THE LEFSETZ LETTER: Roundup

GUITAR HERO


It was a fad. Stuns me that a business that specializes in selling fads didn't realize this. Ringtones were going to save the music industry, then ringbacks and Guitar Hero/Rock Band. They're all fads. In the modern tech world you get in early and get out early, just like with a musical fad. Give props to Scooter Braun and his Justin Bieber movie. Because it won't be long before there's no fever surrounding the Bieber. How do I know? Because I've lived long enough to see everybody from the Monkees to NKOTB to the boy bands to Miley Cyrus come and go. And let's not forget Leif Garrett…


LADY GAGA/EXPRESS YOURSELF


"Express Yourself" was a hit in 1989. That's twenty two years ago. Most of GaGa's fans hadn't reached consciousness or weren't even born yet. No one cares. And "Express Yourself" was a good record!


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.

PEAS AT THE SUPER BOWL


Of course they sucked. But they weren't playing for you, they were playing for the mainstream. The Hold Steady are never going to play the Super Bowl, get over it.


THE GRAMMY SHOW


Train-wreck incarnate. The same people complaining about the Peas are gonna bitch about this show. But never forget, it's about television, not music, it's about ratings, not quality. Just like radio is about advertisements, not content. Don't get your knickers in a twist. The show is meaningless. Just a celebration of what once was in the mainstream. Yes, most of the stars will be gone tomorrow. And the audience doesn't care, it's too addicted to Facebook.


EGYPT


We were there first, music fans already revolted. They killed not only the album, but the major labels. We're living in an era of chaos. To complain is to be Mubarak. The audience was oppressed for too long, given an opportunity to go its own way, it did. Remind me how it helped the audience to have to buy a fifteen dollar CD to hear the one track that was a hit? Now they just buy the hit on iTunes. And if they don't do that, they don't even bother to steal it, they just watch it on YouTube. You don't need to own it, next year it won't mean anything.



WARNER/EMI


The latest report is that Warner wants to sell itself before EMI, to get the most cash. The major labels were decimated by the Internet. Their assets are worth something, but not what they once were. Publishing will go for a lot. Someone will end up with the masters. As for new music, that's up for grabs. Who's going to break new music? Who's going to pay for its development? That's a problem we need solved, but you don't see VCs and techies throwing money at that, because it's just too difficult, it's easier to trade on the assets of what once was.


EMI


Ignore Faxon. Banks don't like to hold assets. That's not their business. EMI's for sale, it's just a matter of when.


VINYL


Enough. There are people who collect buggy whips too. Sure, it sounds better. But do you think everybody's going to drive fifties Thunderbirds because they look better? Face the future, don't try to bring back the past. At some indeterminate time bandwidth will be so plentiful and cheap that quality sound will return. But it's not imminent.


THE DECLINE OF WEB-BASED E-MAIL


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/07/business/media/07drill.html


People check their e-mail on their mobile handsets. Young 'uns don't use e-mail at all. Think mobile. That's where all the action is. That's how you reach customers. And that's what's killing the major labels. They're still making revenue from physical product when the future is streaming to the handset. If you're married to the past, you're lost in the future.


WORLDOMETERS


http://www.worldometers.info/


The numbers are positively staggering. You need to start right in front of your nose, but don't stay there. The money to be made exploiting music around the world is huge. You don't need to reach everybody, there are so many people out there.


HOWARD STERN ON TWITTER


http://twitter.com/#!/howardstern


Today he watched his own movie, "Private Parts", and tweeted the real story behind all the scenes. Musical acts should go on Twitter and do the same thing, tell the real story behind making their music and being on tour. The public eats this up. If you do the tweeting yourself and are honest. Don't forget, the key is TRUST!


HUFFPO


Turns out the success of the site is SEO, which stands for "search engine optimization". This is not a formula that cannot be replicated. The site's advantage is what again?


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/11/business/media/11search.html


OPRAH'S DISASTROUS RATINGS


On her cable channel, OWN. Why? Because she's not on it and no one knows where to find it. In other words, even though you were lead singer of a hit band, that doesn't mean you'll be an overnight solo success, many people still don't know who you are. Furthermore, can Oprah's ratings suck (they're lower than the channel she replaced) because there's no negativity? We're sick of seeing rich people tell us how great they are!


http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/oprah_cable_ca_02ZEHjTXn2JiReHtb1D1QL

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