. Money is the key to his heart. If you're making it, he loves you, baby!
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Position: Head of Video Department Cecil B. Demented from Cecil B. Demented
Pros: Demented is a great asset to the label in terms of the concert footage and music videos he can film. He abhors money, and he and his crew ask only distribution in exchange of their talents. Their total filmmaking cost is zero, since they insist on stealing all their equipment and living expenses. His film group, The Sprocket Holes, will wade into any situation with guns blazing in order to complete a shot. You want it cheap, loud, and very real, then Cecil B. Demented is your man.
Cons: He considers himself the ultimate auteur, and will accept no creative differences. Arguing with him will lead to being tazed, chemical burned, or just plain shot. There's no reasoning with him. Just do what he says, show no fear, and you'll do fine.
Jef With One F is the author of The Bible Spelled Backwards Does Not Change the Fact That You Cannot Kill David Arquette and Other Things I Learned In the Black Math Experiment, available now.