The Beatles and Economics
Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and the Making of a Cultural Revolution
The Beatles are considered the most influential popular music act of the twentieth century, widely recognized for their influence on popular culture. The inability of other bands and artists to imitate their fame has prompted questions such as: How did the Beatles become so successful? What factors contributed to their success? Why did they break up?
The Beatles and Economics: Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and the Making of a Cultural Revolution answers these questions using the lens of economic analysis. Economics provides the prism for explaining why their success—while legendary in scale—is not mythic. This book explores how the band’s commercial achievements were intimately tied to the larger context of economic globalization and rebuilding post-World War II. It examines how the Beatles’ time in Hamburg is best understood as an investment in human capital, and why the entrepreneurial growth mindset was critical to establishing a scalable market niche and sustaining the Beatles’ ability to lead and shape emerging markets in entertainment and popular music. Later chapters consider how the economics of decision making and organizational theory helps us to understand the band’s break-up at its economic peak.
This essential text is of interest to anyone interested in the economic dynamics and social forces that shape cultural change.
Table of Contents
1 The black swan of popular music? 2 Liverpool start-up 3 Innovation, entrepreneurship, and the growth mindset 4 How private markets enabled Sgt. Pepper’s band to play 5 Breaking up is hard to do … or is it? 6 A second coming?: Lessons from the Rolling Stones and the Beach Boys 7 Economic reflections from the afterlife
Samuel R. Staley, PhD, is director of the DeVoe L. Moore Center in the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy at Florida State University, USA, where he teaches economics and social entrepreneurship.
'Sam Staley's book is thought provoking and well written. It will be a good addition to the Beatles book shelf.'
Todd Lowry, Former Director of Business and Legal Affairs, Hal Leonard Company, musician, and arranger of The Complete Beatles
'The Beatles and Economics offers a creative way to apply the story of the Beatles to the principles of economic behavior.'
Stuart Rosenberg, Professor, Monmouth University, USA
'Can’t Buy Me Love? Over 100 million albums sold say otherwise. Sam Staley uses the lens of economics as your Ticket to Ride from Penny Lane to Taxman. You can’t buy love … but you can buy this book!'
Dirk Mateer, Professor, University of Arizona, USA
'A fresh look at The Beatles from the viewpoint of basic economic theory, which provides a concise interpretation of the band’s success and internal dynamics in terms of human capital and decision making.'
André Millard, author of Beatlemania: Technology, Business and Teen Culture in Cold War America"
'Unique ... a sustained, detailed analysis of a team of cultural entrepreneurs, namely the Beatles. The book is well-written and ... highly accessible.'
Nicolai Foss, Professor, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
'If you think business is just money and greed, you’ll be sadly oblivious to most of what goes on in the world. In The Beatles and Economics, Sam Staley explains that even in the business end of arts and culture, exciting and even inspirational developments define daily life.'
Lawrence W. Reed, President Emeritus, Foundation for Economic Education, USA
"This book provides a valuable and accessible introduction to the Beatles and economic theory. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels"
J. F. Lyons, Joliet Junior College, USA. CHOICE Review