Lately I have exchanged a number of emails with Bob Lefsetz. Bob writes a blog which many of you will probably have read as it is widely circulated among music people.
His main thrust is a powerful commentary on the disintegration of the traditional record company business model and a plea for performers to take matters into their own hands and go directly to their fans.
I am broadly in agreement with his criticisms of overpaid, market driven executives watering down their product [their name for music] into pap, bad treatment of artists and their integrity and a ‘loss of soul’.
The reason I have written to Bob is mainly over his assertion that tomorrow’s legends will create themselves by not only writing and performing great music [fine] but also by assiduously and relentlessly and expertly becoming social networking gurus, devoting hundreds of hours in self-promotion, clever online marketing strategies and winning fans one by one. My problem with this is that pretty well all the truly great artists I have known are technophobes, uninterested in fan worship, shy, reclusive, a bid mad, unreliable, often drunk or stoned. The other thing is that they are craftspeople often taking months to write a few lyrics. How is this stream of non-stop enlightened self-promotion going to work?
I was wondering how to fit writing a good piece on this before I disappear tomorrow to Argentina Uruguay and Brazil for a month. Luckily for me the inimitable Helienne Lindvall has done my job for me in a sublime little article in today’s Guardian newspaper.
Hasta la vista