Lefsetz On The Charts

From the Lefsetz Letter.  Some of the more interesting and relevant commentary on this weeks top albums listed below.  Great points are made.  For the complete post with additional commentary go here.

1. Adele “21”

Sales this week: 155,209

This is the future of the mainstream.  A quality album of songs that sells itself.  Sure, there was set-up, but word of mouth is selling this album.  Otherwise, Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” would be number one, and it’s not.

In other words, airplay is no longer king.

When people could only be exposed on radio and MTV, record labels could drive sales of their priorities across broad demographics.  Now, so many have tuned out the mainstream and are waiting for the imprimatur of their friends, which causes them to check music out and buy it, become fans of it.

Adele is not perceived to be fake.  No one feels her music is being jammed down their throats.  People are coming to her. Becoming fans of her.

So, focus on getting the music right, not the marketing.  And your music doesn’t have to sound like everybody else’s, you don’t have to work with the usual suspects, it’s just got to be good.

And Adele can SING!  In order to overcome a lousy voice you need A+ material.  Too many people operating in the rock genre believe their attitude trumps material.  You have to be so good that those who are not fans of your genre take notice and are enraptured.  And those who can only sing but can’t write…  Your time is dying.  Either you’ve got to be a great interpreter or you’re gonna find no one cares, the usual suspects can make you a hit, but not a career.

6. Stevie Nicks “In Your Dreams”

Sales this week: 52,370
I don’t understand this.  This record was promoted like it’s 1980, but it’s 2011.

Hell, check out her Website, it positively SUCKS!

All these old rockers have it wrong.  First and foremost you’ve got to know who your audience is.  Stevie Nicks needs to have her fans’ e-mail addresses, she needs to be in constant communication, creating a relationship, so people feel the bond. Today, with all your dirty laundry exposed online, you can’t speak from above down to the masses, no one cares.

I would have said an EP would have been enough.

And then she should have motivated her fans.  To the point where the mainstream media she’s courting finally pays attention.

And after playing to her core, Stevie should be broadening her audience not by playing to the usual suspects, but to those on the fringe, who don’t care or don’t know.  Stevie needs to play Bonnaroo.  Even show up and sing backups with Katy Perry. Have a sense of humor about herself.  Even show up in a new outfit.

She needs to fire her manager.  It’s a new world, not only about scorched earth media and booking tours.  It’s about being in the pits with your fans.  Stevie’s not.

But the album is better than anything she’s done in eons.  Critics don’t matter. Only fans do.

9. Mumford & Sons “Sigh No More”

Sales this week: 32,222
Story of the year.

It’s all about authenticity.

People believe Mumford & Sons is real.  It’s not about hysteria, but music.  They underplay and undercharge, you’d think it’s 1970 all over again.

15. Alison Krauss & Union Station “Paper Airplane”

Sales this week: 22,966

She’s bigger than Robert Plant.

She did it her way, didn’t sell out, isn’t beholden to country music, she’s got fans and no one’s got a bad word to say about her or her music.  She’s winning.

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