1. Most tweets go unread.

Just because you tweet, don’t expect your followers to see it. Few view their feed comprehensively. They check in and check out. Catching only bits and pieces. Even forgetting your fake and dormant followers, which are voluminous, far fewer than fifty percent of your followers see one of your tweets. Actually, I’d be stunned if 10-15% of your active followers see one of your tweets.

So, natural reaction would be to repeat your tweet. But this only pisses off those who are truly paying attention.

People use Twitter as a snapshot of what’s going on, they check in when they’ve got time to waste and when really important stuff is going on.

Tweet, but don’t expect it to pay dividends. It’s a gift to your loyal fanbase, which is a far cry from your total fanbase.

As for driving your follower count up… Shy of buying or begging for followers, you can’t. Something else has to drive adoption.

Twitter is just like everything else online. A minor piece of the puzzle. I know it’s overwhelming, trying to get traction. But have sympathy for the public, which is bombarded with more information than it’s got time to pay attention to. And when you sneak into their feed, through subterfuge or sheer attack, you only piss people off. People trust their friends. And they’re constantly checking the momentum online, what’s trending, they don’t want to be left out of the discussion. You can’t create mo by inundating people who don’t care with junk.

2. Unsolicited e-mail is ignored.

It makes you feel good to send a link to your music, or god forbid attach an MP3. Everybody who gets this e-mail instantly deletes it. If anything, it works against you.

So you send a bunch of e-mails from a list you acquired and expect something to happen. It won’t.

3. Creating an app is a waste of time.

It’s kind of like CDs. When they were rare, when manufacturing couldn’t keep up with demand, you could sell anything on disc. Back in ’82-84. But then AOL spammed the world with discs and devalued CDs and it became about what was on them more than the format.

The app gold rush is over. An app is a service. If people are going online constantly for updates, maybe an app is worth developing. But don’t view it as a profit center.

Of course, there will be new, successful apps in the future. But their financial success will be like winning Powerball. If you like those odds, go for it. Otherwise, keep practicing your music.

4. You can’t get a good seat at fair value.

It’s just that simple.

Blame the acts, blame Ticketmaster, blame promoters, blame StubHub and the scalpers, but don’t blame the public.

5. The sound of MP3s suck.

People just don’t care. They don’t want to sacrifice portability. A higher res format will not succeed by telling people what they’ve got is bad, but by creating something so incredible people flock to it.

6. The success of EDM is about the scene.

Once upon a time this was the same with rock music. Going to the show was like going to a party. Now it’s like going to a prison that you have to pay to escape from.

7. The bankers don’t create anything.

Instead of whining about higher taxes, they should work on transparency, showing their worth, their help in building new businesses. But you can’t illustrate that which does not exist.

8. Most Android owners use few apps.

The phone is free, the knowledge is not. They can check their e-mail, text and possibly shoot photos, but beyond that, they’re clueless.

9. Record companies rip off acts.

Their plan is to just sign up the ignorant and rape them. Not a long term strategy.


1. The American Dream is dead.

Your odds of going from poor to rich are worse than in most European nations, including German, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands.

2. You can’t make any money in music.

Your odds of getting rich are infinitesimal. Like winning the aforementioned Powerball. If you’re in it for the wealth, give up, there are easier ways to get rich.

You can use music as a springboard to other opportunities, you can gain notoriety and try to profit on that, then again, most reality TV stars are poor.

3. Radio is about advertising.

Expecting music radio to come back is expecting today’s kids to carry Partridge Family lunch boxes to school. Music is an on demand item. The only thing missing is the filter/recommendation engine. Which is not an algorithm. To use the parlance of the techies, radio is too inefficient.

4. Streaming is the future.

We live in an on demand world. Bitching about today’s payouts is like complaining your phone bill is too high because you were charged by the hour on AOL.

5. Songs are king.

Write a great one. Then you’ll get traction.

6. Success is not instant

Look at Rod Stewart. He auditioned for Joe Meek in 1961. He didn’t break through until 1971.

7. Disinformation is the American way.

Every group has a full time lobbyist trying to protect its turf. From the Koch Brothers to the record labels. In other words, never believe a single thing the RIAA says. It’s a lobbying organization for the labels, that’s it. It’s like paying your mother to say good things about you.

8. Practice makes perfect.

With so much stimulation at hand, few want to be outsiders, alone in their bedroom honing their chops. Everybody wants to be famous. Music has become about marketing as opposed to talent, and the public can tell the difference.

9. First week sales are irrelevant.

They get you mainstream press, which people might nod at and then instantly forget.

Quick, tell me, what was the number one movie the second week of September? Even better, what was the number one SoundScan album the third week of August?

It’s not about individual triumphs, it’s about an accumulation of mindshare.

10. Albums have shorter shelf lives than singles.

I know, it’s counterintuitive. Call it the paradox of choice. You’ll check out a track, you can ignore a complete album, it takes up too much time. Forget all the b.s. from the musos about albums. People want more music from those they are fans of. But most people are not hard core fans. Your job is to make them so. Not by appearing in “People,” but by constantly being in their mind. Which is difficult if you’ve got zero traction. But once you hit the tipping point, a steady stream of new stuff, i.e. singles, will pay more dividends for your career than an album. Don’t be beholden to old formats. Do you refuse to use your DVR and love commercials?

11. Executives make more money than acts.

Why? They didn’t even start the company!

Music executives are chasing the Forbes 400, they should be playing to the acts. Then again, like the rest of the CEOs at public companies, they’re interested in instant results and quick payouts, the future is irrelevant to them, they won’t be there.


1. The history of recorded music is at your fingertips, for free.

If you don’t think this is good for listeners/fans, you don’t have ears.

2. If something is good, it can be spread by the alternative network known as the Internet, which is word of mouth on steroids.

3. Even oldsters are tech savvy. They too can participate in word of mouth. It’s just about getting them started. Oftentimes, at NPR. Which you might call radio, but I call a hipster club.

4. It’s cheap to make recordings and distribution is free.

Yup, record in GarageBand and put it up on YouTube. The fact that anybody can do this means there’s more need for a filter.

5. You no longer have to tolerate crap.

Used to be you had to wait for your song to come on the radio or MTV. No longer.

6. You can have a direct connection with your favorites online.

If an act is not doing this, it’s operating with one hand behind its back. People want to know everything about you. Fire your publicist, pitching bland information in mainstream publications no one is reading, and go straight to your fans in an unvarnished fashion.

7. Innovation is constant.

We see this in tech, one breakthrough after another. The only reason we haven’t seen this in music is too many are chasing the major label/radio paradigm. However, that’s where too many of the few riches in this business presently reside. Music would be better if you could earn more money making and performing it. But if you want this to happen, don’t get angry with fans for stealing, get angry at an economy which gives untold riches to those who create nothing, like the bankers, or are overpaid, like the CEOs. Once upon a time, musicians were rich and beholden to nobody. Now they’re clowns in the circus kissing the butt of the elephants crapping on them.


Visit the archive




If you would like to subscribe to the LefsetzLetter

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:

Posted Under