Author Topic: Music, Money and Tech  (Read 1481 times)

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Music, Money and Tech
« on: May 26, 2015, 08:12:09 pm »
Robert Kyncl

Bob Lefsetz <>
5:07 PM (3 hours ago)

to me
He thinks curation is bullsh*t.

That's right, we've been hearing for years that the solution to the industry's problem, what's going to save streaming, is curation. But Kyncl believes it's all about fragmentation, not curation.

Let's start at the beginning. Kyncl is a bigwig at YouTube. Google him.

And like the musicians bitching about not getting paid, he started at the bottom, and worked his way up. From the mailroom to assistant at a second-rate talent agency to film production to Netflix to YouTube. And he didn't go to an Ivy league school but he did get an MBA.

Sitting with Kyncl is like getting your balloon deflated. People in the music business always go by feel. They feel they should be making more money. But they know nothing about business. What are the margins? Is the business sustainable?

So Kyncl says entertainment used to be a B2B business. He analogizes it to Switzerland. It's clean and organized. Everybody wears a jacket and tie, you go out for an expensive lunch, because your customer is another businessman who needs to be treated right.

But now it's direct to consumer. You can wear your t-shirt and flip-flops. Because your ultimate consumer does, if you connect fact to face at all. Kyncl analogizes this modern world to India.

Ever been to India?

In fact, I have not. Was scheduled to go, but the visa didn't come through in time. And we kept delaying our departure but then we missed the window and the point of my story is the people who are running the world have been places, and if you haven't, you won't get the jokes, you won't understand.

But I know enough about the country to get Kyncl's point. That India's a land of endless roadside stands, utter chaos, except for a few brands.

That's what rules the future, brands. I.e. stars. And if you're not one, you're part of the chaos, and no amount of curation will solve your problem, because people don't have enough time, they gravitate to the brands.


Do you have enough time to listen to every song in the playlist?

Of course not!

So YouTube believes in the smorgasbord, the endless sea of product, and from that emerges the phoenixes. Anyone who is trying to control what is happening is going back to Switzerland, when we all live in India.

P.S. We live in a YouTube world. You can argue all you want about Spotify, but the enemy is YouTube. Or your savior. Because that's where your content can live for free, where others can find it and spread the word. So, what world do you want to live in? One where you have to have a major deal to record music, in $2000 a day studios, and if it's not on the radio you're dead in the water or one where the means of production are cheap, you can make a track on your laptop, and you can distribute it for free and let the public decide. Of course in the old world if you could jump the hurdle your odds were increased, but very few could get over this barrier. But we live in a modern world where radio is strictly formatted, even rock can't break through, yet you're bitching that the problem is Spotify? The problem is YOU!

P.P.S. Smart is sexy, it trumps money every day of the week. But you rarely see money without smart. The problem Jay Z has with Tidal is it's only about money, and that's not appealing to the public. Furthermore, the public has no problem with the amount of money musicians are making. And why should they, in a world where the price of concert tickets has far outpaced inflation and you can't get a good one even if you want to?

P.P.P.S. You can't expect the old paradigm to work indefinitely. In a world where we can see every star online, for free, why should we pay to see these same people lip-sync their songs in an arena? Want to move the ball in music, reinvent it! There hasn't been a new sound, never mind a new show, in eons. Facebook invests in virtual reality and musicians add lasers, which first broke through decades ago, or hi-def screens. And all of this is fine, but if you want to break big and make as much as the techies, you've got to INNOVATE!

P.P.P.P.S. "'We're going to f*ckin' save the music business.' And I'm just sitting there thinking, 'You might want to write a decent chorus for a f*ckin' start.'" Noel Gallagher said that, his comments bounced all over the internet. Because truth sells, more than anything. And irreverence adds spice to truth. And in this sell-out nation of ours, people are all about lying to get ahead. But art is all about truth. If only Noel could get back together with his brother, if he could get a decent singer, we might care about his music. Noel's got the attitude and publicity right, he's even writing memorable songs, but singing them himself is like Robbie Robertson being the lead singer of the Band.

P.P.P.P.P.S. Splits aren't going to get better, if anything they're going to get worse! Because it's hard to build a business on 30%. Apple can afford the loss, Google too. Jay Z and Spotify are just hoping to sell to someone else. And that's fine, but should we care?

P.P.P.P.P.P.S. The biggest story in business is the tech bubble. I ask you, Universal, WME, all of you companies with tech investments and incubators, what are you gonna do when the crash comes? Why don't you inhabit your area of expertise and focus on the art? Everybody's envious of Silicon Valley's cash. But the way you compete is not by doing what they do, badly.