Sunday, September 10, 2017

1-800-273-8255 | Lefsetz Letter

Chris Zarou told me he was planning something special.

Taylor Swift is no longer number one. All that hype, that blast making us pay attention, has been eclipsed by a record that’s been in the marketplace since May, given a jolt of jet fuel at the VMAs.

You see we are in the second decade of the twenty first century. Virality on its own doesn’t happen, you need a push. Being great is not good enough, sad to say, there’s just too much clutter in the marketplace.

But you do need to be great.

Now Logic has paid his dues for years.

But nothing blew him up big before this.

That’s one thing you have to know, what you believe will be your one big break usually isn’t.

Only in this case it is.

Which is why it’s key to do multiple things, so you can get lucky.

Hell, the VMAs haven’t mattered since the 2000s went into double digits. A marketing exercise. And then this guy from Maryland cuts through the salesmanship with sincerity, and goes straight to the top of the chart.

And the only chart that matters is Spotify’s, BECAUSE IT’S INSTANT!

That’s where hits live or die. Sales are an interesting metric, but you never know if someone is truly listening. You could sell a bunch of product and find out no one wants to see you. But when people stream your song endlessly, you know there’s passion, there’s demand.

So the song is about suicide. But it’s not a cheap shot, like so much in this world, pulling on heartstrings for dough. “1-800-273-8255” is sincere.

And it’s slowly climbing the radio charts.

Illustrating how messed up radio is. Controlled and slow-moving. What kind of bizarre world do we live in where the most immediate medium is last? Wanna know what’s happening six months ago? Tune in terrestrial radio. The songs have already peaked amongst the cognoscenti, by time it’s on radio all you’ve got is the looky-loos, the casual observers, and that’s not where the money is. And terrestrial is so much about money that it’s lost touch with its customers. Imagine if the charts were fluid and immediate. If hits were gone within two months, six weeks, if they played what people were listening to, then it would still be doomed, but have a fighting chance.

But radio was eclipsed by MTV.

And now the public is in charge. Has been since 1999, and Napster.

And what have we learned?

The music industry always has to catch up with the public, otherwise it’s doomed. Like the movie industry bitching about RottenTomatoes. Let me see, get rid of that site and kids are not gonna text each other at the first screening, saying what’s a hit and a dud? We live in an era of data.

And that’s where Logic’s song is winning.

It’s not about the immediate splash, but continuity, staying power.

Which is why you don’t frontload, you wait for your moment.

As I said, this song came out in May. But it wasn’t a hit until the VMAs.

And that TV slot was not accidental. It was completely planned. That’s what a manager does, that’s the power of a label, you can’t underestimate either, we’ve been hearing for far too long that the majors are history, hogwash!

We live in an era of marketing, it’s the only way to cut through the clutter.

But we get jaded, we don’t want to see the same old movie, literally, with sequels and reboots, we want to see something new. And when we do, we embrace it and tell everybody about it.

This is important, this shows you how the world now works.

That the old farts are in the rearview mirror. Bitching about the tech breakthroughs and the new sound.

No, “1-800-273-8255” is fully listenable, almost subtle in an era where most believe you have to beat people over the head.

When you stand for something, when you have a universal message, oftentimes by making it so personal, you triumph.

No one made Logic do this.

And we’re totally ready for it.

The VMA performance that pushed the track over the top:


The track on Spotify with 1,452,609 daily plays and a cume of 197,336,911:

Everybody – 1-800-273-8255

YouTube, Official Audio:

Logic – 1-800-273-8255 ft. Alessia Cara & Khalid (Official Audio)

YouTube video:

Logic – 1-800-273-8255 ft. Alessia Cara, Khalid


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