Music Business

Bob Lefsetz Gets A Boss… Old School Trade Variety

image from We all have to eat, and many of us have wondered how the music industry's leading curmudgeon, Bob Lefsetz, paid the bills.  A seldom spoken of part-time gig with Rhino Records didn't seem hardly enough for the man who's free email newsletter and blog probably have more readers than Billboard. Today, Lefsetz added to his portfolio, joining old school entertainment industry trade Variety as a contributing columnist.

Variety announced that Lefsetz’s "passionate and provocative observations" on music and will be
a "regular feature" in their re-launched weekly print edition and
on the web.

Watch Out Billboard

image from i41.photobucket.comCalling the pairing an "alliance" rather than a hiring, the addition of Lefsetz signals that Variety's new owners are not ceding music industry coverage to Billboard any more than they will leave movie and TV coverage to Billboard's sister publication The Hollywood Reporter.

met with top music industry executives in preparation for Variety’s re-launch
and they all agreed on one thing: Bob Lefsetz is the only must-read in the
music business,” said Jay Penske, CEO of Penske Media Corporation, parent
company of Variety. 

Penske is a passionate player desirous of revolutionizing content distribution
in a sphere that is oftentimes wedded to the past,” added Lefsetz.  "He
understands it’s all about where we’re going as opposed to where we’ve
been.   Jay wants to ask the hard questions and make people think,
isn’t image from thumbs.dreamstime.comthat what great writing is all about?  I’m thrilled to be aligned
with both Jay and Variety.  Be prepared, be very prepared, the future is

No More "Fuck You"?

Despite the words mutual praise, it's hard to imagine Variety publishing some of Lefsetz's incredibly smart but vitriolic and obscenity laden writing. 

UPDATE: Variety has confimed that Lefestz will continue to publish his free music industry email newsletter and blog.

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  1. Well said, Bruce. I think Lefsetz working on other things while still essentially being a well connected fan is part of what allows him to fill the role of the irascible old coot who will tell you where to get off. Not sure that someone currently working for a label/publisher/management company/agent/promoter could be quite so frank.

  2. I tried to get Billboard to hire Bob as a columnist a decade ago. They wouldn’t listen.

  3. What does Variety get out of this deal?
    Everyone who would read his column in their rag already gets his newsletter, so subscriptions aren’t going to rise…

  4. Bob has committed bloggercide. If he remains himself he’ll be fired and if he tones it down he becomes marginalized. You can’t continue to bewail the evils of the old school media and be a part of it. Many have tried…all have failed. This is a money grab and an example of the arrogance that makes him pithy. He thinks the rules don’t apply to him. We’ll see how that all works out. This may be a catch 22 that he can’t bitch his way out of…

  5. i second Rawlings, trade papers, mags, etc are like contents on a cereal box. You’ve eiher got to be really cutting edge, which Lefsetz isn’t or your swimming with the current, which Lefsetz is, he just uses virtual mirrors to make you think he knows what he is talking about or in the words of my pal Scot Johnson “a guilty pleasure”

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