THE LEFSETZ LETTER: Twitter Wilts

It's all about the data.


That's right, the Benjamins still count, but they don't tell the complete story. Twitter sells advertising, Wall Street is happy, but users are abandoning the service. How do I know? The number of Oscar tweets fell 47% this year, from 11.2 million to 5.9 million.


The spinners will say the telecast decreased in viewership by 16%, that there was no Ellen DeGeneres selfie to go viral, but that's what's wrong with America, those with access to the media tell us one thing when the truth is quite another, and the truth is we're over Twitter, not only is it hard to use, no one is listening.


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.

That's right. Everyone's given up. Except for the delusional who believe they're building a brand by tweeting twenty times a day. Have these people never heard of MySpace? Did those friends port over to Facebook or Instagram?


Of course not.


The truth is social media is the new fad. Yup, once upon a time it was hula-hoops, and then music. Now every year there's a new social media platform that's gonna change the world when the truth is it peaks and then people abandon it.


But even more important is the decline in tweets proves that we're over the paradigm. You remember the paradigm, don't you? That live events were gonna save television, because we all wanted to sit at home and snark. But we don't if no one is paying attention.



That's the story of the teens (and why don't we call them the teens?), the separation between winners and losers. The truth is you can connect with the friends you already have but you can't grow your fanbase via social media, not unless there's an outside force driving it.


Of course there are exceptions, the occasional YouTube star, the Vine star (and ain't that a fad), but for those at home playing the game believing they can win if they just post enough, can increase their followers and become rich and famous…it ain't gonna happen. And people realize this and stop participating.


So people have stopped tweeting. But since Twitter makes money, this story does not dominate. But it's the only one that counts. Twitter is a moribund service. One where, as Mark Cuban says, corporations go to make announcements. He said it's the new PR Newswire. As for interacting with others, that's moved on. Cuban himself has moved on to dark social. Will that be the last stop on the social media train…OF COURSE NOT!


Meanwhile, all these live events keep trumpeting their social media values, that people's desire to participate, to hate, to deride, is going to prop up their viewership. But not only did the Oscar ratings decline, but so did those of the Grammys.


Maybe sports still triumph, because the game is enough. Whereas with these awards shows, there's no there there. They only exist for ratings. They're hollow at the core.


So where do we go from here?


Back to where we once belonged. Eventually the public is gonna figure out that not everybody can be famous, not even for fifteen seconds, never mind fifteen minutes. There's just too much noise and you're not interesting enough.


The desire to group and be social will persist. In an alienated world, we want to belong. But it turns out we don't want our rallying points to be phony events created for the sole purpose of bringing us together so the usual suspects can get richer. Homey don't play that game no more.


And we've got no allegiance to any platform. The public will gravitate from one to another, almost nothing lasts, like the acts on the pop chart.


So when you hear someone trumpeting their Twitter followers, when they start talking about the social media element of their campaign, roll your eyes. Yes, it's important to get the word out. But it's cheaper and harder all at the same time. The tools are free but you cannot get to everyone. Famous people can, but if you're not one already…


And stop tweeting, no one is listening.

And if you really want people to pay attention, develop a skill. Hone it. Get it to the point where people find you as opposed to you dunning them to pay attention. It's your only hope. It's very slow. It won't work in most cases. But everything that lasts takes a long time to develop.


P.S. Talent does not always take a traditional form. The Kardashians are excellent marketers. They picked out a target audience, impressionable young women, and titillated their aspirations. The fact that you deride them only adds fuel to the fire and has their adherents cling tighter. Same thing with Bill O'Reilly. As to whether they last… The Kardashians eclipsed Paris Hilton, their time will end too. As for Mr. O'Reilly, he paid a lot of dues before anybody knew who he was. He kept on doing the same act. He found a small audience that appreciated him and a protector, Roger Ailes, to run interference for him. That's right, O'Reilly is a musical act. With a great label and manager. Once upon a time musical acts played this game, before everyone lost their backbone and desired instant success built on social media for kids without pubic hair who had no experience and nothing to say. That's right, the music business killed the music business, the managers, labels, agents and acts, they bought all the new hysteria, that the internet could rewrite the rules and make everyone bigger and richer. But the truth is without something at the center, without a new take on the game, you're just throwing crap against the wall. And it never sticks.

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