Outspoken music-industry guru built business on sparing no one

Bob Lefsetz is not your average music blogger. His independently produced email newsletter, featuring his irreverent, often boisterous take on the business of popular music is read by just about everyone who’s anyone in the music industry.

Bob Lefsetz is not your average music blogger. In fact, referring to him as merely a blogger probably does him a disservice. He’s more of an industry guru.

Unlike most music publications, the Lefsetz Letter — Lefsetz’s independently produced email newsletter featuring his irreverent, often boisterous take on the business of popular music — is read by just about everyone who’s anyone in the music industry.

Lefsetz’s pointed analysis of industry trends, along with his free-ranging thoughts on topics as diverse as politics and tech, have helped him become one of the most influential voices in the music business.

Bob Lefsetz

Age: 64

Background: Ski bum, law-school grad, music-label manager, independent industry analyst

Feuds with big stars: Gene Simmons, Kid Rock and Taylor Swift

Source: L.A. Times

Lefsetz makes all of his writing available for free online. And in lieu of charging a subscription fee, he earns a comfortable living parlaying his notoriety into paid speaking arrangements and writing for publications such as Variety.

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Lefsetz, 64, grew up in Fairfield, Conn., in the late 1960s when he says “music defined the culture.” He enrolled in Middlebury College in Vermont, and after getting an A on an English paper titled “Consolidated Stuffed Nose Or That’s the Way the Joint Rolls” about Thomas Mann’s novel “Confessions of Felix Kroll, Confidence Man,” he decided that he wanted to be a music writer and dreamed of working for Rolling Stone in San Francisco.

“I called my mother and told her I wanted to be a writer and she laughed,” he said.

But when a creative-writing professor told him his writing was lacking, he became discouraged and vowed to stop writing altogether. After graduation, he moved to Utah and became a ski bum for a few years before enrolling in Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles. He landed a job as a music-business attorney in L.A., figuring his law degree would give him a leg up in an industry that in the 1970s was run by lawyers.

Lefsetz eventually wound up as the U.S. manager for U.K.-based record label Sanctuary, overseeing heavy-metal acts such as W.A.S.P. and…

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