Two posts from Bob Lefsetz.

The first is about lessons that we can all learn from Rebecca Black.

I know that it isn’t really a success as so much of the attention on her record is negative, but am I in the minority when it comes to accepting why?

Yes, in many ways it’s a god-awful song (the lyrics in the middle eight are beyond redemption), but doesn’t it fit rule number one of a pop song? That chorus refrain is hooky as hell and you do not forget it once you’ve heard it.

I’m not defending it and not saying that she’ll build a music career out of it – there’s way too much hate for that. But, I do think that if people gave it their own honest judgement rather than the ‘follow the herd’ abuse, they might grudgingly admit that there’s something about the hook that deserves at least a footnote in pop’s songwriting annals.

Maybe I’m just wrong!

Either way, there is a LOT to learn from the success of her release and Bob Lefstez has set out a list:

1. Selling recorded music is not the only way to make money in music.  Ark Factory came up with a new way, ripping off the parents of little kids.  Let this be a lesson to you, rather than complain that the old model is dead, innovate.

8. YouTube hosts videos for free.  Too much emphasis is being put on how much Rebecca Black is getting paid.  More important is the mechanism that led to her fame.  Used to be you had to pay independent promoters to get your track on radio, hoping to have it heard and discovered.  Today airplay is free.

18. You do not need radio or record stores to make it.  There is no physical product, airplay didn’t break “Friday”.  Anyone telling you you need a label is sorely mistaken.

I picked those three at random, but go and read the whole list here.  

And then he followed that post up with one entitled ‘Credibility’ in which he sets out another list which has great insight for every musician trying to build a long-term sustainable career in the modern music business.

He begins by decrying why a self-published author, Ammanda Hocking, would now sign to a traditional publisher, and concludes with a long list of reasons why you don’t need to.

Brilliant stuff.

1. Focus on the product, the art.  Every career needs an engine.  Which fans can point to and believe in. And that’s not “Friday”, which is why Rebecca Black got noticed but she’s got no real fans and no real traction, she’s still waiting for her first hit.  “Friday” is a train-wreck, not a hit.

2. Gain fans.  You do this by allowing them to partake of your art for free.  And giving them tools to spread the word.  Know where to charge in the food chain. At first you pay your fans, then they pay you, it’s not the other way around anymore.

3. Continue to reward the core with product and access.  If you aren’t reachable by your fans, you’re too big in the head.

4. Don’t try to blow it up too soon!  If you’re not willing to wait, you’re not willing to have a career.

Read that post here.