A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

The Piracy Conversation: The Good and The Bad

Anyone heard of this beautiful new piece of software called “Popcorn Time”. There are no registrations, or restrictions on content. It looks like Netflix and it is free. The user just presses play. It’s easy to use and its design is elegant.

Did you also know that “Popcorn Time” was designed by programmers in Argentina, where the movie “There’s Something About Mary” is still classed as a new release by the movie industries in that country.

So of course, the “Popcorn Time” development team created an innovative piece of software to meet a service problem for their country because the content industries failed to. There is a reason why South America has the highest rates of copyright infringement when it comes to music. Access to content is not serviced in an affordable way.

Of course the creators shut the service down when their “experiment” put them at the doors of legal threats around piracy and copyright infringement.

However the saga did not end. Remember that the internet is a copy system. So of course, the source code was made available and now other programmers took over the open-source code and made it available to people once again.

Hollywood is not up against people who want to be millionaires. They are up against educated people who want to create something new to solve a problem that they have in their home country. If the developers followed the “laws” then “Popcorn Time” would never exist. The restrictions around copyright and patents would have killed it in the start-up phase.

To compete, Hollywood needs to employ the best and the best don’t want to work for companies who see innovation as a way to prop up profits from the past. They want to work for companies who see innovation as a way to stay ahead of other companies.

So the best minds go into business for themselves, or for companies that meet their expectations or they just stay in their bedroom and innovate without the law in mind.

We all know that piracy is wrong, however it opens up the conversation to the larger issue.

Let’s put into context what piracy/copyright infringement has done.

THE BAD

It made the RIAA spend millions suing music customers.

THE GOOD

While Apple started to see a market here and began to turn those Napster digital natives into iTunes buyers by making it easy to grab the latest music, anywhere, at any time.

THE BAD

It made the RIAA/Record Labels sue/kill off thousands of technologies that would have given them better profits if they only had the foresight to innovate instead of legislate. Think of Napster, Limewire, mp3tunes and many others.

THE GOOD

With the rise of Spotify/Pandora, the music piracy problem is declining and the labels are now cashed up

THE BAD

Artists are not seeing a lot of it.

THE GOOD

Piracy opened the door for format shifting.

THE BAD

The music industry introduced DRM and the ones that got hurt by it were the ones that actually paid money to purchase the product while the pirates bathed in DRM free mp3’s.

THE GOOD

YouTube piracy has also led to another source of income. It’s actually official now that record labels make more money from fan-made videos uploaded to YouTube than they do from their official music videos. Check it out on the link at the end of the post. And this is coming from Universal Music Group.

THE BAD

And still the labels send out billions of takedowns to these kinds of videos on YouTube because they still see fan made videos as a breach of copyright.

THE GOOD

However, YouTube has innovated even more and now the label is notified when a user uploads copyrighted content. The label can then choose to place advertising before the video, making royalties from the views.

THE BAD

And the labels/RIAA still scream that Google (the owner of YouTube) isn’t doing enough to protect their profits.

THE GOOD

YouTube fan made pirated videos is a massive growth area alright.

THE BAD

How much is the artist seeing? Again a lot of power in the hands of the label and a lot of money coming into the label accounts for work done by fans this time around. These monies should be at least 70% to the artist.

THE GOOD

Basically, piracy has also highlighted how broken Copyright is. The pure essence of Copyright has been hijacked by the Corporations that now hold the majority of copyrights. To further show how broken it is, Sir Tim Berners-Lee (one of the main creators of the World Wide Web) has called for a copyright reform passage to be included in any new legislation written as part of the “Web We Want” initiative. He further stated that the current law is purely there to protect the interests of movie producers, not the public at large.

THE BAD

The labels see piracy as a case for even more draconian copyright legislation and even longer terms post death.

THE GOOD

Piracy has opened up more distribution channels

THE BAD

However the “Popcorn Time” software has shown that the current movie industry is still employing the old distribution model.

THE GOOD

However, Netflix has shown the movie industry that fans of movies and TV want content on demand/twenty-four hours a day for a fair price. And Popcorn Time has shown that they want top-tier content.

THE BAD

Google is still blamed for not doing enough.

THE GOOD

Because the future is in streaming for music and video.

THE BAD

However the RIAA and the MPAA are doing their best to kill it. Pandora had to raise their fees to cover the cost of licensing the songs. Plus they also had an expensive lawsuit in relation to the royalty rate paid on a radio stream. While the movie studios still lock content away.

THE GOOD

Legacy analog revenue sources get replaced by digital revenue sources. It’s a transition right now. The transition isn’t happening fast enough for the labels however it is their fault in the end. As their need to control has more or less slowed the transition process down.

THE BAD

It is a shame that the RIAA and the record labels focus on the shortfalls between analog and digital revenues at this point in time, instead of looking at the bigger picture.

http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2014/3/21/technology/how-video-piracy-killing-hollywood-star

http://techcrunch.com/2014/03/17/popcorn-time-is-hollywoods-

http://www.themusicnetwork.com/youtube-fan-videos-earn-labels-

http://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/pandora-raises-

http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140317203156-

http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2014/3/21/technology/tuning-musics-digital-struggle

Standard
Music, My Stories

Haunted By Its Melody, Music It Will Set You Free

Metal music has its fair share of musicians that are worth talking about. Put it down to the place that metal music holds in society. From Lars Ulrich turning his back on his fans and going into bed with the record labels, to Dave Mustaine’s views on everything American, to Robb Flynn’s blog posts and the hundreds of comments he gets to them.

That is why I love Robb Flynn. He’s real. He’s honest. He’d say shit and people will either go “WTF” or “Yeah, man he’s spot on.” Whether it was saying “that selling CD’s is non-existent” to “feeling depressed in Beneath The Silt post” to “asking fans if they have sex to any Machine Head song or any other metal band for that matter” to his most recent post on “the music business and how much has changed since the Seventies (basically the danger has been taken out and it is all safe”.

Love him or hate him, Robb Flynn has an edge over other musicians and he is using that edge to get people talking about music again. Obviously Robb Flynn is known to people in the niche that Machine Head plays in and when I mention his name to other people that like classic rock bands for example, they look back at me with blank stares.

His latest blog post is all about how music and the artists drove culture. It was about a time when artists had the control to do what they want, how they want and when they want.

Now..?

What do we have?

We have the people that sell it, complaining that their profits are sinking, while at the same time they feed the coffers of the RIAA to get favourable legislation passed to protect their business models. Then you get all these reports about how much money streaming is bringing in to the labels and artist screaming up and down that they don’t get a decent portion of it.

What about the construction company that had to call it a day, because the builders they contracted work to, went under. By going under, those builders failed to pay the construction company the work they did and by default, they also went under.

But, hey, that’s okay and no protectionist laws are needed because that is the nature of the building game. However the record labels lose money because they failed to innovate and they scream up and down for new laws. The stain that SOPA/PIPA left on the MPAA and the RIAA will never go away. People will remember it.

Music doesn’t need new laws. It needs a new breed of executives. You see, Music is in a transition. A transition from the old to the new. The people currently in charge still don’t get it. The new breed is slowly rising and in time it will filter into the corridors of power. Those kids that pirated their whole music collection, will be in charge of Copyright Law in the not too distant future. Those same kids will be in charge of the music labels. They will have their coding mates in jobs next to them, innovating away.

So what about the old breed?

Metallica previewed a new demo of a song called “The Lords of Summer” and everyone said “What the hell is that?”. You see Metallica just don’t get it. People go to their shows to hear the classics. No one wants new music from them. If they did, the fans would have voted for the new songs at the recent Bogota show.

Look at the set list (I added the year of the album the song was featured on in brackets);

Blackened (1988)
Master of Puppets (1986)
Welcome Home (Sanitarium) (1986)
Fuel (1997)
The Unforgiven (1991)
Lords of Summer (New song / World premiere)
…And Justice for All (1988)
Sad But True (1991)
Fade to Black (1984)
Orion (1986)
One (1988)
For Whom the Bell Tolls (1984)
Battery (1986)
Nothing Else Matters (1991)
Enter Sandman (1991)

Encore:
Creeping Death (1984)
Ride the Lightning (1984)
Seek & Destroy (1983)

See any songs from the last two Metallica albums in the list. Hell, there is only 1 song since 1991. Enough said. They’re an oldies act. The fans had a chance to vote for the set list and they voted for the classics. No one wanted to hear the newer stuff and that includes “The Lords of Summer”.

The only band who are aware of that are Twisted Sister. Apart from the song “30” and the obligatory, Christmas album, they have refused to make new music for decades, because no one wants it. And they know it. Dee Snider has said it, Jay Jay French has said it and Mark Mendoza has said it.

The thing is when bands go in to write new albums, they need to realise that we don’t want the generic song that they think will sell millions. We want the song that the creator needs to write, because if they don’t write it, the apocalypse will come into their world.

This is contrary to Rick Rubin’s methods were he more or less gets bands to rewrite their earlier stuff.

Our lives today are surrounded by great TV shows and technology like Game Of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Grimm, Revolution, Arrow, iPhones, iPads, Tablets, Spotify, YouTube, Facebook, Intenet and so on. Music needs to compete on this playing field. It needs to be just as good and it needs to innovate.

Volbeat is a good example of innovation. Their sound is unique. Look at all the elements in their songs. There is no one else quite like em in 2014. Sort of like the Twisted Sister song, “What You Dont Know (Can Sure Hurt You). They fuse a lot of styles into their songs, however they still stay loyal to the hard rock/metal sound.

Don’t write a song with the Top 10 in mind.

Write a song because your life depends on it. Write a song because if you don’t get those melodies and chords out, you will cease to exist.

That is the true essence of music to me. That raw, primal, spontaneous explosion.

As Robb Flynn once said;

So pray to music build a shrine
Worship in these desperate times
Fill your heart with every note
Cherish it and cast afloat

Cause God is in these clef and tones
Salvation is found alone
Haunted by its melody
Music it will set you free

Let it set you free

Standard
Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

All Aboard: The Randy Rhoads Guitar Train

I remember the day that I got the Tribute tab book.

I put the head phones on and listened to the album over and over while my index finger pointed out/followed the notes. After that first listen I went to the guitar, tuned up and started to play the basic riffs. After playing through the tab book in that fashion, I went back to the head phones and started following the notes again. I didn’t know it at the time but by doing this I was storing the image of the progressions in my mind. In a weird way, that is how I started to remember the songs.

Then I went back to the guitar and played through the whole album again with a lot of mistakes around the lead breaks.

I did this routine for months until I perfected the album. The music of Randy Rhoads became my bible. It was a religion. 32 years have passed and the legend remains. The memories remain. The teacher remains.

I remember the time when I traded my cousin a few Twisted Sister 12 inch singles for the “Quiet Riot II” album with Randy Rhoads. I needed to have it. My cousin wouldn’t part with it. I kept on persisting and finally he agreed. I was on a train to his place the same day.

Studying the style of Randy Rhoads, I learned all about modes and the different scales that are made from each note of the mode, like Ionian, Phyrgian, Dorian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian and Locrian. I even named my son after one of the modes. It’s so easy to dismiss musical theory, however when you have an actual song that you can refer to, it makes it so much more easier to learn.

Wolf Marshall did an unbelievable job with the book transcription and on the commentary on each song. Actually Wolf Marshall was the transcription god back then. Another was Dave Whitehill. Experienced, super-talented and knowledgeable guitar players that broke down so many doors with their transcriptions and made it easier for young guitar players to pick up the guitar and practice.

“Crazy Train” was the first song I mastered. At the time, Alex Sklonick also had a column in the magazine “Guitar For The Practicing Musician”. In one of those columns, Skolnick also talked about modes and how “Crazy Train” is in the key of A Major and how it switches between the minor and major modes throughout the song. At the time it was a lot to take in however once you get it, you get it. Plus having a song like Crazy Train to refer too, who wouldn’t get it.

That one song has all the tools that every guitarist should possess.

Power Chords. CHECK. The All- Aboard part, the pre chorus and the chorus.
Pedal Point Riff. CHECK. The Intro F#m riff, along with the verse riff.
Movable Chord Shapes over a Pedal Point. CHECK. The whole verse riff that moves from A to E to D.
Finger Tapping. CHECK. Lead Break
Hammer Ons and Pull Offs. CHECK. In the Chorus and the Lead Break and sprinkled throughout the verse riffs.
Legato Lines. CHECK. In the Lead Break.
Palm Muting. CHECK. In the F#m riff and the lead break.
Alternate Picking. CHECK. Throughout the whole song.
Bends. CHECK. In the Chorus lead interludes and the Lead Break.

And then when you start to go through all of the other songs, you see/hear all of the above tools re-used, which re-enforces all the techniques. Some songs had finger picking and arpeggios. Randy Rhoads was the definition of completeness.

By creating great music, he also taught us how to be better guitar players. Everything made sense. You can take a teacher and make them a rock star, however you can never stop the rock star from being a teacher and that is exactly what Randy Rhoads was. A teacher.

Bob Daisley on his website released some snippets of what he calls the “Holy Grail”. Small snippets of jam sessions with Randy Rhoads. Hearing them just made me crank the Blizzard, Diary and Tribute albums again.

If something like Spotify was around in the Eighties, imagine the stream metrics these songs would have by now. It’s no surprise that “Crazy Train” is Ozzy’s most played track on Spotify with 15 million plus streams. “Mr Crowley” is up there with 4.9 million streams. Go on YouTube and there are hundreds of channels that have the song, with a lot of views on each channel. One fan channel has over 15 million views. Another has 5 million.

That is Randy Rhoads. His reach on one song is huge. Add to that all the others and it’s a crazy train alright. Rest in peace brother.

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

Demo Days Re-Visited

RULES OF THE INTERNET

Machine Head have been leading up to a demo release for the song “Killers and Kings” since February. In the lead up, Robb Flynn talked about his youth, the San Francisco thrash scene and how bands used to release demo’s of songs before the album and how the fans would go away and debate it.

Then the marketing started. Machine Head (along with Nuclear Blast) started releasing covers on a weekly basis (which look great by the way) and they got into partnership with the Record Store Day event.

So as Machine Head fans wait for Record Store Day (and of course a lot of fans are going to be disappointed if they don’t get a copy or all of the different copies), Metallica just played a new song called “The Lords Of Summer” live and then released a Garage Demo on their YouTube page. The song is crap by the way, however there are a few riffs/sections there that would end up on other songs. James wont let those riffs go to waste.

Talk about stealing another bands thunder.

The question needs to be asked, what would Machine Head or Nuclear Blast do, if the demo of “Killers and Kings” leaked online somehow before the actual Record Store Day, because when you start producing a physical product, you get the distribution chain clicking into gear. This means that a lot of hands and five-fingered people will be touching that product at certain points.

The rules of the internet dictate that gated window releases don’t work.

To put it in simply pseudocode;

Where an audience exists and if an artist has new material, release it.

I will be on the look out for the “Killers and Kings” singles and as a collector I will be trying to collect all 4 covers. Wish me luck.

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

Faktion and The Year That Was 2006

They are no more. According to the internet, they barely existed.

Faktion’s self-titled release hit the streets in 2006. I came across it a few days ago, almost 8 years since it’s release. And I have stayed with it, because it is a damn good album. A real strong album. Back in 2006, it might have sounded generic and formula driven against some of the bands that had records out at that time.

It was up against some stiff competition for listener’s attention. The audience that could have gravitated towards Faktion had already devoted their ears to other bands.

Breaking Benjamin released “Phobia”, Skillet released “Comatose”, Stone Sour released “Come What(ever) May”, Daughtry released his self titled debut, 10 Years released “Autumn’s Dream”, Crossfade released “Falling Away”, Pillar released “The Reckoning”, Red released “End Of Silence” and Papa Roach released “The Paramour Sessions”. Already it is a pretty crowded marketplace. BUT it gets worse.

They had a deal with Roadrunner Recrods. Maybe Roadrunner just didn’t know how to promote them against a crowded modern rock scene and it is as dead set shame. Maybe Roadrunner put all of their energies into promoting the ones that already had a following, instead of trying to break a new band to the masses.

Other Roadrunner stable mates that released albums in 2006 are as follows;

Dragonforce – Inhuman Rampage
Stone Sour – Come What(ever) May
Hatebreed – Supremacy
Black Label Society – Shot to Hell
Cradle of Filth – Thornography
Killswitch Engage – As Daylight Dies
Trivium – The Crusade
Madina Lake – The Disappearance of Adalia [Digital EP]
Theory of a Deadman – Gasoline
36 Crazyfists – Rest Inside The Flames
Chimaira – Chimaira
Ill Niño – One Nation Underground
Roadrunner United – The All-Star Sessions
Dresden Dolls – Yes, Virginia… ‎
Satyricon – Now, Diabolical
Fear Factory – Demanufacture
Soulfly – Soulfly
DevilDriver – The Fury Of Our Maker’s Hand
Type O Negative – The Best Of Type O Negative (Comp)
New York Dolls – One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This
Opeth – Ghost Reveries
Black Stone Cherry – Black Stone Cherry
Slipknot – Voliminal: Inside The Nine ‎
Delain – Lucidity
Liv Kristine – Enter My Religion
Bleeding Through – The Truth
Life Of Agony – River Runs Red
Creetins – The Spirit Is Willing ‎(7″)
Caliban – The Undying Darkness
Junkie XL – Today ‎

As you can see from the above list, the label had 32 releases happening for the year that I could locate and in amongst all of them was the monster that is known as Nickelback, who had singles and videos released well into 2006 from their 2005 album. And somewhere in this mix was a band called Faktion. A band that had even more competition from bands on other labels;

Tool released “10,000 Days”,
Rodrigo Y Gabriela released their self-titled debut,
Iron Maiden released “A Matter of Life and Death”,
Europe released “Secret Society”,
Evergrey released “Monday Morning Apocalypse”,
Poets of The fall released “Carnival Of Rust”,
Muse released “Black Holes And Revelations”,
Jet released “Shine On”,
The Killers released “Sams Town”,
Senses Fail released “Still Searching”,
My Chemical Romance released “The Black Parade”,
Smile Empty Soul released the excellent “Vultures”,
Red Hot Chilli Peppers released “Stadium Arcadium”.

I can go on, however the point is made. It’s a pretty crowded marketplace for listener’s attention. And “Faktion” was there, one of many bands in the music business trying to break through the noise.

Add to that noise the other big internet stories.

On September 26, 2006, Facebook was opened to everyone at least 13 years old with a valid email address. Suddenly people (including fans of music) had a new outlet that had nothing to do with music.

Then there was YouTube. The site grew rapidly, since kicking off in 2004 and by July 2006, 65,000 new videos were being uploaded every day. The site was also receiving 100 million video views per day. Suddenly people (including fans of music) had another new outlet to focus on.

MySpace was still a giant back then and the 100 millionth account was created on August 9, 2006.

Also in 2006, a little known company called Spotify was created. From small beginnings, large things grow.

The following year the first iPhone hit the streets and the people (again including fans of music) had another new outlet to spend time on that initially didn’t have anything to do with music.

And the paradigm shift that started with Napster in 1999, became a tidal wave in 2006.

Music really needed to compete against different markets. It wasn’t about a cost issue. It wasn’t a piracy/copyright infringement issue. It was a competition issue. It was economics 0.1. Supply and demand. When supply is limited, demand is higher. With supply in abundance, demand is lower.

Fans of music became early adopters of technological products. If they are spending their time and money on those products, that leaves less time and less money to spend on other products.

So what about Faktion? The post was meant to be about Faktion, however when i started researching some papers around innovation and competition for a different post, everything started to link together. Faktion and 2006 became the catalyst.

Reading one of their earlier bios, they make mention of their MySpace play count metrics and maybe those stats played a key role in getting Roadrunner interested. However those MySpace metrics will never equate to a 1 to 1 relationship with sales, the same way that pirated content will never relate to a lost sale.

Who is Faktion? Ryan Gibbs is on vocals and was the last addition to the band. Marshal Dutton played guitar and was the original vocalist. Josh Franklin was also on guitar, Jeremy on bass and another Jeremy with a surname of Moore on drums.

Does the name Marshall Dutton sounds familiar?

It should.

Remember a band called Hinder. “Welcome To The Freakshow” was produced by Hinder drummer Cody Hanson and Faktion’s Marshall Dutton, with mixing done by James Michael from Sixx AM. What a team?

Also remember when Austin Winkler stepped out of the tour for the album. Guess who stepped in as a fill in vocalist. Yep, that’s right, the same Marshall Dutton from Faktion.

So when Faktion called it quits, he formed a band called “Drankmore” with Faktion’s tour manager Jarrod Denton. In that same band is Cody Hanson, the drummer from Hinder.

Remember that music is a relationship business.

And speaking of relationships, I remember reading an interview that Marshal did and he mentioned that he wouldn’t be opposed to doing Faktion again, so lets hope that happens.

It was the lead breaks in Faktion that got me. It was a pretty ballsy move to do leads for a melodic rock band in 2006. Comparing this album now to the bands that had commercial success in 2006, Faktion is streets ahead. And that is because of the guitar work.

A good band is a band that has a lot of different elements. Having breakdown riffs by 2006 we getting old. While it worked for bands like Red, Breaking Benjamin and 10 Years, the audience wanted “Guitar Hero’s again”. Remember back in 2005, “Guitar Hero” the game was unleashed to a massive audience and to great success.

The song “Always Wanting More” is a stand-out. It’s heavy with great guitar work.

All your pleasures have brought you greed
Only thinking about yourself again
All the things that you say you need
Are the poisons that eat you from within

In the end we all end up in a wooden box. Focus on accumulating experiences instead of wealth. Focus on building relationships instead of enemies. The Recording Industry failed to build a relationship with the people who actually purchased music. They exploited the artists and then abandoned them whenever they felt like it.

The one that resonated with me was “Who I Am”.

I know I’m not prepared for a life
That keeps me far from home
But I know if I just sit there,
I’ll never find out who I am

The life of a musician is a tough gig. I love writing music and playing it, however I hate to be away from home. When I was in bands, I hated touring. And this song is about that life to me, however the chorus is done in such a general way, that it can be interpreted that you need to get out of your comfort zone to make things happen.

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

Things That Bug Me With Rock And Metal

ROCK N ROLL HALL OF FAME

Dave Mustaine should have been inducted with Metallica. A real RNR Hall Of Fame Assessor would look into the band’s career and see that all the evidence is there for Dave Mustaine to be inducted. The style of technical thrash that Mustaine brought to Metallica would end up influencing their first four albums.

The induction criteria does state that the committee looks at the influence and significance of the artists’ contributions to the development and perpetuation of rock and roll. So, I take it that Dave Mustaine’s contribution to Metallica and to the development and perpetuation of rock and roll wasn’t influential enough.

BUT for some reason Jason Newsted’s and Rob Trujilio’s contribution to the development and perputation of rock and roll in Metallica was enought.

Same goes for Vinnie Vincent, Eric Carr and Bruce Kulick. The Eighties for Kiss wouldn’t have been the same if it wasn’t for the three individuals mentioned. Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer also played very important roles within Kiss.

BANDS THAT FAIL TO UNDERSTAND THAT SUCCESS IS BASED ON MUSIC

A lot of the metal and rock bands have better marketing campaigns than actual albums. You need a great song first. The marketing comes after.

Dream Theater had a pretty expansive marketing campaign leading up to the album release, however they didn’t have the quality to support it. Good songs don’t equate to great songs and we only have time for great.

Avenged Sevenfold, Volbeat and Five Finger Death Punch had way less marketing and their albums are still on people’s tongues. If you still use sales as a barometer of success, then these bands are still moving units.

NICHES

Metal and hard rock are niches. Accept it and focus on it. It will be a lucrative business for you if you do. It will not bring back the glory days of the Seventies and Eighties, however it will give you a career.

Sometimes a metal band can cross-over into hard rock, or even the pop market. Or a hard rock band could cross over into metal or pop.

Look at Volbeat. They are a metal band, however with the style of music they play the have a certain cross over element.

Shinedown crossed over into the pop market back in 2008, with the “The Sound of Madness” album, however with “Amaryllis” they remained in the hard rock market with a small cross over into the metal market. They still had great success, even though the “sales” didn’t match the previous. But who cares about sales these days.

Killswitch Engage cross-over into a few genres, like metal, metalcore, thrash, hard core, melodic death metal and in some cases they cross over into technical djent style metal.

Dream Theater can cross-over into a few genres and it is their cross over between progressive music and hard rock that reaped the most benefits with “Images and Words” and “Scenes From A Memory” being stand outs.

VIRALITY

A song takes off because fans start to spread the word. They share links to it, they talk about it, they blog about it. A marketing campaign can never achieve this. Only great music can.

QUEENSRYCHE

When are the people involved (apart from Chris DeGarmo) going to realise that Queensryhce is no more. Move on, forge a new career and a new identity. I’m tired of hearing how great the new singer is, what a team we now have and all of that.

The Todd LaTorre band should do something similar to what the Ronnie James Dio version of Black Sabbath did before his death. Take a new name from one of their songs. As for Geoff Tate, he should go to Vegas and do a cabaret residency. His metal/rock days are over. And seriously, when you carry on like a child when people use their smart phones at a gig, you don’t belong.

VINYL, CD’s, DIGITAL DOWNLOADS

Streaming has won. The rest of us that actually purchase any music in physical form do it as a hobby. We just don’t think of it as a hobby.

I listen to most of my music on Spotify or YouTube or via the mp3’s on my iPhone, however I still purchase CD’s of bands that I like. BUT I haven’t even opened the shrink wrapping as yet. I have no need to. Buying CD’s is like collecting toys and keeping the toys in their boxes unopened. Maybe the CD’s will be worth something one day or maybe they will be beer coasters. Who knows.

MONEY IN MUSIC

There is still a lot of money in the business. Streaming pays the labels well. It’s just doesn’t filter down to the artists. Revenues from streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora and YouTube surpassed the $1bn mark.

ENTERTAINMENT LOBBY GROUPS ASKING GOOGLE TO DO MORE TO PROTECT THEIR BUSINESS MODELS

Seriously after almost 15 years post Napster we are still hearing about this. The latest is The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). It is the usual b.s. about how Google “could do so much more” or that Google have “not been effective” in preventing illegal music downloading.

HELLO, Google is a search engine.

It is not a protector of business models.

Innovate or die.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/media/10704766/Music-industry-claims-Google-is-failing-to-stamp-out-piracy.html

RECORD STORE DAY

Do artists really expect their hard core fans to travel decent distances to go to a Record Store Day Event and then not find all 4 of the (let’s just use Machine Head as an example since I am a fan) new Machine Head singles, “Killers and Kings”. It’s 2014. If we can’t buy it online or if we can’t find it to buy online, then artists are leaving money on the table.

Collectors want to buy, so make it easy for us to buy. Record Store Day is not easy for everyone.

TV SHOWS THAT STILL PLAY ON THE OLD BUSINESS MODELS

My kids love “Arrow” however they hate the fact that they have to wait each week. Will any of the actual TV shows or Cable Networks follow the “House Of Cards” Netflix example and let people overdose on all of the episodes over a weekend.

Having shows appear weekly for 8 episodes, then breaking for what seems like forever and then re-starting again, then breaking again, then finishing it all off, is old school.

Embrace the new.

Standard
Music

Albums From 2012 That Need To Be Heard

The Night Flight Orchestra
Internal Affairs

If you never experienced the Seventies, then this album from a super group of melodic death metal bands recaptures it all. From the “Immigrant Song/Achilles Last Stand” references in “Siberian Queen” to the “I Was Made For Loving You” references in “West Ruth Avenue” or the “Play That Funky Music/ Stevie Wonder’s Superstititious in “Internal Affairs”.

It captures it all and more.

Fen
Of Losing Interest

I didn’t know what to expect hearing this. It’s like Rush on Thrash Metal. Then its Rush on Hard Rock. Then its Rush meets Tool. Then it’s Rush on Groove Metal. Then it’s a cross between Rush and Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam. Being from Canada, the Rush influences are real strong.

Progressive music doesn’t have to be all time changes and technical playing ability. It can be Fen. Just doing something that blends so many different styles together and making it sound infectious.

Check out “Riddled”, it starts off with a thrash metal riff, then it goes into a verse that is Tool like merged with Kansas.

Adrenaline Mob
Omerta

It is balls to the wall metal classic in the style of Accept, Scorpions, Dio merged with the metal stylings of Disturbed and Godsmack. “Undaunted”, “All On The Line”, “Angel Sky”, “Indifferent” and “Hit The Wall” are worthy additions to any metal bands setlist.

The cover of Duran Duran’s “Come Undone” is also a fitting metal tribute to a pop number one hit.

So put aside all of your views on the members that make up the band and from what bands they come from and embrace a great balls to the wall metal project.

Digital Summer
Breaking Point

DIY band from Phonenix, Arizona, getting stronger with each release. “Breaking Point” was a Kickstarter funded project and it didn’t disappoint. The lead single “Forget You” has racked up 1,027,533 views on YouTube. They are great numbers for an independent band, that also manage themselves, record and release their own music and hold down day jobs.

If you like modern rock, then you will like this band.

Richie Sambora
Aftermath Of The Lowdown

The good old Richie Sambora released a great modern rock album that didn’t get the recognition it deserved because at that point in time he was still in Bon Jovi and Bon Jovi (the band) needed him to start the promotional interviews for the “What About Now” album.

Check out “Seven Years Gone”, “Nowadays”, “Every Road Leads Home To You”. Hell, the whole album is good. Give it your time.

Lizzard
Out Of Reach

This band is definitely under the radar for what they do. Think of Earshot meets Tool meets 10 Years meets modern rock. Vocalist, Mathieu Ricou has a voice that crosses between Chad Kroeger, Aaron Lews and Maynard James Keenan.

There is a feel of Progressive Metal, TOOL, Hard Rock, Trance & hypnotic music, DEFTONES, YES and PINK FLOYD. It’s a potent mix.

Vaudeville
Vendetta

Vaudeville is one band that deserves more recognition for what they do. They merge the styles of Muse and Radiohead with Hard Rock. It sounds beautiful and original.

Check out the song “Restless Souls”.

Will you stand up
And fight against their wrath
Or will you run
Until there’s nothing left

Hell Or Highwater
Begin Again

The new band from Atreyu drummer Brandon Saller. Hell or Highwater finds Saller stepping away from his drum kit and taking the mic to be the band’s lead vocalist. It’s hard rock people and it rocks real good and it doesn’t sound generic.

Burnside
Evolution

One of many great bands from Australia. It’s modern rock done really well. Check out “Remember When”, “Lost The Will”, “The Last Time” and “What You’ve Become”.

One Less Reason
A Blueprint For Writhing

This EP was my first introduction to One Less Reason. I knew nothing about them and when I heard “All Beauty Fades”, I was left speechless when the rest of the music and melody kicked in. And they are another DIY band.

It’s a six song EP and there is no filler. A very smart decision to release the best.

Corroded
State Of Disgrace

Corroded have a decent following in their own country of Sweden.

They are a skillful band that create groove based hard rock. Stand out songs are “Let them Hate As Long As They Fear”, “I Will Not”, and “Believe In Me”.

Standard