Famous Producer Has a Really Weird Side Gig

Steve Lillywhite also hawks CDs at Indonesia KFC restaurants
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 5, 2017 11:17 AM CDT
Famous Producer Has a Really Weird Side Gig
Steve Lillywhite with Blue October in Pedernales Studio just outside of Austin, Texas.   (Photo: Business Wire)

"Music and chicken have become intertwined." That's the word from Steve Lillywhite, the well-known producer for such bands as U2 and the Rolling Stones, who has won six Grammys over the course of his career. He's talking about his other job, in Indonesia, where he works as the CEO of Jagonya Music & Sport Indonesia. What that means: He decides which musical artists to hawk on CDs that are sold at the country's Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants, the New York Times reports. Yes, really. He takes pitches from record companies and also approaches unsigned artists to sign directly with Jagonya. "My job is basically like running a record label, except this record label also happens to sell chicken," he says.

CD sales are falling in the US thanks to the popularity of streaming and digital music sales, but Jagonya sells 500,000 CDs a month (so far featuring only Indonesian artists) via KFC restaurants, which in Indonesia are a bit more upscale, more like a Hard Rock Cafe. Lillywhite fell in love with Indonesia years ago and moved there in 2014; in 2016, he got the job at Jagonya. He does still take trips from time to time to produce albums for his more well-known clients, and yes, Bono knows all about his KFC gig. "Bono is obsessed with it," Lillywhite says. "He's always telling people: 'Do you know what Lillywhite's doing? He's working for KFC!'" The full Times article is worth a read. (More Kentucky Fried Chicken stories.)

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