Here today, gone tomorrow. That’s the modern paradigm. When what you want to do is stay in the public eye, in people’s minds, you don’t want to be forgotten. That is why the album format is working against you.

1. If you’re making an album-length statement, a story, a concept, go for it. But twelve tracks strung together is not a concept.

2. If you’re an itinerant musician and you want something to sell at shows, a CD fits the bill. But you could always assemble ten or twelve songs into a CD for this purpose.

There’s just too much information. And no matter how big a story you’ve got, you can be trumped by somebody else or just plowed under by the detritus coming down the pike. Your album is in the rearview mirror only moments after it’s been released. Look at the top of the SoundScan chart, it’s new product all the time. Illustrating that that’s what the public wants, new stuff! And you keep peddling the old!

Don’t blame the old men at the labels. They’re beholden to the artists. Just like the artists are responsible for ticket fees, they’re responsible for the inane album format. Because they’ve got no vision. Toting out their long-playing favorites, from “Sgt. Pepper” to “Dark Side Of The Moon,” they say they’re just following in a long tradition. I’m saying they’re just making music a second-class citizen, by being so lost in the past.

You’ve got to create constantly now. That’s they only way you can stay in the public eye!

Radio is Las Vegas. A few people get lucky, a few win the jackpot.

But most don’t.

Hone your track with its twelve writers, spoon-feed it to radio, be part of the dying game.

Or release music constantly in order to maintain your presence in your audience’s brain.

Look at the public. Used to be mail came once a day. You got it when you arrived home. Then, you could only check e-mail with a wired connection. Now, you go to dinner and everybody’s on their phone, constantly. They just cannot stand being disconnected.

But that’s what you are. Disconnected from your audience.

They’re not tweeting about your latest release, because it was MONTHS AGO!

It’s almost like you’re making a movie. You know, something that plays in the theatre for a week or two, and just when word of mouth gets you interested, it’s gone!

But let’s forget about the movie business, which is challenged so greatly and doesn’t realize it. Let’s focus on music.

The number one thing a fan wants is more music by his favorite act. But rather than deliver said music, today’s bands put out an album and then lay low for a few years, while their functionaries try to convince everybody who doesn’t care that they should. Forget about the new audience, focus on the old. The old will sell you to the new. If you satiate them.

And the way you do this is via new music.

But it’s not only music. It’s connection.

You think you’re gaining traction by hanging with the program director?

IDIOT!

You’re better off answering e-mail, responding on Facebook, making news on Twitter. There’s no thrill like getting a Twitter response from your hero. You tell everybody you know. Virality is rampant. But the old farts would rather get a story about a tour in the newspaper. Forget the newspaper, that’s where news goes to die, it’s there last. News is for today, tomorrow is for brand new news.

And perfection is history.

How do we know?

Because Reese Witherspoon acted out in Georgia and we all knew in hours, if not minutes. She’s too stupid to come out and say, HEY, I WAS DRUNK! But actors are phonies and musicians are real. Cop to the facts. State the truth. That’s what bonds you to your fans. You’ve got the ability to connect directly, but you keep complaining the new way is not like the old way and you just can’t get paid.

I’ve got news for you, it’s gonna get worse.

There’s gonna be nowhere to buy a CD. And the world is gonna go to streaming. And people are gonna cherry-pick their favorites. And there’s nothing you can do about it other than make phenomenal music, which your album is not, there hasn’t been an album playable throughout since Cat Stevens became Yusuf Islam.

Oh, you get the point.

There’s a giant disconnect!

It’s not the media’s job to keep you in the public eye, it’s yours!

They call it the NEWSPAPER, and despite my complaint that so much of what’s inside is old, it’s not old by months, that’s right, they don’t call it the OLDPAPER, so the odds of them writing about your album months after release are essentially nil.

We live in a direct to consumer society.

Amazon knows it.

Google knows it.

Apple knows it.

But somehow musicians don’t know it. They want someone else to do the work for them. They don’t want to take risks, they don’t want to fail, they don’t want to try new ways.

The new way is you bond to your fan. If he or she doesn’t think you’re living in their house, you’re doing it wrong.

 

 


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Category: Music, Think Tank

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

6 Responses to “Constant Creation”

  1. ottnott says:

    Umm, if you want to strike a blow against living in the 70s and 80s, you might want to lay off the cocaine while you write. Or were you subtly reinforcing your point by writing in such a fashion?

    While communications technology and usage might create fertile ground for your “constant creation” strategy, it also allows for a huge amount of market segmentation. There would likely be a good audience for a strategy of “damn good creation on the muse’s schedule, backed by constant communication”.

    I remember the really good music, even if was a billion tweets ago.

  2. TARBIOTECH says:

    Barry,

    Check out how Widespread Panic and Phish do business. They understood long before the execs the way music was heading..(the Dead were the obvious pioneers but they didn’t even realize it…) Obviously talent is important, but maintaining a constant, meaningful connection to your fans will keep you around. WSP & Phish were doing this 25 years ago…..as someone who has been to more shows than I care to admit, this isn’t a new way but its the only way……..

  3. agronox says:

    And there’s nothing you can do about it other than make phenomenal music, which your album is not, there hasn’t been an album playable throughout since Cat Stevens became Yusuf Islam.

    Whoa there partner. The LP is not dead. There have been tons of great albums, as albums, coming out every year. That you don’t hear them doesn’t say as much about the format as it does about what you’re listening to.

    But I think groups WILL indeed shift away from it, towards something akin to EPs. Four or five songs, price it at five bucks retail, slightly less online, and release them twice as often to maintain buzz.

  4. The Synergizer says:

    Music should be free. That’s simply your “business card” to hand out to anyone that will listen to it and give you their attention. You want to make money as an artist then sell your works to movie soundtracks or car commercials, or go on tour and perform live. Heaven forbid that artists have to go to work everyday like the rest of us. Oh, you don’t like the fact that you can’t sell one stupid pop song and live on royalties for the next 100 years. You don’t like the fact that people download your music? Boo-hoo. Work like the rest of us at your craft, or get used to saying “Welcome to Burger King, can I help you?”

  5. JesseLivermore says:

    This is a parody, right? Of a 50-something spewing meaningless cliches about something he knows very little about?

  6. [...] Constant creation is the new norm for the creative class.  (Bob Lefsetz) [...]