*CEO, Live Nation
(Age 43; Last Year's Rank: 47)*
While the record labels have their collective head in the sand, they can feel Michael Rapino's impact each time he kicks their behinds. First he made Live Nation the world's biggest concert promoter, minting money even as the record companies foundered. Then he stole the labels' most bankable acts, locking up Madonna, Shakira, and Nickelback in a string of 360-degree deals—which cover the artists' recording, touring, and merchandising—totaling an estimated $400 million. Now he's turned to the dark side one of the music execs' own: Jay-Z—making the ex-head of Def Jam a minion of Live Nation. Rapino is outsourcing the little stuff, like album marketing and promotion, and focusing on innovation. "It was never Michael's intent to become a record label. He knows that system is dying," says Bryan Coleman, Nickelback's manager. "If we want to put songs on the Google phone, he'll make that deal. He's the visionary of the new regime." Rapino is purging Live Nation of all its non-music properties to consolidate its hold on the music business and clear the decks for its own ticketing service. The agency sells 45 million tickets a year—and is doing to TicketMaster what Rapino's already done to the record labels.