The Washington Post has an excellent profile of music business blogger Bob Lefsetz, also known to SAI readers as “professional angry dude Bob Lefsetz“. The paper accurately describes him as “something like Jim Cramer with a country-music obsession and a distaste for the synthetic drums of Top 40 pop. Basically, he comes off as kind of a nut.” If you don’t have the patience to deal with Wapo’s registration:
- Bob is a 54-year-old former lawyer whose primary exposure to the music business was a stint running the U.S. arm of music management firm Sanctuary. He was fired within a year.
- He started his “Lefsetz Letter” in 1986, selling photocopied subscriptions for $89 a year. He went free, and online, in 2000, with a base of 2,500 subs. Now he says he reaches “tens of thousands”.
- Regardless of Bob’s actual numbers, he has ones that count: He’s read by, and gets in public fights with, label execs, concert promoters, PR folks and actual rock stars.
- He doesn’t sell ads on the newsletter or his website, and no one can figure out how he makes any money. That’s because he doesn’t, really.
According to Wapo. Bob is basically like any other blogger, scratching out a living with bits and pieces. A few checks from the likes of Yahoo! to reprint his posts, a monthly podcast on Rhino Records, some speaking engagements, and the occasional bit of consulting work. But that’s not much.
“I live on a no-cash basis,” he says. “I live in a rent-controlled apartment in Santa Monica. . . . I don’t have kids or all these other expenses people have. If I’m going to dinner, somebody else is picking up the tab.”
Lesson: Not only is the music industry a lousy business, but there’s no money in writing about it, either. Maybe some sort of mandatory ISP-fee would help…