THE LEFSETZ LETTER: Eliot Spitzer

Can't they send someone to jail? Maybe Donnie Ienner? Or Charlie Walk?

Or how about a really big fish. Clive Davis. Operating like a Mafia kingpin, having all his henchmen do the work, making like he's untouchable.

Ten million dollars? A drop in the bucket?

Gonna eliminate pay for play?

No way.

Then again, everyone's leaving the building but the major labels and terrestrial radio stations involved in this circle jerk.

I mean the RIAA talks about justice. Put bootleggers in jail. Sue file-traders til it HURTS!

I agree physical duplication/piracy is a crime that the perpetrators should pay for. But, in those cases, the perps are put out of business, put in jail, made to pay so badly that they wouldn't even THINK of running this scam again.

 


Bob Lefsetz, Santa Monica-based industry legend, is the author of the e-mail newsletter, "The Lefsetz Letter". Famous for being beholden to no one, and speaking the truth, Lefsetz addresses the issues that are at the core of the music business: downloading, copy protection, pricing and the music itself.

His intense brilliance captivates readers from Steven Tyler to Rick Nielsen to Bryan Adams to Quincy Jones to music business honchos like Michael Rapino, Randy Phillips, Don Ienner, Cliff Burnstein, Irving Azoff and Tom Freston.

Never boring, always entertaining, Mr. Lefsetz's insights are fueled by his stint as an entertainment business attorney, majordomo of Sanctuary Music's American division and consultancies to major labels.

Bob has been a weekly contributor to CelebrityAccess and Encore since 2001, and we plan many more years of partnership with him. While we here at CelebrityAccess and Encore do not necessarily agree with all of Bob's opinions, we are proud to help share them with you.

 

As for file-traders? What's $11,000 to a college student? Well, the difference between having to drop out of school to pay the judgment or continuing to be educated so he can live a more fruitful life as a contributing member of society.

Ten MILLION? What is that, gross on a Celine Dion album? TODAY? A mere FRACTION of what Sony made shoving Celine Dion albums down our throat?

There's no personal liability. Just a shrug of the shoulders and this miniscule payment.

I mean what's more heinous. Criminals duplicating the lame hits the major labels sell or these same labels changing the cultural landscape of our great country, making us listen to their crappy priorities?

Who's gonna give me back decades of radio listening? Who's gonna pay for the worthless FM radio in my car? Who's going to compensate ME for enduring Sony's negative impact on my life? How can these people be STOPPED?

By making the time fit the crime. Yup, send somebody up the river. THAT'LL scare you. How many famous people are trading on insider tips TODAY? After Martha Stewart? Sure, that's not what she ultimately went to jail for, but they got Al Capone on tax evasion, don't forget.

Makes me sick. This judgment means almost nothing. Just another business outsider being snookered by insiders. The major labels have insidious practices that they hide under the aegis of bringing joy to people. Well, I've got to tell you, I got no joy from hearing all those lame divas Sony shoved down my throat for the last decade and a half, the success of whom led OTHER labels to release the work of equally vapid trillers. Payment? How about if the diva of MY choice comes to MY house, drops my pants and shows ME a little love. Then MAYBE!

And it's not only the divas, we've got the rappers too. If this was the music EVERYBODY wanted, wouldn't it do a bit better LIVE?

The whole musical landscape has been perverted by pay for play/independent promotion practices and the ultimate settlement is TEN MILLION DOLLARS?

Makes me puke.

More Spitzer

Did Andy Lack set Sony up?

My e-mail box is starting to fill, my phone is starting to ring. Insiders smell something fishy. Or, as Woodward and Bernstein used to put it, FOLLOW THE MONEY!

Andy Lack is an outsider. He's new to the music business. It doesn't add up to him. All this pay for play. All this money to fly acts to perform at radio station shows. Everybody else is making money but SONY!

Thus you have the deal with Yahoo Music. Let's get paid for streaming videos on the Web. Isn't it funny that Andy Lack led the charge on this, and not some indentured music business savant?

When business as usual is questioned in the music industry, the executives close ranks. Say it's all about the music. They compliment each other. Say SURE there are abuses, but he who has the best music wins.

But Andy Lack was never part of this cabal. And he can't stand what he sees. So he approaches Eliot Spitzer, as a weird kind of snitch, someone new to the industry, who can plead ignorance and innocence, who wants HELP cleaning up not only the business, but his company's balance sheet.

Look at the Attorney General's statement. Why does it cover so many heinous activities? Did they get this information as a result of subpoena, or did Andy Lack COUGH IT UP! Helping the AG formulate a new roadmap that would lead his company to profitability. In one fell swoop, no cash changes hands, no equipment, there are no independent promotion men, no free radio shows…

I mean who else would cooperate to this degree? Can you see Jimmy Iovine saying INVESTIGATE ME? Let me tell you how I got Suge Knight to extract Dr. Dre from his contract? How I broke Limp Bizkit? No, you're gonna have to PRY it out of Jimmy.

And it's not only Jimmy's character, he's a member of the brotherhood. You don't rat on other soldiers.

But Andy Lack. He owes no loyalties. He's not bothered a whit by decades of music history. He's just on a mission. To make Sony Music's, now SonyBMG's, balance sheet look good, so he is handsomely paid and can get out of this crazy, fucked up business.

Ten million? Why would the AG settle for such a low figure?

Only if Sony cooperated. Only if Andy Lack delivered what they wanted on a silver platter. Only if they could insure that in the future, certain activities would truly be eviscerated.

We may be at the dawn of a new era.

At this point, Andy Lack has more power than the lifers at his company. And, he's got the law on his side.

NOW is it about good music?

NOW do the indie labels make inroads?

Maybe it's not even about Universal dominance. Yup, that's Doug Morris/Zach Horowitz's plan, to dominate, to sue you into submission, to carry a big stick. But maybe Andy Lack's plan is just to make money. To level the playing field so his company can compete without resorting to heinous, COSTLY activities.

There's a story here. This all doesn't add up. How the AG knows SO much and the penalty is so low.

Maybe, Andy Lack is the hero in all this.

Wouldn't that be a laugh.

Related Post