The Hardest Part Is Getting Noticed

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by: David Jennings

I’m always trying to find new, snappy and pithy ways to explain why discovery — the central issue my book addresses — is a "problem" that needs addressing, and why it’s particularly become an issue in the last few years. Bob Lefsetz (pictured) is often pretty snappy, and this excerpt, which begins his latest broadside, states the issue as it applies to major labels in the US:

The hardest part is getting noticed.

There are numerous media competing for the audience’s mindspace. And numerous musical enterprises/records as well. So, the plan must center first around getting attention, not getting paid.

In the old days, the major labels controlled a finite landscape. They had what was perceived to be the best music, and they owned both radio and retail, which were the major ways of learning about music. So, there were few companies with few products fighting over little mindspace. Furthermore, you had to buy the product to experience it.

Now we live in a land of abundance. There are tens of thousands of acts and albums emerging/coming to market every year, the majors don’t necessarily have the best, and just about all of them can be experienced at the listener’s leisure, on the Web. The question is how do you get people to listen?

If you’ve got a pop confection, the major labels are the place to go. They control the old outlets, which can reach the most people most quickly. The only problem is the old outlets, the mass media, are only interested in the mass market items, and a great percentage of the public isn’t even paying attention. So, even if you’re the beneficiary of a carpet bomb campaign, a great percentage of America will still be clueless as to who you are, and won’t care that they’re out of the loop, might even be proud of being out of the loop. So, the question becomes how to reach these people.

Later on part of his solution runs, "So, how do you spread the word? You don’t. Your audience does." Read on for the full analysis.

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