The CEO of Rock Blog

The Quest of a Student/Entrepreneur to Add Value in Music and Business

Lilly Allen, will she choose career death, or an escape rope to career safety? reports with these sources that 100% of CEOs (not surprisingly), frequently think about their company’s reputations. (Weber Shandwick, February 2009)

A high 80% of executives are worried about the risks of being involved with social networking. (Russell Herder and Ethos Business Law, July 2009)

When you are the face of your band, or your business, YOU are the CEO. As such, you may be worried about what happens if you make a mistake with social networking. These worries are now even more relevant with what happened with Lilly Allen.

In a previous article, I mentioned Lilly Allen’s blog against piracy, which is now shut down due to negative press generated against it’s creator, the British singer/songwriter. I read its posts several times before it shut down. Many of these posts were by her and other British artists supporting a law that would suspend the internet connections of those who pirate music. There were many comments (90% of them NOT sharing her viewpoints) that were well-supported arguments in favor of piracy.

The thing that drew and quartered her crusade was the issue of her using mix-tapes of pirated music herself before she became a big artist. People do not like hypocrisy, and it hurt her career. She then proceeded to shut down the blog and stop making music, which is a stance she (I hope) is already extricating herself from.

What hurt Ms. Allen the most was not a political stance that 90-95% of her audience disagreed with. It was hypocrisy.

Hypocrisy can be found in education, business, church, and psychology. Wherever one mindset clashes against another within the same person or group of people, that is hypocrisy.

The implications for Lilly are severe, because hypocrisy, her act of crusading against piracy while justifying her own reasons for doing so (the same reasons most people do it), creates distrust.

I think it is not the end for her, if she does follows the one principle that I believe can help salvage her career. And no, i’m not talking about making music worth stealing, that’s a matter of opinion. The principle is…


Rather than continuing to justify her actions while she was crusading against others doing the same, she needs to admit her mistakes. Given, this won’t work like a draft of water from the holy grail on her career, but it just may slow the hemorrhaging of trust all over the digital countryside. When the bleeding stops, she will need to stay this course and rebuild trust.

Rebuilding a career broken by mistrust is as difficult as a couple staying together after one of them has an affair. It isn’t easy, but it is an opportunity to rebuild and become stronger, if you choose to make it so. Either way, she will have to earn that trust back, which is an uphill road.

There are two principles that will help CEO’s of all kinds stay alive after an online mistake:

1. Write with the intention of building trust.

2. If you make a mistake, admit it as soon as you can, then follow principle number 1.

The sooner these things are done, the sooner anyone can regain their footing, and this is very relevant for Lilly Allen at this stage of her career.

We shall see if this popular UK artist is a giant who falls to her death, or a woman about to get back up (first her knees, then her feet) and make the greatest decision of her career.


October 1, 2009 - Posted by | Music Business, Posts About Artists

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