Get an up-close look at the music industry’s resilience in the digital age.

About the Program

was featured in the 2014 PBS Arts Fall Festival.

Premiere Date: November 14, 2014 

Hitmakers is an up-close look at the music industry’s resilience in the digital age, featuring interviews and performances from notable artists, including Grammy Award-winning rocker Melissa Etheridge, multi-media star Questlove, Electronic Dance Music DJ/producer Steve Aoki, multiplatinum Grammy Award-winning singer Lorde, powerhouse soul/funk singer Sharon Jones and Grammy-winning blues rock group Tedeschi Trucks Band, along with legendary music executives. 

Directed by Susan Wittenberg and Carol Stein of Ace Pictures, Hitmakers explores the changing face of the record industry — the first commercial medium to be profoundly disrupted by the Internet. It follows contemporary artists who challenge the long-established paradigm, taking control of their careers and sometimes recording and releasing music outside the traditional system. Entertaining and thoughtful, Hitmakers looks deep into the evolving nature and definition of a “hit” record in a fragmented music industry.

Hitmakers tracks the progression of the music business from gramophones to laptops, record sales to Spotify. It chronicles the increasing importance of touring, concerts and social media, and the evolution of how artists are paid for their work. Hitmakers is highlighted by performances from Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars, as well as insights from music industry veterans, including Craig Kallman, chairman and CEO of Atlantic Records; Seymour Stein, founder of Sire Records and vice president of Warner Bros. Records, who signed 1970s and '80s iconic music makers, including Madonna, Talking Heads and Ramones; Richard Gottehrer, the producer and co-founder of independent music and video distribution company The Orchard; and Bill Werde, former editorial director of Billboard magazine, among others.


Hitmakers was produced by Ace Pictures, Inc.

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PBS Arts made possible with funding from: Anne Ray Charitable Trust | National Endowment for the Arts