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I'm listening to this new Tom Petty album. I haven't reached a final verdict. But I already know it's about listening. About dropping the needle and letting the entire opus play again and again as it sinks into your brain. It's not about the hit single, but the experience.

And it used to be this experience was translated live. You bought the new album to hear it live on the subsequent tour, maybe not start to finish, but the lion's share of the album would be played. You see careers were going forward, they weren't calcified. But now new music is anathema. The audience doesn't want to hear it, it signals the bathroom break.

But is it the audience's fault? Now that tickets cost in excess of $100, you expect the hits. You're no longer on an adventure, you want insurance.
But if the buy-in is less, if you're on an equal footing, you want the act to take you on an exploratory journey.

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.

What if acts toured in venues where only their hard core could fit, and they played the new album, like in the old days… Less revenue would be generated, albums might never break big, but you'd have a healthy scene, satiated fans and musicians. I mean how can the artists stand to play the same damn songs night after night?

You had to buy the new album before the show. You didn't want to be in the dark. You had your favorites, you wanted to hear what they sounded like live. And you knew you had to go to the show to hear them, because next time around they'd be replaced by the subsequent new album, with only a couple of cuts surviving.

Now acts play entire albums. Old albums. To try and get you to pay a fortune to relive your high school days. Interesting, but if looking back were so damn good our reflections would get younger every time we looked in the mirror.

Now in many cases the musicians are no longer young. They don't want to go on the road in buses, never mind vans, they don't want to work that hard for so little money. Or else their heads have been turned by past success, they've got lifestyles befitting the rock stardom of yore, which exists for almost no one today. Therefore, some acts wouldn't want to play theatres, never mind clubs. They wouldn't want to come home with six figures in their pockets instead of seven.

But imagine if Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers did a theatre tour, and tickets were twenty bucks. Hell, that might be unrealistic, let's say forty bucks.
Can you imagine the demand, the excitement?

And you can imagine fans boogieing to "Mojo", because that's what it would be, the "Mojo" tour.

Blame "Behind The Music". It set in stone everybody's career, acts have been touring Live Nation sheds ever since on this nostalgia. But now that rarely works. It's time to dig down deep and reinvigorate. It's the acts that must demand audiences listen to new material. And the way they've got to do it is through enticement, small cheap tours playing to fans. If you don't want to hear the new album, you don't go. And there's no Amex pre-sale. As a matter of fact, it would be best if tickets were sold in lineups outside the box office. How dedicated a fan are you? Are you willing to miss a day of work or a Saturday morning round of golf?

This would be a bigger story, in both the mainstream press and word of mouth, than another overpriced greatest hits tour.

The acts have to save the music. Believe me, the labels and Live Nation won't.

P.S. Best track I've found so far on "Mojo" is "Lover's Touch". It's dark and quiet like those tunes on Petty's first album, it's an amplified "Luna".
"Mojo" works first and foremost because Tom Petty and his band are fans, they love the music, they're driven to create. Now that's very different from the acts du jour. It's about looking inward, not outward, it's about digging down deep in the darkness of the studio, not going out to clubs so you can be featured on TMZ. But that's what music is, something you hear, not something you see. Something that touches your inner soul. You know it when you hear it. But it requires dedication on the creative end. TP has it. It comes through in the grooves of "Mojo".