Entertainment Unicorns

10 million people want Adele tickets and “Star Wars” grosses $238 million in a weekend. What does this tell us? PEOPLE WANT TO BELONG!

Welcome to the teens. The media doesn’t label them that, but they should start. It’s not the aughts, the era where the public gradually adopted broadband and pirated movies and music, rather the teens are about a plethora of information, a cornucopia of entertainment options at your fingertips, a tsunami of info so overpowering the only thing to do is to keep shooting pics for Instagram, to try and hold on to your identity.

But that paradigm doesn’t work. Social media is riddled with burning towers. Once people realize no one is really interested in their mundane lives, not even their shenanigans, they return to being observers, only they don’t know where to direct their eyeballs!

When media was scarce, when there were only a few options, when there were so few choices that those which were anointed were ridiculed by a small cadre of black-clad naysayers, you felt you were part of a cohesive society. Now no one knows what’s going on. Disinformation and falsehood rule the land. You can no longer feel the pulse, never mind be on it.

And then come the unicorns.

A tech unicorn is a nascent company worth a billion dollars.

An entertainment unicorn is an album/film/book that exceeds all previous sales/acceptance records, that towers so high we can barely see the top. We’re wowed by its stature and influence. And although these unicorns are good, that’s not the story, the story is their success.

No one’s talking about the music on “25.” And eventually there were positive reviews of “Star Wars,” but they were dwarfed by the hype, the lineups and the toys and the…

This is the future. The big will get bigger and everything else will be plowed under. This is what the public wants, something they can talk about, analyze, own and feel involved with. Turns out owning your own plot of land on the fringes is anathema to the human condition.

Of course we want to dig down deep into our personal interests. But don’t confuse that with what we desire to consume as a community. Only a few people want to be alone, the rest want to belong. And in an era of chaos and cacophony, that’s so hard to do.

Let’s say you’re a music fan. Where do you start? Of course there are aficionados, who know a lot, but they don’t know everything. The EDM fan knows nothing about country, or hip-hop or… Used to be an industry insider knew every record in release, now no one does, there are just too many. There are too many playlists, too much hype, no wonder we gravitate to that which is anointed. Adele is a star whose album got no negative reviews. Let’s start there.

Like with “Star Wars.” Every weekend more movies open than anyone can see. Sure, “Star Wars” is a classic saga, but the reason this one is so big is because it’s easier to point to one flick than to try to personally make sense of the chaos!

Kind of like the 400 odd TV shows. Do you think that will continue? No, we’ll see shrinkage, we’re at peak TV, and it won’t be long before a show is so successful it towers over everything else. Kind of like the Super Bowl, people aren’t interested in the game as much as the MANIA!

So don’t overanalyze the elements. To go deep into Adele and “Star Wars” is to miss the point. It’s not that either is so much better, so much more desirable, it’s just that they’re exponents of the modern era.

We will have more unicorns. This is what the baby boomers and gen-x’ers in control don’t understand. Google is a paragon. As is Amazon. No one can compete. The “New York Times” will own the news, it already does, it’s the only outlet with boots on the ground everywhere. If you double down and play the long game, YOU WIN!

This is what Spotify has done. All the criticism from the unwashed is it’s losing money. But the truth is it’s establishing a beachhead, which it turns out even Apple can’t overcome.

We don’t want choice. Talk to a salesman. Show the customer more than two items and he gets confused and walks out. But in the internet era, oftentimes only one choice is sufficient. You go where your friends are. Remember all those nitwits talking about the survival of BlackBerry? Turns out they didn’t ask the public. Everybody wants to go where everybody else does.

Like the Adele show. Or “Star Wars.”

Forget about scalping, that’s not the story. The story is demand outstrips supply. This ain’t the seventies, when “Star Wars” opened in limited release. “Star Wars” is EVERYWHERE, just like “25.”

And chances are, if you’re not everywhere, you’ve been marginalized, you don’t count.

That’s what they don’t want you to know, all the people selling false hope, that there are fewer winners than ever before. Someone will succeed, but you’d be better off playing the lottery. It’s like the country at large, with income inequality, statistics tell us there’s greater upward mobility in Europe, but the poor in America vote for lower taxes because they believe they’re going to get rich.

The “Long Tail” was a fraud. Millions of tracks on Spotify have never been played. There’s so much information that your missive is buried. Now, a song can truly be a hit but not become one. Because the gatekeepers, who were supposed to be eviscerated by the internet, decided against it. And the money men…without a push, you’re destined for the scrapheap.

Not that you can’t listen to Adele’s record and enjoy it. Not that you can’t go to “Star Wars” and emerge with a smile on your face. But know that this is your role, you’re a consumer, at the end of the food chain, all that hogwash about being a creator is just that. You can build it, but no one will come. And no one wants to live in a vacuum.

So welcome to the new world. Where big is bigger than ever before. And where you’ve got to be good to get a chance, but you don’t have to be the best of all time. You just have to get everybody on your team, from the investors to the marketers to the media. You’re not saving the music business, or the movie business, YOU’RE SAVING SOCIETY!

Come on, you’ve got an opinion on “Star Wars.” You want to see Adele so you don’t feel left out.

No one wants to feel left out.

One Response to Entertainment Unicorns


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  1. […] Bob Lefsetz of The Lefsetz Letter believes ‘demand outstrips supply’ and examines Adele and Star Wars’ recent success in “Entertainment Unicorns” […]

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  1. […] Bob Lefsetz of The Lefsetz Letter believes ‘demand outstrips supply’ and examines Adele and Star Wars’ recent success in “Entertainment Unicorns” […]

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