THE LEFSETZ LETTER: Today’s World

1. Everybody has an opinion and they believe it’s entitled to be heard.


2. Everybody has an angle. Winners know this and try to ferret out the truth. The best way to get to the bottom of the story is to ask money questions. When someone says they do something that you don’t think is lucrative, or that they’re not qualified to do, the goal is to keep them talking until they reveal the true story. Which could be they’re independently wealthy, or they’re really a student, or they live with their parents, or they’re a barista.


3. Everybody believes they should have access. If they tweet the company should see it and respond to it. If they send you e-mail not only are they entitled to a response, but a reasoned one responding to their point of view, however unreasonable it might be.


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.

4. 10% of the public is insane, you just don’t know which 10% it is.


5. People feel better about themselves by making you feel bad.


6. Gotcha is the game. That’s how we bring people who’ve flown too high back to earth. It might make us feel good, but it ends up forcing reasonable people out of the picture, either because they don’t want their dirty laundry aired or because they’ve got a few skeletons in the closet. Memo to not only the media but the online rabble rousers…we’ve all got skeletons in the closet, some even findable on Google.


7. Everybody’s an expert, even though they may know nothing. Which is funny because so much is Googlable. In a world where facts are rampant many people are ignorant, even some of those with the biggest mouths.


8. If I paid for it it’s great.


9. Brands are our heroes. We define our identity by them. Not only your clothing, but your car, your mobile phone, your jewelry… It’s a full-time job keeping up with the trends. Logos/no logos. Louis Vuitton/Burberry. You may think you can escape, but the truth is you’re being judged. People used to fight about bands, now they fight about brands.



10. Don’t advertise you’ve got something, that you’re any better than the hoi polloi, then the hoi polloi will judge you for having it. Don’t say you went to Harvard, they were the son of a single mother who couldn’t go to college. Don’t say you took a vacation, they haven’t been on one in years. Don’t say you have any money, otherwise the unwashed masses will excoriate you. Don’t confuse this with the ignorant rich who believe they’re better than everybody else. Just call it poor on poor crime, or middle class on middle class crime. People don’t want you movin’ on up, because that means they’ve got to look at their situation, and they don’t want to. The end result is those with wealth and power seal their lives off from those who don’t have these things. They live behind gates, fly private and vacation in places you’ve never heard of and they don’t talk about it. If someone is talking about their wealth, bragging about their lifestyle, you know they’re nouveau riche and not accepted by the upper class and might not have money for long.
11. Everything you’ve ever said will be held against you. Which is why you should not put information you don’t want everybody to know in print, should not post pictures and so much online. Ironically, the young people know this better than the oldsters. Which is why they’ve embraced Snapchat and have scraped data from Facebook.


12. You’ve got someone else’s gig, you just don’t know it. That’s right, there’s someone smarter and more qualified who you’re holding down and you’d better watch out, they’re working behind the scenes to bring you down, because if they can’t have the gig, you shouldn’t either.


13. People want you to be like them, have the same opinions and lifestyle. If not, you’re a chump.


14. Not only are you not good enough, neither is your significant other. Every woman is competing against supermodels and porn stars who adore schlubs and will do anything to please. The whole world is based on making you feel bad about yourself, so it can sell you what will make you feel good about yourself, theoretically anyway.


15. He who yells loudest gets attention while they do, but when they stop we turn to the next person yelling loudly. And the noise of competing yells is so loud that we hate all the yellers, if we haven’t completely given up paying attention.


16. Stats rule. People find a way to say they’re number one at something, even though in the context of the world at large, that’s nothing.



17. The only people who care about you are poor people, because all they’ve got is their compassion, everybody else is too busy getting ahead to care about you. And in a world where you can fall through the cracks, everybody’s looking for an edge. And corporations are the least trustworthy enterprises of all, they’re all about the money. But since brands rule, the corporate ethos rules. Our society is purely about money, which is why those without it complain so loudly and do their best to pull others down. Because if you can’t have something, nobody else should either. As for hard work and enterprise, most people don’t want to look at themselves and discover why they’re not moving ahead on the game board of life, they just want to tilt it and slide your piece to the bottom.


18. If it makes money it’s unimpeachable. If you criticize it you’re a hater.


19. Tribes rule. The lone wolf is passe. Everybody’s got their cabal. They stay connected via the internet. They make each other feel good, you don’t want to be their enemy.


20. Facts are irrelevant.


21. Everybody’s working the refs. You make people afraid of going against you, speaking up about you at all.


22. It’s all about the story, the narrative. If every media outlet says the Republicans are a lock for the Senate why should you bother to vote, it’s already been decided.


23. No one is there to solve your problems, even if you paid. Which is why those who do help are lionized and why so many are angry and frustrated. People are pushed to the edge. They’ve got all the modern tools, but they believe they’re the product, bought and sold, and no one is looking out for them.


24. Anything very successful has backlash. Whether it be a sports team, Apple or a music star. Enduring this is a skill unto itself. You say you’re ignoring it, but the truth is the haters are having an impact, they’re making you gun-shy, reluctant to take chances.


25. People do it for the money, not you. They stay off Spotify so they can stay rich, or so they think, they don’t care if you listen to their music, they just want you to pay for it.

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