THE LEFSETZ LETTER: Timing

It takes 10,000 hours to be world class.

But that doesn't mean everybody in the world's going to know you.

The problem in society today? No one wants to put in the effort, no one wants to go into their bedroom, turn off their computer and cell phone and invest in themselves, dividends come late, not early. Point being you should read Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers" if you want to quote it, because he goes on and on about the importance of timing.

Despite all the hoopla about the live business, we live in the era of the Internet, we live in the era of recordings.

Huh?

To get someone to go to the gig is nearly impossible. Your only hope is to entice them with recordings, both audio and visual.

Let's go back a chapter…


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.

Unless you make beat-infused music, forget about radio. Bitch all you want, but you're never going to get on. That's that timing thing… Once upon a time, Top Forty radio was the best forty, and then twenty, songs in America. Now it's a few songs from a very limited genre, and if you're not in it, give up.

There are other radio genres. The Country pipeline still works well. But it's completely controlled by the usual suspects/infrastructure, if you're not a member, if you don't play along, you won't get on.

And there's so-called "Active Rock"… Which is like a mole on your face, a tiny part of the whole, but a few people see it and remember it.

And then there's KCRW/public radio. If you're a hipster, this is your only radio choice.

But let's revisit the above. Only Top Forty, which is essentially equivalent to Urban, and Country radio, still make stars. The rest of the formats are also-rans.

So if you make rock music, GOOD LUCK!

In other words, if you don't fit neatly into one of the above categories, most especially Top Forty/Urban and Country, you've got to do it for yourself. Thank god, the tools are at your fingertips.

It's got nothing to do with free music, getting paid. That's like complaining the government didn't buy you a boat when the tsunami hits. It's every man for himself, you've got to climb that damn tree, NOW!

You've got to make incredible recordings and put them on the Internet. You've got to make incredible videos and put them on YouTube.

Then the games begin…

Lana Del Rey made a very good track and matched it with video to the point she got noticed. So far, live business sucks. But imagine if she were truly good live!

Despite all the Alabama Shakes buzz, it doesn't mean much because the live vibe doesn't translate online. I know I'm overstating the case, it was their live video of "Hold On" that gave them the traction they did. But without more good songs that people can make others take notice of, there will not be exponential growth. Right now, the Alabama Shakes are caught up in a hipster echo chamber.

So, first ask yourself what kind of music you make.

And then, if it doesn't fit into an obvious radio format, know that you're in control and you have to promote it and yelling won't help you, quality is your only option.

That's where timing comes in. Hype is dead online. It's all about word of mouth. People only talk about what is great or has train-wreck value. That with train-wreck value doesn't last, which Rebecca Black doesn't understand. As for quality cuts that gain traction…that's just the beginning. Once you catch fire, you've got to be truly good live, you can't develop on the road.

In other words, you have to practice even more now, be even better, you have to emerge fully realized, once you get the public's attention you've got to DELIVER!

If you don't make mainstream radio music, forget about the press, forget about radio and television, they're as foreign to you as the meat market in Siberia. Everything is on your

shoulders.


But at least now you've got an opportunity…

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