"Build Your Own and Stop Complaining"

Music business analyst Bob Lefsetz doesn't mince words.

Like Bob, I worry that too many otherwise intelligent people are holding back a new paradigm through ignorance or stubbornness.

Bob writes about music. I write about film. But our points of view line up...

If you're trying to make it in the 21st century (as a musician or filmmaker) perhaps it's time that you understood the exact-same paradigm of the last century isn't going to return.

I realize that most film educators were trained in the Old Ways. And many young filmmakers are still enthralled by the way Hollywood used to occasionally (allegedly?) treat indie filmmakers.  Young filmmakers (encouraged by know-nothing film school types? fossils talking about the old days on websites like Film Courage?) hope to get their first indie feature discovered at a festival and then - with the help of an indie film division of a big studio - get that feature onto hundreds of theatrical screens. Because that's how you make money, right?

Those days (if they ever really existed) are gone.

In his November 21st , 2013 post to Variety Bob Lefsetz lays it on the line for musicians.

I think the same sort of bluntness is probably overdue for a great many filmmakers too.

Here's an excerpt:

"[R]ecording revenues have shrunk. But streaming, and Spotify [for filmmakers, think any streaming service that pay revenue to creators like YouTube in the West or Youku or YY.com in China], could bring them back. That’s the dirty little secret artists are too ignorant to understand — that if everybody’s paying, the overall pot grows.

But the problem with artists is they don’t see the big picture.

You think the label [filmmakers can replace "label" with "studio"] is making you famous.

Once upon a time, the label not only made you famous, you made a lot of money on recordings if you hit. The evisceration of this model is not the fault of either the labels or of Spotify. Those who think Spotify is ruining royalty payments believe 8-tracks and cassettes should have never replaced LPs. Change happens.

And the latest change is that without the money and power of the label behind you, you probably will go unnoticed.

So maybe, despite having such a low royalty payment, that’s what you’ve earned.

I know this is heretical. But the point is, no one is preventing you from going it alone. Now, more than at any time in modern recording history, you can do it yourself. You can record cheaply, distribute and get paid."

The bad news?

You need to stop complaining and build it.

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