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Blogging with the Experts: Kevin Bowe on Bob Lefsetz

I like Bob Lefsetz. He lets the music business have it! He speaks whatever he feels, he never holds his “tongue” for anyone just so they’ll like him, and he puts himself in a tough spot from time to time because of it.

He’s ticked off almost as many important music business people as he’s written about, but he’s carved out a huge online readership for himself, and many of us read almost everything he writes. I know I do. Why? Because I get to manage IPR’s social media, I blog for IPR, and Bob Lefsetz has a very infamous industry opinion.

I’ve pulled a lot of content ideas straight out of The Lefsetz Letter. Bob is almost always the first music business “journalist” to report on important industry happenings, and he frequently writes his blog several times a day…  often while the rest of us are sleeping. Some mornings I’ll even have 3-4 Lefsetz pieces waiting in my inbox.

IPR Instructor Kevin Bowe reads the Lefsetz Letter as well; Kevin and I have talked about him before. So, when I came across this article on the Wired magazine website, Kevin’s name immediately came to mind. He too read the article and decided he had something to say about it.

Kevin’s rant will make more sense to you if, A) you’ve read the Wired article, and B) you’re familiar with The Lefsetz Letter.

Here’s Kevin’s Rant:

Bob Lefsetz is at the very least an on and off interesting cultural phenomenon….. without the web (a free podium which is free to listen to) there IS no Bob, but this is the world we live in so there is DEFINITELY a Bob, and, agree or disagree, everyone in the biz reads his
newsletter. Everyone.

Although he strikes me as equally miserable a human being as the legendary Lester Bangs, he is honest in a very rare way, VERY rare in the music business. In our business, lying and artifice are accepted as just another day in the office.

Stars and biz people talk about music that everyone knows is bad and they say it’s good because they’re feeding at the same trough. But Bob does not feed at this trough, and he says whatever he thinks. Sometimes he even changes his mind and says the opposite of something he said a month before.

Kevin Duluth

Kevin Bowe

On the business end I often agree with him, although some of the things he discusses are above my pay grade, and, therefore, totally boring to me (ex: his rants about cell phone companies – I just don’t care about this). But when he discusses the old versus the new music business models, the live concert industry, Apple, and things like that, he often makes a lot of sense, even though he’s not really a very good writer, per se, and he definitely needs a therapist, or maybe a better therapist.

But when it comes to MUSIC, I very rarely agree with him – his tastes run towards the Eagles and all the other kinds of music that turned me into a lifelong punk in the late ’70’s.

The other area in which I find him distasteful is that he’s just plain hateful towards artists – almost in that clichéd “I’m a critic because I failed at music so now I’m going to take it out on musicians” way.

His attitude towards anyone trying to promote their own music is borderline obscene and says way more about Bob than it does about young artists trying to succeed. Although, again – he does have a good point about young artists focusing WAY too much on promotion and not nearly enough on rehearsal.

My issue with Bob is not that he hates certain things so much but that he enjoys hating them so much.

But, Bob doesn’t care what I think, although he has published a couple of my comments on things. The take-away here is that I DO READ HIM. I’ll skip it if it’s boring, but I do subscribe…. a win for the Bob-man.

And I almost feel bad saying this but….. you should probably read him too!



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