THE LEFSETZ LETTER: Winners/Losers

WINNERS:

APPLE COMPUTER

The Mighty Mouse isn't about placating Mac fans, it's about convincing
Windows users. They lowered the price of iPods, they came out with the Mac
Mini, they're switching to Intel, if you don't think Apple's gonna make a
run at taking over the world, you're just not paying attention.

GOOGLE

You still can't get a gmail account unless you know somebody.

It's this kind of soft launch, inside club marketing the music business USED
to specialize in.

Furthermore, Google Maps and Google Earth debuted in a similar soft launch
fashion and there STILL isn't a fee/business model extant. Oh, there WILL
BE, after users tell everybody how cool the services are.


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.

Don't bet on Yahoo. Yahoo is an overhyped company that doesn't understand
the Internet. Terry Semel can speak to Wall Street, that's why they believe
and have faith in him and the company. But Terry Semel's vision is
positively old wave. Hiring all those Hollywood players. That's like the
studios getting into the video game business, they don't UNDERSTAND IT! The
way to make money on the Net is to be a visionary. Terry Semel is a
manager.

CRAIGSLIST

The anti-Yahoo.

They don't want you to register, they're just there if you need them.

It's not about flashing graphics on the Web, it's about UTILITY! While
labels are investing in sites with splash pages and animated effects they're
missing the point that it's all about content, and getting that content
easily and quickly. Yes, many band Websites give away music for free, but
finding the appropriate page and getting there is like swimming through the
Sargasso Sea.

MYSPACE

It's reached critical mass. The fact that Fox now owns it is irrelevant.
It will continue to dominate unless somebody invents a better mousetrap.

And what's the secret to MySpace? Community. Exactly what the labels try
to eviscerate. If you prevent trading, you reduce your revenues.

BLUETOOTH

The tech writers put it to bed, but having a bluetooth headset for your cell
phone is a badge of honor. Or, stating it better, having a wired headset
for your cell phone labels you a technical weenie, when your tech toys
define you. (If this wasn't true, people wouldn't upgrade their cell phones
every year.)

SHOWTIME

You just don't know it yet. It's the new HBO. Start talking about
Mary-Louise Parker's show NOW if you want to look hip.

XM

It's the business strategy. No matter what you say about Internet radio,
nobody's installing receivers in cars today. But, XM-ready autos are
rolling off the line in the MILLIONS! And, experiencing their trial free
subscriptions new car owners up for the term, since satellite puts
terrestrial to shame.

Sirius might survive on this same basis. Then again, XM made a deal with
the Major League and Sirius made a deal with the NFL. Sirius had to spend
to survive, but will their spending kill them?

HIP-HOP

It was better five years ago. It does poorly on the road. But, there's an
honesty, a visceral quality in rap that eludes almost all rock music. Could
it be that the rockers grew up in too comfy an existence, and don't need to
make it to survive?

VICTORY RECORDS

Tony Brummel's a mercurial blowhard.

But he signs hit acts.

And now everybody know it. His self-hype/e-mail everybody campaign worked.
People take him seriously.

I'd tell you to replicate his strategy, but Tony's sui generis.

MAGGIE GYLLENHAAL

Not classically beautiful, but radiates mischief and intelligence, a unique
combination.

This is how our rock stars used to be. Making choices on creativity, not
box office.

KELEFA SANNEH

America's best rock critic. At least working in major media.

Sanneh is knowledgeable, he cares and is easily able to say something sucks,
even if conventional wisdom says it doesn't.

You don't need to read him. But you should.

NIC HARCOURT

Is it that he's not beautiful? Or is it that he's the only hero the boomers
have got. Anybody else with this much press would be experiencing a
backlash. But Mr. Harcourt's star keeps rising. And now that he's
podcasting, including full tunes, LIVE PERFORMANCES, before just about
anybody else, he's just that much cooler. Check iTunes' podcast chart.
He's at number 11 as I write. Tell me you don't want to listen to him
interview Ry Cooder. You know Nic will be knowledgeable, he'll respect Ry,
and the interview will be done on an intellectual plane that doesn't insult
the intelligence of the audience. THIS is the new paradigm. Assuming your
audience brings something to the picture, that everybody isn't ignorant.
(Hello, Hollywood, can you hear me calling?)

PRO TOOLS

Puts the means of production in the hands of the proletariat.

SCOTT STAPP

You hate him, but Creed was the biggest rock band of the last decade.
People are waiting for his next record. If it's decent, it will be a
monster.

BRITISH POLICE

How come they can find the London bombing perps in weeks and Osama Bin
Laden, the mastermind of 9/11, is still at large?


LOSERS:

NAPSTER

On the way to extinction, just like the previous company that used this
name.

It's the economics.

They only added 25,000 subscribers in this, their first fiscal quarter. A
decrease from 86,000 the quarter before, after the publicity push. The
company has enough cash, at the present burn rate, to make it to the end of
2006. And then PFFTTT!

People don't want subscription rental. I'll tell the record companies what
they tell us. You can hype a product, but at the end of the day the people
judge. The people want to own.

Tribune Article

SONY

Don't mistake the success of their flash-players in Japan for a trend.
Bottom line…there's no iTunes Music Store there. When the iTunes Music
Store opens, Sony will be crushed.

THE FIRM

It's all about the movies.

How long until the Yorns pick up their ball and go home. Or demote
Kwatinetz and run the operation themselves.

The company had its moment, and it past. A manager's power is commensurate
with the success of his acts. And the Firm's acts hit a cold streak, if
they didn't leave all together.

It's an old Hollywood story. Too much too soon.

In other words, just because you're rolling in dough today, don't SPEND IT!

Or, as Allen Toussaint would have put it… The same dudes you abused on
your way up, you might meet up, on your way down.

PLAYS FOR SURE

Only Microsoft could spend a ton of money hyping a slogan to absolutely zero
effect. That's what Apple's BUILT UPON, playing for sure. It's part of its
DNA. Microsoft's DNA contains greedy ineptitude, which results in consumer
frustration.

NEWSPAPERS

They're already history, you just don't know it yet.

They lost car ads. They lost personal ads. They overpay for content.
Their vision of the future is not based on investment, but cutting back to
maintain a rate of return. It's like watching Polaroid. A company that was
a household name whose moniker has lost almost all meaning.

MERCEDES-BENZ

Never going to recover from their quality crisis. They've ceded dominance
to BMW.

Bottom line. Don't throw all the bells and whistles in to impress somebody,
just make something that WORKS! There are more full-featured music
jukeboxes than iTunes, but none so elegant and so utilitarian. You don't
even need to read the instructions.

MUSIC ON CELL PHONES

Killed by the providers. Who want to charge an exorbitant price per track
and want no interoperability. Eliminate utility and you eliminate profits.

CARSON DALY

Have no identity and you have no longevity. If you don't make an
impression, if people don't hate you or love you, your career's in trouble.
That's what's wrong with today's artists, they're so bland, being so nice to
everybody, that the public can't identify.

RED

What happens when accountants run record companies. It wasn't about the
bottom line, it was about breaking the acts Columbia and Epic couldn't and
flying up new bands, like Los Lonely Boys, that the major companies couldn't
sign.

Which is why Universal is the most successful record company.

Doug Morris and Jimmy Iovine don't have MBAs, but they know music.

KROQ

You must innovate to stay alive. The formula is so stale that the ratings
have finally fallen.

DVD

It's not about the competing HD disc standards, it's about Internet
delivery. THIS is what Apple's going to deliver. In the so-called "Year of
HD".

JUDITH REGAN

A self-promoting huckster whose success is based on jumping into the gutter
and languishing there. Only in America, where money triumphs over
everything, is this woman respected.

LIVE JOURNAL

So yesterday. Made irrelevant by MySpace.

MOVIES

The business seems to have forgotten it's all about story. Not look, not
special effects, not even stars. Which is why pay cable has stolen its
thunder.

MUSICIANSHIP

People assume a machine can do it. Even though it can't.

T-MOBILE

They may have Catherine Zeta-Jones, but they've got no 3G infrastructure.
Without heavy capital investment, not presently on the boards, they're
doomed.

WEED

If it aint' genuine P2P, it ain't worth crap.

CREATIVE COMMONS

Confusing band-aid solutions don't work.

BECK

If a reunion with the Dust Brothers isn't successful, what alternatives are
left?

A marginal artist.

ELECTRONIC ARTS

The underground days of video games are over. It's all about the economics.
Which are tough when licensing fees are expensive, so few titles connect and
those that do don't sell forever. No longer a Wall Street darling, just
another company, in a maturing industry.

AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY

So let me get this straight. We spend all this money in Iraq, all those
people die, they kick us out and the country becomes aligned with Iran, as a
totalitarian, or close to it state?

If you don't believe this is the way this plays out, you don't remember
Vietnam. And you're not paying attention.

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