Bob Lefsetz Thinks Graphs Are Sexy!

Our new column, where we dissect the latest rantings from the crazy, fucked-up world of America’s creepiest music and technology blogger/gadfly.

Information is Beautiful.

But it’s not always right.

Well, at least it’s beautiful. You sound jealous, Bob.

The problem with the Internet is anybody can post information and if it’s outrageous enough it’ll be forwarded ad infinitum without fact-checking, without scrutiny, and a plethora of people will believe it.

That you’re even reading this proves my point…or a plethora of them, at the very least.

Used to be information was funneled through responsible media and after being scrubbed of falsehood it was disseminated to the public.

Then William Randolph Hearst got us into the Spanish-American War and it’s been downhill ever since.

Today even the mainstream is untrustworthy…can you say FAIR AND BALANCED? And it’s great that the information available is not only that which is fit to print, or that fits, but even though more people know more things they’re often wrong.

But I know everything! Except how to write a coherent sentence.

But Spotify’s the problem because some Website published a sexy graph with no context a year and a half ago and those who just heard of the streaming giant are still passing this info around, with the truth trailing behind.

Graphs are sexy, but not nearly as sexy as Lisa Loeb. If only we could have a Lisa Loeb-shaped graph! I’M WORKING ON IT, FOLKS.

The truth is piracy dwarfs legal acquisition. And despite what the RIAA says, it’s still burgeoning. Suing didn’t solve the problem. It’s about a viable legal alternative. Spotify is such.

Does anybody really think Spotify is going to stop illegal downloading – or inappropriate burgeoning, for that matter?

Yes, the genius of Spotify is the marketing. Allowing a free trial.

A free trial! Who could have come up with such a brilliant concept? I mean, besides the ice cream shop on the corner that lets me have a taste of fudge ripple before I order it.

Funny how a business built on dope can’t understand this. Imagine if no one ever got to try marijuana for free, how big would the market be?

Don’t bogart that business plan, dude! Or my fudge ripple. Seriously — I’ll fucking cut you.

So streaming is the future and Spotify puts a dent in piracy.

A beautiful, Lisa Loeb-shaped dent in this graph I just made.

By the way, how much does anybody want to bet that at least 90% of Spotify’s users are still downloading illegally?

Apple’s on the verge of eliminating the disc, and those in the music industry are still crying about a half century old model disappearing. If the sixties were so great, how’d you like to drive a Plymouth Satellite? Cars got better and so did music delivery systems.

Wait, does this mean Ralph Nader is going to sue Spotify?

Plus, nobody makes music on old Fender Strats anymore.

That’s how the music business got in trouble, appealing to dinosaurs, like the now-troubled Best Buy. And isn’t it funny that Wal-Mart closed up its MP3 shop.

Right, that’s why Best Buy and Wal-Mart are in trouble — because of the decline of an industry of a product that they’ve always used as a loss leader. If only they’d thought to provide free samples!  When appealing to dinosaurs, always let your freak ferns fly!

But people losing their jobs is always funny!

Isn’t it funny that Apple is the number one valued company in America and Wal-Mart’s stock is struggling.

Look, I hate Wal-Mart as much as any good liberal, but I’d rather be greeted by a kindly elderly person at Wal-Mart than those smug hipsters who work at the Apple Store. But hey, at least we can look forward to Apple hiring the 2.1 million Wal-Mart employees whose jobs are in jeopardy, and Spotify opening megastores in all the Wal-Mart locations that could close. Right?

South Korea trumps us in broadband speed, we’re so busy cutting expenses that we can’t even invest in infrastructure that pays dividends. There’s no YouTube without broadband and there’s no high quality files without ultra-fast broadband, but it ain’t coming fast.

Unlike me when I’m looking at pictures of Lisa Loeb. Goddamn, she’s still bangable.

Why own if you’ve got everything at your fingertips?

You’re right. Hey, let’s log on to Spotify and listen to some Dylan. What? How about The Beatles? Shit! Zeppelin? Motherfucker!

To lambaste Spotify is to believe we should live in a world where overpriced CDs with one good track are the only way to consume music.

No, to lambaste Spotify is to suggest we should live in a world where the people who run labels understand that music is an art that its fans bond with, not a commodity to be leased.

Speaking of leasing, is anyone interested in a Plymouth Satellite? Good condition. Email me at lefschmutz.

Turns out people didn’t like that model, and once they got a chance they abandoned it.

Right. They started illegally downloading the one good track. Now those people are going to pay to lease that one good track?

But as far as models go, nothing beats hanging out next to Lyor Cohen’s platinum Amex card!

And now they’re abandoning ownership for streaming. But it’s not only music, it’s movies too. Ever heard of a company called Netflix?

You mean those guys who screwed over all their paying customers once they realized their business model is unsustainable? When Spotify is inevitably forced to do that, then people will go back to illegal downloading.

2. With streaming, income is pursuant to plays. If someone plays your record forever, you’ll continue to get paid. Not so in the old days. People bought it and that was the last money you ever saw.

Except for radio, publishing, and performance royalties, not to mention the merch.

3. The barrier to access being lowered is a good thing. In the old days, if you weren’t on the radio, your record was a stiff.

But not as stiff as me when thinking about Lisa Loeb.

Of course, if you were on the radio, you could actually earn a living, because those performance rights we forgot to mention a couple lines back added up to something. Unlike, say, streaming royalties.

Do I wish Spotify paid more?

OF COURSE!

I wish I got paid for any of this blather, but I’m giving out free samples!

But that’s like saying everyone will buy a Mercedes-Benz, especially when cars are free, which is what we’ve got in the music world.

It’s actually more like saying people are happier if they have two legs because they can fucking walk. But yay, barrier to access being lowered!

Also, empty rhetoric and meaningless analogies always fun!

Google+ threatens Facebook which killed MySpace. Innovate or die.

Please. Google+ is the new Ping. People rushed to sign up, poked around a bit, then went back to Facebook to ask their friends if everyone else was also underwhelmed by it.

Listen to me.

Why?

The ability to hear all of recorded music for a low price is a good thing. It enriches the lives of listeners and benefits creators if they’d just shut up and give it a chance.

So just put up with the fact that, if you want to hear The Beatles, Bob Dylan, or Led Zepplin – only the best stuff EVER – on your phone, you’re living in the past.

Also, creators: Have you tried store brand groceries? I hear they’ve come a long way.

We’re gonna have new superstars. Not because the system creates them, but because the public demands them. We need rallying points, we need social icons.

No, we need good songwriters and performers. Ever hear of a diaphanous, bespectacled genius named Lisa Loeb? That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

And those who fulfill this role will be so rich, your jaw will drop.

They’re gonna get rich because of Spotify’s shitty streaming royalties? If the recent history of corporate America has taught us anything, it’s that once the startup becomes profitable, it uses its new power in the next contract. Even under this fantasy economy of scale, the vast majority of artists will have to take a day job, like at Walm…oh, shit. Hey, is Spotify hiring?

Spotify is just a distribution scheme. Just a tool, like a computer.

Like you.

If you’re bitching about the computer, wishing we’d all go back to paper and ink, I feel sorry for you, life today must be very hard.

Who wants to get rid of computers, you jackass?

People want access.

I also want some pie and a blowjob. Where can I find some free samples?




  • http://www.kenshane.com kshane

    I’m sure that this writer is someone who bitches non-stop about anonymous commenters and bloggers. Any yet, he/she feels perfectly fine about launching a personal attack on someone while hiding behind a mask of anonymity. If this person had the courage of his/her convictions, that person’s name would be on top of the column instead of some stupid pseudonym. Gutless, misdirected, and misinformed.

  • jedgeco

    I don’t think this is a very good idea for a column.  Sorry.

  • http://www.mattblick.com Matt blick

    OK you’re extremely clever and witty. So what’s your real point? Oh that IS your real point. Got it.

  • Jnelson

    Amen. Someone needs to take this redundant windbag down a notch or two

  • Butthola

    Lame

  • http://popdose.com Anonymous

    I don’t think the biggest problem with this is the anonymity. After all, I think what this person is trying to do is (probably) based on the former award-winning sports writing commentary blog Fire Joe Morgan, where each of the individuals wrote under anonymous monikers for the duration of the blog’s existence.

    The biggest problem with this piece, at least in comparing it to Fire Joe Morgan, is that the writer can’t decide whether the best tactic to take is to actually criticize the weaknesses in Lefsetz’s writing and writing style, or to just be snarky, so he (or she, though the tone of the piece leads me to believe it’s a he) does both. What you end up having here is something that reads like a first draft, in which actual decent points about Lefsetz overlooking the limitations of Spotify and the simplistic notions he has about certain business models are overrun by juvenile, repetitious boner jokes and name calling.

    The truth is, I wouldn’t mind a column-even one written with a nom de plume-which intelligently critiques the flawed, bombastic, and just plain ridiculous music writing that’s out there. This post, however, is not that. If the writer is planning on having additional items in this series, then I would strongly suggest he or she decide just what the endgame of it is supposed to be. If their main goal is just LOLs and nothing more, I’d suggest they not bother continuing with this.

  • http://digitaldreamdoor.com/pages/best_songs-Power-Pop.html Brett Alan

    I don’t even understand what the heck this is about. 

  • http://www.popdose.com jefito

    I remember a piece we ran a few years ago — either in the body of the feature or in the comments, one of the other writers criticized something you’d written, and you were aghast. You claimed that writers on the same team shouldn’t do that sort of thing. How times have changed!

  • http://www.kenshane.com kshane

    Since this “writer” chooses to remain anonymous, I have no idea what “team” he or she is on. I certainly hope it’s not mine.

  • http://www.popdose.com jefito

    Sarcastic quotes! Awesome!

  • http://www.kenshane.com kshane

    Just trying to rise to the level of competition, though as you know, it’s not my nature.

  • http://www.popdose.com jefito

    Keep rising. You’ve got some distance to go.

  • ADent

    Go back to your Cheetos

  • http://www.wingsforwheels.net dslifton

    This article says that Spotify has lost $68 million since its launch in 2007. And yet, we’re supposed to believe that this is the future.

    http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/stories/101111spotify

    And the line, “Ever heard of a company called Netflix?” just gets funnier with every awful decision they make.