A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Winning and Losing

In sports people lose all the time.

However when it comes to life, money and status no one wants to lose. Everyone just wants to win, all the time.

And music over the last 30 years has followed the mantra of winning, which brings us to the music of today which is all about the payday.

When you get artists whingeing about fans not buying their music, then how can they tell me that their views are not about money.

I understand that they want to get paid. I go to work Monday to Friday to get paid. I provide my time and effort to a company who wants to pay me for that time and effort because I have a certain skill set that they need for their business.

Music is not like that.

When an artist starts out there is no one there that wants to pay them for the time and effort they put in to create music. There is no fan base and there is no record label. Furthermore, people don’t become fans of music because those musicians have a certain skill set.

If an artist does have a fan base and they create new music, then there is no guarantee that the new music that artist creates will have the same impact on the fans as the previous music did.

Metallica is always a band that is up for discussion on this point alone.

There is a segment of early day fans that detest everything Metallica released after “…And Justice For All”.

There is also another segment of fans that detest the fact that the band made a film clip for the song “One” from the same album. For those fans, that endeavour alone was a sell out.

Then there are fans of the band that came into the fold because of the “Black” album. Now these fans are seen as imposters by the ultra-radical early days fans, however to me these fans are very important in Metallica history because the whole back catalogue of the band started selling like crazy as well.

And that is because these new fans wanted more. They didn’t know that Metallica had four albums prior. So they went deep into the Metallica catalogue and as a result all of the previous album became multi-platinum superstars.

So in a roundabout way, Metallica went from pushing boundaries and creating what they want with no restrictions to a band that created music under the restriction/pressure of not losing what they gained with the Black album success. The problem is further compounded when everyone else attached to the artist now needs to get paid. The labels, the managers, the accountants, the lawyers and all the other middle people involved want to get paid.

So we have a music business were everybody that participates wants to get paid a percentage. This then leads to musicians that want to be as rich as the businessmen that grace the Forbes 100 lists.

Why.

Those billionaires are hated. Do you reckon Mark Zuckerberg or Jeff Bezos or Rupert Murdoch get any respect from ordinary citizens?

Of course not.

Meanwhile the artists are idolised and adored. Artists have the reach. Their music dominates Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

So I don’t believe in this bullshit about the recording industry being financially challenged because the real truth is that there are millions upon millions of dollars in music to be made if you’re a star.

However in most metal and rock circles, 99.9% of the artists like Machine Head, Shinedown, Slipknot, Avenged Sevenfold, Volbeat, Halestorm, In This Moment, Killswitch Engage and so on are working class acts. But if you look at their box office returns for each show, all of these bands are grossing $150,000 plus each gig and that is the paradigm shift the recording industry can’t handle. Most of the money now comes from live instead of recordings.

And just like the company I work for, 99.9% of the staff are from working class families. That is reality so why deny it and if you are an artists starting off that is grounded in reality, expect to have a successful working class musical career. However if you are an artist that is grounded in dreams and one in a million stories, then expect to be disappointed and make sure your education is up to scratch.

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