Lefsetz Letter » Blog Archive » The Lumineers

Are they playing the stadium?

I have seen this band. Unpretentious, root-based, and nothing like what’s in the Spotify top 50.

It doesn’t sound like there’s any buzz. They haven’t broadcast in years!

Welcome to the music business in 2022, which is now similar to the movie business written by William Goldman…no one knows anything!

Over the years, we have often seen articles about the brilliance of Mercuriadis and his empire of Hipgnosis songs. Great hit, perfect timing, and then the FT issued such a severe takedown that anyone paying attention now knows the company has been unable to buy new songs for a year! We keep reading that the publishing industry is booming, but…

It all boils down to numbers. Investments and stock prices. It’s all financial. That’s why everyone invests in it! Hipgnosis is not like the entertainment vanity investments of the past, rolling the dice for the sake of making money, but fully aware that the opportunities are long…no, one expects good, steady returns from Hipgnosis.

when interest rates are low. Despite the current ups and downs of the stock market, which just crashed today, there are better places to invest than song publishing, unless you’re looking for long-term stable returns. Then again, no one can predict the longevity of a song, but everyone inside knows that the revenue stream continues to grow.

As for the charts?

Totally biased towards the physical product. The biggest act of the year over the past twenty months has been Morgan Warren, but you see no Vanity Fair spread, he’s still toxic to media intellectuals, but fans love him!

So back to the luminous body…

Their first song since 2012, “Ho Hey,” is almost a novelty, and one would think it would live and die like an engine on a Blue Origin rocket.

Sure, rock radio has some success, but it’s like doing something big in Peoria… who knows? I mean who are the luddites listening to rock radio? They don’t have Sirius, they don’t have Bluetooth, do they really have to put up with formatted playlists and endless ads?

Oh, that’s another thing I’m going to tell you, everyone is number one somewhere. I know because they email me. It’s like I’m number one on the banjo I play in the bathroom category booked on Amazon. Chart numbers are becoming less and less valuable.

Outside of Spotify’s top 50, this is the true definition of America’s most listened to music. However, you can’t see the Lumineers in it, nothing like them, what’s up!

I mean dinosaurs can sell tickets. WSJ tells us that young performers can sell big venues, but they’re talking about phenomena like Bad Bunny and Billie Eilish, most people can’t even name two key members of the Lumineers, they don’t know there are two key members, They don’t know how many people there are in the band!

But the initiator was Luis Messina.

who believes…


Who knows what keeps this seventy-something going, it can’t be money, and again, more money is available to everyone. It’s not like having a public chart that he shines. Few Americans knew who he was. But Louis had a vision. He works with small numbers of acts and builds them up into huge numbers.

Of course there’s George Strait, not to mention Pace, Texas, decades ago, but the real eye-opener was Kenny Chesney. This hillbilly sold out stadiums in the North?

Taylor Swift wouldn’t be as big as it is without Louie.

Louie then picked up Ed Sheeran after opening for Swift. Louie told me about talking to Ed on the bus, shutting him down, in the gracious way he does with an iron fist in a velvet glove. Louie doesn’t push, he just puts it there and you feel the magnet, you have to join.

Then there’s Eric Church and…

I tell you, it’s a master. But what about the luminaries?

All the other actors Louie has worked with over the past decade or so have had a ton of hits, but the Lumineers haven’t.

They are managed by Bernie Cahill. A man with a law degree and a friendly and upscale demeanor. But my point here is that he’s not the kind of natural force that burns down phone lines, instills fear, and trades favors to help build his behavior. This is not David Geffen, this is not old school. The Lumineers are more Dave Matthews than the usual suspects.

Coran Capshaw builds DMB as a whole. But let’s not forget those VH1 hits…

And these two Lumineers aren’t your typical youngsters. One is 39 years old and the other is 36 years old. When major record labels specifically promote those just past puberty. No flash…not even any pan!

I didn’t know the Lumineers stadiums were selling out until I read the latest “Star of the Poll,” which is thicker than it has been in years.

You’ll see that everyone who’s ever worked with Lumineers has to buy an ad to make sure they’ll work with them again in the future!

But who put it all together?

You see, it’s not the information in the “polls” that’s interesting, it’s the promises! That’s what movers and swingers are looking for, they want to know that the act and its team are committed to breaking artists and keeping them ahead, and they want to believe the lights are somewhere, not at the Motel 6.

Again, pay your dues and start at the bottom.

Roy Trakin has an article talking about TikTok connections on “Ophelia,” which rose all the way up to No. 66 when it was released in 2016. While it did go to #5 Rock, I remember being on the SiriusXM spectrum, but…

However, “Ophelia” now has 800 million streams on Spotify. Maybe TikTok does help, it does have a more active user base than any terrestrial radio station.

Not just “Ophelia,” the Lumineers have seven triple-digit million tracks on Spotify. Not that anyone talked about them.

Isn’t that the rule today, stay in the game? Gosh, I did hear Lumineers mentioned once last month, but until then…that’s eternity!

what is the problem?

This is a story from the seventies!

The actor’s career is disconnected from the usual questionable channels, which have nothing to do with radio or TV, but about the band and its connection to a growing fan base.

But it’s really about music. A music with little ink, no credit…the only rock we hear is Foo Fighters, aside from legends, and Foos is drawn by numbers, not age, but probably the shallowest pool.

How can we live in a hip-hop country if the Lumineers gyms are sold out?

Well, keep your horses here, it only has two stadiums. One in their hometown of Denver, the other in Chicago, and James Bay is on the Windy City bill, but he won’t be bringing all the fans to Wrigley Field.

That’s the luminary.

All the rules are broken, there are no rules.

Except for one…

It’s all about music!

If you want to stick with it, you’ll almost certainly start small and grow. And you have to play so many gigs to learn how to perform, it’s not just rote records. And you have to have a well-oiled machine behind you, not just Louie and Bernie, but Joe Atamian, the band’s manager.

This is the opposite of everything we’ve read. Where it has to happen quickly. If you have a brain and it doesn’t, you give up going to graduate school. Heck, play music and you might miss your entire 20s, maybe 30s, and never catch up with those who were once your peers. This is walking into the wilderness.

We read all about social media marketing plans. All these things they say are necessary, how you have to improve yourself, but Lumineers don’t.

It’s okay if you don’t like Lumineers music, this is for those who do! We no longer live in a monoculture. People you like and people you don’t like can live side by side in today’s world, and their audiences may or may not intersect.

Then again, those who go to Lumineers want the show to be live, not on a hard drive. They’re not looking for dance, they’re looking for energy, they’re looking for music to set them free, to get them out of this crazy world we live in. It’s harder to do than it looks. Because to be truly successful, you have to go against the wind in a society where I am too.

Something is going on here. I just want you to accept it.

“Blackstone-backed song rights machine suffers growing pains – Hipgnosis Songs Fund’s rapid expansion stalls as rates start to rise”: https://on.ft.com/3qCxqrg

“Beware Baby Boomers: The Next Generation of Arena Stars Is Coming – While the Rolling Stones and Springsteens show little sign of slowing down, artists old and new are selling out big venues.”: https://on.wsj. com/3eOlS1f

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