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Two of my close friends in the business, who still have jobs, told me separately this week that they have "survivor's guilt."
LENNYBEERBLOG: WHAT I'M THINKING ABOUT THIS WEEK
Our Man Ponders the Exit of Respected Figures Like Wadsworth and Katz, Asking, WTF?
1. How in the hell can someone fire Tony Wadsworth? I mean, whatthefuck is up with that???? Guy Hands talks about the importance of A&R in his new "model," then fires the man considered to be the best A&R talent in the entire world!!!! Coldplay, Radiohead, Robbie Williams, Corinne Bailey Rae, KT Tunstall, Gorillaz, etc., etc., etc. Is that not enough to keep your job these days? Am I missing something? Will someone please explain this one to me? Tony, if you are reading this or one of your friends tells you about it, can you tell me yourself? This is just wrong. The world has been turned upside-fucking-down.

2. Now Jordan Katz is fired, also???? A guy long considered to be one of the brightest newcomers to rise in the sales/distribution world? Clive Davis' man. The head of Sony BMG distribution. Wham, gone. Are you kidding me?

3. Two of my close friends in the business, who still have jobs, told me separately this week that they have "survivor's guilt." Being Jewish, I, of course thought it an extreme analogy when I first heard it, but now I’m starting to feel the same way. Is this happening to any of you?

4. How many of your friends will be among the 2,000 or more about to be let go at EMI? And how many are so fed up that they'd like it to happen sooner than later? With press releases trumpeting the upcoming dismissals, it appears that Terra Firma has found a new way to not only "cut off their heads," but to do it slowly and painfully, over a six-month window. It seems to be that this will only turn their entire operation into a deep freeze, with everyone wondering who's in and who's not. Does that seem odd to you?

5. Oh well, one positive for me this week once again came from our Wednesday evening UCLA class. This week's guests included Jeff Gelb from Mediabase, who explained the system and its use to our students, followed by a management panel discussing the current state and the future hope of the business featuring Brian Schechter (My Chemical Romance), Rob McDermott (Linkin Park), Pete Galli (The Bravery) and the always-entertaining Andy Gould (Rob Zombie). Thanks to all the students and guests for keeping me upbeat for at least three hours a week, as we ponder where it's all headed and how quickly we can get there.

Hit us up at [email protected] and tell us what you're thinking about this week. And stop by the class some Wednesday evening, 7-10 p.m., for some brainstorming and lots of hope. 
__________________________

Lenny,
1. Consider all the talented individuals now released from a doomed business model who are free to create a brave new music industry.  The fired ones will either succeed at adding value to musicians and fans in awesome new ways, or validate Guy’s decision to rid himself of them. Their fate is now in their own hands. Fly, be free.  I am excited to experience what you will create.

2. I recently had some close encounters and interesting discussions with college students returning from a semester of study in London. It may be an interesting diversion for you and your class to explore the differing markets for music in the U.K./EU vs. the U.S.A. in light of EMI’s restructure.  It would be a mistake for any music executive to assume customers are the same in most developed countries.

Some interesting points came up that affect the music industry.  Statistical data may be interesting since this is from students who could afford a semester in London.

 a) The drinking age of 18 (younger with meals) allows for a more extensive club scene. It also allows for a younger target market for bar bands (live or recorded).  It also means that virtually no college kids from anywhere visit the U.S.A. anymore. 

 b) The use of curse words is far more common and accepted.

 c) U.K./EU youth don’t typically have cars and are more accustomed to being herded around. They are generally less independent and more accustomed to accepting limited options. 

 d) The Internet is used far more in the U.S.A. Returning students estimate Europe to be about five years behind the U.S.A. in using the Internet. There is a greater distrust of giving out credit card or bank information to make purchases.

 e) The Christmas season is not as long since it has no definite beginning. Without Thanksgiving, people tend to slide into decorating and buying presents around early-to-mid December. 

3. The year 2007 was when we lamented and accepted the ending of what was. The year 2008 should be the year we celebrate what the music industry is becoming.  ven if the four major record companies go belly up, it doesn’t mean death or despair to the professionals who used to work there. There are places for them to go and things for them to do.

…and will somebody please fix the damn concert ticket purchasing situation!… and will someone else figure out how to take money from 16-20-year-olds and show them a good time without getting them drunk… and will someone else please replace critics who make fun of musicians who cater to the 40+ crowd?  Boomers have a lot of money to spend.

Have a great 2008,
Pam Wallace
IamMusic
__________________________

The music business has been filled with some wonderful experiences in mass marketing both on the artist and label executive level for many years. From Michael Jackson to the Backstreet Boys we’ve seen what it’s like to release albums that connect on a huge global scale (and the money that generates along with the jobs that sustains).

Now, everything is completely different. Currently, and going forward, this business is about quality, not quantity. It’s about connecting with your fans one by one instead of casting a huge net blindly. Two basic reasons why that is: people have less time for nonsense, and people are much more sophisticated to know what "nonsense" is.

The current template of a successful artist is basically the Dave Matthews Band model of marketing directly to your niche. Whether that manifests itself as a band that earns a living by touring and selling a modest 10,000-20,000 records per release or if we’re talking about the recently unveiled Madonna or Radiohead business plans, the power is shifting from the hands of the Record Label Executive to the artists themselves.

Obviously… if you’re a Record Label Executive stuck in the Old School, that’s not so good. If you’re an artist, it’s fantastic.

As for talented executives who perhaps unfairly find themselves at the short end of the stick due to all of this restructuring, the time is ripe for them to take advantage of their skills and wisdom and go out there to advise all these budding young stars on how to guide their careers.

In a nutshell, this is why all of the things you talked about are happening. Basically, we are experiencing a changing of the guard, and, as my good friend [A&R Worldwide chief] Sat Bisla has said, those who remain will be: “The people who are in this business for the passion, not the fashion.”

Your brother with the same name,
Lenny LaSalandra
President
Combat Rock Promotion
__________________________

Hi Lenny,
 
What am I thinking about this week? 
 
My reaction to the EMI layoffs?
 
I used to be surprised.
 
Well, it really is no surprise anymore. 
 
Major label CD sales are going down the toilet. 
 
"You can't compete w/free."
 
If a "label" is to survive, it's gotta be indie and indie-minded.  Let's face it.  Songs that used to get licensed for hundreds of thousands of dollars are now going for $30k a pop.  Doesn't take a genius to figure out the math there.
 
The future will absolutely be managers/marketing companies that figure out a way to break their artists outside of the major label system and take a piece of all the revenue.  I don't think traditional things like radio and touring will matter as much in this new world.
 
I used to be "shocked" and "dismayed" at announcements like Tower Records going away or major labels slashing staff left and right.  Now I'm surprised it hasn't happened sooner!
 
It's a great time to be indie and it's a great time to be an entrepreneur.
 
I hate to see people lose their jobs, but to be honest, I've shopped some great artists to major labels in the past.  Artists that deserved a shot.  All were passed on. The future is artists that market themselves on MySpace and YouTube and get exposure on their own!
 
Those are my thoughts for the week!
 
Jennifer Yeko
True Talent Management
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