I have been reading the Lefsetz Letter for several years now and am certainly a fan of its author, Bob Lefsetz. He is an extremely thoughtful and passionate forward-looking thinker who is never afraid to share his views, subject himself to criticism and open his life to readers.
It is because of his stature that I hope he can lead the way to move us all beyond the tired, restrictive nomencalture of albums versus songs. In one of his posts today, Albums, put forth the need for artists to stop thinking about the 'album' as the main vehicle.
I agree with that completely.
Unfortunately, Mr. Lefsetz's suggestion, of which he is not alone, is that artists, instead, focus on the single. In his words, "
Create one song that grabs my ear, leave me
wanting more. It's about bite-sized
rather than humongous."
I was disappointed that he did not follow through more deeply on his thought earlier in the post where he stated:
"Now the public has the option to own only the
itty bit it wants, people don't want to spend the time and money on the whole
A true fan wants more and more music by his favorite
artist. But he doesn't want it dropped
like a bomb all on one day, he wants it released spread out over time. It's like a relationship is collapsed to a
week, with not only kissing and intercourse, but babies and divorce all at the
same time. Whereas real life is an
endless stream of small moments.
Musicians should realize this, understand it's a changed world."
I agree that artists should treat their relationship with fans as just that…a relationship with both large and small moments. To reduce that solely to delivering 'songs' instead of 'albums' I think is short-sighted and incomplete.
If an album is like a week from dating to divorce, a purely 'song' or 'single' strategy is like a string of one-night stands. They may provide some temporary gratitude but will never let each person truly understand one another for something deeper.
I believe that artists should be in the habit of sharing the entire creative process with their fans. In some cases that will be songs, sometimes albums, sometimes beats, other times lyrics, and on and on. By releasing completely from the confines of finished product, the artist can not only be more expressive, but find new business models to support it.
I have just joined a new company that will be releasing a service soon that lets any business or artists manage their entire digital & mobile life and interact with fans on a one-to-one basis from a single location. I am excited because it supports exactly what I am discussing here, the need to support the relationship through getting to know the fans and vice versa.
I greatly appreciate the song and album, don't get me wrong. But I appreciate them much more whent they are peppered amongst who the artist truly is; which comes out over a long series of dates.