Focusing Strategy around Core Capabilities: Lyor Cohen on MARIAH CAREY
2001 was a disastrous year for Mariah Carey. Her first movie, Glitter, was a flop, the soundtrack was Careyś most poorly received album in a decade, her $80 million recording contract was dropped by EMI, and she suffered a nervous breakdown.
Lyor Cohen, the aggressive, workaholic chief executive of Island Def Jam records was quick to spot an opportunity: ,,I cold-called her on the day of her release from EMI and I said, I think you are an unbelievable artist and you should hold your head up hight. What I said stuck on her and she ended up signing with us,,.
His strategic analysis of Careyś situation was concise: ,,I said to her, whatś your competitive advantage? A great voice, of course. And what else? You write every one of your songs - youŕe a great writer. So why did you stray from your competitive advantage? If you have this magnificent voice and you write such compelling songs, why are you dressing like that, why are you using all these collaborations /with other artists and other songwriters/? Why? Itś like driving a Ferrari in first - you won't see what that Ferrari will do until you get into sixth gear,,.
Cohen signed Carey in May 2002. Under Universal Music's Island Def Jam Records, Carey returned to her core strengths, her versatile voice, song-writing talents, and ballad style. Her next album, The Emancipation of Mimi, was the biggest-selling album of 2005 and in 2006 she won a Grammy award.
Source: ,,Rap's Unlikely Mogul,, Financial Times /August 5, 2002/