Uitgelicht: Bob Lefsetz – These are the good old days | #uitgelicht

Soms is het leuk om stukken te plaatsen, die mensen inzenden. Vanmorgen via een vriend , die werkzaam is in de muziekindustrie is, in de inbox via e-mail mogen ontvangen een stuk van Bob Lefsetz. Voor #D2W heel herkenbaar omdat er regelmatig posts met soortgelijke strekking worden geschreven.

Bob Lefsetz is de laatste jaren uitgegroeid tot een populaire blogger en met zijn Lefsetz Letter. Wie zich abonneert vindt vrijwel dagelijks analyses in zijn inbox, over major labels, mainstream popcultuur, social media en Spotify bijvoorbeeld. Lefsetz valt op door zijn uitgesprokenheid. De een noemt hem kort door de bocht, de ander krijgt na elke quote een ‘aha-Erlebnis‘.

Hieronder de tekst uit de e-mail.

We are living in the greatest era for music ever, and if you don’t believe this you’re an executive, not an artist.
Why?

Because of access.

Although rights holders have not figured out a way to monetize this access, presently the history of recorded music is at the fan’s fingertips.  And it’s not hard to find.  Most is sitting there on YouTube, waiting for you to Google it.  And rarities you hunted for for years are stored in lockers, a click away.  Have a desire to hear something and you instantly can do so.  Have a friend tell you about a track and you can pull it up and make your own judgment.

Furthermore, artists have access to the public.  Middlemen are not required to be heard.  You don’t have to get the A&R man to believe, radio to play your track, you can just post it online and your fans can hear it.

Assuming you’ve got any.

This is the challenge of the modern era.  Obscurity.  It truly flummoxes the old and weary.  They spend years and tons of money and no one cares.  First and foremost, should anybody?  Too many of these alta kachers make bad new music.  Second, is it the audience’s fault that radio has become calcified and there are better places to find out about new music?

We don’t trust the old filters.  The new filters may not have completely gelled, but that doesn’t mean the old ones should have free reign.

Just because you’re unsure of the future, that does not mean you should stay in the past.  This is like continuing to bleed medical patients rather than develop antibiotics.

And new acts lament the avenues which made old people stars are no longer available to them.  They’d rather replace the multi-channel cable systems of today with the three network universe of yesteryear, upon the belief that those who pass through the sieve are going to get rich and they are winners who will be able to navigate these waters.

But there were very few winners back in the days of three networks.  Niches went unfilled.  Programming was bland.  In the search to reach every man, the networks satiated few.  Cable is a panacea.  And now the Internet YouTube/Hulu world is truly blowing up the old model.  Do you want me to tell you to ditch your DVR and sit in front of the big screen with only a handful of channels available?  Then why do you keep bitching about the music landscape?

If you hate Comcast and Cablevision, trying to maintain their monopolies, why would you give a pass to record labels?

Look at this from an artistic viewpoint.  Look at this from a fan fulfillment viewpoint.  Do not look at this from a money viewpoint.

You’re complaining you can’t get rich when in the old days you wouldn’t have even been able to get in the game!

As for those who used to be rich…  Do you want the Wall Street titans to continue to make double digit millions?  Then why should you listen to the protestations of calcified classic rock acts!

Go to see Woody Allen’s “Midnight In Paris”.  It’s easy to get nostalgic for times of yore, but were they really better?

These are the good old days.  We’re never going back to the past.  It’s about paving new pathways in the future.

Remember when you pooh-poohed computers?  That they were for nerds with no life?  Then in the nineties, when Windows finally worked and AOL made online easy you rushed to the store to buy a machine and play.  We’re in that same development era in music, the fifteen odd years it took to get from the Apple II to Windows and AOL.  Don’t complain, look forward to the great world to come!

As for who survives…

Again and again and again, it’s those who are willing to change.

Take risks.  Know there will be blind alleys.

But also know we are never going back to the past and if you make something good it’s easier than ever for people to hear it.  And that’s the goal of an artist, to have someone experience his work.

Don’t worry about the money.  It’s coming.  In prodigious amounts.  Because you can’t rack up that many eyeballs without someone figuring out a formula.  Like MTV in the eighties.  Our ratings are anemic, but we’re gonna charge you a fortune to advertise to our highly concentrated youth audience.  Cable channels with small shares can be more lucrative than networks, which is why so many networks purchased cable systems!

This formula may not work in music, because of unlimited distribution, but success comes from throwing in with the innovators, not pushing them aside from your vision.

E-mail killed the post office.  Do you really want to eviscerate e-mail to keep all those mail carrier jobs intact?

Do you want to maintain e-mail, because Google gets viewers from Gmail and Microsoft gets viewers from HotMail, diminishing IM and text and..?

Stop with this fear of the future.  Are you scared of lightning too?

Change is scary.

But it’s good.

(Inspired by Jeff Pollack’s “Sympathy for the Devil: Why the Major Labels Might Be Right This Time”: http://huff.to/jyDidl)

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