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OP-ED: Roundup – By Bob Lefsetz


From: Matt O
Subject: Thom Yorke tix avail a week after release?

14 US shows, 2 in california. A week after release there are still Thom Yorke tix available for the tiny Santa Barbara Bowl.
At first I thought it was a misprint. Turns out, you have to swipe the credit card you used to buy the tickets in order to get in to the show. Not a scalper in sight.



Whoa. Is scalping the new Internet bubble? In other words, what exactly IS the demand for tickets?

Could it be that there's been an artificial frenzy, of brokers buying up tickets creating fake shortages that fuel further buying just to get into the building and that demand is actually lower than perceived? In other words, is the perception different from the reality?

Miley Cyrus goes on tour and there's mass hysteria, parents complain they can't get their little girls in.

Miley goes on tour with paperless ticketing and there's no problem getting a seat.

Oh, maybe Miley's a has-been.

But Thom Yorke's credibility is as high as ever. Maybe it's not Radiohead, maybe people don't know who the act is… Then again, could a performer have more rabid fans?

I'm not saying Taylor Swift isn't selling out. Or Lady GaGa for that matter. But I'm questioning what the demand for shows really is. Even when there isn't paperless ticketing. Bon Jovi blew out tickets at 55% off in Kansas City:



How does a mercurial bastard who ignores conventional wisdom end up running a company bigger than Wal-Mart?

Isn't it funny. Today's acts are told by managers and agents and labels to sell out, quick, to do it just like everybody else, but the big winner, Steve Jobs, does it his own way, listens to nobody, doesn't license Apple's technology, prices his products high and makes you believe your life will be empty without them.

Steve Jobs is a rock star.

You remember rock stars, don't you? Those people beholden to no one, who wrote their own rules? Who created music totally different from what came before, which people flocked to?

And Apple is Warner/Reprise. The old company. Run by Mo Ostin. You know, the one where every band was good. Sure, the ultimate recording might not capture the magic, but if it was on Warner, it was worth checking out. There might be some duds, like Apple TV, but the winners made it all worth it.

When Steve Jobs does his keynote, I get up early to see what he has to say, I watch the endless presentation unspool, a condensation by some tech reporter just will not do. I want more. The same way I wanted to know everything about Led Zeppelin and had to go see the Who perform "Tommy" at the Fillmore East.

The rabidity has left music and entered tech.

And who do we have to blame?

The boomers. So inured to their lifestyles that they don't want change, they just want it the way it used to be. Overpriced CDs and concerts performed by bands who perfected their music on a spreadsheet.

Steve Jobs specializes in selling us what we didn't even know we wanted. Remember when the music business used to do this?


Just had a conversation with Marty Winsch, manager of Corey Smith. He said he doesn't consider giving away MP3s online as free. People are paying with their time.

What a concept. That's the one thing we just don't have enough of. The one thing that's precious. If people give you their time, you've got a chance of building a relationship.

If you ambush somebody with an unsolicited e-mail, you're just pissing them off.

Remember this.


I like Mario, I really do.

But he's toast.

TMZ killed him. One person can't compete with an army.

And now he's getting desperate. Evidencing the behavior of his generation. Promoting himself, begging to be a judge on the new "American Idol" or "X Factor".

It hasn't worked that way forever. Sure, you can line up to be in the audience for "The Price Is Right" and clamor to play, but if you're lucky you leave with a toaster, it's the producer who makes all the money.

People have to come to you. The Internet has allowed individuals to amplify their message, but that doesn't mean anybody's paying attention.


Don't pay too much attention to the Pink Floyd/EMI skirmish. That's not about albums, that's about money. As in how can the legendary band extricate its early albums from the clutches of its label.

The Internet unbundled the album, and no one can put Humpty Dumpty's pieces back together again.

But that doesn't mean we don't like the albums of the past.

Jake was telling me about seeing the Musical Box. You know, the Genesis tribute band

He went one night, and then had to go the second.

Tribute bands have been building for years. Now's the time to elevate the concept into the equivalent of a Broadway show.

They bring back "South Pacific", why not bring back "Sgt. Pepper", "Beggars Banquet", even "Rocket To Russia"?

It's the music that survives, unlike many of its makers.

License the rights from the original band or its heirs and tour it, playing a classic album from start to finish for a fair price, in the neighborhood of $40-$50.

Let's just canonize the music of yore and get it repeated endlessly. Shit, sell it as a series. There's no hype, no smoke and mirrors, it's not the original band, it's an experience, that mimics the original, that reminds you if you were there and clues you in if you were not.

Yup, we're gonna tour "Physical Graffiti". And "Aqualung".

Doesn't matter if the originals are still alive. Do they use the original performers when they restage a play on Broadway? No, they use younger performers.

It's the material, stupid.