Bernie. By, Bob Lefsetz

Posted on February 5, 2016 by


What kind of crazy, fucked-up world do we live in where a 74 year old white-haired Jew from Vermont resonates with the millennial generation more than any entertainer?

One in which when the game is rigged an outspoken leader says the rules must be changed instead of preaching false hope.

My radar tells me it’s going to be a Clinton/Rubio race, and that all the dissatisfaction expressed for the past year might go by the wayside, or will it?

The Occupy movement was marginalized by the press, and despite lionization by Aaron Sorkin in the “Newsroom,” it was seen as an unfocused effort by slackers that was ultimately laughable.

That’s what happens when the aged won’t let go, they marginalize the efforts of the hungry newcomers. And in this case, the aged are baby boomers, who wrested power from their sleeping parents and refuse to let go.

Millennials run the bleeding edge tech companies.

Who runs entertainment?

If you don’t think aged boomers run records and concerts, you don’t know that Doug Morris is too old to be classified as a boomer, but the rest of the business is overrun with fifty and sixtysomethings who grew up in the sixties, seventies and eighties when entertainment was completely different, when it was all about promotion and the game was rigged, when it didn’t matter what sold just as long as something did.

But that ain’t gonna go on for long.

This is what’s gonna happen. An incorruptible millennial is gonna revolutionize music. Not Scooter Braun, with his lame over-promotion of nitwits, but an act with talent that will be comfortable saying no. That won’t work with usual suspect songwriters and producers and will specialize in touching people’s hearts more than slickness.

That’s what will make music healthy again, and it’s coming.

This effort might be midwifed by young businesspeople with new values, who believe in transparency and honesty as opposed to duplicity. You can’t get a good concert ticket at face value, you don’t even know where to look for one. Do you think this is the preference of the millennial?

No, the millennial believes in fairness. The millennial will pay top buck for what they want. Just make it clear, cast aside obfuscation.

The millennials are fueling the Sanders campaign. Which is not about fixing the old car, but blowing it up and taking a Tesla or an Uber. For all the trumpeting of the Top Forty, the truth is never since the Beatles have hits meant less, have they had less penetration, have they had so little cultural impact. And true, there are competing sounds and messages, but greatness triumphs, assuming you create it.

The boomers fueled the campaign of Clean Gene McCarthy. Whose candidacy disintegrated and the result was Humphrey got nominated and Nixon got elected. Disillusionment reigned, and then Reagan legitimized greed and the boomers sold out.

But the millennials have no one to sell out to. There are no jobs, no opportunities. And this may be overstating the case, but with college debt hanging over your head and the lifestyles of the rich and famous paraded in front of you on every media outlet known to man it can get discouraging, not everyone can be a winner.

So if you want to triumph in the coming music world, know that your bond with your audience is everything. And even though nitwit youngsters will follow the popsters, it’s college-aged audiences that trumpet the next big thing. And these students are looking for someone to treat them as an equal and to give them guidance, not tell them to overpay for empty products.

Hell, millennials aren’t into assets anyway, they like experiences, which is why they go to the festival, to commune with their compatriots and post their efforts to Instagram. When you’ve got nothing, it’s all about you.

Warner did a good thing to say it would share breakage with its acts, that the sale of Spotify stock would be divvied-up. The company gets it.

Expect Universal and Sony to do the same thing. Otherwise, they’ll have a hard time signing acts.

And Kobalt is revolutionizing publishing transparency.

But subterfuge still reigns in the music business. The acts could clear it up, especially on the live side, but their greed is preventing them from doing this, they’re hiding behind the front of Ticketmaster, taking no blame.

But millennials know it’s all about responsibility. They want to know who made their clothes and they want answers. Want to win them over? Provide same.

So Bernie is a harbinger of what’s to come. His importance may be greatest outside the political sphere. He has tapped into a well of disaffection deeper than any rapper has been able to. While Drake fights with Meek Mill, Bernie’s talking about paying your bills, leveling the playing field.

There’s something happening here.

And we’ll call it the millennial moment. When power shifts from parents to children. When adults brought up in a different era realize they’ve lost touch with what’s going on. Hillary Clinton uses Jamie Lee Curtis to promote herself, not knowing most millennials are clueless as to her identity.

But millennials know the Beatles and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. They remember when music stood for something, when it could move mountains, when a musician challenged power and said no.

We’re looking for a few good leaders. Not those who have been self-promoting on social media incessantly. We want no makeup mavens, we want no video game players, we want artists. Not those on the “Voice,” a boomer construct if there ever was one, a money-making effort with no artistry involved, but those who go their own way. Who’ve flown off the radar for years honing their chops as opposed to getting mommy and daddy to promote their lame thirteen year old efforts.

We’ve been shooting too low.

The audience is sophisticated, the audience is hungry.

It’s time to feed them.

Posted in: Bob Lefsetz