Ignorance. By, Bob Lefsetz

Posted on September 24, 2014 by

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1. If you’ve got a contract and you’re using an aged handset, the joke’s on you.

Built into every cellphone contract is payment for the device. Just like there’s no such thing as a free lunch, there’s no such thing as a free cellphone. Get a new one every two years. And now, if you’re upgrading to a new iPhone, you can get $200 credit for anything back to a 4, so don’t delay. And don’t be holier-than-thou telling us you don’t need one. You do need LTE. And you do need to wake up and realize you’re paying for a new phone every two years whether you’re getting one or not.

2. Record contracts are bad because of leverage.

That’s the American way, you bargain for a result. Gain leverage and your terms improve. How do you gain leverage when dealing with a record company? Bring in results…sales/streams of music and videos, ticket counts and merch numbers. Because odds of success are so low, the label spreads risk over many. If everybody hit, you’d get better terms. Have success and you can renegotiate, or refuse to work, or play out the contract and sign on better terms with someone else. Or, if you believe in yourself that much, you can start your own label. But if you’re bitching about leverage you’re no different from a homeless man decrying he can’t date supermodels, you’re delusional.

As for labels’ refusal to live up to contract terms and account properly, that’s a whole ‘nother issue.

3. Streaming services are the solution, not the enemy.

This has me tearing what little hair I have left from my head. Talk to Daniel Ek, hell, just read some of his interviews. The main goal of Spotify was to fight piracy, and it and YouTube have done a good job of doing this. They both pay, prior to them you were getting nothing. As for downloads…they were always dwarfed by piracy. To make streaming services the enemy is to be ignorant of Internet history. As for better songwriter royalties at Pandora and payment on pre-1972 recordings, those are different issues.

4. All fees don’t go to Ticketmaster.

No matter how much I say this, people still can’t comprehend it. Sure, TM takes a cut, but so do the building, the promoter and sometimes even the act. It’s a system to defraud you and keep the usual suspects in power while protecting the image of the acts.

5. Sprint and T-Mobile service is inferior, that’s why they’re cheaper.

For a generation supposedly immune to advertising I’m stunned that people believe they can pay less and get just as much. Sure, in some markets one service might triumph, but Google will tell you the dominant carrier in America is Verizon, which is usually the most expensive, and therefore the company doesn’t lower its rates, because customers clamor for usability and dependability. If you’re happy with slower speeds and dropped calls by all means sign up with Sprint or T-Mobile, but please don’t point to the ads to say their service is just as good. And don’t e-mail me and tell me your mileage is different, ain’t that America where everybody testifies what they own is the best. Reminds me of skiing, where everybody on the lift says they love their skis…that’s right, they paid for them!

6. Japan builds the most reliable automobiles.

Doubt me? Just check the “Consumer Reports” ratings. You may think you’re saving a few bucks on an American car, but just compare residual values, never mind repair costs. If you’re broke, I have sympathy for you, but if you’re cheap, I don’t. You get what you pay for, and sure, luxury items may be overpriced, but frequently a deal is anything but.

7. Most people are not power users.

Those are the primary consumers of Android phones, the techies and the cheap. Sure, some iPhone customers buy for fashion, but most Apple acolytes are adherents to the ecosystem because their devices integrate seamlessly and just work. Some people soup up their cars, most people are satisfied with stock.

8. BlackBerry is history.

My inbox is populated with BlackBerry owners testifying about the new Passport. Well, it finally came out and the reviews are not good. The primary complaint is the keyboard sucks! If you think BlackBerry handsets can come back, you probably believe Gerardo and Jimmy Ray can have another hit.

9. Samsung is being challenged at both ends.

iPhone is distinguishing itself at the top and cheap Chinese Android phones are squeezing it at the bottom. To survive you’ve got to have your own software as well as hardware, your car not only has to look good, but drive well. Samsung is the new Sony. At least in mobile devices. A premium player who became an also-ran when the products it manufactured became commodities.

10. Google before you ask.

When someone e-mails the most basic of questions I laugh, have they never heard of the Google Machine? Which will not only tell you all about your ex-girlfriend, but how to fix your device and link you to all the information you’ll ever need. Google first, ask questions later.

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