Ever heard of a guy named Bob Lefsetz? I’m guessing your answer is probably “Who?”, but Bobby L. is one of the most passionate, articulate and profane advocates of musical culture going right now. If you’re interested in music, and especially in the business, technology and micro/macroeconomic trends that are determining what our future as both creators of and listeners to music is going to be, you’ll probably enjoy reading his blog.
I bring him up because his post yesterday concerning “The New Reality” was a great riff on how things have changed in the music game, and what anyone who wants to play that game would be well-advised to do.
If that piques your interest, definitely go read the whole thing. This excerpt is the crux of it, though:
“You’re in control. It’s not about getting the attention of some mover and shaker. Your team is you, all the time. You’re convincing the end buyer, middlemen are no longer relevant. Forget radio, forget retail. It’s about having a presence on the Web and allowing people to find you. And playing live. But that’s actually less efficient than your Web campaign, you reach fewer people playing gigs. The tour is the victory lap. If you can go on the road and charge, if you can put together a whole tour, you’re on your way to success, you know you’ve got something going.
Sure, some people can make it based on the live vibe first and foremost. Then the Web is about the community first, not the music.
But if music is first, it’s got to be free and available and a cadre of fans must be motivated to spread the word.
This is not hard. That’s what people do, tell others about what they’re enjoying.”
Maybe this doesn’t make any sense to you. Or maybe you’re nodding your head and saying “of course – duh!” But I think any musician whose name isn’t “Bon Jovi” would be well served to internalize this perspective to the point that it’s second nature. What do you think?