By applying the principle of pile ’em high, sell ’em cheap to music, Philip Kives revolutionised the industry.
While not as celebrated as someone like Ahmet Ertegun, the urbane force behind Atlantic Records, K-tel founder Philip Kives still had a profound effect on the record business – an industry that he, by his own admission, entered by accident.
The marketing and sales techniques pioneered in the 1960s by Kives, who died on Thursday at the age of 87, might seem crude and simplistic viewed from a half-century’s distance. But they remain part of the DNA of record label marketing departments today.
He is hailed as having invented the infomercial, producing a live, five-minute TV ad for a Teflon non-stick frying pan. The product might not have been great – “Unfortunately, tephlon was a new product, and the tephlon peeled off the fry pan leaving a lot of tephlon-coated eggs,” he explained on his company’s website – but the format stood him in good stead when he diversified from homeware and into music in 1966.