Tom Lehman (left) Mahbod Moghadam (center) Ilan Zechory (right)
One October night in 2009 Mahbod Moghadam, Tom Lehman, & Ilan Zechory found themselves deep in an analytical discussion about some verses by rapper Cam’ron. That night they brainstormed an idea to widen the conversation beyond the living room to the internet and created RapGenius.com, a unique website that allows users to annotate specific lines of lyrics with explanations, graphics and videos. Filling the void left by the swarm of inferior, pop-up ad-riddled lyric sites and creating a new model, Rap Genius surged in popularity and soon caught the eye of superangel venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, investors of Twitter. Discover how Rap Genius plans to use their fifteen million dollar underwriting to grow the company beyond rap lyrics to include other genres and disciplines such as art, poetry, law, religious studies, and politics — turning Rap Genius into the world’s primary repository for information and the net’s most heavily trafficked website. They’ve got 99 problems but lack of ambition ain’t one. Listen to the exclusive interview, only on Between the Liner Notes.
When no one else at Columbia Records believed that MTV or the music video format would be anything more than a passing fad, Deborah Newman embraced them both, becoming responsible for executive producing music videos and live television performances for the label. She soon found herself spearheading a new division of CBS Records, creating long-form music programming for television and home video.
Listen to the latest interview on Between the Liner Notes as Deborah tells stories about touring the USSR with Billy Joel while producing his “Live From Leningrad” HBO special and home video and working on the Peabody award winning documentary “John Hammond: From Bessie Smith to Bruce Springsteen,” an American Masters PBS special. Always the trailblazer, Deborah began working with music internet companies like N2K’s Music Boulevard, PressPlay and Muze. Also a licensed attorney, she talks in depth about how outdated copyright law and new methods of digital music distribution have created hurdles for music technology startup companies. She founded her consulting company MusicStrat to help startups like turntable.fm navigate the treacherous waters of music licensing in the digital age. Listen to these tales from a music pioneer exclusively on Between the Liner Notes.