Interesting quote of the from Bob Lefsetz:


“We were there first, music fans already revolted.  They killed not only the album, but the major labels.  We’re living in an era of chaos.  To complain is to be Mubarak.  The audience was oppressed for too long, given an opportunity to go its own way, it did.  Remind me how it helped the audience to have to buy a fifteen dollar CD to hear the one track that was a hit?  Now they just buy the hit on iTunes.  And if they don’t do that, they don’t even bother to steal it, they just watch it on YouTube.  You don’t need to own it, next year it won’t mean anything.”

Fascinating stuff . . .

Category: Music, Philosophy, Technology

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14 Responses to “Music Industry = Egypt”

  1. call me ahab says:

    You don’t need to own it, next year it won’t mean anything.

    a lot of truth to that. . .but some songs and artists stick, sometimes for your whole life . . .

  2. “…Remind me how it helped the audience to have to buy a fifteen dollar CD to hear the one track that was a hit?…”

    1. yes, no kidding, and, really, it wasn’t that long ago (c. mid-late 90s) .. led many to suggest that Blockbuster should have jumped into the “CD-compilation” ‘business’.. but, on the upside, led me, deeper, into “Independent Music Stores”/”Resale/2nd hand outlets”..

    2. (reported U$D 450,000)
    hopefully, some things, like , will, finally, kill the MP3 …

  3. mbelardes says:

    Just wait until America figures out we are better off passing legislation written by the blogosphere and ratified through our iPad ballot application.

    Imagine Financial Reform authored by Barry Ritholtz, Simon Johnson, etcetera, with millions of supporters via [whatever future] social network being forced down the throats of these dolts we call politicians, completely bypassing lobbyists and regulatory agencies that have long since been captured, resulting in actual reform.

    If you can’t control the money, just control the information and you control the power.

  4. JimRino says:

    mbelardes, you put a shiver down my spine. A Real Citizen Democracy?
    Vs. a Crackpot charade run by the stupidly insane Koch Brothers?

    Now, Barry, I know it isn’t nice to call the Koch Brothers “stupidly insane”.
    And you may block this post.
    But, let me remind you, if you’ve listened to 5 minutes of Beck, you know his brains logic unit is so dysfunctional he shouldn’t be on TV. Yet, there he is every night spouting insanity. How is this possible. The man as lost 50% of his audience in the last year alone!

    Premise: Insane Capitalists hire Insane Employees. Beck has given “shout outs” to the Kochs, for giving him tips of insanely delusional content, and Beck has repeated them on his show. His show is a disaster, preaching poor people Give Up their Government Run Social Security ( to cause a new recession ), and preaching hatred about poor and minorities( not Jesus’s Teachings ), yet this guy is still on TV.

    Which leads me to believe that there is good circumstantial evidence that Koch, Murdoch and Beck are all insane loons. Because sane people simply Do Not Hire the Insane.

  5. J Kraus says:

    The decimation of the music industry makes me somewhat dubious about the long-term viability of the film industry.

    Will a generation brought up on music files, short-form YouTube clips, tweets, and multitasking (not to mention widespread ADD) continue to spend discretionary income to sit still in a dark theatre for 90 minutes watching largely mediocre “entertainment?”

  6. jeff in indy says:

    send the bill to algore; afterall, he invented the internet, right?

  7. CB says:

    Music Industry=Egypt seems a weird analogy even coming from Lefsetz.

    But this bit – (recorded music) You don’t need to own it, next year it won’t mean anything - is an interesting opinion. Maybe music has been so thoroughly co-opted by advertising and marketing that any original artistic meaning is now suspect. Some music may have the power of long-lasting human emotional communication but is now mainly used to get your attention just long enough to sell you some other sh!t.
    So for a consumerism-based society maybe that IS the value and meaning of recorded music?  

  8. DM RTA says:

    maybe, after all is said and done, entertainers are only that…and the value attached to their creative works is not worth such a large part of our national income. Maybe one man’s chaos is another’s purposeful transition.

  9. Captain Jack says:

    Long live disintermediation. As it gets ever cheaper to create, produce and distribute music, it only makes sense that costs would plummet.

    This is not bad news for musicians, per se, so much as for the parasitic music industry.

    As always, there will be really good bands doing it for the love — and the bands that develop a widespread following will be able to cash in through touring.

    In fact, one could even envision a model in which the CD and video side of the business were run close to break even, or almost treated as loss leaders, simply to support a fan base for touring and a web outlet for selling custom merch.

    This would be a disaster for all the middlemen, but not a bad deal for the actual musicians, who could make anything from a couple hundred grand to a couple million a year collectively, with a very stripped down organization.

    This type of disintermediation doesn’t really work for the movie business, though, because movie profits are still blockbuster driven. Look at Avatar — expensive as hell to make. Ask why Michael Bay makes so much money. Indie hits can be hugely profitable, but they are like lottery tickets. Still, the falling cost of technology should favor a barbell effect for movies in which you have profitable-as-always blockbusters, an increasing stream of great indie films, and less attention paid to the crap in the middle.

  10. srvbeach21 says:

    @ Ahab – there’s lots of music that sticks, but that’s not what labels develop to sell for $15 a CD.

  11. MikeG says:

    You don’t need to own it, next year it won’t mean anything.”

    The vast majority of music has become such cynical, calculatedly-commercial, overproduced, MBA-with-spreadsheet-dictated, shallow crap that this is probably true.
    There was always a subset of popular music like that, but lately it seems to have become almost the entire output of the music industry.
    And you kids get off my lawn.

  12. derekce says:

    Somebody once said great music makes you feel like anything is possible and I used to feel that way about it. Now, I rarely find music that makes me feel that way. Maybe the new music ecosystem has de- incentivized potential musicians, maybe music is in a lull or permanent decline. Or maybe I’m just becoming an old fuddy duddy but it does seem music is not as an important piece of my kids’ lives as it was for us growing up.

  13. Greg0658 says:

    interesting thread on how the internet helps/hurts the Audio Visual artist spectrum (is my work line) .. having a small but not enough music talent myself pushed me into recording graphics .. I think we have in the recording world a “been there done that – see/hear IT is world” .. you need to be different and we are at that point right now where the sea tide is changing from it was “Hip to be Bad” to a new momo (meme) .. we’ll have to see if there are enough kids with the education background to fill the void at the level we 60s70s80s kids were blessed with / or if the void will fill with mediocrity … and to follow the morn’g threads – not good for producers who need superstars to ride on

  14. Captain Jack says:

    “maybe I’m just becoming an old fuddy duddy but it does seem music is not as an important piece of my kids’ lives as it was for us growing up.”

    The newer generation response to music will be different, and more detached, because there is so much more audiovisual stimulation to sample and choose from. As a late Gen Xer, I remember the thrill of discovering music via walkman cassette tapes in 8th grade and my first ever CD (Beastie Boys’ Check Your Head) a few years later. Comparable experience growing up today will be xbox, playstation, youtube, ipad, kindle, texting, farmville, facebook etc. saturating from day one. There just isn’t as much room for an emotionally transformative music experience.