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.
- 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.
- Radio is gravy. People no longer believe radio builds career acts. Don’t be beholden to the airwaves. See them as just another outlet.
- 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.
- 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