From: Peter Wiley

Subject: Spotify Discovery Mode

Hi Bob, thought this Tweet thread was a solid (and concise) look at Spotify’s Discovery Mode. I work for a label distributed via Sony’s Orchard and Sony will not participate in DM, nor allow any of it’s subsidiaries to opt in. There’s a real concern that their unilateral decision, preventing an independent, privately owned company from participating is hurting our business: not only for our current artists/catalog but also putting us at a competitive disadvantage when going up against a competitor who can participate in Discovery Mode. Managers are hip to Discovery Mode and it’s advantages for their artists. We all have a myopic obsession over Spotify, it’s how we put points on the board and judge our campaigns.

The one thing not mentioned in this Tweet thread and is hugely important to the discussion is that Discovery Mode only reduces your per stream pay out in those instances Spotify serves up the opted in song via their “radio” algorithm, not on streams coming from fans who play the song from their own playlists or pressing play on the opted in track via the artist’s page, etc. So, the reduced per stream pay out is only on incremental, new plays, which is why it’s hugely popular. You are paid the exact same for all organic or already-earned plays, the reduction only occurs on the new, never would have occured streams had you not opted in. Forgive me if that is redundant.


Jamie Lee want’s to have rock n’ roll matinee shows:

Kent Black was pretty much spot-on with his (normal) show-day production set-up times.

The ideal scenario (particularly if it’s a “teen-appeal” act involved – and I’ve worked with many) – is when the act is fortunate enough to be able to sell two shows in the same city, those being (ideally, again) Friday and Saturday nights, with the Matinee on the Saturday afternoon. Same could be said for Saturday and Sunday evening shows, with a Sunday Matinee.

National promoter’s (and local schools within the area of the show!) are historically uneasy about booking Matinees on weekdays!

I can honestly attest to have been involved with a show (and travelling on the crew buses, to give moral support) which “back-to-backed” out of an evening arena show in Birmingham’s (UK) Resorts World Arena directly into Leeds First Direct Arena – with a Matinee on that same day. Absolute Madness (and dangerous). There will be a “H&S law” against that in the future – if it’s not already in place. Moral of the story?  – Take care allowing an agent to become over-involved in the routing of a tour.

Jake Duncan
Tour Accountant Extraordinaire


From: Hugo Burnham

Oh, and Kent Black assumes the only acts Jamie Lee Curtis wants to see are arena acts. Meh… we’d play at 10-in-the-f*cking morning for her.



My next-door neighbour (with whom I had an uneasy relationship at best) died last year, victim of his own alcoholism.  He was an avid Trumpster, and once called me a “tree-hugging libtard” when I dared buy a Tesla!  When they cleared the house, they found 2 large gun safes: one contained at least a dozen pistols, the other, 3 high-velocity rifles.  They also discovered a trap door to his cellar, at least 2 flak-jackets, massive amounts of ammunition and – and THIS is the kicker – they found prescription medication for both schizophrenia and dementia!

How did he manage to buy so many guns? ANY guns!  My neighbours and I all agree he could’ve gone “clocktower” on any one of us, at any time.

Guns are not “boy toys!” They are instruments designed to kill living beings, be they animal or human.

I am not sure what cataclysmic event will eventually bring about gun control, but something radical needs to happen:  NOW!

Best, Charlie Morgan


My family and I were at the Highland Park Parade on the 4th, it is something we are still dealing with 9 months later and will likely be dealing with for the rest of our lives. My 5-year old and 7-year old son are still asking us if they are safe and why the ‘bad guy’ did that. It is sad to see that a shooting at a school, parade or you name it is no longer a shock, but the norm, not even lasting in the news cycle over 24 hours. We are all complaining about something getting done and yet it doesn’t.  You nailed it on the head in the middle of this e-mail, who says ‘arms’ means all guns and going on to talk about how so many of these crimes are committed after a recent purchase. There is so much anger still in my hometown of Highland Park. We are staying positive, continuing to call our elected officials and hoping that others do the same. This is not a ‘us vs them’ problem, this is an everyone problem.

Jeff Leibovich


I was in a mass shooting event in 2018 in Nashville. The restaurant I was in was shot at 20-30 times. We hid in the back hallway by the restrooms not knowing if the gunman was coming in the front door or not. When the police told us it was ok to go, there was the moment of, is it really ok? Am I really ok?

I wasn’t in a war zone. I wasn’t even the target. But this feeling never leaves you. A random firework goes off and I am immediately brought back to that place.

Now imagine those kids. If they survive, this sh*t will f*ck up their brains forever.

Everyone knows someone that’s been in a shooting now and still, nothing. I can vote blue all day but the knuckle-draggers keep holding us back.



Thank you Bob for writing about Nashville.

The shooting at Covenant School happened less than a mile from my house.

My daughter’s school is a block away from our house and her school was locked down as well.

There are no words to explain the sadness our city feels right now.

I truly hope we can find a solution or at least a middle ground.

Children should not be killed in their classrooms or anywhere for that matter.

marcie allen


You are 100% right with this Bob. I have 3 kids – one in high school, one in middle school and one in elementary school. I get nervous all the time when they leave the house in the morning, and we live in a small town with very safe schools. Today my 8 year old just didn’t wanna go to school. He was adamant. We forced the little guy up from bed and made him go to school, all the while I’m thinking in my head, what if he’s got some weird feeling that he shouldn’t be there today? And what if, god forbid, something terrible happens and I was the one responsible for forcing him to go? I can’t fu**ing believe we are living in this nightmare right now. And I was getting hopeful that the old farts who don’t care about about the mess they’re leaving were going to die off soon, but now seeing this insane generation that’s my age coming up through our awful government is leaving me hopeless.

And this all just boils down to one thing: MONEY – the absolute godforsaken root of all evil. I don’t believe that any of these soulless “politicians” who support the 2nd amendment crap even buy into it. It’s all just absolute pandering. And why? To protect their jobs & power because without their cushy government job they’re nothing. Losers. Nobodies. But say that you support AR-15’s? Job for life!!! I honestly believe that someday one of these nutjob shooters will end up taking out an entire school of hundreds of people and it’s absolutely terrifying. I just tell myself over and over: the odds are in my favor that my family will never be in one of these situations. But I fear those odds are growing smaller each day.

Please keep using your platform, if not for anything, to at least give the hopeless a voice.

Thanks Bob.

Rob DiFondi


Why? Because the politicians are scared. Of their base. Of the NRA. Mostly of losing their job, their power, the perks, the money, their relevancy. That’s why these geezers stay so long in Congress. They can’t give it up.

I live in rural Texas. I’ve been around guns my whole life. I have a few, and unlike most gun owners, I use them frequently as the tools they are, mainly for feral hogs. (In fact, between a lifetime of playing amplified music and regular shooting I’ve got some pretty severe tinnitus — wear hearing protection young’uns, your 60-year-old self will thank you.)

Anyone who tells you they need a high-capacity semi-automatic rifle for “hunting” is full of sh*t and a poser. Same for self-protection in your home. No regular person needs an assault rifle for any reason whatsoever.

The right likes to talk about sheeple. Well, that’s what America has become, like the frog in heating water we’ve just grown complacent that for some reason we can’t have the civilization enjoyed by much of the world. Oh sure, we can have gadgets and grocery delivery, but we can’t have healthcare or safety from gun violence, or even a viable planet for our grandkids.

The French president tries to do an end-run to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 and France grinds to a halt with coordinated mass strikes and protests, while America sits by watching our children get slaughtered saying, “There’s nothing we can do.”

Yup, we boomers dropped the ball and now we’re too old and too comfortable to get out in the streets. It’s going to require a general strike in this country. But when you kick ’em in the corporate wallet you get results. It’s up to you, kids.

Todd Jagger


You have great points that don’t need my validation, but one thing I want to illuminate is that when the 2nd Amendment was written and first implemented, if my facts are correct, it took about 4 minutes to reload and shoot the second shot from a musket…to even approach something like a semi-automatic weapon, you had to carry, say, three loaded muskets, but then you’re still back to four minutes, minimum, to reload and shoot again.  The guns of the late 1700s are not the same machines we have today.  And one more thing, we wouldn’t want people driving cars that weren’t registered or insured, and if you purposely kill someone with a car, you may not be allowed to drive for a long time if not, ever again.  Let’s adapt!

Sam Scozzari – NYC & Suffield CT


Obviously, I am disgusted with this month’s school shooting (I say this month, because there will probably be one next month too).

Full disclosure, I am a former Republican. I hesitate to say former because that implies I am now aligned with the Democrats. I am not. While I have found myself more in line with much of what the Democrats are about as I am approaching 50, I would not legitimize either party with my support at this point.

Growing up, your generation identified with politicians. You felt you could relate to them, JFK being the most obvious example. As a Gen Xer who grew up in the late 70’s through the 80’s, I believe my generation felt a sense of respect for politicians as leaders, but I don’t know that we related to or identified with them. Like our teachers, they were all old and from a totally different era.

My point is this. The Republicans are batsh*t crazy and MOST of us who consider themselves to be moderates see that. We just can’t believe that the Democrats can’t find ONE candidate that leads with common sense and isn’t rife with hypocrisy. When Trump was running against Hilary the tagline from the Democrats was, “Old, rich, white men have ruined this country and we need a new perspective.” But then they give us Biden.

People don’t feel they can relate to politicians and I believe that is why there is a reluctance to stand up. People feel defeated. They are overwhelmed by a sense of pointlessness.

I have an 11 year old son, so the topic of school shootings is not lost on me. It scares the sh*t out of me. I don’t own a gun. I understand why someone would want to, for various reasons. But I also understand that as a parent I shouldn’t have to worry about my child’s safety when I send him to school.

Neil Johnson


It takes months for a restaurant to get a full liquor license, maybe even a year, and costs $100k but that jackass down the street can buy an AR-15 in 24 hours? And local municipalities cannot create their own laws because Federal government has something to say about gun rights? Lisbon isn’t a crazy idea

Tim Hyde


Hi, Bob. No place is perfect. But America has gone downhill in the last 40 years . It was a great place when I grew up there in the 60s. I swear to you. Even if you gave me 10,000 dollars a day I wouldn’t live there again.  I just visit my daughters and grandchildren once a year. Okay. I don’t want to sound pretentious. Americans live in a myth that they have the best country in the world. Most Americans have never been out of their country to see the world. There is no democracy in the US. You are guilty until rich. Corruption is overwhelming in our government. The problem is there is no CAP on Capitalism. The simple truth is, the U.S. is at war for continued hegemony over the planet, for the preservation of the imperial system and its finance capitalist rulers. In such a war, everyone everywhere is a potential enemy, including the home population. I’m a Vietnam vet 3rd Marine Div. from 1967-70.“The U.S. is no longer an economic superpower; it can only intervene decisively in global affairs by force of arms and military intimidation.” America is exposed now in the world, as a sore loser. I doubt if Americans will wake up while I’m still alive. One thing is we can’t go on like this forever.

Best of health. Take care.

Tom Riviere


I would imagine the most frightened segment of society in America every day would be the mothers and fathers–the parents–who have kids attending both public (and private) schools. They must wake up up feeling dread every morning…”Could it happen to us?” They are an unwitting block of voters and voting constituents. And have numbers and power. It’s a huge constituency.

If they ever got fed up enough and banded together, especially the suburban parents of kids, it could spell the end to Republican/NRA gun politics.

If the right wing believe the basic minimum role of government is to militarily protect society (and its money) and keep it safe from external threats, shouldn’t the same logic of protection extend to internal threats as well? Isn’t citizens’ life and safety an inalienable right that trumps rights to bear arms? Criminal options are drastically reduced by removing the gun option from their hands.

Eric Andersen

Streaming Television-SiriusXM This Week

Tune in Saturday April 1st, to Faction Talk, channel 103, at 4 PM East, 1 PM West.

Phone #: 844-686-5863

Twitter: @lefsetz

If you miss the episode, you can hear it on demand on the SiriusXM app. Search: Lefsetz

The New Lana Del Rey Album

“Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd”:

This is a dorm room record.

I was hiking in the mountains listening to a podcast featuring my friend, the proprietor of, Jackson Hogen. We don’t agree on everything, but this was a good primer on equipment and ski areas. To buy your boots, at a specialty retailer, and take lessons and… You can check it out here:

That took me up, on the way down I checked out the playlist of the new “New York Times” music newsletter, “The Amplifier”: Wading through new music is like swimming in the Sargasso Sea, and with the “Times” imprimatur I decided to dive in. I was disappointed. First and foremost because the songs all seemed to be from the same viewpoint, adult alternative. And none were one listen smashes. Like I told you, I got the Giovannie and the Hired Guns track nearly instantly, and the first time I heard it was live. I mean the poor voices… Maybe if one listened to the “Amplifier” playlist a few times, the songs would start to reveal themselves, but who’s got that time?

And it is all about time. Radio used to pick the hits. And sure, a lot of genres were left out, but they never intentionally played stuff that was bad, completely unpalatable, their goal was to serve you up the best of what was available, and for a while that worked very well. But now radio has a fraction of its old reach, and therefore even when you hear a great song there’s no context, no one else seems to be talking about it, streaming television is more comprehensible, never mind being the subject of constant conversation.

Frustrated, I decided to jump off and…

What exactly was I going to play?

And then I remembered the reviews, in every major newspaper, of the new Lana Del Rey album, “Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd.”

Not that the reviews could convince anyone they needed to listen to the album. The reviews were dry, quoting lyrics out of context, that didn’t add up, didn’t resonate.

But Lana Del Rey is inherently interesting, because even though she’s signed to Interscope, she seems to be playing in her own rarefied world, like the mainstream music business doesn’t exist.

So the first track is “The Grants.” Which is Lizzie/Lana’s real last name. Yes, Lana Del Rey is Lizzie Grant from Lake Placid, and even though they held the Olympics there, there’s nothing hip about the upstate New York burg. It’s kind of cognitive dissonance, this dish of a woman evidencing glamour coming from a backwater. Then again, Lana Del Rey’s whole image and career are confounding.

Let’s start with the appearance on SNL. Her public debut. To tell you the truth, I can’t even remember why it was so awful, so denigrated, but I do recall. And the funny thing is so does everybody else, including Lana herself. And ever since she’s been running away from it.

Let me state it another way. Major labels specialize in pushing the button. Using their connections to expose artists they believe they can sell tonnage on (stream tonnage on today!) Therefore, these acts don’t grow from the ground up, but the top down. The ascension is too slow the other way for the major labels. Sure, some people on the bottom may know an act, but you can’t reach mass unless you go mass. Unfortunately, for many artists, this is too soon, like it was with Lana Del Rey.

But she survived. Many acts don’t. One and done. But there was this song on Lana’s first album, “Summertime Sadness,” that penetrated the public consciousness, became an alternative hit, a fish out of water, that slowly built to the point of becoming a standard, and suddenly Lana Del Rey had a career. It had nothing to do with publicity or the machine, it had to do with the music. And Lana has pursued this path ever since.

Most acts today try to have a hit. Or don’t, and are so far from the mainstream most people have never heard of them. To be on a major label and not only play in your own universe, but triumph, that’s a paradigm rarely seen these days, if at all.

But Lana Del Rey lives there.

All of the tropes, the endless appearances in the mainstream media, the daily drops in social media, the endless live YouTube videos… Lana Del Rey doesn’t play that game. Or if she does, I’m unaware of it. I thought she didn’t do interviews for this album, but searching I found one in “Interview,” another in “Rolling Stone.” But, usually this stuff is so prevalent, so everywhere, that you can’t escape it, it becomes offensive. Then again, I saw the carpet bomb reviews in all the papers somewhat offensive, the work of the starmaking machinery right in front of my very eyes, even more refined, but less effective than in Joni Mitchell’s day.

So the opening track, “The Grants”… I understood it, but I didn’t need to hear it again, I wasn’t hooked.

And then came the title track, “Did you know there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd.” All the reviews write about a literal tunnel in Long Beach, but I didn’t think of any of that when I listened to the song. It was dreamy, with a hook employing the title. My mood changed. It wasn’t conscious, but suddenly I was relaxed, and then my mind started to drift. This is the experience I’m looking for, most people are looking for. Sure, the mindless stuff serves a purpose, but that doesn’t stick with you.

And I’m wondering who has the time to listen to all this new music, and I start thinking about being in college, and that’s when it hit me. This is the kind of music you play in the afternoon alone in your dorm room. During intimate conversations with your friends. It’s meaningful, mood-setting, without being too heavy. Furthermore, it’s not really background, you can never really tune it out.

Now they say that women catch the lyrics earlier than men. But listening to “Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd” not only were the lyrics secondary to me, they didn’t seem to be the essence, a necessary component of the album like all the reviews said, the textures and sounds, the vocalizations stood on their own, the lyrics were the cherry on top. I mean read the reviews and you don’t want to listen to the record, it sounds intellectual as opposed to soothing, for the bookish, but not everybody, there are tons of albums like this, with interesting lyrics, but as music they don’t hold up.

And the album continues to play out and the mood continues. It’s not that the songs sound identical, it’s just that there is a mood created. Nothing jarring, not a cornucopia of tracks made to appeal to everybody, including a song that might get radio play.

I’m listening and I hear nothing that I’d expect to hear on the radio. Maybe on the Spectrum or some other SiriusXM station, but nothing that would appear in the Spotify Top 50, that’s not the goal.

And unlike the on paper admirable but uneasy listen of Fiona Apple’s latest album, “Fetch the Bolt Cutters,” “Did you know there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd” is extremely listenable, you want to play it, hear it, know it.

But it does contain an hour and seventeen minutes of music. Meaning it can’t be digested easily, and to comprehend it you have to dedicate a good chunk of time, which will prevent you from listening to something else. But there’s no filler, only adventure, mental adventure.

I mean there’s Zach Bryan, with a plethora of material, and Morgan Wallen. These new acts take up so much personal mindshare, but if you go to their gigs the audience knows every word, there’s a rabidity much more intense than there is for the Spotify Top 50, although Wallen cuts can appear there. This is not BTS, other acts with angry mobs of devotees who will annihilate you if you say anything negative. The connection is not cultural, it’s musical. The music stands on its own. All you have to do is jump in.

And like I said, this is radically different from what is purveyed, emphasized by the usual suspects.

And I wouldn’t expect any mainstream legs on “Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd,” I don’t expect more news stories, hit singles, the album has dropped and it will be supported and spread by its audience, media will not be the key, the album will be alive in the culture but if you’re not clued-in you won’t get it. But you’ll be somewhere and hear the music and ask yourself, what is this? Because it’s not in-your-face like so much of today’s mainstream music, it’s not playing to the last row, but only the first few, it’s not trying to convince you, it just is. And that’s enough, more than enough.

And unlike the aforementioned Fiona Apple, who took eight years between her last two albums, not only did Lana Del Rey put out an album in 2019, but two in 2021. Most acts polish one album, bring in outside writers to insure acceptance, and then promote it and tour it for years, whereas Lizzie Grant just keeps making them. For herself. And her audience. If you’re not a member of the club, that’s cool.

How did she get here?

Well, she might have grown up in Lake Placid, but she went to Kent, a prep school in northwestern Connecticut. And one thing I can tell you about the prep school graduates…they’re extremely well-read, I felt inadequate when they started to speak at Middlebury.

And Lizzie actually graduated from college, Fordham. What a concept! In a world where the younger you are the more marketable you are. Where being uneducated is a badge of honor. Where forgoing college is de rigueur because you don’t want to waste all that time when you could be working on your career, you might miss your time. You learn something in college, not only in class, but outside, you meet people from different backgrounds, you have new experiences, your vision is broadened. Lana Del Rey is 37 and at the top of her game, and even most of the classic rock acts were creatively dead at that age.

So start with the second cut, the title track. And let a few cuts play. You’ll be drawn in.

And don’t listen as a test, listen like you did to a new album in the old days, when you broke the shrinkwrap and gave it a chance to penetrate.

Women making this kind of music are supposed to be dark and alienated, physically as well as mentally. Joni Mitchell was beautiful, but she was a hippie chick. With her long hair. Whereas Lana Del Rey is much closer to a model.

Oh, don’t criticize my perspective. I’m being honest. Speaking words people think but you cannot say. It’s great that Lana Del Rey is physically attractive, it’s just that we expect women blessed with good looks to trade on them, and that’s not a component of Lana Del Rey’s art or success. Also meaning that Lana/Lizzie is operating in uncharted territory. Everything seems to be retro these days, painting by the numbers established by the acts of yore. But “Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd” doesn’t sound exactly like anything else, like all those albums we listened to in our dorm rooms back in the seventies. It starts out background but becomes more foreground as you listen to it, as it seeps in, as you become intrigued and want to go deeper.

This is an achievement. I’m telling you now. I haven’t even truly penetrated the lyrics. But I want to play “Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd,” I want to go deeper, and shouldn’t that be the way it is?

Burt Sugarman-This Week’s Podcast

Producer Burt Sugarman just put “The Midnight Special” on YouTube. We talk about the show as well as Burt’s career, from TV to hamburgers! You’ll be fascinated!