Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Innovation V8.0: You Gotta Love Innovation From The Entertainment Industries!!!

Progression

Music piracy opens up new technological innovations and new conversations. The latest one doing the rounds is the battle against piracy on the SMARTPHONE. The music industry trade group, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, (IFPI) called it an “emerging and as-yet-unquantified threat”.

It’s the same old argument.

One thing that is certain is that the SMARTPHONE is here to stay. That is why the “Music Maniac” app has been downloaded more than 10 million times. So why can’t the music industry innovate and have an app that is downloaded 10 million times.

The music industry of course have sent notices to Google requesting the apps removal. How typical. What’s next? Ban the smartphone because it enables song piracy. Ban cars because they kill people. This is progression. It is a new frontier.

Regression

In the UK, politicians decided to tax digital downloads. So this would mean a price increase for music.

A price increase in digital downloads will lead legitimate music customers to streaming and the more casual ones to piracy.

In my opinion this is a stupid decision by a Government that acts like a police force for the Entertainment industries.

Don’t mistake this tax for what it really is. A protectionist tax for the brick and mortar stores who think of their profit margins instead of their customers.

Bring back the CD’s screams the British Government.

Progression

Piracy in China is huge.

Not because that the Chinese don’t want to pay for it, its just that China audiences don’t have access to a lot of legal alternatives that are worth it.

So with Nokia launching a very OVERDUE streaming service in China, it is a step in the right direction to monetise that pirate money into legitamite money.

Nokia’s service will provide a legal alternative for free or a premium version for the equivalent of $3.99 a month.

Regression

Music industry group IFPI believes it is time to expand the web site blockades to other countries, and censor mobile networks too.

It looks more like censorship to me.

Progression

Anyone heard of Hatchet.

“Hatchet is a place (website) where users can share music, tastes and thoughts against one or more music services – and be portable across them.”

This is tech companies innovating to stay ahead of their competitors and it is no surprise that the announcement by Hatchet came shortly after Spotify acquired music technology firm The Echo Nest.

Regression

The everlasting saga of MP3Tunes and it’s founder Michael Robertson took another drastic turn in the courts. The whole lawsuit was another case of the record labels just being generally angry about innovation.

While MP3Tunes initially, won, the case went around the blocks and now the judge in the MP3Tunes case withdrew the original ruling and decided to take another look. That’s now resulted in a jury apparently finding that MP3Tunes was “willfully blind” to infringement.

So a jury now decides Copyright Law. Who would have thought that when Copyright was first introduced?

Maybe we should start charging all of the car makers for their cars being used in drive by shootings and drug trafficking.

The eventual endgame for the Entertainment Industry is to reduce the internet to a distribution model that is under their control where the flow of all content is all about paywalls.

Progression

BitTorrent and Music is normally associated with piracy, so of course you always need someone to show how it can be used for something different.

Moby showed last year that being the most downloaded torrent is a good thing.

This year we have a Hip Hop artist leading the way with a world first BitTorrent / Bitcoin venture, alongside their regular iTunes offering. And all donations go directly to the band as there are no middlemen.

Regression

So what do we own when it comes to music these days. According to a US politician, we own nothing.

According to this moron, the mp3 that we buy from iTunes is not really ours.

Of course Rep Nadler’s fifth largest campaign donor is…

Drum roll please…..

TV/Movies/Music

Progression

The courts are finally realising that an IP address does not identify a person.

Copyright troll’s like to use IP addresses as evidence to ask courts to issue subpoenas so they can get their hands on account details from ISPs. The problem with that, is that the person listed as the account holder is often not the person who downloaded the infringing material.

So it is good to see that judges are using some common sense.

Regression

Rightscorp is still in the news. It is a copyright troll that is purely there to shakedown people.

None of that money will ever go back to the creator of said works. It’s whole business model is built on identifying IP addresses and then sending notices to the ISP provider so that they could forward it over to their customer.

Progression

Music streaming services have taken in over $1 billion in sales worldwide. This is a big positive for the music industry. Let’s hope that the record labels dont kill it, by strangling the payments back to artists.

Regression

People still complain about the difference between analog dollars and digital dollars.

Progression

It’s good to see that Billboard is trying to remain relevant however it could be too little too late. Their latest piece of innovation is charting the chatter that happens on Twitter when it comes to music.

Of course, it wouldn’t be just Billboard taking this project on. Twitter and Billboard announced that they plan to create the Billboard Twitter Real-Time Charts: which is a continuously updated list of the songs being discussed and shared the most on Twitter in the United States.

Regression

This whole notion of a piracy tax. Italy is another country that is bringing it in.

The levy applies to any piece of hardware that can hold photographic or video material – whether that’s stand-alone storage or the hard drive of a device. In exchange for the fee, consumers are able to make private copies of copyrighted works they own — films, music and so on — for their own personal use.

So by having a piracy tax in Italy, does that no mean that uploading and downloading copyrighted works is now legal. Because hey the Entertainment industry cant have it both ways.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

The Ugly Truth

The major record labels put money first while a true artist sees money as a secondary product that is made in the process of creating great music.

Record Labels live by a plan about what to release and when to release it, while an artist lives by using their intuition and experience. They improvise. That is why so many of the great songs that we have come to known are products of improvisation and jam sessions. Capturing lightning in a bottle.

Look at all of the Jimi Hendrix recordings released. Each one of them have different alternate takes of songs that failed to make the cut. He jammed and improvised those songs a hundred times before he was happy with the ebb and flow of the track.

If you want songs that make money right now, call Max Martin. If you want a career, improvise and allow those glorious experiments to grow and reproduce.

Record Labels want to sell a lot right now, while an artist is looking to have a career and live forever in the hearts and minds of music lovers.

Record Labels/Tour Promoters calculate while artists inspire. AJ Maddah is a businessman/tour promoter of the Soundwave festival here in Australia. However, he fails to realise that the reason why people go to Soundwave is not because of AJ Maddah, it is because of the acts. It is the acts that inspire and mobilise the core. Treat them with respect.

Technologists today are like the artists of the Seventies and Eighties, while those artists of that era are all entrepreneurs/businessmen.

Technologists are pushing the boundaries with their creations, dropping products that the public didn’t really need and then making the public want those products. In the meantime, artists are giving the public what the artists believes the public wants, so that they don’t lose the status that a hit song from 1986 created for them.

Hit songs/albums are not made by marketing or an artist telling the world it is their best work. They are made by cultures of people who connect with the song and then share their love of that music with others.

Record Label execs come and go, however the record label corporate entity still remains. Artists on the other hand are one. Once they leave, their creations stop.

Cheap mediocre goods might sell millions in retail businesses however mediocre doesn’t cut it in music. Hence the death of the album format.

Record Labels want safety and assurance that their risk will make money. Artists are all about risking it all until some of those risks start to pay off and then some of those artists start to become the same as the record label. Looking for safety and assurance. The others will still go out on a limb and risk it all.

Record Labels are all about the wealth, the Forbes Rich List and flying private. Artists are about the essence and then when they see the talentless executives living it up on the backs of their creations, artists change and become obsessed with the same trappings that consume the Record Label hierarchy.

Record Labels think of how they can monetise the album/song. That is why they strike corporate deals with other entities for crappy pre-release streams and so forth. Artists just want their fans to hear the new music and hit the road to promote it.

Record Labels lie while an artist lays it all on the line, by telling the truth and being transparent about their lives.

Record Labels want to reach people who will pay, while an artist wants to reach and touch everybody.

Record Labels cease to be when they run out of money, however an artist never stops creating.

Record Labels judge success by how much money the artist made for them. The artist judges their success by how many people their music touched and what impact it had on society and culture.

Record Labels are here today and gone tomorrow. Look at the situation we have right now. It is down to the big three. Of course we have the independent labels. Some are good and some are bad. However, music lives forever. We know that Metallica released the Black album. We know that it is still selling. Do we care on what label it was on?

If a record label exec screws up they could lose their job, however there is a good chance that they will find another high-powered well-paying job. If an artist messes up, there is a good chance they could lose their career.

Artists realise that music is a craft and it takes practice to nurture it to something great.

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

Thirty Seconds To Mars

Jared Leto is a star in every sense. He was born to be in the arts.

I watched “Thirty Seconds To Mars” last night at the Sydney Entertainment Centre. Actually, it has been renamed the “Qantas Credit Union Arena”. The beauty of corporate sponsorships.

Leto had the crowd in his grasp from the word go and he manipulated the audience to jump, chant and sing with him throughout the whole performance.

I got into the band from the “A Beautiful Lie” album. It was the song “Attack” that hooked me in. And then after I purchased the album I was blown away by just how strong it was.

I then found out that they had a previous album and I purchased that as well and I really enjoyed the Tool-Pop Rock sound throughout. The song “Fallen” comes to mind immediately as I type this. Also produced by the excellent Bob Ezrin, who of course was a name I was very familiar with from all of the classic rock albums that I had.

So by the time they released “This Is War”, well that was the album that I enjoyed and it also hooked my wife in. When the new album came out, I became hooked on “Conquistador” while my wife became hooked on the whole album.

First let’s get the bad out-of-the-way. If there was a point of criticism it was that stupid white bright light in each corner of the stage. By looking at the stage, the one on the left corner was shining out towards the audience and all I saw from the show was that lovely bright light. For the few sections and songs that it didn’t go on, it was good, otherwise that stupid bright light made it torturous.

The biggest surprise.

“End Of All Days”.

I didn’t rate it when I heard it on the album because after being blown away by “Conquistador” I sort of felt that the album went too soft. However after seeing “End Of All Days” performed live, I was converted. Even thought it is a ballad, the song is powerful and man it resonated with the audience.

And seriously look at their worldwide digital numbers. Yes, that’s right. While stupid executives and mainstream rags focus on sales within a country, the fans of music have shown over and over again that it is a world wide music industry.

“Closer To The Edge” has 46,243,437 views on YouTube and 12,480,144 streams on Spotify.

“This Is War” has 39,320,835 views on YouTube and 13,992,986 streams on Spotify.

“The Kill (Bury Me) has 31,501,058 views on the official channel and 20,922,479 views on a fan channel called mina58 for a total of 52 million plus views. Add to that the 12,303,344 + 5,479,614 = 17,782,958 streams on Spotify.

“Kings And Queens” has 19,382,518 views on YouTube as well as 19,683,580 streams on Spotify.

“Up In The Air” has 19,220,663 views on YouTube and 7,994,167 streams on Spotify.

The point. They are a success story.

Sales on the board. Tick. Streams. Tick. YouTube plays. Tick. Box office score. Tick. Merchandise. Tick. The line ups for the merch store went forever at the gig. Talented front man. Tick. Super talented live performer in the front man. Tick. Social media presence. Tick.

Did that happen off the bat?

Of course not. They worked hard at it. The first album didn’t set the charts alight even though it had a brilliant supporting cast and some real Tool like pop rock gems.

“A Beautiful Lie” became a juggernaut on the backs of four songs, “The Kill”, “From Yesterday”, “Attack” and the title track. This is the album that gave them a career. This is the band rocking out and they should have played these songs with the full band set up instead of bringing a few of them up with the acoustic part of the set.

Remember, it is about the songs and they need to be great.

So I was surprised after I finished reading a few reviews from journalists that write for the Sydney Morning Herald. The review is critical of the songs. First, they say that the band doesn’t have the songs to be a big act. Maybe, they just had the sales from ARIA in front of them, because if they did some digging they would have seen the digital stats.

But then again, this is a mainstream institution that still believes it’s about selling newspapers and locking up news content behind subscription models. Hello, it’s 2014.

While the “New York Times” and all of the other main papers in the US tried these subscription models, the very free Huffington Post came from left field and overtook their online presence. You procrastinate, so prepare to be overtaken by the ones who innovate.

In the end the band is on the road until the end of September. That is the music business. Hit the road and deliver. And with Jared Leto as the front man, Thirty Seconds To Mars do deliver.

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M. Shadows and The Sales Of Music Today vs The Magical Eighties

In a recent Loudwire interview, M. Shadows mentioned some viewpoints on the current state of the music business.

One of the big comparisons that every artist or media personality makes today, is the status of sales right now vs sales more than 30 years ago. And everyone today, especially artists or media personalities, always say that the Eighties was so much better. It is a bold claim to make, especially when the Eighties have been known as the era that record labels ripped off artists.

In a way, the magical Eighties was easier for an artist as “a lot of the work around them” just happened like magic. All the artist needed to do was create songs, record them in a studio the label selected, then go on tour that someone else organised. Fast forward to 2014, the artist is across all aspects of their career and they need to make the decision. Things just don’t magically happen anymore. The artist is aware and they make these things happen.

In relation to sales, let’s look at Metallica and Megadeth compared to Avenged Sevenfold.

FIRST ALBUM

Metallica released “Kill Em All” in 1983. It wasn’t until 1989 (yep six years after) that the album was certified GOLD for sales in the U.S. So much for the argument bandied about in 2014, that sales from the Eighties are better. After six months, Metallica was back in the studio recording the follow up.

Of course, on the back of the Black album juggernaut, by 1999, “Kill Em All” was certified 3 x Platinum, 16 years after it’s release. Yes, 16 years later.

Megadeth released “Killing Is My Business (And Business Is Good) in 1985 and still to this day it hasn’t been certified anything. So by default this album hasn’t passed 500,000 sales in the U.S.

Avenged Sevenfold released “Sounding The Seventh Trumpet” in 2001 and like Megadeth’s debut, it still hasn’t passed the 500,000 Gold barrier.

So if you compare the first album release of each band, all of them failed to achieve GOLD status within the first two years.

But, but…. sales of the eighties are awesome compared to today. How can bands today survive? Rubbish is what I say.

SECOND ALBUM

Metallica released “Ride The Lightning” in 1984. It wasn’t until 1987 that the album was certified GOLD in the U.S, three years after it’s release. In 2012, twenty-eight years after it’s release, the album was certified 6 x platinum.

Megadeth released “Peace Sells.. But Who’s Buying” and it was certified GOLD in 1988, two years after it’s release. By 1992, the album was certified Platinum for 1 million sales in the U.S.

Avenged Sevenfold released “Waking The Fallen” in 2003. In 2009, it was certified GOLD for sales in the U.S., six years after it’s release and with the new anniversary edition coming out, expect these sales to increase even more.

So who is the winner for the second album sales. Megadeth reached GOLD in two years, Metallica in three years and Avenged Sevenfold in six years. Still, is the Eighties so much better. Both Megadeth and Metallica went back into the studio nine months later to record follow ups, while Avenged Sevenfold had a longer run before entering the studio.

Who really knows what level of sales, “Waking The Fallen” will be at in 2031. Who really knows, the amount of streams or YouTube views the album would reach by 2031?

THIRD ALBUM

Metallica released “Master Of Puppets” in 1986 and it was certified GOLD for sales in the U.S in the same year. In 2003, 17 years after it’s release it was certified 6 x platinum. The digital mp3 of the song “Master of Puppets” has also passed the 500,000 barrier. Again, massive sales numbers did not come right away. It took time and a lot of great music.

Megadeth released “So Far, So Good, So What” in 1988 and it was certified GOLD in 1990, again two years after it’s release. By 1998, 10 years after, it was certified Platinum. Again, massive sales did not come right away. It took time.

Avenged Sevenfold released “City Of Evil” in June 2005 and six months later it was certified GOLD for sales in the U.S. Eventually the album would pass the 1 million sales barrier in 2009 four years after it’s release. In addition, the song “Bat Country” also being certified GOLD in Digital sales.

So after three albums each, which band reached GOLD the quickest? Metallica and Avenged Sevenfold both reached 500,000 sales for their third album, within six months.

But…. Bands had way more sales in the Eighties than today…. The answer is NO, they didn’t.

Sales for Megadeth and Metallica got a lot better after the Black album and the Countdown To Extinction albums. Those albums converted alot of fence sitters into fans who then went and purchased the back catalogues.

In reality, sales of music really haven’t dried up. The fact that “Master Of Puppets” has moved six million units since it’s release should not be taken into account right now. Who knows how much “City Of Evil would have moved by 2022?

People still purchase music, so it is not harder for bands like Avenged Sevenfold, Bullet For My Valentine or Five Finger Death Punch to sell millions like the artists from the magical Seventies, Eighties and Nineties.

All they need is an album that will unite the fragmented metal genres in existence today.

What is harder is getting the great music heard from the rest of the noise that internet distribution has allowed. I am a believer that all great music will rise above. It might take years for some artists or it could be instant for others.

I am sure by 2030, young bands starting up will be saying that there will no band at that point in time that will be able to sell millions of albums or have their songs streamed 100,000,000 times or have YouTube views in the trillions.

However like the artist of today, they are as successful or if not more than those bands from the “glory” years.

As M.Shadows mention in the interview, don’t be worried following the sales metric as a sign of success. Focus on writing good songs and delivering live.

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Copyright, Derivative Works, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit, Unsung Heroes

RANT ALERT: Copyright, Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame and The Walking Dead

BUSINESS MODEL PROTECTIONISM

It’s pretty pathetic how the entertainment industries need to get governments to pass laws and update laws every time there is a shift in technology. Remember, back in the Eighties, when the boss of the MPAA Jack Valenti proclaimed at a Senate Congressional Hearing that the VCR’s are to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone. Yep, that is right, the head of the MPAA said that in 1982.

Fast forward a decade later and VHS sales of movies proved to be a very very large income source for the movie industry. So if the MPAA had their way, this technological innovation would have been killed at the beginning. Sort of like how the music industry reacted when Napster exploded. And due to that poor reaction, they allowed piracy to grow and due to their unwillingness to license Spotify, they allowed YouTube to become the unofficial streaming king.

All of this innovation happened because of copyright infringement. If all of the innovators followed the law or asked permission from the Record Labels to go ahead, well, no innovation would have been possible, because hey, any innovation in the entertainment industry that is not controlled by the gatekeepers is like the Boston Strangler to their business profits.

Let’s get one thing straight. Copyrights have been infringed forever by consumers of music and it still hasn’t killed off the music business. The difference now is that the main holders of Copyright are large corporations called Record Labels, who have the cash to go all nuclear with lawyers on people that violate that copyright.

So when it comes to negotiating new laws for copyright, it is these large and cashed up business entities that are lobbying politicians.

So what we have is a disconnect. The copyright industries want the tech industries to introduce measures to reduce piracy. The copyright industries want ISP’s to introduce measures to reduce piracy. The copyright industries want Governments to introduce measures to reduce piracy. The copyright industries want Judges to introduce measures to reduce piracy. Basically, the copyright industries want everyone else to help them, however they choose to do nothing themselves in terms of innovation.

Call it the last screams of the ENTITLEMENT EXECUTIVES.

That is why take down requests from copyright holders are going through the stratosphere. The Entertainment Industries are abusing a law by trying to catch a site that is NON-COMPLIANT. If the site that is hammered with the robotic takedowns doesn’t comply then they could be held liable.

This is not what copyright is designed to do.

Copyright was always designed so that the creator of a piece of work is granted a certain monopoly on their works and by that grant they can then sell their right to copy their work to another entity in exchange for a fee. A quick search of Google for the definition of Copyright states that it is “the exclusive and assignable legal right, given to the originator for a fixed number of years, to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material.”

So now add “The Record Label” to the definition. The definition would read something like this;

“The exclusive and assignable legal right granted to the originator who then sells that right to a corporation for a fixed number of years (in some cases, for their whole life plus 70 years) so that the corporation can print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material.”

Burton C Bell from Fear Factory didn’t know how much his songs were worth when he signed his first contract with Roadrunner Records.

Imagine a young up and coming sports star who is signed to an NBA club for peanuts and then after a season or two, shows that they are really a star athlete. Two things would happen to that sports star. The NBA club that they are with will either up their contract to match their new-found stardom or a new NBA club will swoop in and make them an offer they cannot refuse.

Fear Factory showed Roadrunner that they are a star athlete. Instead of getting a better royalty deal they got the same rubbish for 20 years plus. Instead of being allowed to negotiate with other labels and getting a transfer to test their net worth, they got locked into a restrictive contract with terrible payment rates.

Copyright is too distorted and removed from what it was intended to do. It needs a rethink and a massive re-write. The kids of today, the ones that pirate, will one day step up into government and then, change will happen.

THE WALKING DEAD

It’s passed its prime.

The last half of Season 4 was by far the worst. It is a yawn fest of massive proportions. The only two episodes worth talking about so far is the Rick Grimes House episode. The house when the group that Daryl is with right now decided to crash it.

And the other one was the Carol episode with the two little sisters. However I still have issues with that episode, as I saw it just an episode put there to shock, instead of progressing the story line.

AMC is down two big shows in “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men”, so they are pumping all of their resources into milking TWD.

Seriously spin offs. It only dilutes the main brand. Think of “Law And Order” or “CSI”. They had so many spin offs it got to a point of silliness.

The main show runners in Frank Darabont and Glen Mazzara got booted for various reasons, with TWD comic creator Robert Kirkman being behind the Mazzara booting. One thing I can say is that comic book writers should stick to comic books. They are not TV show runners.

Frank Darabont got the TV show up and running. It is the house that Darabont built in it’s tone, settings and style. Not Robert Kirkman.

Prior to the show exploding, The Walking Dead comics had a cult niche following. Now it has a popular culture following. And that is because of the TV show. Not because of the comics. The comics provided the story, however how original is the story when the whole Zombie genre is copyright free.

I actually went and purchased the comics recently for my Christmas Present. And that is because of the show.

ROCK’N’ROLL HALL OF FAME

They call themselves “leaders in the music industry” that joined together to establish the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation.

Joe Elliott from Def Leppard called it as it is. Elliot called them a “board room of faceless tuxedo-wearing morons” who decide such things based on their own determination of what’s cool. And with that, a final lyrical quote from the great James Hetfield

“Who made you God to say”

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Take Note of George Lynch’s Work Ethic and Rat Pak Records

This is how you need to do it in the current music business. Check out the list of releases from George Lynch since 2008.

2008 – George Lynch – Scorpion Tales
2008 – Souls Of We – Let The Truth Be Known
2009 – Lynch Mob – Smoke And Mirrors
2010 – Raven Quinn – self-titled debut
2010 – George Lynch – Orchestral Mayhem
2011 – George Lynch – Kill All Control
2012 – T & N – Slave To The Empire
2012 – George Lynch – Legacy (EP)
2012 – Lynch Mob – Sound Mountain Sessions (EP)
2013 – Lynch Mob – Unplugged – Live From Sugar Hill Studios
2014 – KXM – KXM

That is 11 releases in 6 years. Lynch also has another super group project in the works with Michael Sweet from Stryper on vocals, James Lomenzo from White Lion, BLS and Megadeth on bass and Brian Tichy from Whitesnake, BLS and Foreigner on drums that will be seeing a 2014 release on Frontiers. That will be 12 releases in six years. How many other hard rock artists are doing the same output?

Apart from the high volume output, Lynch is also immersing himself with different band set ups. Different dynamics. Sort of like the seventies musicians who just got together over a weekend and made an album.

This is the music business after the transition from analog to digital. Instead of spending big dollars on recording an album every two years only to see it disappear in a few weeks, it is better to record regularly and to release regularly. The modern internet rule is here today, gone tomorrow.

This is the music business after competing with free.

In order to survive, you need to create. The music business is not in trouble. Only dumb labels and artists are.

The big acts like Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold, Five Finger Death Punch, Volbeat and Machine Head will make a lot if they are smart.

Metallica actually got stupid with the whole “Through The Never” movie and Orion festival. Two big misses financially. That is why they are back on the road right now, playing the high dividend return South American markets. They need to be paid, management needs to be paid, their lawyers need to be paid and all the rest of the workers at Metallica HQ.

We don’t want our heroes to be movie stars or festival organisers. We just want them to release music and hit the road.

Is George Lynch making millions doing this? Of course not, however did he ever make millions. Even in the glory days of Dokken. Sure it was a better time. They had advance payments, touring dollars and endorsements. On top of all that was a very easy metric to measure success. Sales.

But in the end, they still had a shitty deal. According to Don Dokken, it was he that got signed originally. Lynch and Mick Brown claimed it was on the back of songs that they had written in a previous band. The songs in question are “Paris Is Burning” and “Heartless Heart”. Hence the arguments and an uneasy settlement that had Don Dokken paying them a cut from his share. A shitty deal on a shitty deal.

But as all things evolve, so did the music business. Once control was taken away from the record labels, all hell broke loose.

Now it is so different.

George Lynch gets it and the team at Rat Pak Records get it.

On the recent “KXM” release, George Lynch had a special thanks to Joe O’Brien, Tina Peek and everyone at Rat Pak Records for breathing new life into the record business. I first came across Rat Pack Records when I heard that George Lynch was releasing new music through them a few years back in relation to a solo EP and a new Lynch Mob recording.

It’s run by a music business lifer in Joe O’Brien. He started in bands, then started booking shows, managing bands and finally a record label in 2003, at a time when sales of music started to decline. He doesn’t play the same game that the traditional labels play. The packages that they offer at the price that they offer is all about marketing to the core audience of said artist. And it is working.

O’Brien gets it that talent is king. And he gets it that the talent he signs doesn’t make as much money as they did off recordings than what they did in the past, however other avenues of income have opened up. And that comes down to the packages that are created.

BUT Rat Pack should have their releases made available on Spotify for streaming. It’s 2014 and Spotify is very much part of the music business. If it is not on Spotify, it will be on YouTube and in most cases it would be unlicensed. But YouTube does pay.

Distribution is what music is all about. And in relation to the consumer we want it to be easy. That is why Popcorn Time is going gang busters. It is the movie business’s worst nightmare. And since the developers made the code available, it is impossible to take down as each person can run their own version at home.

That is what piracy does. It fills the hole that the entertainment industry didn’t want to fill. It now forces a new path, a new conversation. Music led the way. It has taken a lot of time for the labels to catch up, however what began with Napster is now almost complete. We have access 24/7 to everything. We can buy it or we can stream it for free.

The next challenge is to get people to pay for streaming services. Time will tell.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

When Are Artists Going To Realise?

Asking Alexandria

They are a hard rock band. When are they going to realise that? Drop the stupid screamo vocals and step up the clean melodic vocals. Drop the used and abused metalcore guitar trends and step up the hard rock guitar hero status. It’s time to rock n roll.

In the song, “Until The End” they sing that they want to be the best that they could be. And that best for them lays in hard rock. If I was their manager, that is the advice I would have given them after the first album.

The recent album ”From Death To Destiny” had 13 tracks on it. They needed a John Kalodner type persona to tell them that those 13 tracks needed to be streamed down to 10 and then have all of them re-recorded with clean vocals. Hell, I can even cut the list down to 5 songs.

The Death Of Me
Moving On
White Line Fever
The Road
Until The End

And chuck in the song “Someone Somewhere” from the “Reckless and Relentless” album and they will have six.

And what the hell is going with their Spotify account. Over 100,000 followers and not one song that has a stream count over a 1000 streams. Something fishy going on there. It looks like Spotify is employing the old MySpace tricks.

The Stan Lee Wealth Paradigm

Stan Lee has been involved in creating the stories around a lot of the iconic characters associated with Marvel Comics. Since these characters are box office superstars, people normally make assumptions that Stan Lee is loaded. However that is not the case.

Did you know that Stan Lee never owned the rights to the characters he created? Yep that’s right, he was a writer for hire and Marvel is the actual owner of the characters.

Did you also know that all the web sites that state his net worth at $250 million are full of shit. This is what Stan Lee had to say about his net worth:

“I don’t have $200 million. I don’t have $150 million. I don’t have $100 million or anywhere near that. I was happy enough to get a nice paycheck and be treated well. It was a very good job. I was able to buy a house on Long Island. I never dreamed I should have $100 million or $250 million or whatever that crazy number is. All I know is I created a lot of characters and enjoyed the work I did.”

Musicians would kill for a nice paycheck and to be treated well by their label.

Musicians would kill to be able to buy a house and pay it off.

What we have in music is a massive disparity between the blockbuster acts (the 1%) and the rest.

Did you know that the record labels are saying to artists who are seeking to reclaim their copyrights that the works they created are “works for hire”? Hell, Gene Simmons pulled this trick in his battle with Vinnie Vincent over royalty payments and the judge agreed with Gene Simmons.

When are artists going to realise that their fate is in their hands?

Also the Stan Lee situation opens up another conversation.

All the developers that worked/work for Apple over the years create software that makes up the Operating System that underpins the Apple products range. As popular as those products are, the developers get their wage and that is that. They don’t claim copyright on the code they create.

So an artist is signed to a label. The label gives them an advance to record an album. The artist goes into a studio and records the songs that they have created. The label then releases the album (under the name of the artist) and hopes to god that it resonates and that it sells. To the label legal team it sounds like works for hire?

LESSONS FROM COREY TAYLOR

Take Risks. Don’t get pigeonholed writing the same stuff over and over and over.

Trivium ticks these boxes. They sure take risks musically. However AC/DC built a stadium sized career by writing the same stuff over and over and over. Because it works for one, it doesn’t mean it will work for all.

Don’t repeat yourself as a lyricist. Take new roads, open different doors.

If you want to repeat yourself, join the Max Martin or Dr Luke team. Hell, call Jon Bon Jovi and ask him for a co-write.

If you’re not feeling it, get away from it.

“St Anger” came out that way because the main songwriter was not there mentally for it.

RECORD LABEL CONTRACTS and ROYALTIES

It’s time artists take the power back and burn up all of these shitty record deals they signed as kids when they had innocent dreams of making it. Fear Factory’s Burton C. Bell had this to say about Roadrunner Records and its founder Cees Wessels;

“I still get royalties. It comes in, but it depends how much we work, how much we tour. If we tour a lot I see better royalties, if we don’t then I don’t. I have no idea when we’ll get the rights back [to our catalog], because that Roadrunner contract is bullshit. I literally signed a deal with a Dutch devil. But when you’re young, you don’t care. You’re 23 years-old and ‘we’re going to give you an advance to make your first record, we’re gonna put you on tour, sell your shirts in all the stores. You are gonna to be famous!’’Alright, make it happen!’

When are artists going to stand up for themselves and stop the label from treating them like shit.

We asked Roadrunner ‘what’s going on?’
Roadrunner Replies; ‘You’re not selling any records. That’s not my fault, that’s your fault.’
We said; ‘How is that my fault?’
Roadrunner Said; ‘You didn’t put out the right record.’
We said; ‘Did everybody not put out the right record?’

Every single label failed their artists by not innovating. The analog dollars vs digital cents mess they got themselves in, is purely of their own doing.

The Macklemore Lessons

Be in it for the long haul. The career of Macklemore has been a long one (14 years and counting). There’s no such thing as an overnight success.

Five Finger Death Punch and Volbeat are two bands that I dig a lot. Look at the musicians in each band and you will see lifers.

Michael Poulsen from Volbeat started his first death metal band Dominus in 1991. During that time, Dominus released an album called Vol.Beat. When the band broke up in 2001, Volbeat the band was born. It wasn’t until 2005 that the first Volbeat album dropped. It wasn’t until Metallica picked em up as openers in 2009, that their US career kicked into overdrive. 22 years in the business. That is a lifer.

You can do it without a major label backing you. You need people, lifers like yourself that believe in you as your team. Create relationships and remember it is a two-way street of giving and receiving

Metal and rock bands are not really good at this shit. They need to get good at this. The new breed of artists coming through will overtake them on all fronts.

A huge hit doesn’t guarantee your future in the music industry.

Music is a risk game. As long as you focus on your core and don’t alienate them, you will have a future. If you start chasing that “hit part 2”, then prepare to lose, as the label will abandon you as soon as you fail, however the core, will stay true, only if you are true.

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