From my fave music industry commentator, (if you hadn’t guessed I’m the industry wanker at stink finger), Bob Lefsetz comes this amusing and accurate Enemies List. For those new to Bob, the other one, check the link below and join his email list – he’s a prolific and opinionated man, beware his music rants, he has to my ears shocking taste – do read them though as he has passion and thats what digging this music stuff is ALL about.
1. Doug Morris
Despite the aegis of caring about music and consumers he’s an ignorant old man who is single-handedly holding back the monetization of recorded music online.
No one who sues his own customers can give a shit about them. That’s like killing slaves for their own good.
And, believe me, RIAA policy is Universal Music policy. Based on the company’s market share, if nothing else.
This is an old man whose success is based on a radio/retail model, get the song on the radio and see if the album is moving at the store, when radio is terrible and ineffectual, kids not listening to it, and it’s difficult to even find a record store.
This is the guy leading the charge?
And you wonder why we’re in trouble.
2. Zach Horowitz
Morris’ consigliere. If we want change, we’ve got to kill them both.
3. Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton? Huh?
Yup, he signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which ruined radio.
Twenty two minutes of commercials per hour and predictable playlists. Music on terrestrial radio is finished. All because of this legislation.
4. Gene Simmons
For spreading the heinous concept that musicians are just in it for the money. For blaming the chaos of today’s music world on the fans. You keep telling us how smart you are Gene, but every time you open your mouth you just demonstrate how uninformed and dumb you truly are.
5. Bob Sillerman
He rolled up concert promoters, he created a mountain of debt. Without Sillerman, concert tickets would never be so expensive.
6. Ryan Seacrest
Emblematic of the fiction that the public wants bland, ineffectual, no substance talent.
Wrong, people want an edge, they want a living, breathing human being who speaks his mind and even has warts.
7. Jann Wenner
For destroying the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Utilizing it as his own personal enterprise, Wenner lords over the organization like a despot. Only his taste counts. So we end up with non-rockers (Miles Davis) in, and classic rockers (Alice Cooper) out.
Put Madonna in the Business Hall of Fame. But once you induct her into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the institution loses all meaning.
For not leaning on promoters and talent and insisting that the fees be included in the overall price. Sure, it’s not their fault, but do they have to roll over? No one’s hands are tied to this extent. After all, they’re almost a monopoly!
9. Jimmy Iovine
For spreading the fiction that he’s hip, when really he’s only about the money and the power.
For not removing the “M” from its name.
They can program whatever they want, but please don’t associate it with music. Maybe FTV, for Fashion TV. Or RTV, for Reality TV. But not MTV, not Music Television, that’s an insult to our intelligence and music itself.
11. Michael Cohl
You might have paid the acts big bucks, but we, the public, paid the price.
Now Live Nation is saddled with that Jay-Z debt, those 360 deals. They’ve got to charge a fortune to make their payments. Or else go bankrupt. Maybe that’s the better option, clearing the board and starting all over.
For not putting all the tickets in the building on sale. Let’s blame the promoters here too. Give us a fighting chance. If you’re going to overcharge us for a ticket, at least give us an opportunity to get a good one.
13. Antares Audio Technologies
For foisting auto-tune upon the marketplace.
Used to be you needed talent to make it. You used to be able to sing. But now Harvey Fierstein can sound like Mariah Carey and anybody can have a hit record.
14. The Acts
They’re the ones taking the money, whoring themselves out, saying their hands are tied. No, that’s untrue. You just want all the money, the TicketMaster kickbacks, the endorsement bucks…
If you’re one of the rare acts that does no sponsorships, if you keep ticket prices reasonable, if you think of your fans before your wallet, I salute you!
15. Music Publishers
For not going to a percentage rate.
For not knowing their client is the act, not the label.
17. Kevin Martin
For approving the Sirius/XM merger.
May be good for the stockholders, but it’s shitty for talent. They’ve only got one place to go for a national footprint now, talent prices just went down because there’s no competition!
Yup, a new business model has been invented. Spend yourself to death and then throw yourself upon the court for mercy, tell them to change the law so the public will benefit. Mmm… Isn’t this just what Bear Stearns did?
18. Terrestrial Radio
For refusing to pay a master recording usage fee. If you can explain to me why the writers of a song should be compensated, but not the performers, you probably believe Henry Ford’s estate should get paid for all automobile sales and companies should produce cars for nothing, maybe making ends meet on spare parts.
This is not an RIAA land grab. It’s time for the U.S. to align itself with the rest of the world. This is an artist issue.
NOT ON THE LIST
Steve Jobs/Apple Computer
You don’t hear consumers complaining. He developed an MP3 player you could use and a reasonable way to buy just what you wanted online. The powers-that-be said no one wanted an iPod, it was too expensive, and that songs must be sold as albums, which oftentimes is not the way the public wants them.
Anti-Apple stories are part of a major label disinformation campaign, all with the goal to smear someone who’s more concerned with consumers than they are. The old fat cats are just pissed they can no longer win through intimidation. But, if you snooze, you lose! Or, if you don’t know how to type, if you’re not as familiar with computers as you are with your car, you’re FUCKED!
Edgar Bronfman, Jr.
Doesn’t even count. He destroyed Warner Music, all in the name of profits for the original investors, who took the company private and then public again, screwing stockholders (the same way they screw consumers!)
The company’s been marginalized, but there’s still a fantastic catalog.
Stunningly, Warner has the most innovative digital initiatives, but that’s like saying your Powder Puff football team has the best quarterback… She’s still not in the league of Peyton Manning.
Overpaid for a pig in a poke. Citibank would already own EMI if it knew what to do with it.
At the end of the day, it’s not bathrooms on the highway. Music is a business of creativity. No amount of reorganization/business structure can trump this.
About as relevant as SoundScan.
If the owners/editors were smart, they’d build up the magazine’s web content, give a lot for nothing, change their business model. But no, they’d rather sell magazines. How stupid.
At least you can get a good seat!
He’s been marginalized. He’s no longer the whipping boy. He lost his gig because his paradigm is passe. Spending a ton of money to break a vapid act in the mainstream is a denial of the reality that the mainstream is shrinking and bland has been replaced by edgy. The future is an amalgamation of niche, not the single-headed phoenix.
Indie Record Store
They’re making their money from tchotchkes. The majors constantly fuck them in the ass because they don’t generate enough capital. If they were selling enough product, they’d get the exclusives Best Buy does, but they don’t. Now that you can get all the catalog online, they’re almost irrelevant.
Hard to hate Live Nation’s competitor. And, with Live Nation in turmoil, we’re not exactly sure who the enemy in this sphere is other than the acts/managers and agents.
Because the Grammys are irrelevant.
Michael Greene made them relevant, in an era when the mainstream still counted.
But give Portnow credit for his charity initiatives. Which, unfortunately, started with himself… Check his pay package.
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