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How come no one is calling Apple Music a disaster?

Forget the usability issues, all the industry hype about Beats 1. The truth is the public just doesn't care.

In case you missed the memo, Eddy Cue told "USA Today" that 11 million people signed up for an Apple Music subscription. Talk to Twitter, registered users is nearly irrelevant. Most people get caught up in the frenzy and abandon. How many will ultimately pay for Apple Music? A whole hell of a lot less than 11 million. And then where will that leave us?

In a broken recorded music world whose retardation rests squarely on the shoulders of Taylor Swift, David Byrne and the rest of the music-making agitators who believe they're just not getting a fair deal. These vocal players, many of them with anemic fanbases to begin with, have done an incredible job of turning off customers. If it were 1981, they'd be responsible for an I DON'T WANT MY MTV! campaign.

Bob Lefsetz, Santa Monica-based industry legend, is the author of the e-mail newsletter, "The Lefsetz Letter". Famous for being beholden to no one, and speaking the truth, Lefsetz addresses the issues that are at the core of the music business: downloading, copy protection, pricing and the music itself.

His intense brilliance captivates readers from Steven Tyler to Rick Nielsen to Bryan Adams to Quincy Jones to music business honchos like Michael Rapino, Randy Phillips, Don Ienner, Cliff Burnstein, Irving Azoff and Tom Freston.

Never boring, always entertaining, Mr. Lefsetz's insights are fueled by his stint as an entertainment business attorney, majordomo of Sanctuary Music's American division and consultancies to major labels.

Bob has been a weekly contributor to CelebrityAccess and Encore since 2001, and we plan many more years of partnership with him. While we here at CelebrityAccess and Encore do not necessarily agree with all of Bob's opinions, we are proud to help share them with you.

But in '81, artists could see that MTV was a boon. To get everyone paying attention would help them, as a class. Duran Duran was built by MTV, never mind Culture Club and the channel was responsible for the ascension of Michael Jackson's career into the stratosphere. Who's been built on Spotify and Apple Music?


At best we can argue stars are built on YouTube. Like PSY. Where Taylor Swift has her music and everybody gets paid less. Good work music industry. Whilst advocating against the future the public took the ball and ran it into a backwater from which you may never emerge, at least not while your career is in its ascendancy/salad days. We've got Neil Young promoting a poorly-designed player no one wants and removing his music from streaming services… What's endgame here? Everybody broke?

Turns out Apple couldn't turn the tide. It was not a leader, only a me-too product. And it turns out they're selling something most people don't want. Come on, 11 million people on this planet of billions??? Apple Music is FREE and most people don't want it. We've got a messaging issue so big, one almost prays for a Donald Trump to speak the truth. But in music we've had mistakes since Napster, with Metallica taking the wrong position which was right. What Metallica proved is that old adage, that the customer is always right, and when insiders argue they all lose. Napster goes out of business and Metallica's royalties go down.

How in hell are we gonna turn this around?

Certainly not by agitating for the end of the freemium model. Most people don't want to pay, most people don't even want to sign up for FREE! So, we've got to entice them at least to experiment. Build a wall where $120 a year is required and you're suddenly selling Apple Watches, something no one wants.

How did this story get so out out of control? How did the mercenary artists do their best to eviscerate the pool of money? If you think vinyl is gonna make up for the shortfall, you probably believe the cassette comeback is real, as opposed to a trumped-up press story with no real traction.

As for CDs… There's nowhere to buy them. Go into Wal-Mart and Best Buy and count the SKUs.

This streaming debacle is like artists complaining ticket prices are too high and promoters are shady and therefore concertgoers shouldn't come, proffering no alternative all the while. Furthermore, there is an alternative in recorded music, the dreaded YouTube, whereas you can't steal a concert, you can either go or stay home. And isn't it funny that the artists don't complain when their tickets are blown out on Groupon… Yet they're complaining about royalties when the truth is so many are in a negative position that they're never gonna make bank.

I'm not saying royalties should not be transparent. I'm not saying that artists should be screwed. But I am saying that by not being on the same page with streaming services and record companies the artists are screwing themselves. Fans love artists, not labels. Turns out they don't even love Apple that much. It's the artists who get people to change their minds. But too many artists are singing the wrong song on streaming.

As for the media…

This is the same media that keeps telling us Trump's campaign is history when the polls ultimately tell us otherwise. Turns out the media is out of touch, a fourth estate in love with its own power. Ain't it funny to watch the newspapers implode and Viacom's stock go down the drain with its viewers.

The truth is the public is in control. Your only hope of success is to get the public on your side, it's the essence of marketing.

Apple failed with its Music app.

And the artists are failing with their endless campaign against streaming.

Jay Z and his cabal had it half right, it's just that they didn't understand that their fans are overpaying for concert tickets and are nearly broke and don't want to listen to fat cat superstars complain.

Don't worry, music will never die. People will make it and the public will consume it. But the way things are going it's gonna be a long time before the recorded music revenue pool skyrockets. And you can blame Spotify, but you're better off blaming yourself.

What if they gave a party and no one came? What if the world's most valuable corporation gave away music and no one cared?

Then you'd have the Apple Music story.

Watch for the crater on 10/1, or at least 11/1, after everybody signs off after finding out they were charged without their knowledge.

Then what?

Your move Taylor Swift and David Byrne.

Never mind all you wannabes and formerly middle class artists who believe that what once was is forever. People like to listen to music, but they may not want to listen to yours, never mind pay for it.

"Apple Music signs on 11 million users, for free":

"Apple Music hooks 11 million trial members…":