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

Freedom With Streaming

I love freedom.

The freedom to live where I want, do want I want and when I want to.

I also love music and I also love to hear music wherever I go and when I want to. Today, there are a lots of ways to hear music.

  • to buy a digital mp3
  • to stream for free
  • to buy a CD
  • to pay for a streaming subscription
  • to illegally download it via P2P

Pre-Napster, the only way to hear the song you liked was to purchase the album or single it came on. Alternative methods involved waiting for the radio to play it and you dub it to cassette or you dub someone else’s original copy onto cassette or CD.

The big difference between then and now is availability. Did you know that Slash also used BitTorrent to release “Live At The Roxy”.

His reasons for it are real simple.

To allow people to access his music from any outlet they desire. He goes to Spotify to consume music and like many others, he still likes to have a physical copy in his hand.

I enjoy my music and I enjoy it a lot, however in the Eighties and early Nineties, I couldn’t enjoy it as much because I simply didn’t have enough money. Thank god that second-hand record shops became big business by the early nineties and it allowed me to purchase a lot of Seventies and Eighties LP’s that I couldn’t afford to purchase before.

Even though the clueless mainstream press always toes the RIAA and Record Label viewpoint that music is in dire straits, I say the opposite.

Look at how much money the labels are making from the various streaming companies who are paying a lot of money to license the labels catalogue. Here is a list of the top eight streaming companies out there;

  • Spotify
  • YouTube
  • Google Play
  • Apple Music
  • Pandora
  • Rdio
  • Deezer
  • JB HiFi (in Australia)

Each of the above companies paid the record labels a high license fee in order to have music on their service. They then pay the record labels (who are the major copyright holders) 70% of their profits for songs streamed. When you take into account that streaming services made over $1 billion in the US last year, 70% of that went to record labels. From the other 30%, the record labels took another cut via their licensing fee system.

Apart from streaming bringing in billions of dollars and putting a massive hole in piracy, it has also changed the way people view sales of music, the charts and every other metric associated with music.

The Top 40 once upon a time was a benchmark for what was popular. The metric used to judge popularity was sales. The view was that if an album or a song got into the Top 40, the artist would go on to become a household name. In 2012, the charts started to include digital sales and streaming. Streaming listens enable songs from the past to re-enter the charts, even though the band or artist who wrote it are retired or have departed this Earth.

Quincy Jones said recently that there is no music industry.

Maybe he meant to say that the record labels are making a lot of money from other avenues, however they are just not passing on those monies back to the artists and the songwriters. Maybe he meant to say that the recording industry does not have a monopoly on music anymore. In the end, the music industry as a whole is very much alive and well.

Quincy Jones also said that artists “can’t get an album out because nobody buys an album anymore.”

Umm, Quincy, or Gene or Paul or Yngwie, no one wanted to buy an album at all. All we wanted to do was to listen to music. Maybe he meant to say that people only want the best, so the concept of an album with a few good songs and a lot of filler is not working in 2015. Maybe he meant to say that instead of a handful of gated releases each week, in 2015, we have thousands upon thousands of albums released.

Quincy Jones said newer online distribution model’s don’t mean anything.

Maybe he meant to say that the newer online distribution models have taken away the record labels gatekeepers. With no filter in check, people are overwhelmed with noise. It’s a good thing and only the best will end up rising to the top. The fact that streaming services bring in over a billion dollars each year means nothing. The problem is the record labels. Those monies are just not getting back to the artists and the songwriters.

Quincy Jones reckons that selling 4.5 million albums today and thinking it is a hit record is a joke as he used to sell 4.5 million records every weekend in the 80’s.

Maybe he meant to say that selling 4.5 million records shows that you have an audience, people who care for you and people who will come and watch you live. The fact that people listen to the music over and over again is irrelevant to Quincy Jones. Yes, Quincy, that’s right, people streaming your music are just as important as selling 4.5 million records a week. Maybe he meant to say that I am so out of touch with what fans want, the only thing I know is sales and sales only.

I know that Quincy is not metal or rock, but his viewpoints echo similar viewpoints from Gene Simmons, Yngwie Malmsteen, Paul Stanley, Scott Ian, Duff McKagan, Kirk Hammett, Joe Perry and Roger Waters. You could easily change the name Quincy Jones above, with Gene Simmons, Yngwie Malmsteen and so forth.

Overall, being a musician is tough. It always has been and always will be. There are no overnight successes. Never have been and never will be. Ignore all the crap and make your own way. There is a lot of money to be made in music and it doesn’t just involve writing and releasing an album.

Remember back in the Seventies and the Eighties. Artists had to conquer their local area first, then their state, then the next state and so forth.

With the internet, artists have a global audience right off the bat. But the need to win fans city by city is still the same.

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Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Being a MetalHead

Heavy metal bands have the most loyal listeners. All of us metal heads know it, and Spotify recently proved it.

So where are all the metal heads when it comes to streaming service launches. Apple walked out Jimmy Iovine and Drake. Tidal walked out the Pop Stars. So, where the fuck are the metal heads?

If you want to look at sales of music, then look no further than metal and rock bands. In 1989, heavy metal and hard rock was the largest selling musical genre. In 2015, these genres are still selling. Even though the marketing budget of Breaking Benjamin was tiny compared to the bigger marketing campaigns the mainstream pop acts had, Breaking Benjamin still managed to beat other higher profile mainstream acts in sales recently.

Five Finger Death Punch, Avenged Sevenfold, Volbeat, Shinedown, Halestorm, In This Moment, Godsmack, Foo Fighters, Disturbed, Metallica, AC/DC and Of Mice and Men are consistent sellers these days.

I know it must sound strange to a lot of people. All of the music from the above bands is available for free on the internet, via streaming, illegal P2P, YouTube, etc. However they still manage to sell a lot of recorded music.

So what gives?

Which brings me back to the Metalhead and Rockhead loyalty.

Did you know that Motley Crue, Twisted Sister, Metallica, Megadeth, Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne, Night Ranger, Quiet Riot, Judas Priest, Europe, Bon Jovi, Poison and any Eighties metal band made me the great tax paying and law-abiding citizen I am today.

Who would have known that my degenerate adolescent mind and devil horn fingers would put me onto a road of happiness. If you don’t believe me, give the research a read.

The take away from the research is that being a metal head “served as a protective factor against negative outcomes.”

From Judas Priest, I learned about big brother watching (“Electric Eye”) and about life in a restrictive era (“Breaking the Law”).

From Twisted Sister, I learned about the brotherhood (“S.M.F”), the price of fame (“The Price”), standing up for yourself (“We’re Not Gonna Take It”, “I Wanna Rock”) and about looking out for yourself (“Lookin Out For Number 1”).

From Motley Crue, I learned about voicing your opinions against the establishment (“Shout At The Devil”), about premature ejaculation (“Too Fast For Love” and “Ten Seconds To Love”) , about being a pest at school (“Smokin In the Boys Room”) and just about everything else to do with drugs and sex.

From Iron Maiden, I learned about nuclear war (‘2 Minutes To Midnight”), World War II (“Aces High”, “Tailgunner”, “Where Eagles Dare”), ancient history (“Alexander The Great”, “Powerslave”), English literature (“Phantom Of The Opera”, “The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner”), mythology (“Flight Of Icarus”), the meaning of deja vu (“Deja-Vu”), the bible (“Revelations”), the 666 number (“The Number of The Beast”), samurai (“Sun And Steel”) and the 1854 Crimean War (“The Trooper”).

From Metallica, I learned about banging my head super-fast (“Whiplash”), about capital punishment (“Ride The Lightning”), about drug abuse (“Master Of Puppets”), about literature (“For Whom The Bells Toll”, “The Thing That Should Not Be”), about war (“Fight Fire With Fire”, “One”, “Disposable Heroes”) and about corruption (“Justice For All”, “Eye Of The Beholder”, “Leper Messiah”).

Remember the hysterics about subliminal messages. Court cases followed from parents who lost children tragically to suicide. Ozzy Osbourne and Judas Priest both had to front the courts over subliminal messages. It was easy to blame the music.

I guess in the end, those subliminal messages told me to study hard, read a lot, be critical, be sociable, have an opinion, be a good citizen and earn my way in life. It sure goes against all of the mainstream media’s comments and Tipper Gore’s stupid Parents Group burning albums and screaming that “metalheads” are bad for society and at risk of poor development.

In the end, Metalheads and hard rockers have proven to be resilient and diverse. We wear our skins proud and we are loyal to the end.

 

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

Rockin In The Free World

I’m a great believer that information should be easily obtainable.

Just recently, I heard “Rockin’ in the Free World” again. The last time that I remember hearing that song was on some MTV awards show. It was the one that had Neil Young and Pearl Jam playing it together. Fast forward almost twenty years later and we have a megalomaniac that no one cares about, using the song for a presidential campaign.

If I associate the song with anything that is happening today, it will be about music and how it is free. Back in the nineties it would have had a different meaning.

But let’s look at the title, “Rockin’ In the Free World’.

What does “free world” actually mean these days?

Back in 1989, the free world to me came down to democracy “being free” and communism being “oppressive and restrictive”.

In 2015, Australia, the U.S and the majority of the democratic, free nations, are spying on its citizens for the perceived “greater good”.

In 2015, democratic nations are trying to pass secret bills that the people who voted them in cannot see or know about, however the Corporations that finance their campaigns are allowed to see the bills and ask for changes.

In 2015, democratic nations are imprisoning whistle-blowers who expose their secrets, labelling them as terrorists and dissenters.

In 2015, our courts of justice are overrun with requests for the courts to approve the handover of personal information to the ones who pay the most.

In 2015, copyright is used to suppress free speech.  If you don’t believe me, a court in France has ruled that a magazine violated copyright law.

What did the magazine do that was so bad?

They had an article that showed people how to access illegal sources of music and movie content online.

Isn’t it funny how on the one hand, the “free world” that we know has become restrictive and oppressive while on the other hand, a lot of the information or content that was once restricted, is now free because of people sharing.

People are sharing because they are infringing on a restrictive law called copyright. And the response by the industries affected is to pay politicians a lot of money to write and pass even more restrictive laws.

Even when technology companies like Spotify and Netflix or the pirate sites themselves show our governments that giving customers what they want is better than restrictive legislation, what do our governments do in response?

They pass legislation that is restrictive and oppressive. Australia has now joined other democratic “free world” countries in introducing site blocking legislation in order to keep media companies happy.

Copyright was designed to protect the creator.

However, as the Recording, Book and Movie Industries started to grow, business people came out from their corporate offices and stuck their claws into Copyright. So what we have today is business people defending the copyright monopoly, while they are robbing artists and their fans dry. These same defenders of the copyright monopoly are laughing all the way to the bank while exploiting the system in a legal way.

Seriously, would an artist need a copyright on their works 70 to 90 years after they have died. Of course not, but the companies that built their business on obtaining copyrights sure have a need.

Artists create not because they can make money off it as individuals, but because of who we are. We have been creative creatures from the start of civilisation.

Meanwhile, while the Australian government bends its backside to the legacy media companies, Netflix keeps on making huge inroads in the Australian market, with over 1 million users since its April launch this year. The reason why this number is staggering is that Netflix’s competitors in Australia have about 300,000 users combined.

Surely this is proof that Australians do pay for movies and TV shows if they are provided in a way that is convenient to them. And we are paying for a Netflix subscription that doesn’t have nowhere near the content that the U.S version has. But we still pay, because it allows us to watch their content, when we want to watch it, over and over again.

Not in a time slot like PayTV. Keep on rocking is what I say.

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