I was reading a Motley Fool newsletter about investments and in that newsletter they talk about a process called “Capital Cloning”.
So the 3 Steps to “Capital Cloning” as mentioned in the newsletter are as follows;
1. EXTRACT a business model with a track record of profitability from an established company in a mature market.
2. IDENTIFY an immature, fertile market in which that business model can be successfully planted/recreated.
3. Watch your “Capital Clone” grow and HARVEST a second heaping of profits from a single business strategy along the way
So does the above “Cloning” template sound familiar when it comes to music. Let’s put into a musical context;
1. EXTRACT a group of songs with a track record of profitability.
2. RECREATE those group of songs.
3. WATCH your “Musical Clones” grow and HARVEST another round of profits from them.
The funny thing is that if you look at the largest bands today, that is the exact thing they have done.
Let’s start with Metallica.
“Fight Fire With Fire” -> “Battery” -> “Blackened”
See a trend there. Each song kicks off slowly and builds into a thrashathon. If I had to pick a standout, it would be “Battery”.
“Ride The Lightning” -> “Master Of Puppets” -> “And Justice For All”
The title track of each album always came in at number 2.
“For Whom The Bells Toll” -> “The Thing That Should Not Be” -> “Eye Of The Beholder”
The more mainstream groove song came in at number 3, so it would be no surprise when songs like these were heard on the “Black” album.
“Fade To Black” -> “Welcome Home” -> “One”
The power ballads that always ended with a WOW statement. On the “Black” album, “The Unforgiven” also came in at number 4, while “Until It Sleeps” and “The Unforgiven II” had that honor on “Load” and “Reload”.
“Trapped Under Ice” -> “The Shortest Straw”
Two little misunderstood songs in Metallica folklore.
“Escape” -> “Leper Messiah” -> “Harvester of Sorrow”
This is the groove of the “Black” album right here on these three songs.
“Creeping Death” -> “Disposable Heroes” -> “The Frayed Ends of Sanity”
A win-win and then a miss.
“The Call Of Ktulu” -> “Orion” ->”To Live Is to Die”
If one instrumental worked, why not re-create it and do another two more.
“Damage, Inc.” -> Dyers Eve”
The “Ride The Lightning” album didn’t really have a supersonic speed metal song. However “Master of Puppets” did in “Damage Inc” and it worked so well, the band re-created it on the follow-up album with “Dyers Eve”.
All of these musical clones set Metallica up for the self-titled black album that is still talked about today.
There are fans that wanted “Ride The Lightning” Part 4, while other fans wanted “Kill Em All” Part 2. But the biggest talking point was James vocals. It looks like a lot of the fans really enjoyed his unique snappy bark style as heard on the first four albums and were really upset because he actually sang on the “Black” album.
Of course when the “Black” album came out, what do you think Metallica tried to do next. Re-create the “Black” album with “Load” and “Reload”. Then they threw a curveball at us with “St Anger” and surprise, surprise, they went and cloned their back catalogue for “Death Magnetic”.
Let’s look at a few Bon Jovi clones.
“Let It Rock” -> “Lay Your Hands On Me” -> I Believe
They all have intro build ups. One is by keyboards, one is by drums and the other is by guitar.
“Livin On A Prayer” -> “Born To Be My Baby” –> “Keep The Faith” -> “It’s My Life” -> “Bounce” -> “Have A Nice Day” –> “We Weren’t Born To Follow”
Now here is some serious cloning going on. We need the President/Prime Minister to pass some new laws that bans it.
“Wanted Dead Or Alive” –> “Stick To Your Guns” -> “Blaze Of Glory”
Two number one hits there and one miss.
But then I look at Motley Crue and I cannot hear any musical cloning happening there. Blame it on the drugs, whatever. Each album is unique in its own way and according to who you talk too, full of filler as well.
Even when they had their big album in “Dr Feelgood”, they didn’t even try to replicate it. Hell, the Motley Crue album that came next with John Corabi on vocals is one hell of an album. Then they went all electronic industrial rock with “Generation Swine” and returned back to hard rock on “New Tattoo” and went all modern rock with “Saints Of Los Angele”
In the end, all progress in music is based on derivatives. In other words, musical cloning.