Clay Aiken – “Be In It For The Long Haul”

Have you heard of Bob Lefsetz?  Bob is an American music industry icon who is based in Santa Monica, California.  He is the author of the highly regarded Lefsetz Letter.  A former entertainment business attorney and the leader of the American division of Sanctuary Music, Lefsetz is now a consultant to major record labels.  Lefsetz revealed in December of 2009 that he was battling leukemia.

According to Craig Kallman, the CEO of Atlantic Records:

“Bob Lefsetz is a passionate music fan who is an extremely compelling writer that strives to speak the truth…We are lucky to have him in our industry as someone who can push our buttons and make us think critically.”

LefsetzLetters began in 1986 as a printed publication, moving to a blog format in 1999. It became very popular in 2005. Most leaders in the music industry feel that if you’re interested in music and where the industry is headed, the Lefsetz Letter is a must read.

In his latest article titled The Long Haul, Lefsetz discusses ways to help an artist acquire longevity in the music field.  The article has 17 different suggestions and each one is important.  Some of the more interesting suggestions are things that Clay Aiken fans have been discussing for a long time.  The following are a few of his suggestions.

  1. You must work live.  It’s the best way to connect with people.  You’ve got to be so good, you close the audience. Performing is a different skill than playing in a studio.  Start honing your chops now.  Play anywhere and everywhere you can.  Not focused on the money, but the development of stage skills.
  2. Radio is gravy.  People no longer believe radio builds career acts.  Don’t be beholden to the airwaves.  See them as just another outlet.
  3. Haters abound.  If you’re not being criticized, you’re not doing it right, you’re only playing in front of family and friends.  Hate intensifies the bigger you get, especially in the Net world where everybody gets a voice.  There is no protection.  Wander into the world and experience the slings and arrows; toughen your skin.
  4. Release dates are irrelevant.  You’re in constant marketing mode.  But the best marketing is a great track that will be spread far and wide.

Some other interesting comments included:

You’re better off not blowing your marketing budget in anticipation of the first week. If you don’t have a two-year campaign in place, you don’t believe in the project. Or, you’re working for a major label, inured to short-term results, desperately trying to make sure you don’t get fired.


Old wave media believes you use social media to spread the word. No, you infect fans, and then THEY spread the word on social media. And it can take a very long time to happen. And if you go for profits too soon, if you don’t continue to improve the underlying product, you end up with something like MySpace. A hit for a minute, then toast.


Let your audience participate; let people help you. They’re dying to! Stay in the houses of fans on the road. Let fans design fliers and t-shirts. Give them tools to promote you. All they want in return is attention, and a bit of access. These sneezers are your key to success. Treat your core fans incredibly nicely.

I highly recommend this article.  Everything Lefsetz says in this article is something to think about and try to understand how it affects your favorite recording star.  Lefsetz addresses the issues that are important to the music business in a no-nonsense, easy to read manner.

To read the entire article visit LEFSETZLETTER

Clay Aiken News Network is an unofficial fansite. We are not affiliated in any way with Clay Aiken or his management. This website was made by fans for fans and makes no impression or impersonation of the official site, which can be found under the domain

6 thoughts on “Clay Aiken – “Be In It For The Long Haul”

  1. I hope people do go to the Lefsetz site as this is a great commentary on the music business circa 2010. Also many point are relevant to Clay's career.

  2. This was so interesting, especially in relation to his new label and rebuilding after the hatchet job 19 has done and is continuing to try to do to Clay. I am going to be patient and believe that Decca is smart enough to bring Clay to the right audience. They must be doing something right, they are part of the largest music company in the world.

  3. Very interesting, I think Mr. Lefsetz has hit the nail on the head, and I also think Clay Aiken is in it for the long haul now with Decca records as his label. They know how to handle artists with long careers, and not in it for the quick hit and run of the top 40 and radio plays.

  4. Great article….I too think that Decca and Clay have a plan for longevty for Tried & True. This has been a labour of love, and I think this will be a steady seller. With the tour coming up, with the PBS special, and I'm sure other things. People love this kind of music. Anyone can listen to it, it really is timeless…We just need to see and hear Clay, and in itself is a great marketing tool. There is no one better "live" than Clay….He owns any stage that he is on.. People just need to see that….

  5. Very interesting! I'm so glad Clay Aiken is with Decca now. I think there is a plan in place for Tried and True also. I'm anxious for the next Clay performance. I could watch his performance of "Unchained Melody" all day long and not tire of it. It's just beautiful!

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