Thursday, May 16, 2019

de Blasio Declares | Lefsetz Letter

Once again the music business is the canary in the coal mine.

Used to be there was a clear line between amateurs and professionals, those who had a chance and those who did not. It cost too much to record, there were a limited number of slots, and the possibility of getting on the radio was nil without the big label boosting you.

But the internet put the power of production in the hands of the people, streaming eclipsed radio and anybody could upload their tunes to services, and the big labels only sign a sliver of acts, leaving the rest of the field open.

So amateurs believe they can become successes, and they muddy the water.

Kinda like social media influencers. They read that some influencers are making bank and they think that they can do. The end result is only a thin layer of influencers survive, and their odds of crossing over to the big time world of entertainment are extremely low. But they post on.

Lori Loughlin wanted her daughter Olivia Jade to get a good education. Olivia Jade thought school was useless, better to groom herself and tell her story on YouTube, as if that were forever. Hell, even sports stars don’t last forever. As for entertainment… Musicians can go on the road and play their hits, actors are lucky if they can get gigs in summer stock. The internet is littered with momentary stars, from Tila Tequila to PSY to that “Chocolate Rain” guy… That’s right, Olivia Jade is just young and stupid enough to believe she can replicate the Kardashian paradigm, as if the guys in your garage can become the Beatles.

But we’ve got no new Beatles.

The Beatles were from the underclass and all they could do was play, get laid and do dope. There was no master plan, other than avoiding the factory.

Today everybody’s read Don Passman’s book, everybody’s legally sophisticated, they believe they’re marketing geniuses, but the art takes a back seat. Come on, would “Old Town Road” have become a phenomenon without TikTok and the faux controversy re country radio? No way, the record is not spectacular, it’s no “I Want To Hold Your Hand” or “You Are the Sunshine of My Life,” but that’s how far we’ve sunk, where marketing takes precedence over content. In other words, oftentimes there’s no there there.

So how many candidates are running for President now? Is it twenty four with Bullock and de Blasio? Do all these people really believe they have a chance?

They wouldn’t in the old days. Their “brands” wouldn’t have enough traction. You had to pay your dues, it took years to get national recognition. Furthermore, you had to be anointed by the Party. But just like the internet blew apart the music business, the internet has blown apart politics. In the old days, AOC would be a freshman representative with little traction. But now, say or do something outrageous, own your position, and there are a million media outlets ready to spread the word for clicks, and the public then spreads the good stories further.

This is a far cry from the old days of politicians, when you couldn’t get them to say a damn thing, when they were wishy-washy. This is Biden’s problem. Whether you’re left, right or center, we all want someone honest and credible, and if you’re not willing to own a position and argue for it, we’re not interested.

That’s what Donald Trump did best.

Then again, Donald Trump was a media magician, he was already known. Most of these people running for President?

And the mainstream media is completely flummoxed. They missed the Trump revolution so they want to keep the bases covered this time. They cover all these candidates like we care.

Meanwhile, Beto has already faded, Buttitieg was the beneficiary of a soundbite on Pence and he’s had no traction in weeks and forgetting left field candidates like Marianne Williamson, everybody else seems to have some political experience, but just because you can bring patrons to the local bar, that does not mean you deserve to be on the radio, or in the Spotify Top 50. But everybody believes they can do it. Just like all the wannabe wankers in music, like the ignorant would-be influencers in social media. And once again, the wannabes have not learned the lessons from those who’ve already made it. A business is only unsophisticated once, then it becomes professional and harder to disrupt. Go up against Live Nation? Invest double digit millions in a label without a catalog? Sure, David sometimes beats Goliath, but if you want to win, go where the infrastructure isn’t. Like Napster with the major labels. It’s really hard to reinvent the wheel.

So we’re confused. We know almost nothing about most of these candidates. They’re running hard, but we’re tuned out. Whittle it down, then we’ll pay attention. Just like in the music business. There’s so much music being made that it’s incomprehensible. Playlists didn’t solve the problem and the industry is focused on the Top Ten, or Twenty or Fifty, when the internet has blown apart that construct, now it’s about a number of verticals, niches, but oftentimes not that small. And then these verticals topple the titans. Always happens. If you think we’re gonna be in a vapid world dominated by drum machines forever, you’re going to be left behind.

It’s like everybody’s become Stuart Smalley, but the truth is it’s no joke. And if you disrespect anybody, give them short shrift, the blowback is insane. So outlets are confused as to what to say and do.

So if you’ve got all twenty four candidates analyzed, can go into depth on each one…

You probably know all the records in the Spotify Top 50, the winners on all the genre charts. But the truth is even the professionals no longer know.

Then again, we’ve got a black and white arbiter in the music business, ticket sales. That’s where the rubber meets the road, either you can sell tickets or you can’t, and if you can’t…

We’ll find out if anybody wants to vote for the faceless. It’ll be clear after a couple of primaries.

Now it’s more akin to a high school talent show.

Come on, do all these people deserve to be President?

They think so, but we do not.

Just like the people posting music and spamming the internet with hype. There’s very little there.

Hell, I thought the people in NYC didn’t even like Bill de Blasio that much.

Kinda like Kamala Harris in CA. Good, but not legendary, not experienced enough.

But the pundits say we need a woman and…

The pundits are making a living, they’re usually clueless. They told Bernie Sanders he had no chance and he’s a dynamo at fund-raising.

Then again, he’s been working it for decades, he had a trial run in 2016.

That’s how it used to work in music too. You played clubs, then theatres…you didn’t think you could sell out stadiums the first time around.

But today new acts go immediately into arenas, with only one hit.

But one hit does not a career make.

And just saying you’re good enough to become President does not make it so.


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