Clay Aiken – Who Knew!!

I am always amazed at all the things I have done since becoming a fan of Clay Aiken. Nine years ago, I wasn’t reading about business side of music.  I just enjoyed playing and listening.  Now, my world has expanded and here I am, engrossed in every bit of the music field.  Who knew!!!

I read the LefsetzLetters almost every day.  Some days, I shake my head and yell at him.  But most days, he makes me smile and nod.  But…every day… He Makes Me Think!!

Bob Lefsetz is the author of the Lefsetz Letter. It started out as a paid subscription newsletter in 1986 that was soon read by just about everyone in the music business.  It started out as a printed publication and moved to a blog and e-mail entity in 1999.

Lefsetz, an entertainment lawyer by training, is controversial; yet, he has a reputation of being fair.  He gives readers with differing views or people he has slammed equal say.

According to Rollo and Grady, an online music publication and music supervision company based in Los Angeles:

Lefsetz has an uncanny ability to bring readers into his world. And, his world revolves around music. I read his “Letter” for almost 2 years before asking him for this interview. There were a few email exchanges before our scheduled meeting and I felt very at ease with him. It wasn’t until I was sitting in traffic on the I-10 en route to Santa Monica that I remembered I was headed to meet the most influential music analyst in the world.

Lefsetz’s detractors think he sounds off without offering solutions, but with regards to music, he is the most passionate and knowledgeable person I have ever met. He walked into the restaurant where we were meeting with his trademark shirt collar popped. He then asked several genuine personal questions about me and why I started Rollo & Grady. He then answered every question I asked.

Lefsetz has been hitting his stride in the last couple of years. If you’re interested in music and where the industry is headed, the Lefsetz Letter is a must read.

I just read Bob’s latest blog and completely changed the topic of today’s CANN blog.  When I read this, I couldn’t help but think of Clay Aiken.  Clay is a man who studies the outside of the box, who doesn’t seem to mind doing things his way.  So…this idea sounds like something Clay would enjoy doing.  Of course, he would have to tweak it to fit his needs, but…WOW…this would be wonderful!!

I would love to hear your opinions of this idea.  Do you agree with me that this would be a great plan or do you think it wouldn’t work?   Whatever your opinions may be, I bet it got you to think!!

This is the copy of an e-mail that Bob received from an English group called the Kaiser Chiefs.  After you read it, be sure and visit Bob’s site and see what he has to say!!

Hi Bob.

Ricky from the Kaiser Chiefs here. You well? Good.

We had this idea about a year ago. We wanted to do something a bit different for our 4th album. We also wanted to do something that involved the fans a bit more than usual. Take a look: Thought you might be interested to see where we’ve ended up, and to be honest we’d love to get your thoughts on it all.

To start with we thought it’d be great if everybody had their own unique album. You know, not just the music but the artwork too. That sort of rules out a physical release as it was going to cost a fortune to print and burn each one. It would have been a New Order ‘Blue Monday’ all over again.

I think we actually had a giant robot painting the album sleeves in a warehouse in our early plans. That was met with a lot of frowns at the label. So yeah, it’s a digital release.

What we did is record 20 tracks and people can pick 10 of them, in any order they like. It’s all done through a website. We had objects built that represent each song and you sort of wire them up to a machine to make your album. Then we got an artist to do an oil painting of each of those objects which people can use to piece together their artwork. So it’s a very tactile and old-fashioned looking way of making a digital album made up of computer data.

It’s £7.50 to buy. Seems fair to us. But we wanted to try something a bit different with that too. Now here’s our favourite bit (also the most unbelievably complex thing to build).

Once you’ve bought your album, you can sell it on. For every album you sell, we’ll give you a pound (or a dollar in your case). We’re giving people posters, banner adverts, a website, Facebook tools etc. etc. All to help them sell these albums. If you sell 8 you make a profit.

We’re quite excited about this. Why not make an album yourself? We wanted to reward the fans for being our fans and thought this could be nice.

We just sold all our tickets for our first two gigs exclusively on our facebook page, which worked a treat and we’re going to be getting fans to use Facebook polls to help us pick set-lists and stuff. God knows if it’ll work.

We’ve used a load of our own money to hire some really clever people to build the site and market it so we’re hopeful.

This definitely isn’t some sort of two-fingers-to-the-system thing. In fact our label Fiction have been very supportive.

It’s not supposed to be a massive statement to the world or a fight against anything. It was just fun and we needed that to be honest.

After three albums you need to shake things up a bit we think it’s led to our best ever music. I just wanted to draw your attention to it. I’d be over the moon if you made an album or talked about it, but I’d rather you didn’t publish this letter as I’ve been slightly more candid about the process than I would normally be in the public domain. I really respect your opinion on such matters and look forward to hearing back from you.


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

11 thoughts on “Clay Aiken – Who Knew!!

  1. First of all, I love that picture of Clay at the top, hot! On a serious note I think this is a great idea. Since the music business is so crazy these days thinking outside the box may be the key to the future. I follow Clay on facebook and Twitter so I'm ready! 🙂

  2. Great article, and it's true that you really have to think out of the box now. Times have changed. I like the way the Kaiser Chiefs think…but I also noticed that they said that they had support from their record label. I hope Clay gets that next time. Maybe going Independant may be the way to go? It sure is a challenge, but we all know that Clay goes by the beat of his own drum. One of the reasons why I am a fan.

  3. Thanks CANN for the interesting read. I have Bookmarked Bob Lefsetz's Blog. I was drawn to this quote:
    So stop knocking on the door. Stop setting yourself on fire. Stop making Top Forty music which sells ever less and doesn’t generate a touring career.

    Be you.

    But be a really good you.

    Be different.

  4. Very interesting concept.
    If Clay Aiken recorded 20 tracks and we were supposed to pick 10, I know what I'd have to do.
    I have to buy two CDs so I could have all 20 tracks!!!

  5. This was such an interesting article. It is clear that the way the music industry is today, thinking
    outside the box may be the answer to lack of sales. I agree that if Clay recorded 20 tracks, I would want to have them all. I am going to start reading Bob Lefsetz's blog. Thanks for bringing us this very thought provoking article.

  6. This could, potentially, completely knock labels out of the picture. Artists could do it their own way and sell online. There would be no distribution issues. I would take it a step further and have the fans also design cover art. The only down side I see – at least as respects Clay – is the promotion. How to promote an online only CD in a cost effective manner? No label would mean no advance. I'm sure, however, we, er Clay, could figure out a way around that one. Word of mouth and social networking would be a step in the right direction.

  7. I find this very interesting. I am glad that there are people thinking of new ways to make the music business work.

    Thank you for this information…..we are all learning so much!!!

  8. That's a neat idea. I wonder what the record companies think. That would be great for an exclusive on a fan club site and perhaps a regular album for the non-fan club members. I can imagine if Clay did it, fans would want to buy more than 1 copy.

    • Cynthia…thanks for posting. I would have to have all the tracks so I would buy multiple CD's.

      Good idea to make it an fan club bonus!!

  9. I love their ideas. Did I read correctly that their fans will get paid for any CDs they sell themselves? What I great incentive for fans to promote their music. I would love to have input on Clay's set list. Since artists typically record several songs that never make the CD I think it's great that they're letting their fans pick their favorites from all the songs recorded. I hope Clay hears about these fresh ideas and considers them.

  10. Thanks for pointing me here to read your blog on Lefsetz!
    Now, how can we all get Clay to do social media, for starters?
    And yep, I'd love to have input on what tunes would make it onto his next recording.

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