Clay Aiken -“Let Your Audience Participate”

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 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 enjoyed 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.

Bob is an interesting man.  He is intelligent and has strong opinions.  Sometimes when I read his blog I want to throw my shoe across the room, but more often, I nod my head with agreement and wonder why more people don’t listen to what Bob says.

To visit Bob’s site, click on:  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


  1. Love this post! He must be a very good writer because I've only read the snippets you posted and I like him already. Clay hits all the points listed, especially touring he even came to my little hometown Appleton Wi on his first solo tour! People still talk about that amazed someone would do that when most go to Milwaukee or green bay. And that was before our PAC was built. Kim Locke sang at our mall too and spoke about living with clay. Thank you for this little trip down memory lane. Great start to my day.. Have a good day music fan.

  2. Thank you Musicfan for the article. I have read quite a few of them, as I get them by emails.
    I had no idea that he was battling cancer though. I've always loved the little out of the way places that Clay has chosen to play at. Clio, Mich., for one. A little outdoor theatre in the middle of nowhere, and to date, it is still one of my favourite places to go. Nothing like listening to Clay sing, on a warm summers night, with the stars shining brightly, in the heavens, and on stage.

  3. That's a great article. I love Clay to be singing in my area, Florida. I have gone to many of his concerts. But, did I read right where he said stay in the houses of fans on the road. O.M.G. Could you imagine that?

    • Somehow I think that this suggestion will be something Clay won't try!! BUT….I do have an extra bedroom!!

      • Me, too, Musicfan, me too! and I'm in Charlotte so he can perform at any of a dozen venues, from small and intimate to huge!

        Great article. Hope he wins his battle with cancer.

    • Oh yeah, I laughed right out loud at that part — imagine Clay staying at someone's house! 1) You ain't gonna sleep honey, you gonna keep on singing, and 2) how many gigs does this camera have?

      Take care, musicfan. You the best.

  4. Great article. I definitely hope Clay can find a way in this time when the music business is such a mess.

  5. Thanks, musicfan, for such an interesting article. I have to admit the "stay in fans' homes" made me do a double take. Clio is my very favorite venue. It is just like a dream on a summer night.

  6. Interesting read – and I have an extra bedroom, too! C'mon, Clay, NW Arkansas will be very kind to you. 🙂

  7. Great article.
    I was going to say that Clay can stay at my house whenever he wants to. But I see that others have beat me to it!!!

  8. As a regular reader of your blog, I have heard you mention Bob Lefsetz in the past. Some of what he says makes a lot of sense.

  9. Great post today….even with joking about Clay spending the night at our houses….there was some very interesting information in this blog.

    Thank you for finding all this and passing it on to us.

  10. This is exactly what Clay needs to talk to his team about, especially paragraph 1 and
    Lastly. Clay needs to speculate a bit to get to a wider audience. Hope Clay reads this whole article. Margaret OFC

  11. Wonderful, article ! We have a great venue at our Community College that would be so great to
    see and hear Clay – sing, talk,and even not knowing how to dance!! My daughter works at the college!
    We also could find a place for him to stay!!!!! LOL
    Thanks, MusicFan – great article today!

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