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The uncanny Lefsetz

September 23, 2013 @ 9:32am

I've been subscribed to the Lefsetz Letter for a few years now. He's a music industry analyst and critic with a background in law. Every week he cranks out song-by-song reviews of classic albums, solid insights on the forces disrupting record labels, questionable rants about technology and mailbag issues with letters from the well known musicians and execs who reply to his newsletters. He has tens of thousands of subscribers.

He's famous for his feuds with musicians — including Kid Rock, Gene Simmons and Taylor Swift, who even wrote a song about him called Mean.

Someday I'll be living in a big ol' city,
And all you're ever gonna be is mean.
Someday I'll be big enough so you can't hit me,
And all you're ever gonna be is mean.
Why you gotta be so mean?

This summer we took our kids to see Taylor Swift at MetLife Stadium. I read that day's Lefsetz email in between opening acts and then watched her play Mean. Wild. Despite his criticism of Swift's "career shortening" 2010 Grammy performance, she put on an amazing show and deserves to be playing stadiums.

Recently Lefsetz has written about some new song — one I've either never heard or heard only a couple of times — and it has exploded all over the radio the very next day.

He did this with Robin Thicke. I'd never heard Blurred Lines, but the day after I got his email about Emily Ratajkowski starring in the NSFW Blurred Lines video it was all over the radio.

Then he wrote about Avicii's Wake Me Up. Again, I'd never heard the song before and the day after his email I heard it on the radio five times.

Two days ago he wrote about Lorde's song Royals. I had heard it once or twice. Yesterday it was on multiple stations. You couldn't escape it — and who would want to?

Of course it could be that these songs were getting airplay but I never paid attention to them until I'd read about them. Like when I was in high school and my dad bought a Saab. I would have sworn in court that I'd never seen a Saab before in my life, but the day after he got his they immediately appeared all over our neighborhood in Brooklyn.

Or it could be that Lefsetz lives on streaming music services and hears all the great new songs right before radio catches up with them.

Either way, it's uncanny.

Newer: Momentum

Older: If you build something for everyone, it works for no one.