Lou Reed & Metallica "Lulu"

This week: #149
Last week: #34
Weeks on chart: 2
Sales this week: 3,150
Cume: 16,470

The problem was everybody heard it before it was released.

One could argue that the way to combat this is to lock it down, make people buy it in order to hear it, but that’s not the modern way. I’m thinking of going to a movie this afternoon. I can go on Websites that aggregate reviews from professionals and the public, nothing is hidden, we know what’s a winner instantly.

This is anathema for content producers. Used to be if you spent your money, you’d get a few sales. Sure, there were exceptions, like Lou’s "Metal Machine Music" and "Heaven’s Gate", but there was a dearth of product and a minimum of information. Usually record reviews were not available until long after the album was released. You had to buy it to render your own opinion. Now, critical mass is achieved before the album even comes out.

We were all interested in what Metallica and Lou Reed were cooking up, but instead of investing all that money and time, the parties involved should have done a bit of research. They should have cut one tune and released it to the public. You can do that on iTunes. As for publicity, Metallica’s got a built-in fanbase, they’re rabid, they know.

Or, if you want to spend the time and money doing a whole album, because it’s hard to assemble all the parties, view it more as art than commerce. There was such a buildup about this project that expectations became unrealistic. Whereas if Metallica worked with Taylor Swift next week and tracks were out before Christmas there’d be less of a lasting stink surrounding this project.

Maybe Metallica doesn’t care.

But if you do…

Know that the public is fascinated by collaboration, it wants to follow its heroes into all nooks and crannies. But don’t expect people to get stuck there unless they find the material intriguing.

It’s not that the combo of Metallica and Lou Reed was inherently flawed, it’s that the end result stunk up the joint.

Expect more collaborations in the future. Expect artists to take chances. Expect artistic fulfillment to trump monetary concerns.

You have to take a chance to deliver something unexpected and great.

But you don’t know what you’ve got ’til you try.

With today’s modern recording techniques, it’s cheap to take chances. And you should. This is one of the advantages of the new era. Sure, you could go in the big room and spend a fortune, but is this necessary?

The public takes risks every day on YouTube. You might claim they’re not professionals, but every week there’s some clip we’re all drawn to.

From the mass of crap emerges greatness. People are foraging for quality. Artists must imitate their fans, they too must constantly woodshed. Searching for what is great.

I applaud Metallica and Lou Reed for taking a risk, I really do. But they should laugh off the failure and try again. The worst result would be if they become gun-shy and take no further chances.

Sure, maybe the next Metallica project should be closer to home. A backstage jam amongst the Big 4 recorded and released in a weekend.

But this is the future. Just like in tech, if you’re not willing to fail in art, you’re probably never going to deliver anything great. Failure is a badge of honor. It’s what you go through to deliver what rivets the public in a sea of me-toos.

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