After reading this post by Bob Lefsetz, author of the popular Lefsetz Letter blog, I felt compelled to point out a few holes that I find in his arguments.
Statement # 1 - The public is OVERWHELMED with music. They don’t know what to listen to and your e-mail is not going to encourage them. They might go see a dinosaur at an inflated price, but not your developing act.
My rebuttal - Hmm, ok. I'll agree that the public is overwhelmed with music. I often feel this way, but I absolutely love it. 30-40 years ago, the battle to capture the public's attention did not really exist, since all of them were signed to a major label, and their A&R reps along with the marketing and promotion team worked their records within radio, commercial television, and print. In the '60s and '70s, labels knew what was cool, what would sell, and provided the only real viable medium for artistic exposure. Now, with the explosion of social media tools, home recording software, networking sites, internet radio stations, and so on and so forth, artists have a vast array of file-sharing tactics at their finger tips, allowing them to do much more on their own, ultimately widening the pool of artistic brilliance available simply by clicking a button on your computer. So yeah, we're overwhelmed, but at least we're not limited to what the mainstream media and major label corporations are shoving down our throats. It's all about options, and choice, and accessibility. And this should be embraced, not shunned.
Statement #2 - The funny thing about great albums? Everybody knows they’re coming out.
My rebuttal - Really? I mean I guess I know when a decent portion of "great" albums are expected to drop, but I think Bob is being a little bit shortsighted here. I'm not sure how can you just lump the public into one preferred listening category and surmise that we all know and agree upon what musical components comprise the next "great" album. What if you love Rihanna, and I love Wilco? I don't really pay attention to R&B, and you may not pay attention to alt-country/indie-rock. If you were to take a sample size of 1000 people and ask them each what they consider to be "great" music, you'd have folks siloed off in so many different directions your head would spin.
Statement # 3 - And if you think Britney Spears is about music, then you don’t ever read "People" or "Us" or surf from TMZ to PerezHilton. Britney’s about train-wreck. That’s a business, but the music is incidental.
My rebuttal - I don't have one. This is perfect :)
Statement #4 - We don’t have a theft problem. We’ve got a MUSIC problem.
My rebuttal - Labels have a A&R problem. The public is in music heaven. Who cares if we're a little confused...I'd rather have more than less, and for once in our lives, maybe we'll slow down and start listening to music because it touches us on a personal level, rather than because your local pop station repeats a certain song 15 times a day.
Statement # 5 - Sure, we wanted to go to the gig to hang out, but we NEEDED to hear the music. We NEEDED to be closer to the geniuses who made it. We felt it was us versus them, the act and its audience versus the system. Whereas now the acts ARE PART OF THE SYSTEM!
My quasi-rebuttal - I don't think the first two statements have ever been truer than they are at the present. This craving is what drives me to see as much live music as I can possibly fit into my schedule while still maintaining a degree of financial sustainability. I think the last statement pretty far from the truth. This may be true for a select group of bands... (Nickelback) but I think the majority of respectable bands are in the process of cutting ties with "the system."
That's all for me on this wintry Friday.