The Hollywood Reporter recently interviewed Bob Lefsetz, something of a semi-influential music industry “watchdog”/critic/observer. In the midst of describing changes in how the music industry operates, he had some not very nice things to say about radio.
Responding to a question supposedly from a “radio personality” — “With terrestrial radio’s influence waning, what will take over as the surest way for a hit song to find an audience? Will it be satellite? Pandora? A handful of influential blogs?” — Lefsetz had this to say:
“The next big thing is the trusted filter, something that tells people what to listen to. Terrestrial radio sucks, Pandora gives too many tune-outs, and blogs are frequently untrustworthy. The filter won’t be algorithm-based; taste will be everything, a la the DJs of yore. More people will listen to more music, and the audience will build superstars.”
In response to a question about mistakes new acts should avoid, one of Lefsetz’s answers was: “Believing anything that happened in the past still applies. MTV no longer plays music, the younger demo doesn’t care much about radio, albums are a historical format with little relevance in today’s marketplace, everything’s up for grabs, and you can have it your way.”
And what is the venue for building upcoming talent? Not radio. Lefsetz said: “Acts that last break on the road now, not radio. Those radio acts come and go.”