Friday, December 28, 2018

Bad Bunny | Lefsetz Letter

What kind of crazy fucked-up world do we live in where Trump ignores Puerto Rico after the hurricane and the biggest act in the world today is Bad Bunny, from the destroyed island?

Fox News is spinning in its grave. Because Bad Bunny owns Christmas, he’s everything the whites are against, people of color supposedly taking their jobs, their culture and if you deny this…

You’re part of the problem. Just like all the people who are afraid to call themselves Republicans so they keep protesting they’re independents when they’ve never voted for a Democrat in their life.

In case you missed the memo, and you probably did, because paying attention to the news is a 24/7 job and you’re more worried about what’s happening in D.C. than on Spotify, Bad Bunny released an album on Christmas Eve and it’s exploding.

Used to be no one put out music in January, Van Halen made a big statement releasing “1984” at the beginning of the month of that year, but now…

Music never sleeps. Acts are always putting out new music. Fourth quarter, fourth schmauter. Holiday releases are physical product and Christmas music. Otherwise, the goal is just to get people to stream. Hell, Bad Bunny’s “X100PRE” doesn’t even have a physical release. The music business has moved beyond that, unlike the book business. You don’t have to print in advance, you’re ready when the music is ready. This is what digital/the internet allows, and it’s good for art. After all, isn’t the best art about capturing lightning in a bottle?

And Bad Bunny started on Soundcloud. Once again, white people keep bitching about the net eviscerating their business, they want to get paid, just today I got another one of those inane e-mails about low Spotify payments…you’re missing the memo, jump in, the water is fine!

Seemingly everybody ruling the charts today started by giving it away for free. They didn’t wait for a gatekeeper to say yes, for a label to give them money, they just started, they just played. And sure, most of them failed, but not all of them.

And while Trump shuts down the government saying it’s important to keep the brown people out, veiled racism at best, a brown person rules in music. And the great thing about music is it doesn’t matter what it looks like, just what it sounds like, so it’s open to everybody!

And sure, Puerto Rico is part of America, but ask Trump and his supporters whether they truly believe that.

And Bad Bunny’s music certainly doesn’t sound like classic rock, so the fans of Lynyrd Skynyrd and modern country avoid it, pooh-pooh it, yet it’s infiltrating the culture. It’s just like Kodak and digital cameras. We keep hearing that whites will become a minority in the U.S. but it doesn’t happen, and then it does, overnight. So many musicians are people of color. And Latin music has finally hit the mainstream, it was just not about “Despacito.”

It’s happening in music. The distribution wars are over, streaming won, you can get everything for one low price per month. Now the focus is on software, i.e. the music itself. And those taking chances are young with nothing to lose. They’re experimenting, collaborating, building it from the ground up. And it’s incomprehensible to those who lived under the old umbrella.

There’s a burgeoning scene in music. It’s finally going somewhere, the endless dominance of hip-hop in this century is fracturing. There are new sounds, oftentimes growing out of hip-hop, and it’s exciting.

But none of the media outlets and gatekeepers can adjust to this new world. They want one chart with defined hits and defined stars. They want to be in control of who makes it and who doesn’t. But those days are through. The creators are in charge of music. They can just post it to streaming services and triumph. They don’t need radio or TV, those are afterthoughts. They’re just infecting the hard core, their fan base, until they become so big others get clued in.

There is something happening here, and it certainly isn’t exactly clear, but it’s exciting.

Music may change the world once again, just you watch!


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