August 24, 2010

FAME vs. ARTISTRY-Bob Lefsetz

I subscribe to Bob Lefsetz blogs on the entertainment industry, and love 
reading his take. He is just the right balance of cynicism and genius. 
It will take 5 minutes out of your already full day, but read the amazing 
blog below titled 'Fame Vs. Artistry' and subscribe if you like. 
(this is all showingup on my page with seperated words, but read through anyway)

Used to be they went hand in hand. That's no longer the case. Used to be it 
was very hard to be famous. But now Perez Hilton has risen from nothing to 
tell us...What, he's another bitchy man who wants to play on the A team?

And what is the A team? A bunch of no-talents drinking and drugging in the 
clubs? Everybody wants in. Yup, as if you get a badge and the club is 
endless fun. But it's not. And you only get staying power if you've got 
money. Fame doesn't last. Just ask Kara DioGuardi. 

Now what? A bunch more shitty top forty songs for girls who haven't yet
reached puberty? In the nineties, you could only be famous by being on MTV.
You had to be  pretty, and be willing to do everything your handlers told 
you to do. But then we got "Survivor" and the plethora of reality TV. And 
everyone got broadband and there was Facebook and Twitter and everybody
was suddenly fighting for attention. How many MySpace friends do you have?  
How many followers on  Twitter? 

People want to win rankings, when artists win hearts. That's much more 
ethereal, much more difficult. In other words, it's easy to buy fashionable
clothing, but much more difficult to get someone to fall in love with you. 

The major labels are in the fame game, not the artistry game. And, if you've
got a smidgen of artistry/talent, that takes a back seat as they try to
push you in front of everybody and make you famous so they can make money. 
And since newspapers and gossip sites need something to print, they focus
on this information, when it's here today and gone tomorrow and has no 
nutritional value. You know how someone's a loser?  When they complain they 
just haven't gotten  attention. 

Making it in music, for the long haul, is so complicated. You've got to 
have the chops, you've got to be in play, you've got to get lucky. Eliminate
the dues, eliminate the luck, and you've got the major label top forty 
wonders of today. Isn't it funny that the fame of the Silicon Valley wonders
comes AFTER the success of their product. No one hypes us telling us who 
Mark Zuckerberg is, we get hooked by Facebook and then want to know who the 
mastermind behind the site is. Whereas Snooki says LOOK AT ME! And after we
do, we wonder what's inside...nothing. 
So the whole music world has bifurcated. Between those who've got fame and
those who are artists. Sure, some of those doing well on the road have 
both, but these are the classics, the Eagles, the Eltons, the McCartneys. 
But the new famous acts sell tickets fora short period of time, and then we
forget them.  Just like we've forgotten Paris Hilton, famous for 
nothing, no longer hot. Now  we've got Kim Kardashian in her place, a pale 
imitation...but the paradigm still works, to a degree anyway. 

So who are you? Someone seeking fame or an artist? 

If you want fame, start making friends on Facebook, try out for 
"American Idol",  be grist for the mill. And if we pay attention at all, it's
for the train-wreck.  Which is why we watch the "Idol" auditions... To see
bad performers who believe  they're good.  How could they be so delusional? 

But a great artist? He speaks through his instrument. He doesn't
have to dance, he just starts  picking his guitar or starts singing
and your jaw drops. And a great artist is on a journey.  What happens today 
couldn't happen without what came before, and tomorrow will be completely 
different. Which is why we no longer care about the new work of the classic 
rock artists, they're playing it safe, it's just a repeat of what's come before. 

So focus on your artistry. And know that's what really sells tickets. 
The key is to be so good that people bond to you. But that's much more 
difficult than getting plastic surgery and saying LOOK AT  ME! So difficult,
that the machine wants no part of it, the odds of success are too low. 

Now it's about investing a lot to create a sure-fire product that will
rain down revenue. In the seventies, you made your album and delivered 
it to the label sight unseen. The A&R guy had no impact, you often 
recorded by your lonesome. And the label put the album out, because 
they trusted the know more than they did. Now, the label 
wants you to co-write, work with producers and won't put out the  
album until they've got guaranteed hit singles. 

Huh? Who's the artist here? The player or the businessman? 

I know, it's lonely in the wilderness. But that's your choice. Either 
you're a lifer, practicing, waiting for your lucky moment, or you're 
a fame whore, trying to rig the game so you can make some money. Too 
many of the old players are interested first and foremost in the money. 
They don't want to be involved in productions they can't control. But 
the  public is fickle. You can hype them once, but usually not again. 

This is the turning point in music. This is the crossroads.  This is
where the two roads appear. There will always be a market for 
train-wreck, but the real money is in artistry. It pays
dividends again and again, year after year.  

No comments:

Post a Comment