Bob Lefsetz: 6 Lessons from Rebecca Black
Last week, viral star Rebecca Black appeared on Ryan Seacrest's show and hooked her up with Debra Baum, a manager with DB Entertainment. Black has since signed with DB reports say. What do we make of all this? Bob Lefsetz, a music industry thinker you're probably familiar with, outlined 23 things we could learn from Black on his blog.
Here are my favorite 6 of Lefsetz's insights:
1. Shelf life online is forever. Like a land mine waiting to be stepped on decades later, if you can Google it, it can always blow up. In other words, a spin on radio evaporates, a YouTube clip is waiting to explode.
2. Music and video production are cheap. Rebecca Black's mother paid Ark Factory two grand and got not only a song but a video. Not only does this beg why major label productions are so expensive, it reinforces the fact that anybody can play. In other words, if you're bitching about needing money to make it in the music game, you're playing by the old rules.
3. Don't equate fame with being rich or longevity. Fame is oftentimes brief and oftentimes the famous make almost no cash. I.e. reality TV. But there's an endless parade of wannabes willing to prostitute themselves for a bit of fame. Is it the human condition or a reflection of America, where the poor can no longer be rich and fame is a substitute?
4. Rebecca Black lives in a different world. If you're twenty something and have been slugging it out for years trying to make it don't complain about Rebecca Black. She lives in a different world. To make it and last in music takes longer than it has since the seventies. The MTV era made stars overnight, which faded almost instantly. Now you gain traction slowly, only your fans know you, they spread the word online and you pray that you never gain a Rebecca Black moment, because that means you'll be ridiculed and be toast.
5. Either go for train-wreck value or be exceptionally good. Yes, if you're an "artist", mediocre doesn't cut it. The landscape is evanescent lowest common denominator crap or incredible art. In other words, if you're not going to be the next Bob Dylan or Radiohead, stay in school.
6. Rebecca Black is a bigger story than SXSW, certainly than any band that played there. Question the old game. Instead of wasting money to make yourself feel good, stay home and think. Come up with something that truly gets us to turn our heads.
Comment below. Read all of Bob Lefsetz's insights here.