The News by Bob Lefsetz

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BOB LEFSETZ has set himself up as the conscience of the music industry for nearly 3 decades.

By Bob Lefsetz

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Published: Friday November 25, 2016

This is exactly what happened in the music business. Fat cats inured to the old ways could not handle change and after a decade of turmoil they realized the only way to cope was to throw in with the disrupters.

Music has been the canary in the coal mine for disruption. It’s just that the rest of the media believe the rules don’t apply to them, that music is a second-class citizen with no gravitas and that they’re educated he and she-women of the universe who will continue to triumph.

Hogwash.

The people rebelled against one good track on an album. The usual suspects thought it was about theft, just like the news people believe it’s about fake news when the truth is it’s a wholesale rejection of what once was. Newspapers are too narrow a sieve beholden to the fat cats. The past fifteen years have been littered with stories that developed online and were then picked up by the mainstream, is it any wonder the public doesn’t trust the papers? As for television, there’s no reporting, just holier-than-thou anchors, the same old acts who were plowed under by Napster, et al, paying fealty to the old ways they want to jet the public back to the past, but this cannot be done.

The newspaper is a bad paradigm for the new world. It’s dependent upon advertisers, businesses and personal, which know their customers no longer read it. Classifieds moved to Craigslist. And we’re bombarded with targeted ads online, why would someone advertise in the newspaper? And the web is infinite and the paper is limited. If we want to go deeper the paper won’t let us. Turned out we wanted not only the outtakes, but the live versions too. All the stuff the labels used to keep in a vault customers wanted. But with the audience spread out over many verticals there was less money for so much, so costs were cut, the same computer tools that enabled file-trading enabled the cost of production to go way down. The truth is it’s never been cheaper to make music, it’s just become harder to get it heard, the same way it’s become harder for the truth in papers to spread and take hold. There’s just too much information. To believe that fake news will be eviscerated and the truth will be revealed is to believe that suing file-traders will get rid of piracy. The solution is to reach into the future and get ahead of the public, something that both print and television news refuse to do.

Maybe we don’t need newspapers at all, not in their present form. Of course we need people to collect and disseminate the news, but maybe it’s individuals with online empires of acolytes. Kill the newsroom. Get rid of layers of infrastructure, now it’s all about going directly from the writer to the reader. As for TV…with GoPros available for barely three figures, with iPhones having a 4K camera, why do we need expensive productions with expensive equipment? You can edit on your computer, even on the phone itself, do we really have to pay all the overcompensated people now working? NO!

Don’t tell me right or wrong, just face the truth.

 

 

 

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