Lefsetz Letter — Phish
If Phish is giving away a free download of last night’s Hampton Coliseum show is the reign of the late twentieth century major label paradigm finally over?
That’s how it worked. The record company signed you, ripped you off and set you free to make some cash on the road, if the company had built enough demand for your services. It was all about the hit. You needed a specialist, with a team of soldiers to navigate the gauntlet to airplay and sales. You couldn’t do it yourself, the Grateful Dead proved that, giving up Grateful Dead Records and signing with Arista. It all came down to the label. We knew not only who Ahmet was, but Mo and Clive and Walter and Tommy, we were on a first name basis with these kingmakers. Who is running EMI today? Come on, who’s the kingmaker in the U.S?
You may know, but the hoi polloi doesn’t. And the hoi polloi doesn’t give a shit. This is not Christopher Moltisanti in the “Sopranos”, shouting out to Mr. Mottola, the kids have the music and if you’re lucky the performers are stars. (more…)