Rick Rubin Gets a Promotion!

Truncated from All Hip Hop:

Super producer Rick Rubin, founder of Def Jam Records, has been offered a job as co-chairman of Columbia Records, according to an article published today (Feb. 5) in the New York Times.

Rubin, 44, is acclaimed for his work with major artists such as LL Cool J, Run DMC, Beastie Boys and even Johnny Cash.

His own label, American Recordings, became a subsidiary label under Warner Bros in July of 2005.

Warner Bros. was already scheduled to receive the rights to American’s catalog this year, which includes recordings by Johnny Cash, Slayer, Danzig, the Jayhawks, the Black Crowes and others.

Rubin is allegedly in negotiations with executives at Warner Bros. to be released from his contract early.

As the new co-chairman of Columbia Records, Rubin would be expected to have a hand in everything from signing artists to creating marketing campaigns and help to attract new artists and to forge a more creative spirit for the label.

Neither Rubin, nor Warner Bros. offered comment.

Rubin is up for Grammy’s for his production on the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Stadium Arcadium, the Dixie Chicks’ Taking the Long Way and Justin Timberlake’s

He is also nominated for Producer of the Year.

In recent years he has also overseen Billboard Top 10 entries by System of a Down, Shakira, Neil Diamond and Audioslave while collaborating on a critically acclaimed series of late-career releases by Johnny Cash.

Unfortunately, this promotion does not promise anything revolutionary (never mind correcting what’s wrong) in any of the hard rock/metal genres. Then again, a producer isn’t always solely to blame for the poor choices a band makes in their creative direction. But I can’t help but wonder if Mr. Rubin is losing his metal edge. (This isn’t to say that the Johnny Cash albums he had a hand in weren’t up to par, but this is Beyond the Threshold, and we must look at what Mr. Rubin has done for the genres we dissect here.)

Funny what commercial success can do to a person.

And that’s what it boils down to: integrity. While it’s fine (and even commendable) to be a business person who knows how the music industry works and catapult bands into the music stores and iTunes catalog, I really wonder how an individual (or a group of individuals, like a band) can start out their career with some pioneering work, the stuff that comes from the heart, only to dilute it later on to bring in the fat paycheck.

If you haven’t already, go watch Some Kind of Monster, the Metallica biography, and you’ll see what I mean. If anything, it’ll give you a sad look into what can happen when the almighty dollar controls you.