Persistence. By, Bob Lefsetz (www.Lefsetz.com)

Posted on June 5, 2013 by

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That’s the key today. To stay in the public eye. Constantly.

An album is released on a single date, all at once, and then it either gains traction or dies. The people who make them still think we’re living in the eighties, or maybe even the seventies, when their artwork would slowly penetrate public consciousness, after being anointed by the press and made a hit by radio. Yup, radio continued to play the hits of the day. Hell, it still does! Classic Rock radio, with its Two-Fer Tuesdays and endless repetition of the same damn hits is still prominent, it’s the new stuff that has trouble lasting.

That’s what Facebook has right. And Twitter. And Tumblr. And Pinterest. All the social networks.

You’ve got to check back in.

That’s what you want people to do, check back in.

How are you going to achieve this? How are you going to stay in the public eye?

First you’re going to have to be really damn good. And that takes a long time to achieve. Sure, Kelly Clarkson made it, as did Carrie Underwood, but all those bitching about TV shows don’t realize that the singers featured…have no career. Hell, the winner of the UK “Voice” sold fewer than 1,000 copies of her debut release (http://dailym.ai/11j4akC). It’s a TV show, it’s got nothing to do with music. It’s about ogling stars and drama, that’s it. Furthermore, both Clarkson and especially Underwood had paid their dues, they’d been trying to make it for eons. So if you’re twelve and you think you’re entitled to lifelong stardom, you haven’t seen the Justin Bieber movie, wherein the audience boos him and he’s done overnight and his manager, lauded as uber-brilliant, suddenly wakes up and realizes he’s got no acts with ongoing careers. That’s what you want, an ongoing career.

Second, you start small. Not because you want to, but because at first almost nobody is interested. When you’re small, you work out the kinks. You get a feel for the game. And if you’re great, as per above, you’ll gain fans, who will spread the word. The idea of press making you a star is toast. Read the paper, go back a few years, the publicists got stories planted and the acts disappeared, because they weren’t good and had no fans. It’s slow to start at the bottom, making fans one by one, but it’s the only way to go.

Third, you’ve got to satiate these fans constantly. The old paradigm of an album every three years, with an attendant worldwide tour, are done. Because today the audience has choice, not only other music, but Netflix and video games and… Once you’ve got your relationship, you’ve got to sustain it. The Major League season doesn’t last a month. Nor does that of the NFL. It’s about getting fans hooked, engaged, invested in the drama.

How are you going to achieve this?

I’ll let you decide.

But you’ve got a few options…

You can constantly release new music. And it doesn’t have to be perfect studio recordings, it can be YouTube covers… You want your audience thinking about you.

You can tweet and use other social media. Which is about the engagement. Artistry, when done right, defines the human condition. People fantasize and look up to artists. Artists complete them. In the old days, mystery would help. But now mystery just leaves you out of the game. Today, you’ve got to feed the fantasy. Round out your life for these people. So they can attach themselves to you!

You know why you hate the movies?

BECAUSE OF SEQUELMANIA! The same old tent poles. But the reason studios make them is because you’re already invested, you’re already hooked.

But movies are now secondary to television. And what’s the breakthrough in TV? Short, straight seasons. Ten to fifteen episodes run every week until the season is done, whereupon a new series fills the block. What networks discovered was that not only did reruns alienate the core audience, it left them searching for new stuff and abandoning their shows! You never want someone to leave. You want an ongoing relationship.

And speaking of television, the front-loaded rarely lasts. “New Girl,” the breakout hit of two seasons ago, is nearly toast, but “Big Bang Theory,” an ancient production, has now risen to the top.

It’s done all wrong in music.

You ramp up the publicity, all targeted for the album release date. All trying to drive up first week sales, so radio and retail will be impressed, even though radio and physical retail are on the decline. And any student of the chart knows it’s a new album every week. That most productions enter high and then fall right down. And that the Top Ten always features unknowns…who one week later continue to be unknown. If you’re thrilled you entered high you’re delusional. Tell me where you are two or three or four months down the line, never mind a year!

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