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THE LEFSETZ LETTER: What I Learned At The One Direction Show


Now you're laughing hysterically, chiding grandpa. But you're missing the point.

The twelve year old girls in attendance not only have no idea who the Four Seasons, Bobby Sherman, New Kids On The Block and the Backstreet Boys are, they didn't grow up buying CDs and they never knew a time when there was no Internet.

N'Sync might as well have happened in another century… Wait a second, mostly it did!

These kids are totally wired. All the music you listened to is irrelevant to them. They don't know why albums should contain sixty minutes of music and they never listened to an album straight through, again and again.

In other words, it's a whole new ball game. While the oldsters are trying to prop up the old institutions, think about that, the labels derive most of their income for recorded music via CDs, it's a foreign language to the kids. This business doesn't need evolution, it needs revolution!


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.

It was just like the Beatles. I don't think One Direction could hear themselves most of the time. It's mania. I've never ever heard louder screaming in my life. We call this passion.

But that does not mean it will last.

For time immemorial and for as long as human beings inhabit this earth little girls will go through puberty and have crushes.


Pretty spectacular. One Direction spent money. They had a whole story on the HD screens, of the seasons and their activities during them. Summer at the beach, fall at school, winter in the mountains…

The point is, this is what the audience is gonna expect.

Sure, you can go the other way. Wear your street clothes and have a naked stage. But then you must be leading with your music, it must be positively riveting.

The production made it a show. And I can't see anything wrong with that.


He was the opening act.

He just sold out twenty seven arenas in the U.K., and he didn't even win "X Factor", he came in second! In 2009!

Now, more than ever, there's less cross-pollination between territories. Just because it's big here doesn't mean it's gonna be big there, and vice versa. Not that it necessarily should be. Murs is more about fame than music. Then again, his song "Heart Skips A Beat" is a hit:

Sure, it's not "Call Me Maybe", but it's hard to listen without nodding your head. It's got some traction at U.S. radio, but even if it ultimately doesn't click, you've got to know one thing about Top Forty music, they understand the game. You've got to create an earworm, something you can't forget.


He did a Stevie Wonder medley. He implored the audience to sing along, trade lines, they were completely clueless. I'm not saying they'll never discover Stevie Wonder, but right now his music is as foreign as a seventies television show.


Remember all those reports that said young kids don't embrace Twitter?

Just like they said no one texts in the U.S. And texting is now on the way out, which is why it's included free in the new Verizon plans, along with as much talking as you want.

The kids love Twitter. The fact that they came to it late just goes to show that you want acts to have time to develop but you won't give this same privilege to technology. Ha!


I'd love to tell you all the One Direction songs were memorable. But this is not the Backstreet Boys, who sang vapid platitudes to incredibly hooky music. Still, some of the cuts are just magic.

This is the one I found irresistible, that I could not stop singing in my head. Talk about earworms.

Listen through the chorus, which begins just before a minute in:

Live, they didn't have the same keyboard treatment under the chorus, which distracts a bit, but still the song, especially when you listen all the way through, is a hit.

Not that it's a single. But it should be.

Then again, when you listened to those albums way back when, there were similar cuts. Just because they weren't on the radio didn't mean they weren't as good as anything on it.

And, of course, One Direction did not write this, Jamie Scott did.

Check him out here:

All those brooding heroes you champion… These are the real heroes, people who can write these smash hooky hits.


One Direction responded to questions tweeted by the audience, flashed on the big screen. They were cheeky, they were salacious, they were having a good time amongst themselves. Sure, they're playing to their audience, their fans, but you know they're having fun…

And they're so young… Niall walked by me backstage and at first I thought he was somebody's kid.

Remember when you were a kid and wanted to be famous? One Direction is living your dream. And it won't last, but it wasn't meant to.


That's how I found out Judd Apatow was there, he was live-tweeting the event and somebody forwarded a pic of his, with him and Ray Liotta, to me.

Some things never change. Parents taking their kids to gigs. They don't want them to be denied. Then again, so many of these young girls seemed to be unchaperoned.


It wasn't even inside the building. It was outside, under a huge tent, with barriers set up to control the crowd. There was a smorgasbord of stuff, kids are scarfing it up, breaking house records in every venue, in some cases by fifty percent…

And they say there's a recession.

There's no recession if you want something. Especially if your kid wants it. And it's relatively cheap.

That's what music used to be, a distraction, a salve of the masses. Before albums cost twenty bucks and ticket prices exceeded a hundred dollars.

There's plenty of money to be made even if you don't overcharge.


"Seeing @Lefsetz tweet from a One Direction show is a lot like watching an episode of To Catch A Predator"

Samuel Riddle (@SamuelRid)

Hell, you've got to laugh at yourself. But Mr. Riddle had it kind of right. I stuck out like a sore thumb.

Because it wasn't made for me.

My time is passing. Your time is passing. But for these little girls, their life is just beginning. Right now, One Direction is an integral part of it. They're never going to forget they were at this show.

Memories are made of this.