THE LEFSETZ LETTER: The Billy Joel Book

I can't get an Apple Watch, but every celebrity known to man has been seeded one to make them look cool. Who's using who? And if you think it's the musicians who are coming out ahead, you own no Apple stock.


Used to be different. Players weren't rich. They were in it for the dope, the sex, the hang and the music. It was a lifestyle. What did Donald Fagen sing in "Deacon Blues"…"I cried when I wrote this song, sue me if I play too long"? There are no blues in popular music today. No one's crying, unless it's about the loss of recorded music revenue as they charge a zillion dollars for a ticket.


Once again, watch this video:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEsJqtiU-2A


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.

In it you'll see how rich Jay Z and Madonna and the rest of the Tidalites truly are. Turns your stomach, makes you lose sympathy.


Ever know any bluebloods?


I certainly did. Back in Connecticut. They wore chinos and Topsiders and drove old Fords, they didn't flaunt their wealth, it was unseemly. Now it's all about showing how rich you are. Then again, a lot of the techies don't. Zuck wears a hoodie and doesn't brag about flying private, that's for the "artists."


No wonder no one believes in them.


That's the Tidal story. It's got nothing to do with streaming and everything to do with income inequality. Once upon a time it was about forming a tribe, a fan base, people who heard your music and followed you everywhere. No one wanted to follow anybody to Tidal. Why?


The story was completely missed by the media. Because the goal is to write a book and go on a lecture tour. Used to be writers were outsiders who were in it for the alcohol and the truth. Now they're wannabe stars themselves, who don't want to offend anyone on their way up.


Once the artist is divorced from his fan base, he's screwed.


Your fans are all you've got. Life is long. You want them in your pocket after your hits dry up. And they will. No one has ever sustained.


But the players play on.


The classic rockers didn't know there was that much money in it. Go back and read the interviews. Ringo figured he'd become a hairdresser, everybody was out on a lark, having fun before their real lives began. No one thought being a rock musician was a role you could play to the end of your days.


But today Ringo hypes Skechers.


Explain this to me Mr. Starkey… Do you want to buy a baseball team? Don't you have enough cash? Or are we supposed to believe you just want the rest of the world to be turned on to a great product.


But that's food. Something evanescent that everybody's talking about. Remember chefs? The unheralded nobodies? Then they were in the right place at the right time and they became rich and famous. The stardom comes AFTER!


But today everybody believes it comes before.


They want to be famous, they want to be rich.


They don't want to be musicians.


A musician is someone who practices, ALONE! Explain that to today's social media darlings.


And a musician is someone who is oftentimes ignored. Sometimes for his entire career. And a musician never bitches he can't get paid, he's privileged to be playing.


But not today! Today everybody with a YouTube clip feels entitled to be wealthy. They'll spam you to watch and complain if you don't. As if everybody could make it. What, are we living in Lake Wobegon?


How about saying no. How about ending the fashion parade and the ghost writes and sitting down and hammering it out yourself. How about testing limits and blowing our minds.


But that can't happen. That's too hard. It might piss somebody off. Remember the Dixie Chicks?


AT LEAST WE DO!


Most of their contemporaries have faded in the rearview mirror. Because if you don't stand for something, you stand for nothing.


We want people who stand for something. We're a nation of followers looking for leaders.


They used to be musicians.


No longer.

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