Music, My Stories, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

It’s Here and Then It’s Gone

My son wanted to play “Domino” from The Night Flight Orchestra. It is on their “Amber Galactic” album released a few years back.

He went to Spotify search, typed in the band name, when into their account, clicked on discography and couldn’t find the album. He went to his saved playlist of TNFO on his Spotify account and the album wasn’t there anymore. For reasons only known to the band and their label, the “Amber Galactic” album is not on Spotify Australia for Premium Subscribers to enjoy. It was here and then it was gone.

Even though I have purchased the CD, it’s basically remained in its plastic wrapping, and it’s a purchase made because I am a collector of bands I like, not because I want to play the CD and look at the artwork and lyrics. Hell, I don’t even know what the booklet looks like inside.

And the decision by artists to remove their music from Spotify or any other streaming service is wrong. It’s even more wrong when one streaming service has it and another doesn’t. What is even more wrong then all of the above, is that YouTube has the full album, and it pays less and torrent sites have it available for download in mp3 and FLAC, and they pay nothing.

But Spotify started in Sweden, by a Swede and here we have a Swedish band pulling their product from it. Even though the streaming company has turned the recording business around, they still are the punching bag for many.

And the loser here is the fan, who does the right thing, takes up the legal alternative, only to feel short changed or as my son said, ripped off.

Remember if the artist has no fans to connect with, they have nothing and the label has nothing.

Standard
A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Record Vault – Arcade

EMI really wanted this album to work.

Stephen Pearcy’s previous band RATT splintered. Some say it was due to dwindling sales (500K units in the US is not a small amount for their “Detonator” album, but then again the labels reckon it was, especially after moving 3 million units for their previous albums) and others say it was due to Grunge.

Regardless, Pearcy didn’t wait around and he hooked up with Fred Coury from Cinderella on drums, Johnny Angel played guitar originally and wrote songs for the debut, but was dropped and in came Frankie Wilsex and Donny Syracuse, while Michael Andrews is on bass.

EMI even paired up Pearcy to write with Jim Vallance of Bryan Adams and Aerosmith fame, and they also got producer Dave Prater, who at this point in time had some serious chart success with Firehouse and Dream Theater.

But it didn’t work, and nobody really knows why. Good music is good music and it should find an audience. But it didn’t. Well it didn’t like how the label wanted it to.

So what happened to all of those rock and metal fans from 1984 to 1990?

Why didn’t they lap up this album?

Well, the base wasn’t as big as people thought. The bulk of the fans shifted between rock and pop and metal, so when it came to 1993, it was no surprise that some fans had shifted their allegiance to other styles. Maybe they just thought that Stephen Pearcy was done and dusted or he’s a one hit wonder or because fans became hip now, into more mellow music, like how Mark Wahlberg cut his hair in Rock Star, it wasn’t cool to like rock music anymore. I knew a few people like that, and if they existed in my circle, I am sure they existed in other circles as well.

I purchased the CD but I can’t remember from where. But I do remember the “Cry No More” single which I purchased via a second hand store, complete with ONE song. Yep, you read that right, one SONG on a CD which can hold 70 minutes of music.

And the album is not on Spotify, which is a shame. A real shame.

Calm Before The Storm

It has a wicked open string riff as good as any metal like riff at the time. It’s credited to Vallance, Angel, Pearcy and Coury.

But I dream of rising light
A sign it’s time to be reborn

And a Pearcy was reborn but ignored.

Cry No More

It’s written by Johnny Angel, Fred Coury and Stephen Pearcy.

And man, when a guitarist spends time being the main songwriter and then doesn’t get to play on the album or plays on the album and is fired before the tour, I see that as a low act by said band mates and management.

When I was young my daddy always taught me
To speak the truth and never tell lies
Now that I’m old and no one ever told me
The life you live, the truth you can disguise

We are living it everyday, trying to make out what is real and fake.

Down and out, I need a friend
Who’ll be there until the end

You don’t know who will be there at the end. And it scares people.

Messed Up World

A sign of the times we live in.

Greedy little fingers
Dirty little lies
Diggin’ themselves in deeper
Wearing their disguise
Crooked preachers sell religion
Underhanded politicians

Artists have written about corruption from when I can remember and it’s still happening without any end in sight.

And I ask myself why?

Maybe Geoff Tate was right all along, the holy dollar rules everybody’s lives and everyone has got to make a million, it doesn’t matter who dies.

I don’t wanna believe what they tell me
I ain’t gonna buy what they sell me
I ain’t gonna take what they’re givin’
It’s a messed up world that we’re livin’ in

Damn right and it is only going to get worse, because if you have school children who can’t vote, striking from school for climate change, imagine the changes coming when they can vote. The current powers that be will fight tooth and nail to keep the world messed up.

World peace and religion
Well you know that’s what they teach
But their arms hold up their halos
They never practice what they preach

Wearing masks is the name of the game. It’s all messed up, but that’s how we survive.

Standard
Music, My Stories, Stupidity

What Does Democracy Look Like?

While the rich pay for their kids to get into college and use other paid people to pass exams for them, the real and proper generation are out on the streets protesting about climate change and gun reform.

And people might say the Universities admissions scandal is a U.S problem, well it’s not. Trust me, there are plenty of wealthy people from other countries who have bribed University officials to get their children in. Hell, in Australia we even have judges applying the same rules of law differently to wealthy children compared to poor children.

In relation to climate change demonstrations, it’s happening world-wide.  Brexit and all of the crap that comes with it, about millions being lost to the economy means nothing to the next generation. The Wall that Trump wants to build means nothing to them. The state and federal government elections in Australia coming up means nothing to them at the moment, because if the world is not fit for living in, what is the point.

The days of tax cuts to sway voters are over. There is a new voter base in town, and they don’t wear the same clothes as their parents did. It’s about the environment, it’s about feeling safe and it’s about having a home to call your own.

They are showing what proper democracy looks like. Something that their parents have forgotten as they got too comfortable with life, concerned about keeping their job, making that mortgage and credit card repayment and ensuring that all the utility bills are paid.

Did you know that 90% of people live within their comfort zone in such a small crowded circle?

Well the next generation wants to change that. They want to change the status quo. If these old and out of touch politicians believe they have a chance at victory at the next election, well think again. Those 10% who live outside their comfort zone will grow even greater and we will have another defining moment like the 60’s revolution.

And the Governments better watch out when that happens.

These climate change protests started because of one person. A 15 year old Swedish girl called Greta Thunberg, started a solo protest in Sweden in August 2018. This movement by one person striking from school for one day, will have almost 2000 cities striking today.

And it’s needed. The weather is too severe. Summer is not summer anymore, its death by humidity. The rains are not just rains anymore, its flash flooding or severe flooding. Hail is not hail anymore, as they come down in clumps the size of tennis balls and cause severe damage. Everything is changing, except the politicians viewpoint on climate change or the viewpoint of the rich when it comes to getting their dumb kids into Universities.

And right now I feel the need to listen to “Little Fighter” from White Lion.

Standard
A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

More File Sharing Equals More Music…

One of the main points of organisations or people who support stronger copyright laws and enforcement is the lies that stronger copyright laws act as an incentive for people to be creative or to make art. About 10 years ago, these lies appeared everywhere. What the public didn’t know, was that these organisations had a seat in the Government Policy room, to negotiate a range of bills in secret.

SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) got introduced in 2011 in the US Senate for discussion. In January, 2012, people held protests in the streets and online about these bills which would put too much control of the internet into the hands of corporations and governments. Eventually, these bills didn’t pass. TPP was written in secret with the corporations, and it got passed without discussion, only for Trump to squash it and come out with another act, even better for the Corporations.

One thing throughout it all that hasn’t dropped off, is the creative output of people. There is so much more content being produced and created right now than ever before. And the consumers have choice, and a lot of it.

Multiple studies have shown that even though there was a massive increase in infringement once upon a time, at the same time there was also a large increase in creative output as well.

And of course, people will associate output versus money made. Like the way Gene Simmons did when he said “Rock is dead”. Some people create art purely for money. Others create art because they want to create or have a need to create. Money will come, merely as a by-product of creating art.

When the record labels acted as gatekeepers, they could put money behind artists and develop them. It used to happen and some labels did it better than others. But that boom in the 80’s, is not because the labels developed artists, it’s because those artists developed themselves outside the sphere of the record labels.

No one can say that a record label developed Twisted Sister, Motley Crue or even Quiet Riot. Even Metallica did their first album independently and had a cult live following before Elektra came in to sign them for “Ride The Lightning”.

For artists that had break out success in 1986, like Bon Jovi and Europe, I would say, yes, they got developed by the label and got the green light for a make or break third album.

Economist Joel Waldfogelm, did some research a while back.

He wanted to see if the rise in sharing had any drop off on the new music being produced. And the research said, no, as new music was being created continuously. However, the record labels claimed otherwise, a claim not based on evidence.

in my opinion, the study also debunked what Gene Simmons said, about “rock being dead”. Gene’s comments circled around how file sharing and streaming meant that no new acts are being developed and able to grow and release quality albums. In fact, the study finds no support for that claim.

The study looked at the best of lists on popular websites for each decade from the 80’s and found on average, about half of the best-of albums since Napster are from artists whose recording debut occurred since Napster.

The study even went further to check how many albums in the 80’s are from artists from the 70’s and how many are from artists who had their debut in the 80’s. And guess, what, the numbers match the post Napster numbers.

How can that be if no artist is being developed?

Basically, there is no evidence that new artists are no longer being developed or are not creating high quality, successful music. Then again, the great artists didn’t need an A&R rep to develop them. They had their own drive and their own motivations.

But the labels have great PR writers and they sure know how to spin a story, along with the publishers and the movie studios. But their theories are not backed by independent research evidence.

The big difference between pre and post Napster is that most of the new musicians are coming from independent DIY artists, rather than the majors. And the labels don’t like this. And they are taking money away from the legacy artists when it comes to recorded music but the legacy artists still make coin on the live circuit.

Standard
Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

The Record Vault -Accept

I had an “Headbangers Heaven” compilation album which had “Screaming For A Love Bite” on it, so that was my second introduction to the band, with the first being the “Balls To The Wall” film clip. I actually traded the 4 LP compilation for “QRII” with Randy Rhoads.

And my ownership of Accept material started with “Metal Heart”, “Breaker” and the “I’m A Rebel” album.

I didn’t feel the need to own the bigger albums in “Restless and Wild” and “Balls To The Wall” but those albums did enough to make me buy “Metal Heart”.

The title track starts of excellent but the classical Beethoven lead was just too much for me. “Midnight Mover” has a head banging riff but the vocal melodies in the verses don’t do enough to capture the commercial vibe of the music.

I know that a lot of people didn’t like the new mainstream MTV sound to their music and I was like what the fuck are you talking about?

It’s still distorted, it’s still rooted in their metal and rock.

“Up To The Limit” reminds me of AC/DC and is the best song of the first three. “Wrong Is Right” is pure speed metal and my answer to the people who said Accept sold out with this album.

“Screaming For A Love-Bite” is the reason for my confusion. Musically the song is brilliant, very melodic rock, but the vocal delivery doesn’t do the song justice. Why would you write a song musically like this and expect UDO to sing it like Def Leppard.

And that’s what is wrong with the album overall, the expectation that a gravelly like vocalist is expected to deliver MTV friendly vocals.

“Too High To Get It Right” is hard to listen too, “Dogs On Leads” is a bad rewrite of “Balls To The Wall” and “Teach Us To Survive” sounds like a rejected “Pink Panther” song,

“Living For Tonite” and “Bound To Fail” are great musically but the vocals don’t do the songs justice.

And it’s these songs that should have been easy to listen too because they are Accept.

“Breaker“ is a good album. The rise started here.

“Starlight” has cool riffs as Udo deals with the bright lights of Hollywood. “Breaker” is a part of the history of speed metal. “Burning” is a 12 bar blues metal tune in the vein of “Born To Be Wild” from Steppenwolf.

“Feelings” has Hoffman galloping his way to glory and delivering a tribute to AC/DC as well.

“Midnight Highway” is an AC/DC cut that Angus and Malcolm Young didn’t write because they didn’t have Judas Priest and Slade as influences.

The “I’m A Rebel” album is not on Spotify but YouTube has it, so I listened to it as I couldn’t really remember a track from it.

And I remembered I enjoyed listening to it, and I still didn’t remember a song from it apart from the title track.

Many years later I came across the Accept debut album and the “Restless And Wild” album on CD. The debut is not on Spotify however “Restless and Wild” is.

“Fast As A Shark” is fast and I was wondering if a young James Hetfield or Dave Mustaine were listening. Then again, the song owes its roots to Motörhead and Judas Priest.

“Restless and Wild” immediately hooked me in with its “Barracuda” galloping riff.

“Ahead Of The Pack” continues the riff assault.

“Neon Nights” is excellent, with a cool bass groove, melodic riffs, a verse that reminds me of “Welcome To My Nightmare” and a Chorus as good as any pop chorus doing the rounds at the time.

“Flash Rockin Man” intro is part of the “One Riff To Rule Em All”. In case you’re wondering what I’m talking about, I did a post a while go about the riff which I know as “Two Minutes To Midnight” and how for a period between 1976 to 1986, that riff was rewritten into different derivative versions by a lot of different artists.

“Princess Of The Dawn” has a riff which should be part of the melodic metal canon if it isn’t already.

Standard
Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

The Record Vault – Alice Cooper

This is going to be a long one. For me, Alice Cooper’s career was discovered backwards.

I knew “I’m Eighteen”, “Schools Out” and “No More Mr Nice Guy” are tracks from his early career, but the versions I had heard were all covers of these songs.

Plus, I am a horror movie fan and I knew he did a song called “He’s Back” for a “Friday The 13th” movie.

Trash

It all started with this album. For the year it came out and my hard rock mindset, this album fit the criteria to a tee. Plus we used to play games to see how many times, Alice Cooper sang “baby” throughout the whole album.

I have the LP, plus the singles “Poison”, “Bed Of Nails” and “House Of Fire”.

“Poison” kicks it off, with a guitar riff that’s stood the test of time and I bet ya no one knows who John McCurry is or the guitar work he did on albums or the songs he co-wrote for others. You can tell that Desmond Child is involved because of the Chorus. It’s his style down to a tee.

“Spark In The Dark” immediately hooks me in with its sleazy bluesy guitar riff and I was surprised to see that no guitar player was involved in the songwriting of it as it’s listed as an Alice Cooper and Desmond Child cut.

“House Of Fire” is catchy and I swear it’s on the album to increase the “baby” count. Written by Alice Cooper, Desmond Child and Joan Jett, even Bon Jovi gave the song a go for their “New Jersey” album.

“Why Trust You” fires up, and like “Spark In The Dark”, it’s written by Alice Cooper and Desmond Child and it’s a dead set rocker.

“Only My Heart Talkin’” is next and I’m reminded of Aerosmith straight away, so I wasn’t surprised when Steve Tyler made an appearance on the outro. Even the feel of the song is different, and it’s the only song on the album which doesn’t have Desmond Child as a co-writer.

“Bed Of Nails” kicks off side 2, and muscled up guitarist Kane Roberts from Alice’s band before “Trash” has a co-write along with Alice, Child and Diane Warren. The way this song starts off, with the backwards guitar effect, I thought Sammy Kerr from the “Trick or Treat” movie would arrive in my lounge room. For those who don’t know, in the movie, a grieving fan plays the album of his favorite artist backwards and resurrects him back from the dead.

“This Maniacs In Love With You” is written by Alice Cooper, Desmond Child, Bob Held and Tom Teeley. The only reason I included the whole shebang of writers is to show how far and wide Alice went, to get the songs he needed for this album. This song could have worked with any artist.

“Trash” is written by Alice Cooper, Desmond Child, Mark Frazier and Jamie Sever. Again, there is a songwriting committee.

How good is that little riff after each line is sung in the verse?

“Hell Is Living Without You” is written by a songwriting committee of Alice Cooper, Desmond Child, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora.

The emotive solo break hooks me in this song.

“I’m Your Gun” ends the albums and it’s the same writing team as the opening teach “Poison” with the classic lyric line of pull my fiddle.

And for the “baby” count, we all had different counts, ranging from 30 to 70.

I even borrowed “Alice Cooper Trashes The World” on VHS tape from a friend of a friend of friend and dubbed it into blank VHS tape.

After “Trash”, I needed more Alice Cooper. The live video opened up my eyes to classic songs everywhere. And I purchased “Welcome To My Nightmare” and “Billion Dollar Babies” together based on the covers.

Welcome To My Nightmare

And I’m transported to the sounds of 1975.

Man the acoustic start, the “hit the road” feel, the shimmering tones and we are off on some musical journey that’s a cross between rock, jazz, blues and whatever else they could chuck in, like a saxophone solo.

And I liked it.

Then that riff that kicks off “Devils Food” should be iconic but it’s not, because the opening track took that glory.

And here, my prize, the black widow, isn’t she lovely.”

And how good is that “Black Widow” riff?

It puts most of the bands who call themselves “Metal” to shame. It you want to see menacing, this is the song and Bob Ezrin as producer took this album up a notch, while Dick Wagner as one the guitarists and main co-writers is basically unheard of today.

And that outro. Fuck, what a song. It follows no formula, no structure and it’s memorable.

Then when the cabaret feel of “Some Folks” kicks in, it feels dissonant, but as the song plays on, it fucking works.

And you need to remember in 1991, I’m listening to this and I’m like, “god damn, they don’t make music like this anymore”. The variations between each song, the different styles, the influences from other popular songs and how they are merged seamlessly into a coherent little song.

And that outro, I’m hooked and I pressed repeat on my CD player just to hear it again.

It’s knockout punch after knockout punch.

“Only Women Bleed” has an awesome guitar intro and that section after the bridge at about 2.28 to 2.38 is perfect.

And the knockout punches kept coming.

“Department Of Youth” kicks off with a riff that sums up a generation and the lyrics which confirm it.

And we ain’t afraid of high power
We’re bullet proof
And we’ve never heard of Eisenhower
Missile power, justice or truth

And that’s the Youth summed up. The issues and leaders of the world that concerned our parents didn’t concern the youth of the times.

And then “Cold Ethyl” keeps the punches coming, with a bluesy riff and a super melodic chorus.

“Years Ago” is just a circus tinker box like riff which is menacing and when you’re used to guitar heavy music, it’s a “ah-huh” moment.

And this leads into “Steven”, the best song on the album. That piano riff is enough to hook me in as it reminds me of horror movies but hearing a grown man sing like a little child about to lose his shit is scary enough.

And the musical groove when everyone sings “Steven”. Fuck, I still get goosebumps writing about it.

And that whole musical passage after it, sounds depressing, and I know the song is about to end and I had my finger on the repeat button.

I would have been happy if the album ended there. “The Awakening” is a little piano jam, which is haunting. “Escape” closes the album with an uplifting major key riff in the similar key and feel of “Department Of Youth” which is perfect.

And by the end of it, I’m bloody and bruised from all of the knockout punches.

Billion Dollar Babies

This was up next and man it had a lot to live up to. The first three songs were cool and “Elected” got me going, but after hearing “Department Of Youth” first, “Elected” had themes and style too similar for me.

And it took an iconic drum intro on track four which is as good as any classic guitar riff I’ve heard to hook me in. That my friends is the title track.

And when the guitar riff comes in, i was shocked again at how good these 70s albums are and the way the musicians write songs, following their muse and sticking a middle finger to the label guy.

And the labels hated this period because they couldn’t control the artists and they felt they should be the ones who could drop and sign anyone they wanted, but also scared to drop any artist or a disobedient successful artist, just in case they had a hit with another label.

“Unfinished Sweet” is 6 minutes long and they just try shit out. There is this section where all they are doing is hitting a chord with an effect on it and just letting it shimmer out. After that section, a simple 4/4 beat is played, and the song builds to a conclusion.

“No More Mr Nice Guy” was already a favorite and Megadeth’s version for the “Shocker” soundtrack was in rotation already for me.

“I Love The Dead” is brilliant. On the live VHS tape I have of the “Trash” tour, these 70s songs get an awesome modern sounding upgrade. And the repeating “I Love The Dead” is spot on and when you chuck in some cool pentatonic based lead lines, well what can I say. Once they added horns and violins, it’s a perfect ending.

In 1991, I don’t think any band at the height of MTV would sing or write a song called “I Love The Dead”, except an extreme or death metal act. And here is Alice Cooper in his ascendancy, writing about zombies, babies and what not.

I felt like I needed a proper original VHS video of Alice, so “Prime Cuts” was available and I purchased it, watched it once, the footage was crap and never watched it again.

Hey Stoopid

There is not a song on this album that I don’t like. And like “Trash”, Alice and his team went searching far and wide for songwriters to co-write and have them jam on the album.

Slash is on it, Mick Mars is on it, Nikki Sixx is on it, Joe Satriani is on it, Steve Vai is on it, Vinnie Moore is on it, Ozzy Osbourne is on it, Stef Burns from Y&T is on it and future Jovi bassist Hugh McDonald is on it.

For songwriting, the bulk of the songs are written by Alice Cooper, Vic Pepe, Jack Ponti and Bob Pfeifer.

Zodiac Mindwarp and his buds contribute “Feed My Frankenstein”, Sixx and Mars contribute “Die For You”, Dick Wagner contributes to “Might As Well Be On Mars”, Desmond Child also contributes to the Wagner track and “Dangerous Tonight”, Jim Vallance contributes a few and the list just goes on.

The beauty of it is, regardless of the different writers, it’s still an Alice Cooper album in sound and feel and when I heard “Wind Up Toy”, I knew the psychotic Alice from the 70s was still there along with “Steven”.

Constrictor

Back to 1986 and Kip Winger is on bass and “He-Man” Kane Roberts is on guitar and as co-writer for the album.

“Life And Death Of The Party” sounds like the song that would launch the career of Ghost as the style and feel is similar to what Ghost would bring forth many decades later.

“The World Needs Guts” is a great title and I wanted the song to be great but it was okay.

And then you have the synth driven “He’s Back (The Man Behind The Mask)” which sounds cool and for the movie it works.

Muscle Of Love

“Muscle Of Love” and “The Man With The Golden Gun” are the tracks I still remember, with “Muscle Of Love” being the one which still gets played today.

The Last Temptation

For me, this album is excellent. I became a fan because of the MTV friendly “Trash” album. I discovered his back catalogue after that. This album is a combination of the “Trash” era commercialism, merged with the 70s “Welcome To My Nightmare” and “Billion Dollar Babies” albums, merged with the sonic production qualities of the mighty “Black” album from Metallica.

Guitarist Dan Wexler from the band “Icon” is on hand to co-write most of the songs as a few years before Alice Cooper did guest voiceovers on Icon’s 1989 album. Shaw-Blades, Chris Cornell, Jim Vallance and Bob Pfeiffer are other writers who make an appearance.

“Lost in America” is basically a rewrite of “Fight for Your Right (to Party)” in the verses. And how good are lyrics, about how Steven can’t get a job, because he aint got a car, and he can’t get a girl, because he aint got a car and he’s looking for a girl with a job and car. But it never made it as a hit, much the labels dismay, because it’s a god damn album cut.

“You’re My Temptation” is one of his best 90’s tracks and it’s unfortunate this co-write with Shaw and Blades is largely unknown.

The album has three different producers in Andy Wallace for “Side Show”, “Stolen Prayer”, “Unholy War” and “Cleansed by Fire”, Don Fleming on “Lost in America” and Duane Baron and John Purdell did the remaining three tracks.

Brutal Planet

The first album of the Bob Marlette era.

The title track is a stand out by far and the sound was very heavy, industrial and gothic. And what a live track it makes. Check out “A Paranormal Evening”.

And those riffs and dissonant leads in the intro,

We’re spinning round on this ball of hate
There’s no parole, there’s no great escape
We’re sentenced here until the end of days
And then my brother there’s a price to pay

It takes Alice to tell us that we have no escape or chance of parole during our lives.

Right here we stoned the prophets
Built idols out of mud
Right here we fed the lions
Christian flesh and Christian blood
Down here is where we hung ya
Upon an ugly cross
Over there we filled the ovens
Right here the holocaust

That’s only a drop in the ocean of the brutality that Mother Earth has seen.

Dragowntown

The second album of the Bob Marlette era.

And of course I was still seeking out the past albums, but as I started hearing em, I realized that I maybe had the best ones already.

For the “Schools Out” album, the title track is the only song I liked and what hasn’t been said about it or how it captured a perfect moment for a whole new generation, liberated from the social shackles placed on their parents.

For the “Killer” album, “Under My Wheels” is the song which stands out on this album. “Goes To Hell”, “From The Inside” and “Lace And Whiskey” came and went without impact.

A live album called “A Fistful Of Alice” didn’t set my world on fire and neither did an album of original material called “Dirty Diamonds”.

Standard
Copyright, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

Moral Panics

Back in 2011, I started writing all these blog posts from articles I read that I had a laugh with, or disagreed with, or had a reaction to. And I felt they were unfinished to publish or I just didn’t have the balls to put my views out there, but I saved them anyway.

My digital saving life is no different to how people just keep physical items, but for me, a physical item will be thrown away to reduce clutter, but anything I create, I store away digitally, like it matters or means something. Once I am gone, who knows what happens to our digital lives stored in clouds and email accounts.

In 2011, there was an article I read, called “Track Piracy Is Killing The Music Business…. In 1976” over at a site called Techdirt. At that point in time, Spotify was still in the stages of gaining approval from the record labels to operate in America (it actually kicked off in July 2011).

And while the labels bogged down the negotiations to get a stake in the company, YouTube silently became the number one streaming service and it still is to this day. And it’s all because YouTube offers the users exactly what Napster offered its users back in 1999. A chance to share their love of culture, with others.

So while the labels negotiated a billion dollar deal that no artist would ever see the terms too (even though the labels had this bargaining power because of the copyrights they held from the artists), it really was funny to read the moral panic put out there by the labels and their lobby group RIAA.

Of course, every generation sees that moral panic it a bit different.

In the early 1900’s, the player piano was killing live music and the music industry along with it. Then from the late 60’s, the tape recorder and home taping was killing music and the recording industry along with it.

Then in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, the MP3 player and mp3 was deemed to be killing the recording industry. At one stage, the mp3 player was deemed illegal. To make, sell and buy guns and knives was legal, but to make, sell and buy an mp3 player was illegal. Imagine how much money the lobby group of the labels would have donated (bribed) to the politicians to get that law passed.

Then in the early 2010’s, it became about streaming and how its payments to artists is killing the industry.  With every moral panic, the industry has survived, because in the end people gravitate to something that connects and they share their love of it. While all of this was happening, unknown to many, concert tickets increased at a rate triple the inflation rate.

Netflix said recently that they are not competing with other streaming providers but with Fortnite for peoples attention. At least they get it. It’s easy to be ignored and when that happens, what’s next. We are saturated with choice and it’s a good thing. For those who remember growing up, with three channels on TV, the current world is exponentially better for choice.

So what does all this mean for the artist?

Remember when Cheap Trick’s album from 2009, “The Latest”,  came out on 8-track as a unique marketing promotion, with the offer to download the digital tracks at a price lower than the standard iTunes price. Well it was a cool gimmick because it got the band back into the conversation. I also remember reading, how the guys we’re worried about being ignored than being ripped off, when the interviewer asked them about giving their digital tracks away for such a low price.

In other words, obscurity is a bigger fear than piracy. Just ask those artists who are part of the group of 30 million songs who have never been heard on Spotify.

Standard