Siri. By, Bob Lefsetz

Posted on December 4, 2011 by

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If Apple can’t make it overnight, why do you think you can?

Sure, millions of iPhone 4S’s have been sold. And so many are under contract and unable to buy one right now. But isn’t it interesting that sales of Droids and other smartphones have not completely tanked?

But they’re about to.

Siri is a revolution. It’s akin to the flying cars we were promised that never arrived. Now you can speak to your phone instead of type. And ask it questions. This is a revolution that’s here to stay.

But most people don’t know about it yet.

Now raw familiarity may not be that low. But how many have actually experienced Siri? You don’t think you need it until you experience it, then you’ve got to have it.

This is just like music.

But music does not have the marketing power of Apple.

So why do we expect acts/tracks to go nuclear overnight?

Don’t be upset if you’re not instantly famous. Actually, you should be scared if that’s so. What do Rebecca Black and Turntable.fm have in common? They were both fads, word spread like wildfire and then the public moved on. Train-wreck value…is inherently short-lived. It’s like seeing an accident on the freeway. You’re wowed for a minute or two, then you move on. There was nothing underneath “Friday”, the fact that Rebecca Black and her mother are nincompoops who believed it launched a career is unfathomable. Don’t equate fame with making it. Siri is famous. But its penetration has just begun.

As for Turntable.fm… To last you’ve either got to be brand new or markedly better than what came before. Napster had no competitors, any quirks were forgiven. But Turntable.fm turned out not to be that much better than either Pandora or Spotify, so it was a fad. If you want to make it in music, you’ve got to be either completely different or markedly better than what came before. You might think Lady Antebellum are hacks, but if you want to usurp the throne you can’t be as good, you’ve got to be light years better. That’s what wannabes don’t understand, they think good is good enough, it’s not.

We’re all so busy that although we may be aware of the headline, it’s next to impossible to get us to sit down and read the story. I know plenty of acts whose music I’ve never listened to. I need a reason to listen. And that reason rarely comes from the purveyor, it comes from the fans. Which is why if you’ve got no fans, you’ve got no career.

Apple can trumpet Siri ad infinitum, to a great degree it’s falling on deaf ears. But anyone who’s got an iPhone 4S can’t stop demonstrating its features, can’t stop asking Siri questions, telling you how they dictated an e-mail or text to Siri while driving.

This is what’s selling Siri, the evangelism of its owners.

Which is why competing smart phones are having so much trouble. BlackBerry is toast. What are you going to tell a friend, you’ve got secure e-mail! Which breaks now and again?

As for Windows Mobile, they’re starting all over. We learned with Palm me-too is not good enough. A little bit better is not good enough. You’ve got to be tons better.

Android has been winning on price. But if Google doesn’t come up with a Siri equivalent, Android’s gonna take a huge hit. It’d be like Microsoft never getting Windows.

So don’t get frustrated. Great music lasts, and is played forever. That’s one of the advantages of streaming services, you keep getting paid, only the strong survive. Don’t think about creating a splash, focus on a tsunami, which starts far from shore and builds and builds and finally arrives.

Actually, a tsunami is not an apt metaphor. Because a tsunami acts alone. You just can’t make it by yourself anymore. There’s no one you can pay, no influence you can buy. You can get a good start, but it’s the public, fans who will determine your fate. Now, more than ever before in history, quality matters.

You know why? Because everybody’s got the Web at their fingertips. You wouldn’t buy a TV or a camera or a car without researching online, hate to tell you, with music it’s no different.


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