Hearne: Entertainment Scribe on ‘Issues’ We Can Stop Talking About & Ones We Should

Kim-Kardashian-4Can we talk?

A smattering of prickly-but-thoughtful takes on the error of our ways, courtesy 0f entertainment lawyer turned scribe Bob Lefsetz:

ALBUMS

Coldplay sells an anemic 384,000 copies and in a few weeks it’ll be over, like it never came out, even those who bought it will be done with it. Just like the Black Keys, who debuted at number one with 164,000 and then sold only 54,000 in week two. And they think they’re winning because they’re not on Spotify. No, they’re losing, because no one’s listening to their music.

The album was killed by the CD, wherein the compilation was too long, full of dreck and without a second side. The CD was unfathomable. And you could program your player to play just the tracks you wanted to hear.

The album was disrupted long ago. It’s only the jerks who make the music and those who sell it and the few consumers with loud voices who still care. The rest of the public is all about the single. And they’ll play more of your singles if you make good ones.

As for sitting at home playing the one album you bought over and over until you knew every lick… Yeah, you knew all the commercials when there were only three channels and you had no clicker, when there was no DVR.

RECORD STORES

Limited inventory and ignorant or smug clerks. As for scanning the new releases, online it’s easier. And there’s full catalog, which there never was in most stores. Tower wasn’t in Podunk, USA, but everybody writing about the demise of record stores seems to think the public resided only in NYC, Chicago or L.A.

PIRACY

If you’re stealing today, you’ve got too much time on your hands.  You’re stealing and everything’s free on Spotify and YouTube?

AOL

A moribund service with horrific e-mail. Switch your address not because of the disdain you’re receiving, but because your e-mail is coming so late, if it makes it through AOL’s spam filters at all.

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON

She features a site with good linkbait, but now BuzzFeed does it better. Why do we have to listen to Arianna when we don’t have to listen to Kim Kardashian? Neither of them are purveying any substance.

David Cook

David Cook

TV SINGING SHOWS

Check the ratings, they’re history. Furthermore, most of their winners never made it. So if you’re sitting at home bitching about TV singing shows it’s best you looked into the mirror, because you’re the problem.

SECONDARY MARKET

What kind of crazy world do we live in where StubHub paves the way and is now the good guy? Yup, StubHub’s fees are all in and even Ticketmaster features secondary market listings. Blame the acts, who are incredibly greedy.

BONO

Let’s see, he’s a partner in Elevation, an investment firm. And he just got on the board of Fender… But he hasn’t cut a hit record in eons.

THE POWER OF SOCIAL NETWORKS

You can reach your friends, good luck reaching anybody else.

SUMNER REDSTONE

Actually, people have already stopped talking about him. Nobody lives forever and you can’t take it with you, remember that.

BLACKBERRY

Toast. If you’re talking BlackBerry, you’re still talking Palm. RIM is history, don’t waste your breath.

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

STEVE JOBS

He died. And his greatest hits will not live forever, he was not a musician, but a businessman. No one will be using an iPod ten years from now, hell, almost nobody’s using one now.

BEATS

Lousy headphones and an almost meaningless streaming service. You’d think Apple had bought Google for all the ink this deal has gotten.

FOX NEWS

The audience is so old they can barely hear, never mind make a difference. If you’re worried about Fox News, you’re concerned with the audience for Bobby Vee and Johnny Mathis. Ignore them, just like the online bullies.

COMMENTS

No one reads them, they’re a way for the commenters to feel good about themselves.

YAHOO

Some may be so dumb as to still go there, lemmings akin to those going to the mall in “Dawn of the Dead,” but really there’s no content that’s not done better elsewhere. Furthermore, they screwed up the one hook they had, which was mail. David Pogue and Katie Couric have been marginalized there, just like Marissa Mayer. The most talented captain can’t save a ship with a hole in it.

SMART WATCHES

If they were so damn good and necessary, Samsung’s would have been a hit. Do I really need to get my e-mail on my wrist? Hell, I can barely see it on my smartphone!

NTT_DoCoMo_FOMA_F880iES_bronzeFLIP PHONES

Some people still use cassette players…

VINYL COMEBACK

What next, crank telephones? You might want to live in the past, but the truth is many of those buying these records don’t even play them. If you’re trumpeting vinyl, which does sound good, it just illustrates you’re a Luddite who doesn’t want to enter the future. Have fun spinning your records, but most people don’t want to. Remember when the aforementioned cassette overtook vinyl in sales, that crappy-sounding, high speed duplicated item, which the mass market craved because of its portability? Played any records in your car recently? On a hike?

STREAMING/OWNERSHIP

Streaming is just like ownership, assuming you pay the monthly nut. In other words, playlists live on your hand-set, you need no signal/data connection to listen. But the loudest anti-streaming mouths keep complaining about bandwidth costs and the inability to listen in the middle of nowhere. That just demonstrates their ignorance. It’s always the same, he who speaks loudest is the dumbest.

AMAZON/HACHETTE

Notice that neither side will reveal exactly what the terms they’re arguing about are. Amazon wants to change the split on e-books, since publishers incur fewer costs. The question is where is the line of demarcation, which neither of them will even talk about. So if you’re knee-jerkingly taking Hachette’s side, I’m ignoring everything you have to say in the future, because that just illustrates you’re uninformed.

MAIN STREET BUSINESSES

Americans like deals, they’re cheap, they don’t like to pay. The evil edifice is not Walmart, but the American public.

GM

If you’re buying an American car, you’re an idiot. The initial price may be less, but if you think a Chevrolet lasts longer than a Toyota, you’ve never driven a Toyota, you don’t know anybody who has one.

THE OLD COUNTRY MUSIC

The truth is today’s country music is the sound of America, it’s rock. Rap has a stronghold, but rock, which is what modern country music is, still rules. Just check out the jukebox, or the public address system. But those in charge of the mainstream media don’t want to admit this, they’d rather champion edgy stuff.

RECORD REVIEWS

No one reads them and no one trusts them. We’re all about trusted filters, which are usually friends, only occasionally writers. We don’t have time to waste, and we want to go where everybody else is. Decry the mainstream all you want, but when everybody’s in their silo, when everybody’s alienated, they feel connected and part of life when they listen to the same music as everybody else. So, if you champion something no one else is listening to, your efforts will fall on deaf ears.

PANDORA

The service sucks. And the economics are so bad, it will be purchased by a much larger company. If this is the future, I don’t want any part of it. If you like Pandora, you’re not really a music fan, and you’re probably still watching the commercials without a clicker.

playstation-4SONY

Just call it the PlayStation company, the rest is crap.

TEA PARTY

White people stuck in a past they want to preserve.

TICKET PRICES

People are willing to pay, that’s why they’re so expensive.

E-BOOKS

It’s just a matter of time until physical books, other than picture books/coffee table books, die. Sure, there will always be collectors, but they’re an insignificant niche. Portability, price… And don’t tell me about the smell, because if you do, buy some shellac records. Too many old people speak too loudly. The written word will survive, it’s bigger than it’s been in years, because people read on screens. What next, having web pages printed out?

 

imagesWE SHOULD BE TALKING ABOUT…

***   Latinos. They’re a growing part of a population that will soon no longer be predominantly white. Tackle immigration.

***   Good new music. Stuff that many will flock to. If you’re into the niches, good luck to you, most people are not.

***   Television. We already are, it’s where story lives, and life is all about story, never forget it.

***   Income inequality. The rich don’t need a hundred cars and the economy is driven by consumer spending. In other words, if you’re broke and a Republican, you’re an idiot.

***   Pre-sales. That’s why you can’t get a good ticket, not Ticketmaster.

***   Health care. One day you’re gonna be old and your body will break down. It happens to everybody. And you can get cancer much younger, or get into an accident. If you don’t have health insurance, you’re one step away from bankruptcy.

***   Mobile hand-sets. Because that’s already how they communicate in the third world. The future is the smartphone. To not only connect, but to buy. If you’re still on a flip phone I hope you’re planning to continue to read physical books and listen to vinyl records.

***   Privacy. Because once we give it up, we can never get it back.

***   Music in schools. We get the music we deserve, we’re not willing to invest in the arts, what makes us believe we’re going to end up with ground-breaking music?

***  Ideas. Once it was what someone stood for, now it’s just about how people look. We tried electing someone based on fame in California… There’s not a soul alive who doesn’t believe the state is run better by Jerry Brown than Arnold Schwarzenegger.

***   Climate change. Because our world is based on science. God did not invent the iPhone.

***   Infrastructure. We could have put people to work rebuilding our roads and bridges when money was cheap, instead we’re gonna wait until a few more accidents/disasters happen before we reinvest.

***   Public transportation/traffic. Gridlock is not only in Los Angeles. What’s end game here, backing up on the freeway as Jerry Seinfeld joked?

***   Drug abuse. Drugs are not cool, how come they’re portrayed as such?

***   Incarceration. It’s become a business as opposed to a place where people pay penance and get rehabilitated.

***   The Supreme Court. Which whipsaws this land more than Donald Sterling ever can.

***   The Government. Where it takes money to run and elected officials are beholden to those who give it to them. This is a system?

***   The Constitution/The Bible. There is no God and the founding fathers were not deities. Everybody who believes in the infallibility of both must turn off their smartphones and adopt babies. Ain’t that America, where you tell other people how to live their lives as opposed to being compassionate. Start with compassion, it opens many more doors.

That’s all, folks!

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8 Responses to Hearne: Entertainment Scribe on ‘Issues’ We Can Stop Talking About & Ones We Should

  1. Stomper says:

    Great stuff Bob. After reading the first half I’m thinking here’s a glass half full guy that’s pi$$ed off but your thoughts on what we should be talking nailed it. Sorry to learn your opinion about comments and commenters as I’d relish more of your offerings. You can trade some of your billable hours for some pro bono efforts here can’t you??

  2. chuck says:

    Did I just read 49 comments from a guy who says no one reads comments?

  3. BAD says:

    I agree with most of the sentiments, but not your view on comments. I actually scroll down the section before reading the article.

  4. hLot harley says:

    standing ovation for bob.
    never read any of your stuff bob…but so much of this is true.
    few things…
    Pandora is catching on…but yes it will be bought by a bigger company
    like google and turned into abillion dollar money maker. they’re just starting
    to sell ads on it and it seems to be working.
    talent shows….sure their numbers are down but as long as coke is wiling
    to spend 8 million to have their cups on the judges stand…as long as
    they’re still drawing big audiences in the right demos…they’ll continue.
    best best for the future is definitely live sports. there’s going to be no
    dvrs/no replays/we just saw what a mediocre bball team is worth to
    a billionaire (clippers) and when I saw what the numbers were the
    guy made apretty good deal for his own personal little toy and to be
    known acorss the country.
    latinos: I’ve written about this hundreds of times…they’re growing fast
    and 1/3 of the nation will be latino/Hispanic (there is a difference bob)….
    and we’re going to learn to deal with it. And besides bob..the black population
    is growing too. Millions of blacks and Hispanics reaching voting age ane
    if they do it right…they control America. Bob may never see another republican
    president again in his or my lifetime…and once the Hispanics take over texas
    its all over for the repub/whig party.
    and finally….bob..your best line
    “Ain’t that America, where you tell other people how to live their lives as opposed to being compassionate. Start with compassion, it opens many more doors.
    again great writing bob….you hit one out of the ballpark!

  5. Bob says:

    “And they think they’re winning because they’re not on Spotify. No, they’re losing, because no one’s listening to their music.”

    Uh, they’ll sell out every arena they play in this summer.

    • PB says:

      Not to mention that no band has utilized the selling of their work to tv shows and commercial entities as well as The Black Keys have in recent years. They were one of the first acts to figure out other ways to supplement the diminished returns from the traditional album. The album might not be the money-maker it once was but it’s still an essential element for the true musical artist and won’t completely go away.

  6. mike t. says:

    well, for those who don’t know who bob lefsetz is, this may help explain. I found it particularly insightful.

    so, hang in there bob! I don’t agree with some of things you wrote – audiophiles cherish vinyl and don’t a give a rat’s ass what you or anyone else thinks – for example.

    http://www.wired.com/2012/02/mf_lefsetz/

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