Hearne: Bob Lefsetz’ Takes on What’s In vs. What’s Been


Jay Z

Allow me to share with you, grouchy music and entertainment pundit / attorney Bob Lefsetz curious array of takes on What’s Happening and What’s Not. 

Check it:



Luke Bryan, who creates a whole paradigm, releasing an EP every spring break, reaping dough and cred, and no one follows him. Kinda like none of the acts imitating Kid Rock‘s $20 ticket trek.


Jay-Z. His sister-in-law hit him, but when you’re constantly parading around saying what a winner you are, people are looking to take you down, especially the press.


Lady Gaga, who’s doing the same wrong thing once again, focusing on touring dollars while her recording career withers. Hell, she’s not even in the gossip columns anymore.


Troy Carter. Brings back John Legend and builds up Lindsey Stirling, did anybody think this was possible? Looks like Gaga should have listened (to her former manager that she fired last year).

Capital FM Jingle Bell Ball 2013LOSER

SoundScan. Streaming is the only thing that counts. Don’t get depressed about the anemic sales numbers, people are listening to music ad infinitum…they’re just not buying it, (they’re) streaming it on YouTube, Spotify… The whole paradigm has changed, no one cares who bought it anymore, just whether they listened to it, and how much. Crunch the streaming data. If you’re not being played, be very afraid. Prop up your listens before you worry about touring or sponsorships.


Metallica, playing acoustic covers of Ozzy, Deep Purple, Rare Earth and the Beatles at the MAP dinner. Unfortunately, the only people who seem to know are their fans. The band is still trying to live down the Napster fiasco, beware Jay-Z, be very afraid.



No one cares if you make a GOOD hand-set, your product must be light years better than the competition and be cool to boot. The only future in smartphones is Samsung, Apple and the cheapies.


Gossip. You may not be rich, but you can talk about the rich. People just can’t resist the travails of other people.


Artists. Because the major label paradigm is not paying, even if you’re owed the money.


Jimmy Iovine. Because unlike the losers at the labels, he found a way out. Or, to quote someone Jimmy hasn’t worked with, “He not busy being born is busy dying.”

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The Wall Street Journal. Once a paragon of business reporting it’s now a lame, biased mainstream publication with too many superfluous lifestyle items, the last section is the new Redbook.

If it’s important and it doesn’t fit the Journal ethos it’s not printed or is buried. By speaking to its audience and ignoring the truth the Journal is marginalizing itself. The New York Times owns news, because no one else is doing reporting and it’s willing to print right wing views.

This is kind of like files versus CDs, or physical books versus e-readers. While you’re busy arguing, the one who looks to the future ends up owning the sphere. And he who controls the news controls the discussion. By repeatedly emphasizing global warming on its front page, the Times makes it an issue, which the right wing has to address. The Times is imperfect, but it’s trying to enter the future, however hamfistedly.


Journeymen. Because you’re never going to break through to stardom. And if you find me a journeyman who’s happy being so, I’ll point to a broken person whose dreams have been crushed.


Fleetwood Mac, because they get another go-round, or two or three, by having Christine McVie back in the band. You’d think they planned it.


The Rolling Stones, because this truly is the last time, and you’ve got to go.


Music fans, because still, other than terrestrial radio, no one is telling them what to listen to.


Scott Borchetta. A force of nature. You may hate Taylor Swift, you may decry his new Cumulus deal, but if you don’t want to be associated with him, you don’t want to win.


Festivals. They’ve achieved the goal of every businessman in the history of the music business, to eliminate the power of the acts. The brand is Coachella, Glastonbury, Lollapalooza – it doesn’t even matter who plays, as long as they’re somewhat famous – people go for the experience, to see and be seen, and to eat good food, It’s a vacation, not a concert. If you’re a star, charge a fortune, if you’re a developing act, have no illusion there’s any benefit other than getting paid.

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2 Responses to Hearne: Bob Lefsetz’ Takes on What’s In vs. What’s Been

  1. the dude says:

    Gaga is touring as are other money acts because THAT IS WHERE THE MONEY IS, not in albums these days, Mr. Dinosaur.

  2. admin says:

    Lefstez is something of a dinosaur, however he’s a lot more tuned into the music biz and what’s going on that many far younger people in the industry.

    You are right though about touring and money.

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