At one time you were considered a counter-culture hippy just my mentioning the Beatles album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Now that we've gone though the 50th anniversary of the album's release, there's a sense that if you can't accept the album's greatness by now, you're just too old. It seems the older the album gets, the more it becomes part of the establishment without being square. At the same time, it retains it's coolness and bridges the gap between the artistic and commercial worlds.
The album is the most successful release by The Beatles and that wasn't just luck. The album broke new barriers and old rules, while influencing multiple generations. It doesn't belong to just the people of 1967. Business leaders can learn a great deal from the album's longevity, understanding that it was the first of its kind in many categories. The album is a culmination of communal themes, experimentation, challenging the system, facing reality and embracing new technology. Those qualities translate well in today's tech-powered people-friendly business world.
Last century businesses took themselves too seriously in their marketing and seems out of touch with the art community. Even music industry leaders denied that they were in the business of selling art. Obviously, Sgt. Pepper was a work of art and sold very well. But the business world started losing touch with human values in the eighties and began to emphasize chasing money more than satisfying customers. Yet art has always been an important component to business (just ask any graphic artist).
The Value of Pepper Economics
Sgt. Pepper has helped open the eyes of business leaders that art matters. Steve Jobs, while CEO at Apple, said that he based his business model on The Beatles. He cited their efforts to work together as a team was greater than the sum of its parts. Jobs lived to see Apple become the most valuable company on Earth, which says a lot about Beatles influence. Not many albums still sell well after five decades, which makes Sgt. Pepper even more special.
One of the most striking revelations about the album is that it combines tradition with innovation. The song "When I'm Sixty-Four" has the feel of a 1940s standard while "A Day In The Life" still sounds like orchestral music from the future. Aside from being an artistic milestone, the album can be thought of as a successful marketing package. All components of the package - the 14 songs, outsourced musicians and eye-catching cover - contribute to the album's greatness.