Logic. By, Bob Lefsetz

Posted on August 24, 2017 by

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Just when I thought the Soho House was jive…

I went for a meeting with a Canadian. That was what the Soho House was pitched as, a home away from home, a place you could do business when you were on the road.

But then Soho House came to L.A. And after the usual suspects signed up, the wannabes descended. And the funny thing is someone’s got to vouch for you, you’ve got to pass inspection. And just when I’m thinking that the joint is full of thirtysomethings, when I see nobody I know, which is a first, this twentysomething guy leans over and tells me he’s a big fan.

Hell, we all like compliments. He said his boss told him he had to do two things when he got the gig, sign up for the “Lefsetz Letter” and book a national tour.

For Logic.

Logic. I never write about him because a guy from the label has hammered me so hard on him. It’s a people business. And when you come on like a bulldozer, it turns me off. Especially when all the data is up close and personal for you to see.

Like on Twitter.

That’s where Chris Zarou, head of Visionary Management, found Logic.

You see he’d been a soccer player. But Chris realized he just wasn’t good enough. That’s what’s funny about getting older, it separates the men from the boys (and the women from the girls!), and the smart people realize this and get out of the way, drop out and find something better to do.

For Chris, it was music management. It was the only other thing he was interested in.

So he started to study, he combed the net. That’s when he saw the tweet about Logic. Chris checked out the video, he was bowled over, he made contact with Logic via his Facebook page, and then took the Megabus from New York down to Maryland to visit him. Chris said he wanted to be Logic’s manager. That Logic didn’t have to sign any paper. That the act could judge by the results.

So Chris went back to Long Island and started to hustle, while working at Abercrombie & Fitch, his dad didn’t believe this music thing was gonna work out.

But they put out a mixtape. And then four video “singles” on YouTube. Chris traded out with a nascent director, who Chris said would get on screen credit in exchange for his free work.

But it wasn’t an overnight success. Those still steeped in the last decade believe if you build it, they will come. But they won’t. There’s too much noise, too much clutter. So Chris allowed free use of Logic’s music in gaming videos. His goal was to get people exposed to the music, he believed they’d like it if they only heard it.

This is the antithesis to the baby boomer/Gen-X paradigm, where it’s all about the Benjamins, thinking about money first. Chris thought about audience first.

And there was another mixtape and then a deal with Island/Def Jam in 2012. They needed the money, they could not take the next step without it. Zarou and Logic had been working together since 2009, the next step was a tour, but how could they float it, they couldn’t get any advances from the venues!

That’s when they made the deal with IDJ. And went on the road with a rented minivan and an Altima, all across this great nation of ours.

Enterprise said the automobiles could not leave New York. But Chris thought if they returned them in New York, how would Enterprise know?

They didn’t. You’ve got to bend the rules to get ahead.

And Logic sold out clubs across the nation. The bookkeeping was manila envelopes, one for each gig, with the cash stashed and every withdrawal noted, when someone needed twenty bucks for weed, it was written down. And at the end the net was $60,000.

That’s right, no major label record and no radio airplay… THERE HASN’T BEEN ANY AIRPLAY TO THIS DAY!

And then they went to Europe.

WHO BOOKED THIS?

Some guy at an independent that no longer exists who is now at Paradigm. Although Logic is at WME. You see, you’ve got to start at the bottom, with people who are hungry and wet behind the ears just like you, they’re interested, they want to make their bones with you.

And Chris needed help. And he found Harrison Remler, a club promoter from Vassar, and signed him up as an intern, this is the guy who tapped my shoulder and told me what his boss told him to do.

His boss, Chris, is now 27.

Harrison is 24.

That’s right, it’s a new music business. Peopled by the young and hungry. They’re excited, they’re doing it their way and they don’t care about where we’ve been, but only where we’re going.

Chris studied Spotify in its infancy and saw that the key to streams was getting on playlists. He gave Spotify Logic exclusively if they’d work him on their playlists. There are always angles, but can you see them and figure them out?

And when the first IDJ LP came out, after a two year wait, when Chris told the label not to even tell anybody Logic was signed, it disappointed, Chris about cried. Not because it was a failure, it went Top 5, but because Chris believed it would have been number one, if only the label had put enough product on the street. IDJ just did not believe it. That a band that existed only on the internet could be so big.

But they learned their lesson. Said Zarou was right.

Before this Logic sold out Irving Plaza. Not one single IDJ employee showed up. And this is when Zarou realized he had screwed up, he had failed to work the company!

You see he’s learning on the fly.

Now that’s the music business I love.

It’s not like a typical profession. Where you study and apprentice. No, you look yourself in the mirror and say you’re worthy and go forth and prosper. By your wits. Getting screwed, getting an education along the way. No school can teach you how to do it, no way. It’s always individuals with desire, who can operate on their wiles, who can figure out the angles, who win.

And I’m talking to Chris and he smiles and his perfect teeth shine bright and his hair is perfectly parted and I realize this guy would win at whatever he wanted to do.

But he chose the music business.

Which makes me believe the business is healthy and will have a future. Because where else can someone with no CV triumph and make bucks?

So last time through, Logic sold out two Wilterns.

And now IDJ is getting ready to push the radio button. Which excites Chris, because where else can you make 100 million impressions? Worldwide on Spotify, what do you get, 50-60 million?

Chris couldn’t do it without IDJ. They’re fully on board now.

And Chris has a pop act on Capitol too, named Jon Bellion (with one cut on Spotify with 216,731,231 streams and four others at 52,43, 38 and 27 MILLION!)

And everything you thought you knew that you’ve been bitching about never crosses his mind.

His world lives on the internet. That’s where you discover, that’s where you spread the word, that’s where you make bucks. Logic’s top cut on Spotify has 163,334,570 streams. The next four are all in double digit millions, at 72, 60, 32 and 15. Do I hear Logic and Chris bitching about recorded music revenue? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

And, once again, this is completely without radio. Radio can only juice these figures. Whereas many acts get radio play and get nowhere near this number of streams. You see the audience is pushing these acts forward. With some help from the team, in this case Chris, his two other employees and IDJ.

That’s right, Chris is not overstaffing, they’ve been working in the basement.

Chris graduated from Adelphi, after attending three previous institutions. And Harrison when to Vassar. And I’d put both of them up against an MBA from Harvard or Stanford. Because they’re hungrier, they don’t feel entitled. AND THEY’RE PASSIONATE!

So, Chris and Harrison had to leave for a meeting at Live Nation. They told me to watch Logic on the VMAs.

And as I was descending the staircase I said to myself…I NEED TO COME TO THE SOHO HOUSE MORE OFTEN!

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