Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Apple Paradigm

I just read this today and it really got me thinking about Axl Rose and Guns N' Roses. I had to share it with you. From Bob Lefsetz - "The Apple Paradigm"

The Lefsetz Letter
Insanely great products a handful of times a year.

Imagine if Apple introduced a product no one wanted. Something lame. And held a press conference every other week to trumpet its features.

Then you'd have the music business.

What's the lifespan of excitement on a laptop?

Certainly not a year. Maybe nine months at most. Which is why Apple updates them before they get long in the tooth. To drive excitement. To drive desire.

Want a new iPod?

You know there's going to be a new lineup in September.

Just like you know there's going to be a new iPhone in June.

Just like you know once every twenty four months or so, Steve Jobs is going to blow our minds with a whole new category.

In between these announcements? A dearth of information.

Well, not exactly, the minions online are constantly debating what's in the future, the same way we used to get excited about the coming albums of our favorite artists.

Instead, we now see these releases trumpeted in advance in magazines and newspapers. Singles are leaked. And when they stiff, new tracks are proffered. Then, an album comes out, with more music than anybody wants to listen to.

And we're supposed to play this same damn album for two or three years until there's a new one, while the act goes on the road and cleans up. Huh?

First thing Steve Jobs did when he returned to Apple a decade ago was trim the product line, to make it comprehensible.

Time for you to do the same thing. Only release great stuff. Until you're in such demand that people want the other stuff. And don't hype the other stuff the same way you do the great stuff. Maybe you sneak out the "album tracks" unannounced on your Website, for fans only. And, I hate to scare you, but album tracks are for fans only anymore anyway.

And either make yourself totally available or cloak yourself in secrecy. The latter works, especially if you're a happening/in demand act. No one foresaw the "In Rainbows" promotion. That was its genius, not the name your own price feature. How suddenly, there was a Website, and not that much more. The band didn't give interviews, the public went crazy and built the story.

Steve Jobs is bigger than any rock star. Not because he's better one on one, but because he seems to hover above us. Delivering what we don't even know we want, but makes us so happy. Like the Beatles with "Sgt. Pepper".

We laugh at Lady GaGa because she substitutes outfits for charisma. It's the gooey center we're interested in, not the wrapping. The twenty first century is not about flash, but substance. If you want to last.

The Lefsetz Letter

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The link to W.Axl Rose in quite interesting. But we can see it in 2 ways: a) Axl, as a reclusive artist, builds momentum just by not being in the press so he remains interesting for the public; b)the leaks that kept showing up on the internet and how it kept delaying the release of Chinese Democracy.

I, for one, although a huge Apple fan, wouldn't apply its success formula to a band, if I was a manager or a band member. Albums are supposed to last, not to become archaic once a few months have passed. That has a lot to do with the new capitalism/liquid modernity (check zygmunt bauman on wikipedia if u wish to know a bit more of the concept), where consumerism rules demand that we buy phones, cars and laptops and they shouldn't last more than 1/2/3 years depending on the item. Wanna know why? Because if we stop buying, the world will stop. And that only goes to show that western civilization has LEARNED NOTHING FROM 08/09/10 economic crisis...

congrats, mack. wonderful post.