Bob Lefsetz: Mailbag


Subject: RE: Keith Emerson

Bob,
What a couple of months it has been.
My working life seems to be disappearing.
So many great musicians have passed away in such a short period.
I was thinking about George Martin last night and all the work we did together and now Keith.
I promoted many of the Nice shows in the UK including their last performance in London.
ELP was a favourite band to work with.
They were special, innovative and explosive on stage.
Stewart Young became their manager on my recommendation.
He was a class mate at school.
During their time they conquered the world.
Keith used to pop into my office for tea.
He lived nearbye in London.
He will be missed, as will all the others who have passed this year.


Last week Roger Daltrey, Bill Curbishley and myself celebrated our birthdays at dinner in New York.
We talked about how good life was.
And now another great artist has passed.


Harvey Goldsmith

——

—————————————————————————-


Subject: Re: Keith Emerson


Wow Another One Bites The Dust
I was head of promotion in those days and help pick
Lucky Man as a radio record that really helped break the band
The 3 of them Emerson Lake And Palmer were one of the biggest
Atlantic bands during those days and were all nice guys to boot.
They were with Island Records for Europe, another great Chris Blackwell signing
There shows always sold out and Keith always stole the show
He will be missed


Jerry Greenberg


———————————————————————————-


Subject: Chip Hooper


Just viewed the video of Chip and his son Max after the basketball game and it said it all. Chip loved his family, and his work. I had the honor and privilege to work with Chip for many years. You'd think your were doing him a favor by booking a band you had never heard of but then when the show sold out turns out Chip was the one doing the favor, like when we did Phish at IU Auditorium in Bloomington.


Chip's demeanor was always positive never heavy handed or negative, just cheerfully focused on doing the best for his artists and managers, whether it was booking a baby act into a club or a national tour with Dave Matthews Band.


He will be sorely missed.


Dave Lucas
Annie O'Toole


———————————————————————————-

From: Bob Ezrin
Subject: Sir George Martin


He is the father of the entire modern recorded music industry. It is his genius and imagination that changed the recording studio from a place for the rigid and faithful reproduction of live performance to an instrument of sublime creativity and endless possibility. He saw in recording the ability to tell stories and create worlds through music and sound using techniques created for radio drama – many by him personally. He extended the “stage" of recorded music past the four walls of the studio out into a whole new universe of sonic imagery. Though it all seems almost commonplace now, this was truly revolutionary stuff in his time. And all of us who tell stories in sound and music owe our craft mostly to him and the Beatles.

At the same time, he was the archetypal refined English Gentleman; a soft and well spoken, brilliant man of profound principle and respect for the world in which he lived. He was warm, humble, impish and imposing all at the same time. And he was, above all, ethical and totally genuine in his dealings with others. He earned his title in every way and I’m sure many called him “sir” even before he was knighted.


I have a funny George Martin story. So many of us do. But right now, as I head to the studio in the same way I have for decades, I can only think of him and his wonderful story, and of my profound gratitude for his historical life and work – and for the wonderful life and career that he (and the late, great Jack Richardson) made possible for me.


B


———————————————————————————-


From: Michael McCarty
Subject: George Martin


Bob


The time I had the opportunity to meet him briefly, I knew what I wanted to ask. I wanted to know exactly what was going on in his head, heart and gut when he made the decision to sign The Beatles.


His response sent chills down my spine: “I thought they were actually a pretty crappy band, and there was no evidence that they could write songs, but when they walked in the room together, there was so much overwhelming charisma, I felt like they changed the molecules in the room. I signed them because they were special people”.


Best,


M


———————————————————————————-


From: dx ferris
Subject: Re: The Billboard Chart


"Album equivalent units." Do those pay out in "dollar equivalent units"? Can you use them to buy "food equivalent units" and eat them? We live in an age of pretend.


— Ferris


———————————————————————————-


From: Chelsea Williams
Subject: Re: The Billboard Chart


Hi Bob,


I've never sent in a response before and I don't know if you'll see this. However, I just wanted to say I hate that it's beginning to be the norm for artists to not put their albums on Spotify. I've been a fan of The 1975 for a few years. I've gone to their shows, even travelling a few hours away, and I've bought merch along with theirlast album. I hate that they didn't release their album on Spotify this time. With the way they do their marketing, I didn't feel compelled to go out and buy it. Sure, I liked the few songs they released but it wasn't enough for me to be like, "I need to go buy this album. I need to know what's on it immediately!" Call me crazy… And I guess they were worried people wouldn't buy the album if it was on Spotify but I don't think that's the case. Or is it?


Am I refusing to give into change because I won't sign up for Apple Music? I'm 24. I studied music business in college, and I work in digital marketing but no one talks about Apple Music. But then you have these artists who continue to do exclusives on that platform. Why? Money? Because it's always money. Money over exposure, it seems. And when it comes to Adele, sure millions of people bought her album, but like you said.. are people still listening and who are these people? Who can name a few songs off the album besides Hello or When We Were Young?


Anyways, I'm interested to see if ZAYN releases his album on Spotify…


———————————————————————————-


Re: Eddie Kramer's comment:


Yes Ezrin did work on The Elder which wasn't well received (although many fans have come to appreciate it over the years). But, several years before that (in fact, 40 years ago next month) he produced Destroyer, from which KISS still plays up to 6 songs from on any given night. I would say that was pretty well received by fans.


Ezrin's comment showed humility…Kramer's? Hmmm

Rod Kotler


———————————————————————————-


Subject: Re: Mailbag


A fascinating and entertaining mailbag today, Bob —


I was impressed by Bob Ezrin’s description of the producer’s task. I know it’s the producer’s charge to help the artist achieve his musical vision, and I know Bob did that. But I confess that for most of the 60 albums I produced, I also tried to make the record one that would please not the only artist, but me too. I suspect that many producers hoped the band wasn’t particularly engaged in the recording process itself, thus allowing the producer to have his way…


And about Glenn — I was fortunate to have been both a golf partner and, for an afternoon, a producer for Glenn Frey. On the course and in the studio he was courteous, funny, engaging, talented, and above all, totally dedicated to the task at hand. He played a lead break for me, and since this was Glenn Frey, and since I wanted him to see what a careful listener I was, I made some quick notes on the spots I thought he should fix.


When he returned to the control room for a listen, I told him there were three spots he might want to replay; he said "I heard seven."


Tom Werman


———————————————————————————-


Subject: Re: Bob Ezrin On Kanye West


As a Black man, Kanye is an embarrassment and I wish we could give him to another race. Like Bill Cosby, I wish he would just go away. His Grammy appearances detract from the show's credibility – what little it has. He has a big machine (not that one) behind him, and like Trump, the media feels compelled to give him attention. He's quiet on social issues, ignoring topics like the Flint water crises and instead focusing on his own egomaniacal rants.Maybe he can take a year long break and come back as someone else – even if it's Chris Gaines.


Tom Cartwright


———————————————————————————-


From: Pete Angelus
Subject: Re: Mailbag


Bob,
I was surprised to read Steve Gorman's very kind words in your mailbag regarding music moguls.


Not surprised that Steve would say something so complimentary, he was always very appreciative of my counsel and was not The Black Crowes band member he referenced in regard to "pushing away" my advice.


However I was caught off guard that he took the time to express his feelings publicly.


I'm writing because I want to thank you for including his comments in your newsletter.


It was a very pleasant surprise to come across as I was planning an escape to Bora Bora while on the phone "arm wrestling" with another artist who was hard at work attempting to sabotage their career 🙂


In any case, I will conclude by saying that from my experience, management is a game played by rules self created; part entrepreneurial, part motivation, part manipulation, part vision, part smoke and mirrors with daily dosages of both ecstatic joy and unexpected horror.


I recall the great Irving Azoff quote when asked what he felt was the worst thing about management and he replied, "Having to give the artist 80%."


There was a time when I looked at management commission as compensation for relentless effort and results.


As the years went on, I came to see it more as, let's just call it, hazard pay.


Enjoy your day and thank you again.


Best,
Pete


———————————————————————————-


From: Vince Romanelli
Subject: Musiccares // Nashville


Hey Bob –
I loved your article about Musiccares.
I wanted to take a moment to let you know how great of an organization they are.


I’m a musician in Nashville. (you’ve written about me a few times with my Taylor Swift parodies). Three weeks ago, I lost all of my possessions in a house fire. Not only all of my personal items, but my recording studio, and my drums.


I had many people recommend that I reach out to Musiccares with my situation, which I did. Within a few hours, I had an application for assistance. I spoke with Danielle at the Nashville branch, told her my needs, she explained how Musiccares works, and within 5 hours, I was approved for a grant to purchase some new gear through Guitar Center. All within 24 hours.


Their ability to help so quickly allowed for me to have some peace of mind to deal with insurance and re-housing and all of the stress associated with it.


So Yes.
They’re amazing.
Comcast, on the other hand:
http://www.newschannel5.com/news/fire-destorys-home-renter-still-gets-cable-bill


Vince


———————————————————————————-


Subject: Getting our attention – Collect ZIP CODES Too!


Bob,


Good article on collecting e-mails. Something else that artists overlook – collecting ZIP CODES of fans.


If you have the Zip Codes, you know where your fans are located, can send out tour dates when you are in their area.


You may look at a zip code and perhaps 50 miles within that area you have a couple 100 or couple 1,000 (more successful indie artists) fans.
Send the fans in the designated area an e-mail to see if they would want you to do a house concert or play a local venue.


Let's say you play a venue, it is sold out in advance because you communicated to your fan base. Then call the local radio station and see if they would like to come to the show, introduce you on stage as it gives the local radio station some promotion in front of their fans and just maybe, opens a door to the station for the future – as you are selling tickets in their area.

Have an area of your website – "capture page" that you give a song or two to download to your fans in exchange for the zip code and e-mail.
Then engage with your fans – invite them to join the fan club that can include streaming from your home or studio once a month or whatever works for you. What if we could have done this with our favorite artists years ago – would we have paid to join the artist fan club — HECK YEA!


ZIP CODES – collect your fans ZIP Codes for shows, fan clubs and merch in the future and oh yea – to sell your music to them too!
Doak Turner Nashville


Doak Turner


———————————————————————————-


Subject: Re: Oscar Ratings Tumble


Bob
I have never had an actor friend who didn't wish he or she was a rockstar…Why? Because actors are in search of a character and musicians are SO brutally real ( at least they use to be…Yes even I who was the kid in big bands in the late 80s and 90s is as old as dirt now).
Most of the great actors I know behind closed doors are bananas ( comedians are even darker).
This isn't a put down but they are shells looking for a role to complete who they are or wish they were. My last actor girlfriend one day showed up with a new haircut and a new conservative set of clothes. I asked Wow what's going on?
She said Stevie I have decided to end this role as your girlfriend and have taken on a new role of Scott, your banker's girlfriend.


Stevie Salas


———————————————————————————-


Subject: Re: Re-Vinyl


Hi Bob,


I couldn't watch Vinyl here in Paris but I played The Mercer Arts Center many times. It was the classiest venue NYC ever had. There were multiple rooms with many bands playing and One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest previewed as a play there before it came out as a film. The only booking policy was that you had to be good or original. Sometimes both. Biggest band to break out of there was KISS. The Dolls were huge when they were still unsigned and their show at the uptown Waldorf Astoria Hotel was indeed a true riot. I opened for them at Academy of Music when bassist Arthur Kane's girlfriend tried to cut his thumb off the night before. And at this same time over at Max's Kansas City on Park Ave South everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Bob Marley and myself was playing for pocket-sized crowds. In my opinion the pre-punk early 70's NYC scene was the Golden Age for music in my old hometown…but I'm prejudiced. It was eclectic and accomplished and it paved the way for CBGBs and all that
followed. At least, it seems, they got that right.


Best regards,
Elliott Murphy


———————————————————————————-


Subject: Re: Re-Vinyl


Hey you know what ? The more RocknRoll on TV the better. I'm not going to go there & say it wasn't like that back in the day .. There's enough archetypes in there to fulfill anyone's RocknRoll dream of what the 70's were like.
I'm a big NY doll's fan since about '73, just a mere mention of them let alone a entire scenario portraying them doing 2 or 3 songs is beyond belief.


They were truly one of the greatest RocknRoll, not rock, bands to ever step on to a stage.


Their influence is immeasurable, so the point being any kudos leaped upon the Dolls is good with me.


They truly were, at the height of their powers, RocknRoll Gods.


Guess you had to be there?


I was.
So the daze of Hullabaloo & Shindig are well passed, so is MTV.


We have Vinyl to be thankful for & it's good for business.


Peace,love & RocknRoll . I was there.


Best, Clem Burke


———————————————————————————-


Subject: Re: Re-Vinyl


Hi Bob,


Re: The Vinyl² discussion.


This little story might be instructive as it relates to the music industry versus the fictionalized music industry:


In the early 1980's as I was tasting an early measure of success as a music executive (In this case Head of A&R for Epic/CBS Records in Los Angeles) I was asked through corporate channels if I would allow a couple of young Harvard Grad major-studio-attached screenwriters to shadow methrough my work days (and nights) for a week or so. The writers' intent was to gather and absorb what really was going on behind the scenes in the biz for purposes of some movie they had up their sleeves. I agreed and these fellows did indeed sit in my office all day long, had access toc ompany meetings, demo pitches, phone calls with managers, attorneys, publicists, marketing and promotion execs, whatever. Nothing off limits.


Into the evening with me they came. Dinner (wish I could remember where…Le Dome? La Serre? Martoni's? then a few clubs for shows (ditto wish I could remember…Troub? Madame Wong's? The Country Club? Whiskey?). Finally, some courtesy calls to in-studio projects at what certainly would have been The Record Plant (3rd Street) or the Village or maybe the earliest incarnation of Conway. They got to meet some amazing producers and engineers, etc. that night. In those days among them would have been some legends. John Boylan, Tom Werman for sure. Paul Grupp, Mick Gazauski, Ed Cherney, Rose Mann, Chris Stone I would imagine as well. This all would have been a pretty typical – and typically long – work day for me in those days. They saw it all.


Next morning these gents met me back at my office for what I expected would be round two of a few more days of this. They sheepishly thanked me and then said they had what they needed and were going to end their research early. Let me guess, I said. You were expecting coke spoon necklaces, diamond pinkie rings, a bit of heroin, murder threats, hookers, groupies, The Mafia, and fistfights. Right? And all you saw was bunch of people working hard at making music, promoting music, selling music. People talking on phones, sitting at recording consoles. Musicians actually playing their instruments. Artists concerned about hitting the right notes. To their credit, the screenwriters AGREED! Nothing going on – in the world I was able to show them at least – fit the preconceived narrative of their screenplay about The Music Business, even though it WAS The Music Business! Reality had no place in this endeavor.


Now I'm not saying the salacious stuff wasn't around or never happened. And I'm not saying I deserved a Merit Badge for perfect personal conduct in those days. That would be stupid. Some crazy stuff happened. Of course it did. Just not everywhere, all the time and for everybody. What I hope my tiny tale above points out, and as some of your commenters have already commented, is that the version of the music business in Vinyl is based on a generation's long held fantasy of The Music Business. A fictional framework for an audience who wants their stories to hew to the dramatic narrative they want to believe whether it's true or not. It's more fun that way. Those of us (meaning me, most of your readers and, you, too, Bob) are too close. The actual world of 70's NYC music certainly existed but like so much of the past, it, too, has now become a fantasy.


Thanks and all best, Larry Hamby


———————————————————————————-


Subject: Re: Vinyl


Hey Bob,
Every now and then I check in. As I am doing now. Your take on Vinyl was right on the money. Nailed it. Be well and man do I miss Weintraub. Azoff and I commiserate together every other day. There is nobody like him.


Warmest Regards,
Paul Anka


———————————————————————————-


From: Tom Krehbiel
Subject: Re: Do You Have To Lie To Get Ahead?


My mother took over the real estate brokerage founded by her father and later run by her brother. For a while my younger sister worked as an agent. My mom gave her this advice: "All buyers are liars." She expanded on the rule by saying that people who say they want a split level ranch on a very large lot often end up buying a Cape Cod or bungalow with very little land around it. Her practical message: "Show people properties that you think they might like based on what you have seen of them, not on what they say."


It sure as hell worked.


———————————————————————————-


Subject: RE: Do You Have To Lie To Get Ahead?


Good for him Bob!


Don't use my name if you print this, I apologize for the length, I think / hope you'll get a kick out this though.


I'm 46 and online dating came around when I was about 30. I used to tear up OKCupid and JDate and in fact met my lady whom I currently live with on Jdate about ten years ago and we've been serious for almost 8 years. Before that after much experimentation I'd figured out a system that allowed me to meet and bed over 100 women in the course of a six or seven year run. I am painfully socially awkward and very rarely in my life have I ever been able to meet women while being out and about, plus I work in bars and venues and that's the last place I want to be when I don't have to be… so online dating was like a Godsend to me.


I can't tell you how many women I met who lied about their own height / figure / job / likes / dislikes, and who used pix that were years old, showed up on dates looking entirely different than their pix, so it goes both ways. I'm not a great looking guy, at least I don't think so, but I'm well put together and well groomed and all my pix were current. I got really tired very quickly of being "interviewed" for husband material at some pub or bar somewhere.


I began to be able to spot red flags in advance and avoid the obvious ones. I discovered that if a woman only had upper body pix on her profile chances are she's heavy, so eventually I'd skip over that (shallow I know). If she has no pictures of her with friends or family chances are she's a sociopath, and if all of her profile text was poorly written stuff about long walks on the beach and looking for a serious marriage minded man, chances are greater that she'd sleep with me very quickly, but then wind up being a stalker or overly emotional because she felt like if I had sex quickly with her I owed her something. Also "Work Hard and Play Hard" was a huge red flag indicating that she only likes frat guys, muscleheads or is a gold digger. I stopped going on dates with women I met online entirely, opting instead to find a way to either go to their place or have them come to mine. Eventually I only dated women who would come to my place to meet for the first time.


Also I discovered that a woman will NEVER have sex with you after a dinner date because she's full of food and feels fat, so there's no way she will want to be naked or even risk being tempted by making out, plus even if I was super attracted and thought we could have a relationship, the more "dates" we went on, the more power she would have to choose when and whether to sleep with me, which of course is what I was looking for at the time. I discovered I didn't have much patience for courtship.


So I began to look for well written, more poetic, deeper prose, and goofiness and began experimenting with my own profiles, lots of run-on sentences that re-wrote the standard phrases – sure everybody "likes" walks on the beach, but everybody LOVES "the sound of waves crashing while we are feeding gulls French fries and giggling about it while the sun goes down." I began my profile with "Lovable rock n' roll vagabond scamp and secret nerd seeks clever spiritual smartipants for late night pillow talk about life, the universe and everything, and maybe even a few eskimo kisses and glasses of Spanish red wine if we hit it off. Not looking to jump into anything too quickly but open to deep connections that could develop into some kind of "best friends who can't keep their hands off each other" situations."


This clarifies that you are that you are dating around and somewhat choosy without saying it outright. Also everybody says they like red wine, but I like 'SPANISH red wine" which give the impression that I have a discerning taste, which I'd like to think that I do. Plus I never ever mentioned looks / beauty as all women are self-conscious about that. If I reached out to her it's a given that I'm attracted. They know that.


Anyway, bottom line, people want to FEEL SOMETHING when searching online for opposite sex, logic comes later. I got a lot of women who would email me first with stuff like "wow, you are a breath of fresh air" or "why are you still single???"


I know this is long, but in the interest of NOT having to go on drink / dinner dates, I developed a nice rap that I called the "secret agent" rap, which, once I got it honed, got me more than 50% response rate when reaching out, 30% meet rate, and a 20% bed rate after a little flirting for sometimes even less than a week, and I never had to leave my house. So generally for every ten women I wrote or who wrote me online, five of them would respond and generally two of them would sleep with me. Not bad for a socially awkward average looking guy!


"I'd say something like – Hey I know you are getting clobbered with emails from a sea of jackasses, my girlfriends (friends who are girls) tell me they are getting clobbered and sometimes show me the idiots who write them. Wow do I feel for you! Meanwhile you seem like a cool chica, too cool for this website, you must be some sort of a secret agent who lures unsuspecting boys on the interwebs for your nefarious purposes! I'm on to you!"


I made it fun and goofy, and when I'd get their phone number I would start texting them "secret agent 009, what sort of intriguing mission are you up to today?" They'd always play along, and after some text flirting, I knew there was a connection and I would assign them the following mission:


"Your mission, should you choose to accept it is to procure a corkscrew and deliver it to the following location at 20:00 hours on Tuesday evening. Make sure you are not being followed as the location and the mission are TOP SECRET" The location would be my house. They knew that too. The psychology behind it is that if a woman gets you something or does something for you, that's a rationalization that she likes you and the secret mission says you are fun. I had a drawer full of corkscrews by the time I met my current girlfriend!


Some women would balk and insist on meeting for drinks or dinner. I'd tell them I'm really busy, but maybe next week, usually we both would just flake. It was ok because there were always more in the wings.


When they would show up I would answer the door very confidently, invite them in and just tell them "look I know you came to my house, and you probably don't do things like this. I figure we'll pop open a bottle of vino and see if we get along, if you feel uncomfortable you can leave at any time and I will totally understand." I would show absolutely no creepiness or focus on sex, just some wine and convo, and usually within an hour or so if we clicked I'd tell her I'm so relieved that she's not some psycho axe murderer and that she's as cute as her pix. Somewhere in the conversation I would mention a couple of my gold / platinum records of artists I've worked with but I don't want to show them just yet because they are in my bedroom and I don't trust her to not take advantage of me if I show her my bedroom. Eventually we'd make it up there, meanwhile I had Aretha's "Live At The Fillmore" in the CD player and a candle ready to go. By the time it got to "Bridge Over Troubled Water"
I'd ask her to dance, we'd slow dance and I would always let her make the first move, which she would ALWAYS do. Very rarely were these one night stands, they usually resulted in casual dating that would last anywhere from a few weeks to a few years or more.


I know this is totally different than the article in the Times, but similarly to what Birnbaum did, I experimented a LOT until I found the right system, and when I was ready to stop dating around I was in a great position to find someone to love.


Cheers Bob!


———————————————————————————-


Subject: Re: Do You Have To Lie To Get Ahead?


Hello Bob,


I was doing on-line dating years back and at 5'2, I noticed a lot of men list a 5'6 minimum height request. I started listing 5'6 on my profile. Normally I wear heels and none of the men noticed I was not 5'2 when we met.


I did not meet anyone that worked out online…..but I did meet my current boyfriend at a party and he is 6'5. Funny Bob…he said he would not have dated me if he met me online as he was normally not interested in women that were 5'2 . His minimum was at least 5'6. Too funny really.


🙂


———————————————————————————-


From: Scott Birnbaum
Subject: Re: Do You Have To Lie To Get Ahead?


Bob,


I've been a subscriber to your newsletter for a long time. When we submitted our story to the Times wedding announcements I never thought we would end up in the vows section. I certainly never thought we would end up in one of your posts.


I think you hit on the most important part of searching for love. People really don't know what they want. When presented with a list of checkboxes during signup they think they can be super specific and narrow in their search. The reality is a perfect match doesn't exist. As you said its about acceptance.


The punchline to our story is that even though Tracy is 4'11" she had her minimum height set at 5'8". She was the one who made the initial contact which means that if I hadn't changed my height we most likely wouldn't have met.


Scott Birnbaum


———————————————————————————-


From: John David Souther
Subject: Re: Mailbag


Bob,


So many things and so little time…or variations of that. Glenn Frey was my first songwriting partner and best friend when we were puppies in LA before we had ten bucks between us. He had more drive, more groove, was more trouble, funnier, musically on the money, more curious, and the very best at The Big Joke that I’ve ever met.


And then he started Eagles. And then he married "…my dream girl, Cindy”. This guy left a big, wide, beautiful path that musicians have been traveling for over 40 years.


We all have a lot to thank him for. I love him.

JD Souther


———————————————————————————-


Subject: Re: "Someone Else" Emitt Rhodes


Thanks for the heads up and the memories of Emitt Rhodes. Fresh as a Daisy, a song for me and my first "real" girlfriend. I still think of you, at times, Donna. I hope life has treated you well, wherever you are.


———————————————————————————-


From: Tom Rush
Subject: Re: John Oliver Wins The Online Derby


Of course we can put a man on the sun, dummy! Yeah, it’s wicked hot, so that’s why we’ll go at NIGHT!
——

—————————————————————————-


From: Tom Overby
Re: Dust/Spotify/Lucinda


BOB—MEANT TO REPLY SOONER, BUT WE JUST STARTED AND EIGHT WEEK TOUR, SO IT TOOK ME SOME TIME FIRST JUST WANTED TO SAY THANKS SO MUCH FOR THE RECOGNITION OF LUCINDA’S SONG, DUST. IT IS A SPECIAL SONG ON A SPECIAL RECORD AND IT IS APPRECIATED. I HAVE BEEN READING YOUR NEWSLETTER/BLOG FROM THE BEGINNING-ABOUT 20 YEARS NOW GIVE OR TAKE. I HAVE OF COURSE OFTEN READ YOUR PASSIONATE VIEWS ON SPOTIFY AND NOW IT’S HERE ON MY DOORSTEP, SO NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT. I AM TYPING IN CAPS, NOT BECAUE I AM SHOUTING, BUT ONLY TO DIFFERENTIATE MY RESPONSES BELOW, AS I DECIDED THE BEST WAY TO RESPOND WAS POINT BY POINT. PLEASE DO NOT TAKE ANYTHING SAID BELOW AS A PERSONAL ATTACK OR MALICIOUS IN ANY WAY. A LITTLE SARCASM MAY SHOW HERE AND THERE BUT THAT’S JUST ME.


The irony is I discovered this on my Spotify Discover Weekly playlist.


Do you worship at the altar of guitar gods? Do you like nothing more than to stand in front of the mirror playing air guitar as geniuses wail? Do you like to drive with the top down or the window open, with your hair blown back as picking emanates from the car stereo?


Then you're gonna love "Dust.”


The Rough Trade LP built Lucinda Williams's reputation, deservedly so.


THE ROUGH TRADE OPENED THE DOOR FOR HER BUT MOST PEOPLE WOULD POINT TO CAR WHEELS AS THE ONE THAT BROKE HER NATIONAL -AT THE TENDER AGE OF 45


But at this point the hype has exceeded my interest. All the press stories on her new album…bounced right off of me.


BOB, PLEASE DEFINE HYPE, IS IT BECAUSE YOU THINK IT’S ALL BOUGHT AND SOLD? MAYBE SOME OF THE A-LIST ARTISTS CAN MANIPULATE THE MEDIA TO GET FAVORABLE COVERAGE, BUT NOT IN OUR WORLD. WHEN YOU DO SOMETHING AT A CONSISTENTLY HIGH LEVEL FOR 35+ YEARS AND CONTINUE TO RAISE THE BAR, AS SHE’S BEEN GIVEN CREDIT FOR ON THIS RECORD, IT’S NOT HYPE. IT’S TALENT AND EXCELLENCE AND BEING RECOGNIZED FOR THAT.


That's what the old school focuses on, press. And record reviews. But the truth is your goal is to get people to hear your music, that's your only goal. And print won't do it, it'll only make those already addicted aware, and if you're relying on print to reach these people I feel sorry for you. You want the e-mail address of each one of your fans, you want to keep in constant contact with them via Facebook, Twitter, whichever social media platform you prefer.


THIS IS NOT A NEW RANT OF YOURS, I HAVE READ OVER AND OVER ABOUT YOU SAYING THAT THE “OLD SCHOOL” FOCUSES ON PRINT. THAT IS JUST A DEAD WRONG ASSUMPTION. I THINK THIS IS WHERE YOUR LACK OF FIRST HAND EXPERIENCE OF WHAT REALLY HAPPENS FOR THE 95% IN THIS BUSINESS IS EXPOSED. MORE SPECIFICALLY, I’VE ALWAYS THOUGHT YOU HAVE A BLIND SPOT FOR THE “MIDDLE CLASS” ARTISTS. YOU HAVE WRITTEN MUCH ABOUT THE 1% ARTISTS SUCH AS THE EAGLES, U2, TAYLOR SWIFT, ADELE ETC., OFTEN USING EXAMPLES THAT ONLY APPLY IN THEIR WORLDS. YOU HAVE ALSO OFFERED MUCH ADVICE FOR THE UP AND COMING ARTISTS, AN AREA WHERE YOU HAVE MADE SOME GOOD NO NONSENSE SUGGESTIONS. IRONICALLY MUCH OF WHAT YOU HAVE SUGGESTED TO THESE YOUNGER IS EXACTLY HOW ARTISTS SUCH AS LUCINDA HAVE PERSISTED AND BEAT THE ODDS. BASICALLY, DO THE WORK.
I AM TRYING TO STAY ON POINT SO LET ME BRING THIS BACK TO WHERE WE STARTED. TO SAY THAT WE MADE SOME KIND OF DECISION TO FOCUS ON PRINT IS COMPLETELY FALSE AND UTTERLY RIDICULOUS. IT ALSO IMPLIES THAT WE HAVE SOME KIND OF SPECIAL PILL THAT WE SEND OUT TO REVIEWERS–THAT MAGICALLY DELICIOUSLY MAKES THEM WRITE GLOWING REVIEWS. MAYBE THAT’S WHY YOU THINK EVERYTHING THAT’S WRITTEN IS HYPE. HERE’S HOW IT REALLY WORKS. WE HAVE A PUBLICIST AND WHEN WE GET THE FINISHED RECORD MADE WE SEND THEM OUT VIA DIGITAL FILES OR ADVANCE CD’S. AND WHO EVER WE SEND THEM OUT TO HAS THE CHOICE OF WRITING ABOUT IT, POSITIVELY OR NEGATIVELY. OR NOT WRITING ABOUT IT AT ALL.
THE TRUTH IS THAT ON THIS RECORD WE WEREN’T SURE WERE WE WERE GOING TO GET MUCH PRESS BECAUSE THIS RECORD ONLY FOLLOWED THE LAST ONE BY 16 MONTHS. SHE HAD SOME SIGNIFICANT PRESS ON THE LAST ONE SO WE THOUGHT WE MAY BE COMING BACK TOO SOON. WHEN WE SENT THE RECORD OUT PEOPLE RESPONDED VERY POSITIVE AND WANTED TO WRITE ABOUT IT.
I MAKE SOCIAL MEDIA ONE OF MY MAIN FOCUSES. I HAVE AN EXCELLENT SOCIAL MEDIA PERSON WHO I WORK VERY CLOSELY WITH- ESPECIALLY ON THIS LATEST RECORD BECAUSE WE REALLY BELIEVED THAT WAS WHERE OUR FOCUS NEEDED TO BE. BUT OBVIOUSLY WE FAILED BECAUSE YOU READ ABOUT IT IN PRINT. I GUESS HERE IS WHERE I WOULD ASK- IF PRINT MEDIA IS ALL JUST WORTHLESS HYPE WHY DO YOU STILL READ IT. AND FRANKLY I’M NOT EVEN SURE WHERE YOU SAW SO MUCH PRINT– MOST OF OUR PRINT WAS IN MUSIC MAGS THAT I WOULDN’T IMAGINE YOU WOULD BOTHER WITH. DESPITE THIS BEING HER 6TH STRAIGHT RECORD TO DEBUT IN BILLBOARD’S TOP 15 ALBUM CHART (YES I SAW YOU POST ABOUT BILLBOARD FROM EARLIER) THE NY TIMES AND LA TIMES AND MOST OTHER MAJOR MARKET NEWSPAPERS DIDN’T WRITE A SINGLE WORD. YOU’D THINK AN ARTIST OF HER CALIBER COULD AT LEAST GET A PARAGRAPH IN THE NEW RELEASES SECTION. INSTEAD THE LA TIMES WRITES A FULL STORY ABOUT HOW LAURYN HILL SHOWS UP THREE HOURS LATE FOR HER SHOW AND WAS TERRIBLE. WE’VE NEVER HEARD
THAT BEFORE. SEE, I’M JADED JUST LIKE YOU. I HOPE THAT DOESN’T SOUND BITTER, BECAUSE I’M NOT AT ALL, LUCINDA IS FORTUNATE TO GET THE GREAT PRESS SHE DOES, AND WE ARE ALWAYS GRATEFUL FOR THAT. THERE IS A LOT OF NOISE OUT THERE COMPETING FOR ATTENTION AND LIKE IT OR NOT ARTISTS LIKE HER DO GET TAKEN FOR GRANTED AT TIMES. BEING AWARE OF THOSE THINGS WE'LL TAKE EVERY FREAKING THING WE CAN GET.
TO ANSWER THE SECOND PART OF YOUR QUESTION, WHICH I TOUCHED ON ABOVE, OUR FOCUS IS OUR SOCIAL MEDIA BECAUSE THAT IS THERE EVERYDAY, NOT JUST WHEN ALBUM CYCLES HAPPEN. AND BOTH MYSELF AND OUR SOCIAL MEDIA PERSON MONITOR ALL OF OUR DIFFERENT SITES ALMOST EVERY DAY. I PERSONALLY GO ON OUR SITES AND ANSWER QUESTIONS, AND ENGAGE WITH THE FANS AS MUCH AS I CAN. THAT’S WHAT OUR FOCUS IS ON.

As for the rest of us… We stumble upon your tunes. If you're already a known name we're immune to the ravings of our friends, who've overburdened us with accolades already. We're always open to greatness, it's just a matter of matching the desire with the artwork.
SO YOU’RE SAYING THAT IF A FRIEND OF YOURS WHOSE CARES ENOUGH ABOUT A RECORD TO TELL YOU ABOUT IT, YOU DISMISS IT OUT OF HAND? TO ME THAT’S THE FUN OF BEING A RECORD NERD-THAT “HEY MAN, WHAT YOU BEEN LISTENING TO LATELY?” QUESTION. I HAPPEN TO TRUST MY FRIENDS A LOT MORE THAN A BOT.


You know it when you hear it.


And I knew it when I heard "Dust.”


It swings, from the opening notes, the call and response of the two guitarists, you're immediately hooked, you find yourself nodding your head, even though this is the first time you've ever heard it.


We live in a world where the "hits" get all the attention, the toppermost of the poppermost on the radio. And some of those tracks are great confections, but if you make music just a bit outside the format you get no airplay, people are unaware of you, but that does not mean they don't hunger for what you're offering.


I've got no idea what Bill Frisell looks like, nor Greg Leisz either. But I can hear the years of practice, the honing of their chops, and their interplay is reminiscent of Duane and Derek on that double album so long ago. A lot slower, with even more soul. I'm sure Eric would love to participate.


Actually, Greg Leisz played in Clapton's band, got to give Slowhand credit.
YOU ARE SPOT ON ABOUT YEARS OF PRACTICE AND HONING CHOPS. BEING ABLE TO WATCH THEM WORK TOGETHER IN THE STUDIO WITH LU’S BAND WAS ABSOLUTE MAGIC.


But Eric hasn't riveted me this way recently.


"Dust" is otherworldly, hypnotic, you can hear the Americana roots, but the track is not burdened by that moniker. It's just music. Made by people who put sound first, as opposed to revenue.

NO ONE HAS EVER KNOW WHAT CATEGORY TO PUT HER IN, HER ROOTS ARE HER ROOTS BUT YOU’RE RIGHT, SHE JUST PLAYS MUSIC. ANYONE WHO WANTS TO ACTUALLY LISTEN TO HER PAST RECORDS CAN LISTEN ON SPOTIFY, BECAUSE ALL OF HER UNIVERSAL CATLOG IS THERE.
AND YES, YOU’RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT -WE DID AND ALWAYS WILL PUT HER SONGS AND THE MUSIC/SOUND FIRST. AND BY THE WAY THIS TRACK IS ONE LIVE TAKE IN THE STUDIO. THE WHOLE ALBUM WAS DONE THAT WAY.


And there ain't gonna be much revenue if Lucinda continues to march forward with one hand behind her back.


PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE EXPLAIN TO ME WHERE THE REVENUE IS -I KEEP ASKING AND NO ONE CAN TELL ME WHERE THE END OF THE RAINBOW IS. TO ME IT’S VERY SIMPLE BUSINESS-THE UPSIDE, WHICH TO ME REMAINS NEBULOUS, DOESN’T OUTWEIGH THE DOWNSIDE, WHICH IS CURRENTLY NOT AS NEBULOUS. IF THE UPSIDE IS DISCOVERY, AS YOU SEEM TO BE SAYING, SHE HAS 10+ CATALOG RECORDS AND THE SINGLES FROM THE LAST TWO RECORDS ON SPOTIFY.
THE DOWNSIDE -BEYOND THE CANNIBALIZED SALES, AND I’VE YET TO SEE ANY TANGIBLE EVIDENCE THAT SPOTIFY DRIVES SALES.


HERE’S ANOTHER EXAMPLE, LUCINDA HAD HER SONG, CHANGE THE LOCKS, PLAYED IN AN IMPACT SCENE ON THE TV SHOW THE AFFAIR, AND IN THE NEXT WEEK WE HAD SOMETHING LIKE 15,000 DOWNLOADS-HOW MUCH OF THAT WOULD I HAVE LOST IF IT WAS ON SPOTIFY? AND THAT WASN’T THE ONLY SONG THAT SHE HAD ON TV RECENTLY. IN REGARDS TO OVERALL SALES, IN THE U.S. HER LAST RECORD, DOWN WHERE THE SPIRIT MEETS THE BONE WILL BE EQUAL TO HER LAST UNIVERSAL RECORD AND DID GREAT IN THE REST OF THE WORLD. THAT WAS A THREE YEAR SPAN IN WHICH THE OVERALL INDUSTRY WAS DOWN, WHAT 30%? AND WE’RE FLAT, SO YOU CALL THAT A 30% LIFT. THE NEW RECORD JUST CHARTED IN 10 COUNTRIES OUTSIDE THE US, EASILY THE MOST SHE’S EVER HAD. AND BECAUSE WE NOW OWN HER MASTERS AND HER PUBLISHING OUR REVENUE IS SOLID. I THINK WE’RE DOING PRETTY GOOD.


Yes, I laud her publicity campaign, however meaningless. But keeping her album off Spotify? Why? When you can stream on YouTube, steal from Russia… Why are musicians so ignorant, I understand they're financially challenged, but anybody who knows anything about today's music business knows that availability is key, you've got to make it easy, if you put money first you're demonstrating short term thinking, there's plenty of dough for those who connect.


UP ABOVE YOU JUST MENTIONED THAT RECORD SOUNDED LIKE IT WAS MADE WITH SOUND FIRST, REVENUE SECOND. BUT IF I THINK ABOUT MONEY AND KEEPING A BUSINESS MOVING FORWARD I’M A SHORT TERM THINKER? SO BE IT. BUT IN THE LONG TERM I STILL HAVE TO PAY THE FOR THOSE GREAT MUSICIANS AND THE STUDIO AND THE GREAT ENGINEERS THAT MAKE IT SOUND GREAT. YEP, THIS JUST IN, RECORDS COST MONEY TO MAKE, MAYBE NOT AS MUCH AS THEY USED TO BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY YOU STILL GOTTA WRITE THOSE CHECKS. IGNORANT? NOT HARDLY. I’M IGNORANT TO DRINK THE SPOTIFY KOOL-AID. THE SPOTIFY DOUGH WOULDN’T PAY FOR THE GAS TO DRIVE TO THE STUDIO.


DO YOU KNOW HOW FEW CD’S/DOWNLOADS TO MAKE UP FOR THE “LOST” SPOTIFY REVENUE.
PRESS IS BAD AWARENESS BUT GIVING AWAY YOUR MUSIC FOR VIRTUALLY NOTHING IS GOOD AWARENESS? GOT IT. WHY IS IT EVERYONE WHO WANTS TO STAND UP AND CALL US STUPID LUDDITES HAS A VESTED INTEREST IS SEEING SPOTIFY WORK? I MEAN COME ON, YOU GET YOUR MUSIC FOR NOTHING AND SPOTIFY GETS A BIG VALUATION AND IPO. US DUMBASSES GET A CHECK EVERY MONTH FOR 27 CENTS. BETTER GET THAT TO THE BANK BEFORE IT BOUNCES.
AND SPEAKING OF DOUGH, I HAVEN’T EVEN MENTIONED DAVID LOWERY’S LAWSUIT. IT SEEMS HE HASN’T BEEN GETTING PAID FOR THE USE OF HIS COPYRIGHTS BECAUSE SPOTIFY DELEGATED THE JOB OF PAYING MECHANICAL ROYALTIES TO THE HARRY FOX AGENCY, WHO IS RUNNING SEVERAL YEARS BEHIND. SPOTIFY HAS YET TO ADDRESS THE CONCERNS OF THE INDEPENDENT PUBLISHING COMMUNITY ENSURING THAT THESE PAYMENTS ARE MADE TO THE ARTISTS/WRITERS WHO DEPEND ON THEM FOR THEIR LIVELIHOOD. THEY ARE LEGALLY BOUND TO DO SO, AND UNTIL THEY DO THAT IT IS JUST ANOTHER REASON WHY I CHOOSE TO SIT ON THE SIDELINE.

I immediately wanted to hear more.


AMAZON HAS THE DOWNLOAD, AND PREVIEWS EVERY TRACK.


I could find only one more track from the album "The Ghosts of Highway 20" on Spotify. I certainly wasn't going to buy a CD, where would I play it? As for iTunes… If you employ the abomination known as Apple Music you will never buy from the iTunes Store ever again, they changed all the artwork I meticulously culled for years, the interface sucks and I find it even harder to find my files and hear them. I'm sold on streaming. But it's not only me, even Kanye said he was done with the CD.


AND KANYE’S LIKE 53 MILLION IN DEBT -YEAH I WANT TO GET BUSINESS ADVICE FROM HIM


But not Lucinda Williams, listening in the echo chamber of the bitching musicians who think Spotify is the enemy, not knowing it eradicated piracy and that most of the payment stories are flawed, from uninformed nobodies nattering on about that which they do not know.


NO BOB, YOU ARE WRONG, THE STORIES ARE RIGHT, WE GET THE STATEMENTS. THE NUMBERS ARE COMPLETELY ACCURATE. AND YES IT’S PENNIES. WE ALL KNOW EXACTLY WHAT THE TRUTH IS.


Sure, I'd love it if everybody paid for streaming music.


AND THE ARTISTS STILL WOULDN’T GET THEIR FARE SHARE OF IT. ESPECIALLY ONCE SPOTIFY GOES PUBLIC, DO YOU THINK THEY ARE GOING TO PAY OUT ONE PENNY MORE THAN FEDERAL ROYALTY REGULATIONS. I MEAN LET’S FACE IT THERE IS A DIRTY LITTLE SECRET HERE THAT NO ONE WANTS TO TALK MUCH ABOUT. THE MAJOR LABELS WERE ALL GIVEN MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF STOCK (AND OF COURSE CASH) FOR THE RIGHTS TO THEIR CATALOGS. THIS IS ALL REALLY ABOUT A MASSIVE IPO NO ONE IS SHARING WITH THE ARTISTS ON WHOSE BACK THIS WAS BUILT. TO ANSWER THE QUESTION THAT SPOTIFY STOPPED PIRACY. NO THEY DIDN’T, YOU YOURSELF MENTION RUSSIA ABOVE. AND FRANKLY, I’M NOT COMPLETELY SURE WHICH IS WORSE, SOME KIDS PIRATING SOME MUSIC FOR THEIR OWN ENJOYMENT (SOMETIMES) OR PEOPLE GETTING FILTHY RICH OFF THAT SAME MUSIC AND AT THE SAME TIME TELLING YOU HOW GREAT IT IS FOR YOU. KEEP THOSE CHECKS COMING, HAPPY DAY ARE HERE AGAIN-WOO HOO.


But we're in the midst of an evolution, we're switching from free to payment, and if you think that occurs overnight you probably know no one still using a flip-phone, all these years after the smartphone.


GREAT, WHEN IT MAKES SENSE I WILL BE ALL IN. BUT I CAN’T RUN MUCH OF A RACE IF I SHOOT MY FOOT OFF TODAY.


Worse, Lucinda's new album isn't even listed in the discography on her own damn website. Huh? This is the downside of doing it yourself, things slip through the cracks.


YEAH -YOU GOT ME ON THIS ONE. EMBARRASSING. OUR WEBSITE SUCKS AND WE’RE IN THE PROCESS OF CHANGING IT. IF NOT HAVING HER RECORD IN THE DISCOGRAPHY IS THE WORST THING TO SLIP THRU THE CRACKS, I CAN LIVE WITH IT -PROBABLY BECAUSE EVERYONE GOES TO ALLMUSIC FOR THAT ANYWAY. AND MY OTHER POINT HERE IS THIS -YOU HAVE SAID MANY MANY TIMES “DON’T SIGN WITH A MAJOR LABEL”. WELL IF YOU’RE NOT DIY YOU’RE ON A MAJOR. AND IF YOU’RE DIY WHERE DOES THE REVENUE COME FROM TO SUPPORT A STAFF SO THINGS DON’T SLIP THRU THE CRACKS. DO YOU THINK ALL MILLIONS WE SUPPOSEDLY MAKE FROM TOURING (NOT) COVERS ALL THE INFRASTRUCTURE I’M SUPPOSED TO HAVE AS A DIY’ER? THE ECONOMICS OF TOURING IS A SEPARATE CHALLENGE, AND IN NO WAY CAN COVER ALL THE ILLS OF THE REST OF THE BUSINESS. NOT FOR US ANYWAY.


Like this track. Released in advance of the album, as if anybody wants to salivate for months over the new music of someone who's been around for decades. Funny how the youngsters drop it all right now, unannounced, and the oldsters are still building awareness.


THAT STATEMENT IS COMPLETELY INACCURATE. 1) IT’S THE BEY BEY'S WHO ARE DROPPING ALBUMS UNANNOUNCED- BECAUSE THEY CAN AFFORD TO. BEY BEY HAS MORE MONEY THAN WELLS FARGO. ONE YOUR BEST TRICKS IS ALWAYS TO POINT TO THE EXCEPTIONS AND THINK THAT THAT’S WHAT'S SUPPOSED TO WORK FOR EVERYONE. DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY.
YOU OFTEN LIKE TO OFFER UP BROAD BRUSH SOLUTIONS, MOST OF WHICH ONLY APPLY TO THE 1% ARTISTS. DO YOU REALLY THINK IF I DON’T TELL HER FANS THAT THE RECORD IS COMING, REFUSE ALL AND JUST PUT IT ON SPOTIFY, I WILL HAVE ALL OF THIS NEW SUCCESS -AND BE ROLLING IN THE DOUGH. WOW, IF IT WERE ONLY THAT EASY. THE CONSIDERATIONS AND DEMOGRAPHICS ARE DIFFERENT FOR EVERY ARTIST. LUCINDA’S FANBASE STILL BUYS CD’S -HERE ARE THE NUMBERS:


ROUGH TRADE REISSUE (RELEASED 1/14) CD: 68% —DIGITAL: 22% —VINYL: 10%
DOWN WHERE SPIRIT MEETS BONE (9/14) CD: 70% —DIGITAL: 25% —VINYL: 5% (TRIPLE VINYL)
GHOSTS OF HWY 20 (RELEASED 2/15) CD: 68% —DIGITAL: 26% —VINYL: 6% (DOUBLE VINYL)


AND I CAN TELL YOU THAT ON THE LAST TWO OR THREE RECORDS BEFORE THESE, THE NUMBERS REMAIN VERY SIMILAR TO THESE, SO OVER THE LAST SEVEN YEARS, LUCINDA’S DEMOGRAPHIC HAS BEEN VERY CONSISTENT. 75% WANT PHYSICAL. OVER THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS I HAVE HAD LESS THAN 10 FANS ASK WHY LUCINDA ISN’T ON SPOTIFY AND WHEN I EXPLAIN IT TO THEM THEY ARE VERY SURPRISED TO LEARN THE FACTS, AND ONCE THEY UNDERSTAND THOSE THEY HAVE NO COMPLAINTS ABOUT BUYING THE RECORD. THOSE RECORDS SELL AT INDEPENDENT RECORD STORES AND AMAZON. LUCINDA’S LAST FOUR OR FIVE RECORDS HAVE DEBUTED #1 AT INDEPENDENT RETAIL AND IN THE TOP 5 AT AMAZON. THOSE ARE PRETTY MUCH THE OPTIONS THESE DAYS AS A CERTAIN LARGE RETAILER DOES NOT SEE AN ARTIST LIKE LUCINDA AS BIG ENOUGH FOR THEIR NATIONAL CIRCULAR, EVEN THOUGH AS I MENTIONED ELSEWHERE SHE HAS HAD 5 STRAIGHT TOP 15 DEBUTS. I SHOULD BE FAIR AND ADD THAT THEY WILL “CONSIDER IT” IF YOU PRACTICALLY GIVE THEM THE RECORDS FOR NOTHING. IF IT SOUNDS LIKE I’M BITCHING,
I’M REALLY NOT, I PLAY THE HAND THAT IS DEALT TO ME THE BEST I CAN. WHAT I AM TRYING TO DO IS EXPLAIN THE MYRIAD OF CHALLENGES THAT FACE THE ESTABLISHED BUT NOT SUPERSTAR ARTISTS.
BY THE WAY, INDEPENDENT STORES HAVE STRONGLY SUPPORTED LUCINDA FOR 35 YEARS, THEY ARE IMPORTANT TO THEIR COMMUNITIES, THEY ARE VERY IMPORTANT TO OUR BUSINESS. I THINK WE ALL SEE EACH OTHER AS SURVIVORS.
THE WAY I SEE IT SPOTIFY AND THE LIKE ERODE THE ENTIRE FOODCHAIN (I HATE WORDS LIKE THAT BUT DON’T HAVE A BETTER ONE) OF OUR BUSINESS, IF ARTISTS CAN’T EXPECT TO GET ANY RETURN FOR THEIR RECORDED WORK THAT FOODCHAIN DIES. AND BY FOODCHAIN, I MEAN FROM BOTTOM TO TOP, FROM THAT JUNIOR ENGINEER WHO IS LEARNING THE ROPES TO BE THE NEXT GREAT ONE, UP THRU THE PEOPLE WHO WORK AT THE MANUFACTURING PLANTS AND ON UP THRU THE RETAILERS. WE NEED THEM AND I SLEEP WELL AT NIGHT KNOWING THAT I AM STILL ABLE TO PARTICIPATE IN SOMETHING THAT CONTRIBUTES TO KEEPING THAT FOODCHAIN GOING.


Screw awareness, give me LISTENING!


PUT DOWN THAT NEWSPAPER AND GET ON OUR FACEBOOK PAGE. WE PREVIEWED THE ENTIRE ALBUM ONE SONG A DAY UP TO RELEASE DAY WITH A BEHIND THE SCENES BACKGROUND BLOG ABOUT EACH INDIVIDUAL SONG EACH DAY. PEOPLE LOVED IT AND WE HIT A REACH OF CLOSE TO 1,500,000 JUST ON THOSE POSTS OVER THAT TWO WEEK PERIOD -SO EVERYONE GOT TO HEAR THE ENTIRE ALBUM BEFORE THEY BOUGHT IT. IN FACT I THINK THEY ARE STILL UP THERE FOR ANBODY TO HEAR AND READ. OH YEAH WE ALSO GAVE AWAY A FREE DOWNLOAD OF DUST ABOUT A MONTH IN ADVANCE -AND THEN FOLLOWED THAT UP WITH TWO MORE. SO YOU HAD ANY NUMBER OF CHANCES TO LISTEN, BUT YOU WANT IT ONLY THE WAY YOU WANT IT, HANDED TO YOU ON A SILVER PLATTER AND FOR FREE.


And I won't say that every track I hear on Discover Weekly floats my boat. But every week there are one or two, that make me happy, that titillate my soul.


And if it weren't for that playlist I probably never would have heard "Dust," and my life would be poorer for it. And it intrigues me, I want to hear the rest of the album, but if you think I'm gonna pay for it sight unseen you're living in the last century.


1) NOT EXACTLY SIGHT UNSEEN OR UNHEARD. AFTER YOU HEARD DUST YOU COULD GO ANY NUMBER OF PLACES (ALLMUSIC, AMAZON, ITUNES ETC.) AND HEAR ANYWHERE FROM :30 TO 1:30 OF EACH SONG -YOU CAN BUY THEM ONE BY ONE FOR .99 CENTS, MITIGATING YOUR RISK. 2) YOU IGNORE POSITIVE REVIEWS AS HYPE -THAT’S YOUR OWN JADED FILTER 3) BOB, YOU LIVE IN SANTA MONICA WHERE A 1 BEDROOM SHACK COSTS 1 MIL OR MORE, YOU GO TO ASPEN ON A REGULAR BASIS, YOU TRAVEL ALL OVER THE WORLD EATING AT THE BEST RESTAURANTS, BUT TAKING A BIG CHANCE A SPENDING 9.99 ON MUSIC IS JUST TOO RISKY? THAT’S WHAT A GLASS OF CHEAP CAB COSTS IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD BAR. LET’S NOT LOSE SIGHT THAT THE MUSIC INDUSTRY GIVES YOU A VOICE WITH YOUR BLOG/NEWLETTER. NOT TO TAKE ANYTHING AWAY FROM WHAT YOU’VE BUILT, BUT WHAT DO YOU GIVE BACK? EVERYBODY WANTS SOMETHING FOR NOTHING. WHY DOES THIS INDUSTRY HAVE TO EXPECT IT’S CREATIONS HAVE TO BE GIVEN AWAY? AND THEN WE’RE CALLED GREEDY WHEN WE WANT TO TELL OUR SIDE OF THE STORY. AWESOME.


So let this be a warning, stop being your own worst enemy. Either get with the program, embrace the future, or be left behind.


LEAVE ME BEHIND, THANKS. WE’RE DOING SOLID BUSINESS NOW. HERE’S ONE PART OF THE FUTURE: 1) OWN YOUR MASTERS 2) OWN YOUR PUBLISHING 3) DO THE WORK -TOUR ETC. 4) ENGAGE, EMBRACE AND FOR F%$# SAKE APPRECIATE YOUR FANS-YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO THEM 4) DO THE WORK -NO SHORTCUTS -EVEN AFTER 35 YEARS


If only someone under thirty was helping Lucinda Williams out. If only people under thirty could hear this. They'd be stunned at the musicality, at the ability of oldsters to create something new out of thin air.
AGE HAS NOTHING TO DO IT. JUST LIKE THE MAKING OF MUSIC, IDEAS AND INNOVATION CAN COME OUT OF THIN AIR IF YOU ARE SO INCLINED. I KEEP UP ON THE LANDSCAPE OF THIS INDUSTRY AS MUCH AS ANYONE, AND AM WELL AWARE OF WHAT OTHERS ARE DOING. I THINK MY EXPERIENCE IN THE BUSINESS SUITS ME WELL AND GIVES ME PERSPECTIVE THAT SOME 29 YEAR OLD COULD NEVER HAVE.


Listen to "Dust." It'll set your mind adrift. It'll give you hope. It'll make you believe that music is fine, even if the business is still screwed up.
THANKS AGAIN -IN THIS DAY AND AGE GIVING HOPE IS THE HIGHEST COMPLIMENT. I GET LETTERS EVERY WEEK FROM FANS SAYING THAT EXACT THING. THEY ARE AMAZING TO READ. MORE THAN ANYTHING THAT OVERRIDES THE MESSED UP BUSINESS SIDE. I KNOW I’VE ALREADY GONE ON WAY TOO LONG, BUT I HAVE TO TELL YOU STORY THAT JUST HAPPENED LAST WEEK AT UCLA’S ROYCE HALL SHOW. A FAN’S FRIEND EMAILED AND SAID THAT HIS FRIEND WAS A HUGE LUCINDA FAN AND THAT HE WAS SUPPOSED TO HAVE A SERIOUS SURGERY, BUT AGAINST DOCTOR’S ORDERS HE HAD TO SEE LUCINDA ONE MORE TIME IN CASE IT WAS THE LAST TIME. I EMAILED THE FRIEND BACK AND SAID WE WILL LEAVE AFTER SHOW PASSES FOR YOUR FRIEND. HE FREAKED OUT AND GOT AHOLD OF HIS FRIEND. HE CAME BACK AFTER THE SHOW AND HAD A GREAT CONVERSATION WITH LU- HE GOT TO TELL HER HOW MUCH HER MUSIC MEANT TO HIM. IT TURNED OUT HE WAS A REGARDED PSYCHOTHERAPIST. THAT, MY FRIEND, IS THE REAL REWARD.


P.S. I own no stock in Spotify, I receive no remuneration from the company. But I've got to applaud an enterprise that cut down piracy and put all the world's music in one place for one low price. As for its free tier… You can't be much of a music fan if you employ it. You can't pick what you want to hear on your mobile device, and we live in a mobile world of instant access. We just want to know what to listen to. And it turns out that Spotify's algorithm is better than Apple's hand curation, the same way Amazon's recommendation algorithms are better than the human recommenders the company used to employ. That's right, more books were sold by algorithmic recommendation than by human recommendation. Amazon fired all the humans. But we need humans to create art, to play music, and "Dust" demonstrates so much humanity, if only Lucinda and Tom would employ the new means of getting the word out.

I’M SURE THERE WILL BE THOSE WHO WILL SAY I’M WHINING, AND PROBABLY WHACKED SOME BEEHIVES IN THE PROCESS BUT I WAS JUST TRYING TO GIVE AN ACCURATE PERSPECTIVE OF THE BATTLEFIELD AND THE CORRESPONDING CHALLENGES. WE’VE GOT A GREAT SITUATION OVERALL WE ARE EXTREMELY FORTUNATE. SHE HAS AMAZING FANS, WE HAVE A FANTASTIC BAND. I DO BELIEVE WE ARE GETTING THE WORD OUT -ON OUR OWN TERMS. TO ME THE SPOTIFY WAY RIGHT NOW JUST HS MORE DOWNSIDE THAN UP. AND I’M NOT SUCH AN OLD SCHOOL LUDDITE THAT I WON’T TAKE THE MEETING. I WAS GOING TO MEET WITH THE SPOTIFY PEOPLE A YEAR OR SO AGO. IT WAS BEING SET UP BY OUR THEN BUSINESS MGR WHO UNEXPECTEDLY PASSED AWAY SO IT NEVER HAPPENED. I HAVE ANOTHER FRIEND WHO WANTS ME TO SIT DOWN WITH APPLE WHICH I HOPE TO DO WHEN WE FINISH THIS TOUR AND GET BACK TO LA. I ALWAYS TAKE THE MEETING. I LEARNED FROM SOME GREAT PEOPLE IN THIS BUSINESS, WHICH I CONTINUE TO LOVE EVEN THOUGH IT IS FUCKED UP. I STARTED WORKING IN RECORD STORES WHEN I WAS 15 AND
IT’S ALL I’VE EVER DONE AND CAN’T IMAGINE DOING ANYTHING ELSE. I KNOW YOU HAVE THE SAME PASSION FOR MUSIC THAT I HAVE. AND THANKS FOR YOUR CONCERN ABOUT OUR BUSINESS, I WILL TAKE IT THAT YOU MEAN WELL.


ALL THE BEST,
TOM OVERBY
HELLO CLEVELAND MGMT (LUCINDA WILLIAMS, BUICK 6)