THE LEFSETZ LETTER: Restaurant Impossible

Like music in the sixties, the Food Network is riding the wave of public interest in comestibles all the way to the bank. They're so successful, they even added a second channel. Everybody eats, but one must credit their programming department, they're always coming up with new spins on the reality theme that get you watching.


And my favorite is "Restaurant Impossible".


Hosted by Robert Irvine, he takes a crack team and $10,000 and completely rebuilds failing restaurants in two days. He cleans up the kitchen, redecorates the dining room, remakes the menu and turns disaster into success.


We need the same program in the music business.


Forget "American Idol" and "X Factor", even "The Voice". They're all about wannabes. People with little to no writing talent who have a good voice at best. People with no backbone who will do anything to make it.


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.


But what if instead of having Christina Aguilera and Adam Levine as hosts, they were contestants. Yes, what if we took people on the downside of their careers and gave them honest criticism, imagine how great that would be!


There's an endless supply of artists. Those who once were and those, like Ms. Aguilera, coming off a stiff. They come on the show and they play their new record.


And they're torn apart, honestly criticized.


There's a blue chip panel of Simon Cowells, people who are honest to a fault.


And then we get a team of people to help. Producers and songwriters are desperate for work. We get them on to remake the star's music. And with all this television airplay, the resulting music will hit. Maybe not on the Top Forty, but all that exposure will increase road business dramatically.



The classic rock artists can't write a hit.


Imagine telling them so. Enough with the divvying up of songwriting credits. We only want great material. Go back and write a new chorus, add a bridge, we'll be satisfied with nothing but great.


And the MTV acts… Culture Club would be desperate to do this. Even Backstreet Boys.


Our goal is not to beat people up, but to emerge with hits. To illustrate to the public how hard it is, what it takes to make it, what a hit truly is.


Enough with the no-talents. Let's deal with those who have a proven track record. Let's help those with talent to see the light.


And that's the problem. All these people have handlers and friends who blow smoke up their ass, telling them their new music is good. No one ever speaks the truth to an established artist.


And the established artists can't take it. Because they once were, they don't want to get down in the pit, they don't want to be busted back to private, they don't want to endure the pain, they don't want to hear that their new material is just not good enough.


We want to inspire people. To take them to their limits. Because good is not good enough, the public only cares about great.


And if I had my druthers, we'd extract no ounce of flesh from these acts. We wouldn't require them to give up an interest in the resultant records, we wouldn't want a slice of touring revenue.


Then again, maybe we could establish an honest brain trust. Who could provide all these services for a fee. Experts who the acts would want to employ.


Execution is everything.


But this is a slam dunk idea.


"Restaurant Impossible": http://bit.ly/i2LrOt

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