pootkao 29th January 2008 09:33 PM
Lefsetz addresses the issues that are at the core of the music business: downloading, copy protection, pricing and the music itself.
A couple weeks ago I signed up for Bob Lefsetz' email-list diatribes about the state of the music industry. I can't get enough! They're cutting, purposeful, informative and hilarious. Figured I'd share one. Lefsetz Letter
And you wonder why music is in **** shape.
When the problems of the world are blamed on west coast "hippy values" and money is king, you know we've strayed too far from the garden.
Last time I checked, it was these "hippy values" that blew up the music business, 400,000 people went to Woodstock, to get closer to the music. Loggins & Messina even did stadium shows. U2's last stadium tour in the U.S. STIFFED!
Who writes this ****? Could it be that John Kennedy of IFPI has Paul McGuinness' ear? It's like Karl Rove's in charge, let's all get on message, the demon is the ISP!
While debate on net neutrality comes to a standstill in the U.S. Congress, Paul McGuiness and a bunch of MUSIC PEOPLE are going to effect change, get the ISPs to filter content. Well, what about when I e-mail my own composition? Or do I get a tracking number for that too?
Isn't it amazing that an industry based on **** tha police (and the fuzz was hated long before Ice-T freaked out Warner Brothers) now wants MORE policing, would like to BE THE POLICE?
That's what happens when it's more about money than music.
****, U2 moves its business to a tax haven, Bono goes VC and the band hasn't released a great album in fifteen years, since "Achtung Baby". If this is the future, I want NO PART OF IT!
It's got to be about the music. Money always flows from the music. And the more money you make, the more you try to protect it, like a ****ing government, the more you turn off the people giving their hard earned income to you. Can't you at least pay LIP SERVICE TO THE MUSIC?
Haven't you listened to the "thieves"? They thought music was overpriced, that there was too much filler on a CD. Were they wrong and just making excuses for slicing and dicing, taking what they wanted? I don't think so.
But Jay-Z isn't listening to the consumer. He wants to keep the ALBUM alive. The album died with Napster. Cry in your beer about it, protest.... The equation is good music. If you make good music, people will want ALL OF IT! Don't try to make them buy it YOUR way, let them purchase it all, for a reasonable price.
And what is that price? The labels want it to be more than iTunes' 99 cents. ****, it should be lower. Or, we could use the cell phone model. A bucket of tracks for a monthly fee. eMusic is a better business proposition than iTunes, but you won't find major label content on it.
It's been almost nine years, and Paul McGuinness and the old wave ******s STILL want to go back to the past. McGuinness lamenting record company workers losing their jobs... Where was he when U.S. automakers produced ****ty cars and the business went Japanese? I don't see Bono trying to save Chrysler jobs.
Maybe those people DESERVED to lose their jobs. Because they just weren't innovative enough, they were just COASTING!
Music is desirable. People will pay for it if there's a reasonable business model. It's not about policing people back to the past, but enticing them with something easy, that eliminates the DESIRE to steal.
Instead of looking for another person to blame, the music industry has to face reality. That more people want more music, and they don't want to pay 1990s prices for it. Come up with a new business model, sans restrictions. But the ****ers can't even authorize Qtrax, a half-assed walled garden that's incompatible with iPods.
Stop PROTECTING music and figure out a way to make it EASIER FOR PEOPLE TO GET IT!
You didn't hear Osborne complaining that Gates stole his thunder. And the reason that Gates and Jobs were so successful is because they looked to the future, not to the past. How come Macs get cheaper and they do more, yet music gets worse and the people making it want more money? If only U2 put out something as good as OS X every couple of years. That's software. Apple doesn't sell it with DRM. Are the Silicon Valleyites the enemy or the BEACON?
For McGuinness to stand up at MIDEM and spew this invective is laughable, it makes him look like a blowhard. As for those applauding him, now you know why your business is in trouble.
Under the best of circumstances, how long would it take to bring the ISPs to their knees? Eight or ten years? Like they're going to instantly capitulate. Like their users aren't going to jump ship. Like they're not in business themselves. And what is the legal basis for liability? Is it that rock solid? In every country? Hell, it's a worldwide business.
You want to know why the music business is ****ed? Because the iPod is cooler than almost all of the new music sold. It's simple, like "Satisfaction", and it delivers the enjoyment of "Sgt. Pepper", day after day. Look at its VALUES instead of castigating it.
DO NOT FOLLOW PAUL MCGUINNESS! DO NOT WASTE ANOTHER DECADE IN A FUTILE ATTEMPT TO GO BACK TO THE NINETIES! ACCEPT REALITY AND DEAL WITH IT!
Don't shed tears. The broke newbies who are reinventing this business aren't. They're accepting reality. Why is it that when people get rich they forget where they came from and are only interested in protecting what they've got?
I see nothing in McGuinness' speech that reflects the concerns of listeners, of music consumers. Except for a desire for more lossless downloads. But ****, they can buy CDs and rip them. And NOTHING IS PREVENTING THE LABELS FROM SELLING IN THIS FORMAT!
When I listen to a record, I don't think how ****ing rich the artist is. I don't think about the insurance on his ten automobiles, the food for his eleven kids. My mind is stimulated, I think about the good times in life, sometimes even the bad ones. Bittersweet memories indeed.
Music is the most powerful artistic medium. Why do these bozos always have to concentrate on the bread instead of the tunes? Why don't they get in bed with their fans instead of blaming everyone but themselves for the **** shape they're in?
Paul McGuinness just pulled a Metallica here. Another uninformed rich music industryite with no idea how the Internet and technology truly work is only going to end up a sideshow, with egg on his face. Metallica has spent almost a decade trying to come back from the brink. Will it take McGuinness that long? It will take the music business at least that long if they listen to him.
The future is in licensing new ideas. Not complaining. Those technologists are your friends. And the sooner you realize it, the sooner your business will revive.