Image by Incase.
Bob Lefsetz must have had a week or two off, since he’s come back with two great posts on a similar theme – how it takes time and effort to become good enough to be successful in music (or in anything if truth be told). We peddle this line on the main blog – read the basics in our free musican eBook.
I’d urge you to read both of Bob’s posts.
Doesn’t this sound like the music business? A plethora of unskilled kids telling us they’re great, that they deserve success?
Could it be the music business is faltering because the music just isn’t good enough?
Now let me be clear, you’ve got to be great. The Palm Pre is pretty good. But not as good as an iPhone or an Android. And before you start quibbling, one of the things that made the iPhone such a phenomenon was the ecosystem, the App Store, and the synching software. Sure, the Pre would hold your music, but how in the hell were you going to get it on there, it was tedious!
So if you’ve got one hit, almost no one wants to see you live.
Justin Bieber? That’s MySpace. Big story for a year or two, even the mainstream press buys it, and then instant devastation.
Where are the acts that blow us away?
Certainly not the Black Eyed Peas. That’s entertainment. Still, will.i.am just can’t get rich enough. Now he’s gone and made a deal with Intel.
Hell, Steve Jobs was blown out of Apple, his own company. The iPod didn’t even come out until twenty five years after the initial Apple computers. Where are the acts that are growing and developing into greatness? Are we really waiting for Ke$ha to deliver her “Sgt. Pepper”?
So let’s stop the debate about piracy. Let’s focus on the music. And agree that whatever money comes raining down, it’s just not gonna be in the league of Lloyd Blankfein’s compensation. That music isn’t about getting rich, but making a statement. Doing it your way. Having an influence.
But in order to have said influence, you’ve got to gain adherents. Which takes a long time, see Mr. Jobs above. And Jobs purveyed incredible products before the iPod, just like the initial albums of classic artists were oftentimes ignored. But you don’t cry, but soldier on.
That’s from this post – The Tiger Mother Craze
And then there’s this, where he talks about the practice required to become great.
In the old days, before the Internet could make everyone famous overnight, our successful artists had a backstory. They’d played with this person and that, some who’d also gone on to become famous, many who’d gone straight after tiring of the grind or finding themselves just not good enough. Pete Best was not the best, he got ousted from the Beatles just before they broke. But Tom Petty reunited with his old buddies in Mudcrutch decades later. Who did Willow Smith come up with? You see we’ve got the fame part down, but there’s no substitute for growing up, getting knocked around, learning the ropes.
And what was Harry Houdini doing? Learning how to perform.
The greats were not only musicians, but incredible showmen. Have you seen David Bowie? Bob Ezrin made incredible records with Alice Cooper, but when you went to see him there was a show so out there, so creative that you had to tell everyone you knew about it, and drag them the next time Alice came to town.
And how about Hendrix? He sure could play. But that didn’t prevent him from employing his teeth, lighting his guitar on fire. And it’s not simply coming up with these stunts, it’s about practicing them over years. Speak with a comedian. He always bombs early in his career. He has to learn how to feed off of the audience. Not only what lines work, but when to shut up, when to wrinkle his eyebrows. This is very hard to do when your show is on hard drive. A great show is an interaction between performer and audience. Movies are two-dimensional, live theatre and music positively breathe!