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Warren Buffett & Beck: A music match mystery

07/10/2014

 

Beck's "Morning Phase" album played as Berkshire Hathaway investors waited for their annual meeting to begin at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha.

Beck’s “Morning Phase” album played as Berkshire Hathaway investors waited for their annual meeting to begin at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha.

It’s no doubt 83-year-old billionaire Warren Buffett is a money mastermind but it appears he also knows his way around the hipster rock scene too.

Buffett is a Beck fan.

Earlier this spring, more than 30,000 people pilgrimaged to Omaha Nebraska, Buffett’s hometown, to attend his Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting. The annual event featured a packed convention center, a massive barbecue, Nebraska Furniture Mart deals and, of course, a speech from the Great One Himself.

Some call it “Woodstock for Capitalists.”

Let’s update that to  “Coachella for Capitalist.”

Here’s why: As thousands of well-healed shareholders entered the CenturyLink Center sports arena, the event DJ filled the place with music from ’90s indy rocker and current critic’s darling Beck Hansen.

Yup, all those money managers, stock pickers, hedge fund investors, retired bankers and monied widows were grooving to Beck’s latest release, “Morning Phase.”

My buddy Kevin back in Maine loaned me a copy of the “Morning Phase” album in April, shortly after it came out.  He didn’t wait for Warren’s stamp of approval. He bought Beck early, kind of like buying a winning IPO. Kevin knows his music.

“Morning Phase” is a great record. Mellow and moody. It sounds like  Beach Boys music for the 21st Century. Lots of warm harmonies and lush instrumentation. Yeah, it’s a bit of a downer, but who care, Berkshire Hathaway owns the world.

Now some might say: “Hey Mark. Wake up. Buffett doesn’t program the music for his shareholders meeting. He doesn’t know an iPod from an Izod. The only Beck he knows is Glenn.”

I say:  “Never underestimate a man worth $66 billion.”

Berkshire Hathaway does EVERYTHING for a reason. There’s a reason shareholders heard Beck prior to the event, somebody was making money off it.

But try as I might, I couldn’t Google a financial connection between the Oracle of Omaha  and the Beckster. Berkshire Hathaway owns Beck’s label, Capitol Records? Nope. Capitol Records is owned by Universal Music Group, a French owned music corporation. Does Warren own a digital streaming service or satellite radio? No. In fact, he’s selling his Sirius XM stock. There must be a connection, but what?

Then it “dawned” on me.

Maybe Beck loves Buffett. Maybe the guy who made leaf blowers cool and likes to get “crazy with the cheese whiz” owns a piece of Berkshire Hathaway.

It’s been 20 years since Beck hit the Top 10 with his first single “Loser.” He’s recorded 10 albums since then, with his 1996 album “Odelay” selling 2 million copies. A celebrity tracking website lists his net worth at $16 million. That’s a lot of Mellow Gold.

So maybe shareholder Beck phoned his buddy Warren and suggested a good pre-meeting playlist: “Morning Phase.” All those folks in the CenturyLink Center are there to listen, right?

And they can certainly afford the $7.99 download on iTunes.

That’s just good common sense business.

Which is why Warren Buffett is hip.

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