With a career in the music industry that spans more than four decades of writing, composing, producing and performing music hits, David Foster has seen his fair share of ups and downs.
“We have to embrace it. I don’t ever want to be that old guy that goes, ‘You know, back in my day the business was really great and now it really sucks,’ because it doesn’t suck.”
Superstars like Madonna, Barbra Streisand, Andrea Bocelli, Rod Stewart, and Stevie Wonder have trusted him with their voices and their work.
But one of Foster’s greatest contributions to the music industry is his ability to recognize and groom new talent like he did with Celine Dion, Michael Bublé and Josh Groban, to name a few.
“You have to be the average person,” Foster says. “So I hear something and I think, ‘Wow I like it, I think a billion people are going to like this.’”
He says that’s exactly what happened when he heard Michael Bublé: “I just I saw him and I went, ‘Everybody is gonna love this.’”
Last week, Taylor Swift made headlines when she threatened to pull her most recent album, 1989, from Apple’s new music streaming service if the company didn’t compensate artists.
“We don’t ask you for free iPhones,” Swift wrote on her Tumblr account. “Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.”
Less than 24 hours later, the 25-year-old pop sensation got the biggest company in the world to change its mind. Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue withdrew Apple’s previous stance via Twitter claiming that they would pay artists royalties generated during the three-month trial for new customers.
Foster–who’s won 16 Grammy Awards from 47 nominations–says streaming services can actually work in favor of the music business, and believes the subscription-based model can work. There’s just one challenge.
“Kids of a certain age expect that their music should be free and that’s just the way they’ve been raised and it’s difficult to combat that because you can’t fight free,” He says. “In a perfect world the subscription based model works, but it’s not working yet.”
We sat down with David Foster at his Malibu home to talk about the future of the music business, its power to bring about social change and the secret to finding the next big star.