THE LEFSETZ LETTER: Wu-Tang Album

"Why Wu-Tang Will Release Just One Copy Of Its Secret Album"

They've already achieved their goal.

Money comes after awareness, and today awareness is all about cool. How can you create something that gets people to forward your message?

That's how I found out, I don't read the almost worthless "Forbes" on a regular basis. By letting amateurs participate they've diluted the brand. But assuming this is real, and not an early April Fool's joke, it's genius, because my inbox is filling up with people forwarding me this message.

The key is to think outside the box, pardon the pun. If you're just sitting at home bitching that not enough people are paying for your music, you're gonna lose. The point is people have plenty of money to give you, you've just got to find a way to make it palatable. That's Amanda Palmer's genius.

But don't think just because you made it someone cares. Someone forwarded me another article about a deejay bitching he just hasn't had enough financial support, urging people to pay musicians. But the problem is, I've never heard of this guy. I've heard of Wu-Tang.

The blockbuster syndrome. You hate it, but own it. Success is rarely gradual today, there's no middle ground. You're nobody until you percolate and everybody knows your name. It can happen with a veritable unknown, like the Alabama Shakes, but it's the already established who can take advantage of new paradigms.

In other words, recorded music cannot be your only revenue stream. The music has to motivate people to spend other money. That's the wall Gaga doesn't know she's gonna hit. We're still interested in her shenanigans, but without hit music, her album has been long forgotten, when she enters the next tour cycle…LOOK OUT!

We live in an era of cacophony. How do you break through the clutter?

The same way the artists did back in the sixties. Through creativity.

Concept is king. Just ask the abstract expressionists. You might be able to duplicate a Jackson Pollock, but could you come up with the idea?

The acts of yore were always getting us to challenge our preconceptions, taking us into their private world. Frank Zappa built a cult upon it. And his cult gives him greater longevity than many who topped the chart but said nothing.

In other words, TV competition shows will get you notoriety, but they won't sustain you.

Tommy Silverman has been talking about selling one expensive album for nearly a decade. But it's not about talk as much as execution. Ideas can be great, but unless you step forward and execute, take the time and risk, no big deal. Hell, I wrote about doing an a cappella TV show nearly fifteen years ago. No one called, I didn't lift a finger, someone else did it, without me.

But it's not only the physical album, but the art exhibitions. Taking the music live. Wu-Tang is going to sell an experience!

And the idea of a patron buying the project and releasing it for free… Even better than Samsung would be a baller, a rich fan, who could burnish his or her own image by granting the album to the public.

And yes, it does all come down to the music. But in an era where David Crosby just released an album and it's already been forgotten, Fleetwood Mac put out new music and it was ignored…

If you're gonna make it, LEARN HOW TO SELL IT!

Facebook and Twitter are a small echo chamber.

Think outside the box!

Oh, there goes that pun again…

http://onforb.es/1drxUYk

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