The Beach Boys are America’s greatest band, hit after hit and magical soundscapes galore from the early surf and car days right through to some of the most original and emotional songs ever put on to wax. So what happens when they are gone? What happens to the legacy? The answer to that lies with Irving Azoff’s Iconic Artists Group, which in his own words : “Iconic feels a void in the music business for legendary artists: a trusted steward for an artist’s intellectual property with the expertise to maximize the value of assets and maintain their brand. Iconic provides an alternative for artists who value legacy preservation; Iconic is dedicated to exposing the artistry and music of their artists to new generations. Iconic works in direct partnership with artists, their managers, record labels and publishers, and legal heirs to provide a solution that unites the music with the brand to efficiently drive value in both.” This falls between the perfect solution for fans of the band to get more chances to enjoy their art and the twisted speak of a suited businessman, but let’s give Azoff the benefit of the doubt for the moment – Now is hardly the time to be precious about it when Wouldn’t It Be Nice, the greatest song ever written about teenage love and yearning is being used to sell a fucking mobile phone, let’s hope with Azoff steering the ship, it will be the perfect mix of legacy control and the chance to buy sweet merchandise. If you put a Pet Sounds / Smile logo on it, I’m interested, I can’t lie.
So Iconic Artists Group now owns and I am using the official language of the announcement here “Controlling interest in the intellectual property of The Beach Boys” In layman’s terms, they own the sound recordings, the brand, the band name, the rights to memorabilia and even the likeness of the band itself. Whilst Al Jardine has the simple idea that they could have an official Beach Boys restaurant, there are also more high tech plans – the deal gives the rights to VR and film and 3D imagery too, so we could see a video which uses the same technology used in The Irishman, to put the band back on TV or on the movie screen. Iconic has already thrown out an idea about this that has me salivating – they can use the images of the band, including Carl and Dennis who are included in the deal and film the studios where the hits were created, and then get fans to pop on our VR goggles at a certain time on a certain day to watch the band in the studio, actually creating those songs we love so much.
Imagine a section of future gigs where Dennis gets to do his little solo section, comes out to the front of the stage and makes us all cry during You Are So Beautiful. Or Carl could lead us through a playing of Carl And The Passions. Anything is now possible. What this deal also pretty much guarantees is a 60th anniversary tour with Brian and Al and Mike and Bruce and surely that in itself makes this deal a good thing. Sure, I can see how this could be seen as making perfect art ‘a commodity’, but tell that to Van Gogh next time you don’t have 24 million to spend on one of his works. This deal essentially gives us fans access to ALL the Van Gogh’s in the catalogue and I’m excited to see where it takes us. Unless Mike Love decides to spend his millions turning himself into gold like Homer Simpson, which, you know, is possible. I reserve the right to change my mind in six months if Carl’s hologram is duetting with Ed Sheeran but, god only knows, the boys deserve all the praise and financial security they get through this deal. Man, I love The Beach Boys.