Op Ed: Aspen-Day Two – Bob Lefsetz

Stay in school.

I've known John Boyle for seventeen years. I met him here in Aspen as a matter of fact. A Good Time Charlie, Boyle's bounced around the music business for decades. Running college tours, working for Irving, even managing Xzibit.

Then it all came to a crashing halt.

That's what happens in the music business. Despite having a hit managing Alien Ant Farm, despite being involved in Xzibit's TV show, the name of which I've already forgotten, illustrating the longevity of MTV hits, Boyle ran out of options.

So he went to business school.

And now he's a completely different person. He learned something, and now he's CFO of Insomniac, along with some touchy-feely title regarding business development, but that's not the point.

The point is… My number one piece of advice for you in your musical career is to stay in school. There is a Justin Bieber. But what does Miley Cyrus do now? All she's got is her fame, and hopefully a couple of bucks. You don't want to be her, you want to plan for the future.

And if you're going to college to get a career, I pity you. Everything you learn will become outdated. Broaden your horizons. Sure, get drunk and smoke some dope, but learn about the philosophers, learn how to think, and if you then want a career go to graduate school. As for the "New York Times" writing about everybody dropping out of college to go into tech… First and foremost, those kids drop out of the Ivies… Second, few succeed.

So today Boyle's a changed man. And he talked about EDM and the Electric Daisy Carnival.

You know why I think electronic lasts? And I'm not absolutely sure that it does… It's because it's got the values of the audience. Today's younger generations are all about being a member of the group. Baby boomers are about winning, about being stars. Gen Y and those even younger just want to be included. Furthermore, this music is theirs. Created by independent-minded people, it's not what old men believe young 'uns should listen to.

And the experience is spectacular.

It's a whole new world out there. Driven by data and technology. Andrew Dreskin of Ticketfly spoke after Boyle. He's all about social ticketing. The data is mindblowing. Just like Nate Silver revolutionized polling, geeks are gonna revolutionize ticketing. Dreskin knows where you bought the ticket, how you found out about the gig, Ticketfly is overflowing with data which you can use to sell more tickets.

But what people want to see most, what they want to go to most, is electronic.

Which has been around forever. Since Kraftwerk.

Philip Blaine told us the history of electronic music. Do you know it's called house because it originated in the WareHOUSE?! Yup, in Chicago. Then came Detroit techno. There's a lot of history here. And for all the music you say you can't listen to, there's tons you love. Like "Blue Monday." And Kraftwerk's "Computer World" ("Welt" in the German edition!) is one of the best records ever made. Just because you're overwhelmed with the plethora of productions today doesn't mean you can't become a convert tomorrow.

Yes, there's so much. And the show market is oversaturated in L.A. But there are growth opportunities elsewhere.

But festivals are the big kahuna.

And Las Vegas is the new Ibiza. The new destination. Where you go to listen to electronic music in the clubs in not only the Wynn, but the new room in the MGM, where they're laying down so much money that…deejays are guaranteed twenty million dollars.

So first and foremost with Electric Daisy there's a trailer… Actually, every Insomniac event has three videos. Advance, building the set and aftermath. You'd think bands would become hip to this. Marketing their essence via video. Instead, they're still wrapped up in the eighties MTV clip model. Sell it like a movie, MTV is history!

And Insomniac spends a fortune on these videos. They've got six full time people working in the studio.

And tickets sell out in advance, with no acts announced, via said trailers. There's essentially no advertising! Yup, YOU'RE buying ads in the newspaper, YOU'RE touting radio, and the most successful festival in America utilizes neither. It goes where the fans are, online, it lets the fans do the work.

Now one day all these fans might look at each other and say they're done. But for now, they're spreading the word. They want to go. They want their peeps to go. It's nothing like a traditional show. At Electric Daisy, as well as the other festivals, the audience is part of the event, it's the headliner, it's the SHOW!

That's why you dress up. That's why you put on your happy face. You're PERFORMING!

You think you want early success. You think you want it to be easy.

But the true winners function off the radar screen for years. They have wins and losses over decades.

Like John Boyle.