Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Linda Ronstadt’s Live Album | Lefsetz Letter

Is it time to forget the baby boomers?

Linda Ronstadt got a featured piece on the holy grail of television promotion, “CBS Sunday Morning,” yet no one is listening to her album on Spotify, and it’s quite good. Only two tracks break five digits, the rest are in four. For the math-challenged, that means “Just One Look” has 29,177 plays, “Blue Bayou” has 96,901 and the rest have bupkes.

So, are oldsters not paying for Spotify or are they unaware of this album or…

Probably all. THEY’RE OLD! They lived through the classic rock era, they’ll pay to see classic rock acts, but they’re uninterested in new music by new acts or old music by classic acts.

This is important. Because oldsters control the media, giving a false impression of what’s going on.

Of course they could be subscribing to Apple Music. Which doesn’t make its stats publicly available. That would make sense, afraid of the newfangled Spotify, whose subscription numbers are accelerating faster than those of the vaunted Apple, maybe going public gave Spotify more credibility.

Or they could be calling out to Alexa for Amazon Music. But do they even know this Ronstadt LP is available?

Just because they’ve got smartphones, that doesn’t mean baby boomers know how to use them.

Baby boomers are the ones who are afraid of streaming, the ones who barely use their data plans, the ones who sit in front of their flat screens, but they own a disproportionate part of the conversation.

As for “CBS Sunday Morning”… The effect is overstated. In a world where late night means nothing, except for SNL, people glom on to the last show standing, not knowing the paradigm has shifted.

And are we pitching physical or ownership here?

Note how “Billboard” trumpeted an increase in sales after the Grammys. So anemic, that anyone could see through the so-called bounce. Or, as Billy Preston once sang, “Nothing from nothing leaves nothing.”

But the “Bible” didn’t talk about streaming numbers, where the active audience is, where there was NO EFFECT! Where Ariana Grande owned almost the entire top ten. It’s bizarro world I tell you. How do you expect the political world to get the facts straight when we can’t even do it in music.

As for buying music, whether it be files or physical, someone is sending me a CD and I wondered where I’d play it. I hear this from ancient acts all the time. Baby boomers do know Bluetooth, they’ll stream in their automobiles with no CD players, my computer has no CD player, even Whole Foods stopped selling CDs, but brain-dead oldsters keep sending them, it’s like getting an AOL disc in the mail.

Of course there are baby boomer exceptions, I’m gonna hear from them all day long. But they don’t realize they’re a self-selecting tribe, that most boomers are…

Retired and over-the-hill.

They might have cash, but they watch it closely. Kids need Netflix and Spotify and all the attendant services. Baby boomers are counting their cash and saying no.

It’s not only that music is a youth business, but boomers are old, and despite dressing up like their kids and getting plastic surgery, age never sleeps, whether it’s today or fifty years ago.


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