David Geffen: ‘I’d kill myself if I got into the music industry now’

Geffen Records founder says breaking into the mainstream is harder than ever for artists

David Geffen has said he would kill himself if he was starting out in the music industry now.

Speaking in a new documentary, Inventing David Geffen, the music and film industry titan said it’s harder than ever to break into the music business, Billboard reports.

When asked his thoughts about the opportunities and challenges of working in the music business today, he said: “I’d kill myself.” He also said that it is harder than ever for artists to break into the mainstream now, with the demise of radio and music television channels. “You need repetition,” he says of what he describes as a crucial element of discovering new music. “You need to be able to hear things a lot.”

Speaking about how he was once asked by Art Garfunkel if the singer should drop out of architecture school to pursue music, he said: “I told him to stay in school,” adding: “It’s not about the ones that say no; it’s about the ones that say yes. Your life isn’t made up of people who aren’t in it.”

In 1970, Geffen co-founded Asylum Records, where he signed artists from Bob Dylan to Joni Mitchell. In 1980, he founded Geffen Records, which released John Lennon’s ‘Double Fantasy’, as well as records by Sonic Youth, Nirvana, The Stone Roses and Neil Young.

He later moved into film, producing films such as 1986’s Little Shop of Horrors and Beetlejuice. In 1994, he co-founded DreamWorks studio with Steven Spielberg. He left the company in 2008.