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Op-Ed: Publicity Is Worthless – By Bob Lefsetz

Could anyone have been plastered over the mainstream press more than Sheryl Crow? She even made the cover of "Parade," talking about her home life.

But nobody wants to listen to her new album, on Spotify not a single cut has exceeded one million plays, which means if she's counting on streaming revenue to pay her bills…she might be able to buy a hamburger.

Meanwhile, someone e-mailed me about this track by this act Russ, "Losin' Control," an act you've probably never heard of, and it's got 63,982,611 streams, another cut, "What They Want," has 98,875,488, and the most any cut from Crow's album "Be Myself" has is the 649,847 for "Halfway There," and two more cuts have broken six digits, barely, but the rest are in five.

How about Bob Dylan's "Triplicate," his covers of classics that we had to read about endlessly. Well, on Spotify they've just got a sampler, ten tracks instead of the entire package, but not a single cut has been streamed a million times either, although all are in six digits, albeit in most cases low six digits.

What is going on here?

People are ignoring the hype, if they even see it at all. They know that's what it is.

And old fans are just not that interested in new material by people who've burned them so much in the past. For all the people trumpeting Dylan's later work, there are zillions who are saying NO MAS, who just don't get it, as for Crow, she hit the jackpot but then she went in search of coin, jumped to pop and country and no one's quite sure what she stands for anymore, although people will still go to see both acts live to hear the hits of yore, that accompanied their upbringing.

Turns out it takes a lot to get people to click to stream, even though it may not take a train to cry. That jump from printed page, even from webpage, to Spotify, is gigantic. Forget the initial sales burst, the idiotic Top Ten you see in the newspaper based on rabid fans going out and buying CDs, the truth is most new projects by old acts disappear immediately.

Deservedly so?

I'll let you decide.