Sightseers On A Mission. By, Bob Lefsetz

Posted on August 12, 2013 by


And you wonder why no one wants to work in the music industry.

I want you to click on the above link. Yes, take the time. That’s the dirty little secret of the web, nobody ever clicks through, no one wants to waste another moment of their precious life digging deeper into what you think is important, we’re all curators of our own lives and if we let you take control of the joystick we’re gonna end up far from where we want to be.

Okay, are you there?

Just like the words say in the above left-hand corner, “Hover over photo for names”.

These are the people running the world.

Jay Z, selling out to Samsung? Doug Morris, in a holy war with Universal? They’re pipsqueaks on the road to nowhere, driving their Yugos as those truly in control blast by in their Teslas or their private jets.

This article is all bout charity:water. Which is a good mission. And too much time is spent saying they chartered a private jet. And to tell you the truth, the article is essentially unreadable. And misses the point. It’s not about charity, it’s about power.

I know some of these people. Mostly by accident. They found me, since I cover their beat, or I met with them at the Soho House and they introduced me to their brethren.

And the one thing I’ve got to tell you is not a single one of them has a boss. Not one! Not only do they do what they want to, they make it up along the way.

These are rock stars. Not those phony, over-marketed airbrushed people you see featured in media. Hell, most people have no idea who the folks in this photo are. And that’s just the way they like it. Because fame comes with scrutiny, it deflects the mission.

And the mission is to change the world.

Do you think the contestants on “X Factor” are changing the world? Hell, even Simon Cowell, he of the many millions and impregnated girlfriend, isn’t changing the world. These are the disrupters. Who believe nothing is sacred and fly around the world in private jets achieving their goals.

Oh, don’t focus on the trappings. They don’t. They don’t have the time, because they’re working too hard. One of the people in this photo flies private so he can get an audience with those who are otherwise unreachable. They tell him they’re going here or there and he offers up his plane, says he’s going that way, so he can get one on one time with the rich and powerful. Most of whom you don’t know the name of. That’s the difference between tech and entertainment. Entertainment is all about me, filling the hole of inadequacy by letting others know how much better you are than them. Tech too is about me, but it’s mostly revenge. Against everybody who never took you seriously, who picked on you in high school, who wouldn’t give you a date.

Interestingly, musical artists could be just as powerful as the tech elite. Even more so. If they only took up the reins. Instead, they’re playing to gatekeepers. But Uber doesn’t ask permission before it enters a market, it just goes there. And all Jay Z got for his deal with Samsung was some publicity and a wad of cash. Publicity fades, faster than ever these days, and the amount of cash involved is chump change to Samsung.

Once upon a time, the people in this photo wanted to work in the music business. Because that’s where you wrote your own rules, where you could do it your way and make millions. Back when the labels weren’t owned by conglomerates and concert promoters were independent. It was a giant casino game, driven by lanky men and women who could not be told what to do. Who thrived on sex and drugs and alcohol and told us all about their exploits. We wanted to be them. They sang about freedom, it was the ultimate goal. Now the ultimate goal is to work for someone else who tells you what to do so you can get paid and go on vacation and flaunt your wealth. Huh?

As for the people in this photo, they couldn’t work in the music industry. They wouldn’t be let in.

Oh, Troy Carter manages Lady Gaga, but he’s invested in more tech companies than you can list. And Nathan Hubbard may run Ticketmaster, but he got an MBA at Stanford and if you think Ticketmaster is all about music, you’ve never heard of sports.

Music is a self-satisfied club run by baby boomers who are trying to eke out personal cash, even though they’re oftentimes working for a public corporation. It’s truly about me and there’s very little giving back. Whereas the charity:water folks already have enough money, their goal is to mess with the system. Remember messing with the system? Whether it be Abbie Hoffman or Country Joe or the Jefferson Airplane or the Chicago 7/8, that’s what smart young people did back then.

Instead, you do covers of hits on YouTube, even though these hits have the lasting power of a stick of gum. And then you spam everybody telling them to pay attention, ironically utilizing the services the charity:water people established. And then you complain that you can’t get paid. That it’s Daniel Ek’s fault.

And before him it was Shawn Fanning. And then it was the fans and it was everybody but yourself. Ever think that you might be the problem?

Yes, music has more power than the money or thoughts of any of the tech elite. But it only works when it’s independent, when it says something, when it becomes indispensable to the listener as opposed to radio fodder.

And it hasn’t been that way for a very long time.

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