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

INTERESTING: In A World Of Free, Metal and Rock Music Still Continues To Sell

There is a great article over at the Metal Insider website.

If you are too lazy to click on the link, the article covers the biggest selling metal and rock albums for 2015.

From the results, it’s pretty obvious that metal and rock fans like to purchase music. There is still a collectors mindset there. What’s even more fascinating is that a lot of the albums that have sold a decent amount in 2015 were not even released in 2015.

NOTE: The figures are based on U.S sales.

“Master of Puppets” was released in 1986 and in 2015 it sold 107,800 units. The self-titled “Metallica” album released in 1991 has sold another 77,100 units in 2015. It is well on its way to 17 million units sold in total.

Now think about for a second.

All of Metallica’s music is available on streaming services for paid subscriptions and for free. All of their music is available for downloading via legal options and illegal options. And they still continue to sell.

A band’s longevity is based around the need to replenish their fan base year after year. If you are not doing that then expect to play smaller venues. Dokken and Ratt are two bands that come to mind who haven’t replenished their fan bases from the Eighties. Both bands in the Eighties had platinum sales and played arenas. Today, they have almost no sales and play clubs.  Of course, not having the main creative forces in the current version of the band plays a part, however, even if Lynch and Pilson or Pearcy and Croucier did rejoin Dokken and Ratt respectively, it doesn’t mean that millions of people would be interested.

Metallica,  however is doing a good job at replenishing their fan base based on their selected live performances in new markets and in markets that have high rates of piracy.  They basically have a whole new generation of music fans who more or less consumed the music of Metallica for free and in most cases illegally. However, that still hasn’t stopped them from selling music and concert tickets.

As business people, the move to their own label “Blackened Recordings” was a no-brainer.

The record is how it all starts. It hooks the audience in. Anyone born in the Nineties, will know Metallica as the conformist poster artist for the labels in the Napster case. Anyone born in the Seventies and early Eighties know Metallica as a non-conformist band that pushed boundaries.

The whole Napster kerfuffle in the end just showed why it was not a good idea for Metallica to get in the way of people experiencing their music. However, they have learnt that by making their music available everywhere, they see better returns in other areas.

As an artist, it is a privilege for people to listen to your music. Respect that.

“Back In Black” from AC/DC was released in 1980. In 2015 so far, it has sold 110,000 units in the U.S.  The new album, “Rock Or Bust”, released in 2014, has sold 143,400 units in 2015.  Put it down to the band being on the road and building awareness of the new album. It just goes to show that the blanket marketing campaigns before the album release date, the Grammy appearance and all of the other medical issues/jail issues in the media meant nothing in 2015.

You see, when the music eco system was controlled by the record labels, the marketing blitz by the labels meant something. In 2015, it means nothing.

From the 2015 releases, Breaking Benjamin’s “Dark Before Dawn” has sold 209,000 units so far, Marilyn Manson’s “The Pale Emperor” has sold 124,200 units so far and Halestorm’s “Into The Wild Life” has sold 114,500 units so far.

From the 2014 releases, Foo Fighters “Sonic Highways” album has sold 87,800 in 2015, for total sales in 480,000 so far. Slipknot’s “5: The Gray Chapter” has sold 84,000 units in 2015, for total sales of 344,000 units. Nickelback’s “No Fixed Address” album has sold 101,000 units in 2015. Like the Foo Fighters it is approaching Gold status.

Led Zeppelin continues to be a selling machine, so why would they create new music when Copyright grants them and the owners of their songs, rights for the next 110 years to exploit the works.

In case you are wondering “Led Zeppelin 4” sold 75,000 units and “Physical Graffiti” sold 112,400 units in 2015.

Kid Rock’s debut “Devil Without A Cause” is still selling. For 2015 alone, it has moved 86,000 units. Add that to the other 10 million units it has sold so far.

So what is all of the above telling us.

Eventually people will pay, however if a piece of music that people want to check out is not available for free, they will turn away until it becomes convenient. Don’t expect people to pay just because you want them too.

And for all of those critics saying the new bands cannot attain the same level of success as their Seventies and Eighties counterparts, well have a look at some other stats.

 

As influential as Black Sabbath was to metal music, they are being outsold by Linkin Park, Korn and even Limp Bizkit.

Also for all of Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley’s comments about rock being dead because no one is buying recorded music, well, Kiss has never really been a big seller of recorded music anyway. Their 21 million is pretty tame compared to Metallica’s 62 million. In the end, the live show is where it’s at. Deliver there and make that show a cultural event, the sky is the limit.

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

1980

A lot of my favourite albums from the past are always having some kind of anniversary each year. Since we are in 2015, I am feeling nostalgic, so I am going back to 1980.

Now let me be clear, all of these 1980 albums didn’t end up in my collection until the mid to late Eighties. Finances always proved a problem when it came to deciding what music to purchase.

Coming into 1980, Whitesnake was working a lot. The band was putting out an album a year and touring consistently. Then the Martin Birch produced “Ready an’ Willing” dropped, launching the song “Fool For Your Loving”, a piece written by Bernie Marsden, Micky Moody and David Coverdale. That song brought about a new interest into the band.

To me, “Ready an’ Willing” is the album that started Whitesnake’s rise. It holds a special place in my life as it was the first album I purchased from Whitesnake’s back catalogue after the 1987 album exploded. And I was impressed. While the “1987” album is a classic, I really loved the raw sound on this one and the working bands attitude. You can hear it in the notes.

While the album has songs that deal with relationships, my two favourites are “Blindman” (which is a derivative version of the Coverdale/Blackmore penned “Soldier Of Fortune”) and the very Led Zeppelin sounding, “Aint Gonna Cry No More”. Those songs also nail it lyrically for me. Talk about completely forgotten, no one under forty would know these songs.

“Chasing rainbows that have no end, The road is long without a friend….” from BLINDMAN

“Memories of broken dreams, As distant as the sun, Are drifting like an echo in the wind….” from AIN’T GONNA CRY NO MORE

In that same year, the Ronnie James Dio fronted Black Sabbath released their version of “Heaven and Hell”. As with all things record label related, this project was always meant to be a new band.

The first song written by Iommi and Dio for the new band was “Children of the Sea”. Geezer Butler was so set against continuing without Ozzy, so Iommi had Geoff Nicholls on hand to play bass on those initial sessions. It was actually Nicholls that came up with the “Heaven and Hell” bass line.

On board to produce “Heaven And Hell” was Martin Birch. That’s right, the same Martin Birch in charge of Whitesnake’s “Ready an’ Willing’ album.

“The world is full of kings and queens, who blind your eyes and steal your dreams…..” from HEAVEN AND HELL

I purchased this album very late. It was actually after “Lock Up The Wolves” from Dio came out in 1990.

At that time, I had the cash and my plan was to get stuck into Dio’s past works starting with Rainbow. However, I also came across the Black Sabbath releases in the second hard record store and purchased all five albums, the three Rainbow albums and the two Sabbath albums.

I was blown away. I couldn’t believe I was that late on hearing this unbelievable music.

Who can forget “British Steel” from Judas Priest?

I purchased it on cassette, which I still have today. It was right after “Painkiller” came out. I knewe of “Breaking The Law” and Livin After Midnight” but man, there are so many other good cuts on this album, I was again blown away.

Produced by Tom Allom, it started a winning campaign for Judas Priest that still sustains them to this day. After “British Steel” came “Screaming for Vengeance” and “Defenders of the Faith”. They are still doing victory laps on the backs of these three albums.

“British Steel” came out at a time when “The New Wave of British Heavy Metal” was starting to gain momentum. Even though Judas Priest was around way before, “British Steel” set up a certain sound for the many bands that would follow.

It was also an album recorded with a tour already booked to promote it. So when the band went into the studio with a handful of ideas, it was up to Glenn, KK and Rob to sit around and bang out the songs. From that pressure, great songs was the outcome.

In relation the tour, it featured a young band by the name of “Iron Maiden”.

“There I was completely wasted, out of work and down…..” from BREAKING THE LAW

“Living after midnight, rockin’ to the dawn…..” from LIVING AFTER MIDNIGHT

“I’ve had enough of being programmed, And told what I ought to do…..” from YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE OLD TO BE WISE

Which brings me to Iron Maiden’s self-titled debut, an album I purchased after “No Prayer For The Dying” came out.

It was recorded in 13 days, aided by the fact that all of the songs had been well-rehearsed live staples. They fired two other producers before settling on the disinterested Will Malone, who basically gave the band free-reign to do whatever they wanted.

I first heard “Running Free”, “Iron Maiden” and “Phantom Of The Opera” on 1985’s “Live After Death” album with Bruce Dickinson singing, so when I first heard the debut I was taken aback by Paul DiAnno’s vocals. I hated them, as I was so used to Bruce Dickinson. But man, like everything, the harsher street style of DiAnno grew on me. And what about that wah riff to kick off “Prowler”.

It was also the album that gave people a glimpse into Iron Maiden and the artwork of Derek Riggs.

“Unchain the colours before my eyes, Yesterday’s sorrows, tomorrow’s white lies…..” from REMEMBER TOMORROW

Just sixteen, a pickup truck, out of money, out of luck, I’ve got nowhere to call my own, hit the gas, and here I go…..” from RUNNING FREE

“You’ve been living so long in hiding in hiding behind that false mask…..” from PHANTOM OF THE OPERA

So what do you get when you finish the music for an album in six days and the entire album in eight?

Van Halen’s “Women and Children First” is the answer.

I actually heard “1984” first, then “5150” and “Eat Em And Smile”. So it was only natural that I went deeper into Van Halen’s back catalogue after that. There are a lot of stories about the making of the album, the photo shoot, which can be found here.

“Well, they say it’s kinda fright’nin’ how this younger generation swings…..” from AND THE CRADLE WILL ROCK

“Don’t want no class reunion, this circus just left town, Why behave in public if you’re livin’ on a playground?…” from FOOLS

“I’m takin’ whiskey to the party tonight, and I’m lookin’ for somebody to squeeze….” from ROMEO’S DELIGHT

The album holds a special place for me because of its jam orientated vibe. It’s basically saying to me, this is Van Halen and this is who we are in 1980. As a guitarist learning to shred in 1987, any piece of Van Halen music was seen as a must learn, however I never really sat down to learn anything from “Women And Children First”. I always said, I will learn “And The Cradle Will Rock”, but never did. That is why it is special in a silly way.

It’s actually funny, but the songs that I do play from Van Halen are from the debut album, the “1984” album, the “5150” album and the “Balance” album. Those are the albums I actually sat down and learned. I suppose, subconsciously, that I preferred the more pop orientated structures than the wild jam orientated structures.

What does a band do after releasing two massive science fiction progressive albums in “2112” and “Hemispheres”?

In Rush’s case, and Metallica’s a decade later, they both scaled back the arrangements and veered to shorter track lengths and more personal lyrical topics.  Longtime Rush producer Terry Brown was on hand again to assist. The songs from “Permanent Waves” are all over “Exit Stage Left” which was the only Rush album I had in the Eighties.  “The Spirit Of Radio”, “Freewill” and “Jacobs Ladder” all appear on the live album.

And when I purchased the album, “Natural Science” became a must song to add to my bible of guitar songs to learn.

This album also hold a special place in my life, because it was the first album I purchased based on a Dream Theater interview I read in the Nineties where they talk about their influences and it cemented my love for Rush. After this album, I was all in. It was only a matter of time before I purchased all of their other albums. If I had purchased something like “Hold Your Fire” first, then the love for Rush would have been very different.

So many great lyrics from Peart on this one as well.

“One likes to believe in the freedom of music, but glittering prizes and endless compromises, shatter the illusion of integrity….” from THE SPIRIT OF RADIO

There are those who think that, they’ve been dealt a losing hand, the cards were stacked against them, they weren’t born in Lotus-Land…..” from FREEWILL

You can choose a ready guide, in some celestial voice, if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice…..” from FREEWILL

I will choose a path that’s clear, I will choose free will…..” from FREEWILL

‘Freewill’ continues that sprightly pace, navigating a bouncy chorus hook and a theme about mankind’s lack of moral evasion.

 “We’re linked to one another, by such slender threads, we are planets to each other, drifting in our orbits….” from ENTRE NOUS

“Different eyes see different things, Different hearts beat on different strings…..” from DIFFERENT STRINGS

“Time after time we lose sight of the way, our causes can’t see their effects…..” from i. Tide Pools – NATURAL SCIENCE

“Computerized clinic for superior cynics, who dance to a synthetic band, in their own image their world is fashioned, no wonder they don’t understand…..” from ii. HyperSpace – NATURAL SCIENCE

“Science, like nature, must also be tamed, with a view towards its preservation…..” from iii. Permanent Waves – NATURAL SCIENCE

“The most endangered species – the honest man , will still survive annihilation, forming a world, a state of integrity, sensitive, open, and strong…..” from iii. Permanent Waves – NATURAL SCIENCE

“Wave after wave will flow with the tide, and bury the world as it does, Tide after tide will flow and recede, Leaving life to go on as it was…..” from iii. Permanent Waves – NATURAL SCIENCE

“Blizzard Of Ozz” is what happens when a technically gifted guitarist teams up with a well-travelled and experienced bassist to form a band around a washed up and intoxicated singer. It sounds like a plot line for a movie.

In order to go back to 1980, I need to go forward to 1988.

The “Tribute” album came first for me. The tablature book was my bible. So many nights spent practicing all of the licks and riffs in that book. Eventually in the early Nineties, I got around to purchasing “Blizzard Of Ozz”.  So many iconic songs on the album and the legend of Randy Rhoads will never be forgotten. Credit Bob Daisley, the unsung hero and creative lyricist.

The special part for me on hearing the “Blizzard Of Ozz” album is understanding the work that Randy Rhoads did to blend/merge so many different layers of guitars from the studio album into ONE DEFINITIVE GUITAR TRACK for performing live.

Brilliant.

I was left speechless.

It was an album that you needed to get to hear all the songs. These were not songs that could be purchased as singles and these songs were not promoted heavily on radio. We knew them only if we purchased the albums.

From the start to the end, the album is an experience.

And how good are the lyrics from Bob Daisley. So many brilliant lines.

“Everyone goes through changes, Looking to find the truth, Don’t look at me for answers, Don’t ask me, I don’t know…..” from I DON’T KNOW

“How am I supposed to know, Hidden meanings that will never show, Fools and prophets from the past, Life’s a stage and we’re all in the cast…..” from I DON’T KNOW

“Crazy, But that’s how it goes, Millions of people, Living as foes…..” from CRAZY TRAIN

“Maybe, It’s not too late, To learn how to love, And forget how to hate…..” from CRAZY TRAIN

“I’ve listened to preachers, I’ve listened to fools, I’ve watched all the dropouts, Who make their own rules…..” from CRAZY TRAIN

“One person conditioned, To rule and control, The media sells it, And you live the role…..” from CRAZY TRAIN

“I’ve been the king, I’ve been the clown, No broken wings can hold me down, I’m free again…..” from GOODBYE TO ROMANCE

“And the weather’s looking fine, And I think the sun will shine again, And I feel I’ve cleared my mind, All the past is left behind again…..” from GOODBYE TO ROMANCE

“Take a bottle, drown your sorrows, Then it floods away tomorrows…..” from SUICIDE SOLUTION

“Heaven is for heroes, And hell is full of fools, Stupidity, no will to live, They’re breaking God’s own rules…..” from REVELATION MOTHER EARTH

I remember playing pool at the local pub and the jukebox cranking ACCA DACCA’s “Back In Black” constantly. That is how I heard the album from start to finish, by waiting for the older crowd with more disposable incomes to get the jukebox cranking. And people wondered why we started to cherry pick songs from iTunes. We have been doing it since the jukebox.

The Eagles “Hotel California” and Deep Purple’s “Machine Head” are two other albums that I heard via the jukebox.

It was the antidote to New Wave and whatever else was popular at the time. Even in 2015, it still sells over 150,000 units a year.

“If you’re into evil you’re a friend of mine….” from HELLS BELLS

“I got nine lives, Cat’s eyes, Abusin’ every one of them and running wild…..” from BACK IN BLACK

“She was a fast machine, She kept her motor clean, She was the best damn woman that I ever seen…..” from YOU SHOOK ME ALL NIGHT LONG

“Hey there, all you middlemen, Throw away your fancy clothes, Way out there, sittin’ on a fence, So get off your ass and come down here…..” from ROCK AND ROLL AIN’T NOISE POLLUTION

“We’re just talkin’ about the future, Forget about the past, It’ll always be with us, it’s never gonna die…..” from ROCK AND ROLL AIN’T NOISE POLLUTION

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

The Same Piracy Issues That Affect Metal Bands Affect Other Genres As Well

I’m over the “whole rock is dead” stories, the “copyright infringement is stealing” stories or “because of the internet/piracy no new artists will come out and be as big as the artists that came before them” stories.

First, let’s look at artists that are not in the metal/rock arena that have faced the same struggles/issues as metal/rock artists.

“The Script” is a pop rock band from Ireland. Their first album came out in 2008, when internet piracy on music was at extreme highs. It had Platinum certifications in Europe, Ireland, UK and Australia.

The second album “Science and Faith” came out in 2010 and it also had Platinum certifications in Ireland, UK and Australia.

Album number three, titled “3” came out in 2012 and it had Platinum certifications in Ireland and the UK, with Gold certifications in Australia and Philippines.

The fourth album “No Sound Without Silence” released in 2014 has Platinum certifications for UK and New Zealand with a Gold certification for Australia.

So the albums haven’t sold millions upon millions. They have no RIAA certifications for sales in the U.S, however their singles have;

Their main song, “Hall Of Fame”, released in August 2012, was certified 2x Platinum in June 2013. Their new song “Superheroes” was certified Gold in March 2015. The song “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” released in 2008, was certified Platinum is May 2013. The song “Nothing” released in January 2011 was certified Gold in December 2011. The song “Breakeven” released in March 2009 was certified 2x Platinum in May 2011. The song “For The First Time” released in January 2011 was certified Platinum in July 2013.

The statistics to me are saying that the songs are more important than the whole album package. And guess what, it’s always been that way, even in the heyday of the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties.

To continue, they also played the “O2 Arena” in London on March 13 and 14.

They sold 32,404 tickets from the 35,167 tickets available. A ticket for the concert was either $US52.57 or $US41.07. The total gross earnings of these two shows for the promoter SJM Concerts was $1,670,320US.

You see the same issues that affect metal and rock musicians, affect The Script. However that didn’t stop them from making a lot of money for their record label from recorded music and to have gross concert sales of over a million dollars.

Florida Georgia Line is a country duo that formed in 2010. In 2012, “Here’s to the Good Times” came out. The album has sold over 2 million copies in the U.S for a double Platinum certification. In 2014, “Anything Goes” came out. That album has sold over 715,000 copies in the US and it already has a Gold certification.

But the interesting part is the song certifications.

The song “Cruise” released in April 2012 was certified 9x Platinum in January 2015. The song “This Is How We Roll” released in December 2012, was certified 3 x Platinum in February 2015. The song “Round Here” released in December 2012, was certified 2 x Platinum in June 2015. The song “Dirt” released in July 2014, was certified 2 x Platinum in April 2015. The song “Get Your Shine On” released in December 2012, was certified 2 x Platinum in September 2014. The song “Here’s To The Good Times” released in December 2012, was certified 2 x Platinum in July 2014. The song “Stay” released in December 2014, was certified Platinum in March 2015.

The songs “Sippin’ On Fire”, “Sun Daze” and “Anything Goes” all released with the album in October 2014, were certified Gold by June 2015, January 2015 and December 2014 respectively.

Like “The Script”, the statistics to me are saying that the songs are more important than the whole album package. It’s always been that way, even in the heyday of the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties.

To continue, they played the Florida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on May 29, 2015. They sold 18,135 tickets from the 19,239 tickets available. A ticket for the concert was either $59.75 or $25. The total gross earnings of the show for the promoter Live Nation was $693,231

You see the same issues that affect metal and rock musicians, affect Florida Georgia Line. However that didn’t stop them from making a lot of money for their record label from recorded music and to have gross concert sales of over a million dollars.

Meanwhile, Halestorm played a sold out show in Anaheim, California on June 5, 2015. 1704 tickets got sold. A ticket costed $25. Halestorm have no certifications however they are consistent sellers for their label. They have a niche audience and haven’t crossed over yet.

A lot of sales in the Eighties for metal and rock acts were driving because all of the artists crossed over into the Mainstream during that time.

Now, metal and rock acts are back in their niches. This time around a certain elitism is also attached to these niches. It’s not the internet’s fault, or P2P piracy’s fault.

One of the biggest critics of P2P downloading is Scott Ian from Anthrax. Well, lucky for Scott Ian and Anthrax, they keep on getting put on tours as openers.

Let’s look at some Boxscore returns from Volbeat’s recent run of live shows in the U.S;

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Rapid City, S.D. April 25, 2015
GROSS: $127,645
TIX SALES: 3,236 / 5,000

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
Spokane Arena Spokane, Wash. April 27, 2015
GROSS: $97,806
TIX SALES: 2,500 / 5,000

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
Adams Center Missoula, Mont. April 28, 2015
GROSS: $92,407
TIX SALES: 2,355 / 5,000

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
WaMu Theater Seattle, Wash. April 29, 2015
GROSS:$126,936
TIX SALES: 3,256 / 5,000

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot Brandt Centre Regina, Saskatchewan May 6, 2015
GROSS:$115,055
TIX SALES: 2,824 / 5,000

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot, Three Days Grace, In This Moment
Alliant Energy Center Madison, Wis. May 10, 2015
GROSS:$110,929
TIX SALES: 2,947 / 5,000

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
General Motors Centre Oshawa, Ontario May 12, 2015
GROSS:$81,242
TIX SALES: 2,023 / 2,776

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
TD Place Arena Ottawa, Ontario May 13, 2015
GROSS:$76,721
TIX SALES: 1,763 / 5,000

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
Cepsum Montreal, Quebec May 15, 2015
GROSS:$80,565
TIX SALES: 1,946 / 5,000

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
Dow Event Center Arena Saginaw, Mich. May 18, 2015
GROSS:$88,034
TIX SALES: 2,224 / 5,000

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
Ford Center Evansville, Ind. May 19, 2015
GROSS:$71,715
TIX SALES: 1,832 / 3,500

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
Aragon Ballroom Chicago, Ill. May 20, 2015
GROSS:$88,524
TIX SALES: 2,229 / 4,745

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
Tyson Events Center Sioux City, Iowa May 22, 2015
GROSS:$76,990
TIX SALES: 1,973 / 5,000

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
Verizon Theatre Grand Prairie, Texas May 27, 2015
GROSS:$71,636
TIX SALES: 1,827 / 3,697

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
Bayou Music Center Houston, Texas May 28, 2015
GROSS:$79,474
TIX SALES: 2,012 / 3,304

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
Pop’s Sauget, Ill. May 31, 2015
GROSS:$68,996
TIX SALES: 1,802 / 3,500

The truth is, any metal band in 2015 is in a niche market.

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

In Copyright Corporations Trust

I have a Google Alert set up called “Copyright Music”. Each day, I get five to ten alerts about Copyright stories.

Let’s not kid ourselves about Copyright in 2015. It is a monopoly that is controlled by greedy corporations who contribute nothing of value to the public domain or to the music industry.

A lost Beatles concert film from February 1964 (51 years ago) has been stopped from getting released because Sony and Apple Corps (The Beatles label) took the film makers to court screaming copyright breaches.

The breach is due to the film containing eight songs out of twelve that are still under Copyright.

So who is Copyright benefiting here?

You need to remember that it was due to a lack of copyright on standard blues and folk classics that benefited the British Rock invasion in the Sixties and Seventies. I can tell you that between 1955 and 1975, no song recorded 51 years ago, in other words from 1904 to 1924 was still under copyright. And look at the music we got.

It is due to copyrights expiring that we have a song from the 19th-century by a little known guitarist called Francisco Tartego now known as “The ‘Nokia tune”.

Who knew back in the 19th century that when he wrote the song called “Gran Vals” would end up being one of the most-played songs in music history.

So what we have here is a situation where corporations who hold the copyrights to old songs, fighting tooth and nail to keep these copyrights. And these greedy corporations are changing laws to suit their business models.

Copyright exists to create incentives for artists to make new works. Extending the rights for recordings made in the 1970s and earlier doesn’t encourage new music. At best, it might generate some income for the small number of “oldies” labels and rights holders whose recordings still have commercial value.

There is no greater Copyright sin than the case against Men At Work. The band lost a court case in 2010 because a judge found that a 10 second flute riff in the 1981 song “Down Under” copied parts of a song called “Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gumtree” from 1934.

As the article states;

“Kookaburra is a simple, four-bar tune. Men at Work were found liable for copying two of these bars. The Court found that this copying was sufficient to award Larrikin Music Publishing – the current owners of Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gumtree – 5% of Down Under’s royalties from 2002 onwards.”

The disconnect here is that people/company who didn’t even write the song “Kookaburra Sits In The Old Gumtree” suing the Men At Work writers almost 30 years after the release of their song and 67 years after the “Kookaburra” song was released.

So who is Copyright benefiting here?

Remember copyright is designed to promote creativity. The writer of the song has passed away. On death, all copyright used to cease and the works would fall into the Public Domain. It hasn’t been that way for at least 60 years.

Led Zeppelin who are no strangers to infringement lawsuits have another one on their hands, albeit 43 years later from when “Stairway To Heaven” was released.

Expect Metallica to cop a few lawsuits in the future once the copyrights to some obscure NWOBHM songs end up with Corporations. Just think of the songs “Welcome Home” and “Enter Sandman”. If i was Metallica Inc, I would be the ones purchasing the rights to the NWOBHM songs they copied otherwise a lawsuit will eventuate.

If you need further evidence about how important Copyright is to corporations (instead of artists) look no further than the donations these corporations give to politicians.

Since Copyright became a financial windfall for the Corporations that hold the rights to songs, we have those same corporate entities via their lobby groups donating to political parties in the name of Copyright.

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Music, My Stories

Metal Festivals

Is the metal festival really worth it these days or should bands focus on hitting the road in smaller packages like the good old days.

Machine Head are doing an “An Evening With” tour at the moment. From all reports, it is doing great business. Dream Theater has done these kind of “Evening With” tours for a long time and the fans loved it. Our favourite acts, with no support act.

Then you have other bands going on the road with one or two openers. openers.

So why do the festivals struggle to make profits.

Ozzfest is no more.

The Metallica funded Orion festival is no more. James Hetfield went on record to say that the U.S audiences don’t respect live music anymore. Was the venue all wrong, or the acts chosen.

The Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival is looking goneski as well.

Mayhem festival co-founder Kevin Lyman blamed the lack of any new “great” bands for the low ticket sales.

The Sunset Strip Music Festival, set up to celebrate the Strips place in music history is over due to poor turnouts and huge losses.

Germany’s Wacken festival also struggles to break even each year.

As the Billboard article states;

“Even though this year’s edition of Wacken Open Air sold out within 12 hours and tickets to the 2016 event are already long gone, Jensen says that the money will be used “to pay last year’s debt,” including salaries to the festival’s paid crew of 2,500. Jensen tells Billboard.com: “We’re surviving. Every year is a challenge and this one will be hard — I don’t think we’ll lose money, but the profit will be eaten. But we have to get the best experience for the fan. If we’re not doing that, we’re not successful. It’s as simple as that.”

In Australia, the Soundwave Music Festival is always in the courts over unpaid bills. In it’s heyday, Soundwave had shows in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. Now for 2016, the festival will only hit Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

Rock on the Range 2015 took place at Mapfre Stadium Columbus, Ohio May 15-17,with a line-up of Linkin Park, Slipknot, Judas Priest, Godsmack, Breaking Benjamin, Rise Against, Marilyn Manson, Volbeat, Slash, Halestorm, Papa Roach.

The concert was sold out with 120,000 tickets sold and gross sales of $4,293,389.

Carolina Rebellion 2015 took place at Rock City Campgrounds, Charlotte Motor Speedway Concord, N.C. May 2-3 with a line-up of Slipknot, KoRn, Godsmack, Slayer, Sammy Hagar, Breaking Benjamin, Marilyn Manson, Rise Against, Slash, Chevelle, Cheap Trick, Papa Roach, Halestorm.

The concert was sold out with 80,000 tickets sold and gross sales of $3,438,222.

Rocklahoma 2015 took place at Festival Grounds Pryor, Okla. May 22-24 with a line-up of Linkin Park, Godsmack, Slayer, Tesla, Breaking Benjamin, Volbeat, Queensryche, Halestorm, Papa Roach.

The concert sold 60,000 tickets from the 72,000 on offer and gross sales of $2,263,820.

Rockfest 2015 took place at Liberty Memorial Park Kansas City, Mo. May 30 with a line-up of Rob Zombie, Volbeat, Halestorm, Tech N9ne, Papa Roach, Anthrax, In This Moment, All That Remains.

The concert was sold out with 50,000 tickets sold and gross sales of $1,700,645.

Northern Invasion 2015 took place at Somerset Amphitheatre Somerset, Wis. May 9 with a line-up of Slipknot, Five Finger Death Punch, Volbeat, Three Days Grace.

The concert was sold out with 25,000 tickets sold and gross sales of $1,272,284.

In total, the five festival shows mentioned above grossed $12,968,360 in ticket sales alone.

But somehow, festivals are not making money. But let me tell you one thing, festivals are making a lot of money for a lot of people. This is the great disconnect in music where the majority of the money made from bands goes to middlemen.

There is a post over at VH1 written by Doc Coyle from God Forbid. Must say I am a fan of his blog posts.

In the post Coyle, discusses the future for American Metal festivals. It’s a great read, so check it out.

Our opinions are the same when it comes to stand alone festivals in a city being more of a success than a touring festival.

But the disconnect still exists with the money jar. In the immortal words of Bon Scott,

Gettin’ ripped off, Underpaid…. 
That’s how it goes, Playin’ in a band

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Unsung Heroes

Rock/Metal Quotes

“Our first deal, for example, was for five records, so there was development there. They looked at it as: ‘Let’s invest in these first two records, and if nothing happens, no big deal. Maybe the third record will be the turning point, and then four and five we’re on the gravy train.’ I think that was the record company’s perspective.”
Alex Lifeson. RUSH

It was always the fan that had the power. Fans invest in the artist. It never mattered what the record company thought or believed as it was the fan who decided if the piece of vinyl was worth their money. The labels had the gatekeeping power to decide who got to a recording studio or who didn’t. And they used that power wisely to accumulate artists’ copyrights.

“If we were to release those same three records now: Fly By Night – the record company would’ve gone, ‘Okay, let’s hang on.’ With Caress of Steel, they would’ve dropped us right away, because it was a commercially unsuccessful record, but we needed to make that record to make 2112. So there would be no 2112 for Rush in 2015. I’d go back to plumbing or some other job. That just doesn’t exist now, whereas back then, as nervous as they were, they still were there to support us.”
Alex Lifeson. RUSH

The labels did not support the artist. They supported a copyright monopoly. Their accountants knew very early on that holding the copyrights for songs would be a big financial winner for them in the future. The labels have used their accumulated copyrights as leverage to negotiate licence fees with Apple Music, Pandora, Spotify, Deezer and all of the other streaming services.

To prove my point, let’s look at an Italian hard rock/metal label called Frontiers Records. Look at the albums they have released, especially in the last five years. You will see a trend of certain artists, re-recording their best songs from the Eighties and Seventies and putting these recorded versions under a new Copyright. Frontiers will pay the artist for their work, and they keep the copyrights of these forgeries for a very long time.

Who is the winner here?

The artist or the record label.

“For new bands, everybody makes CDs. Years ago, nobody had CDs. You had to have a record deal. Everybody’s got it [now]. And there’s so much competition. The Internet is good in a way to get your stuff out there, but the whole music industry is wrecked.”
Vinny Appice. DIO, BLACK SABBATH, HEAVEN AND HELL,

“For me, it’s an interesting dichotomy. Because, on one hand, you’ve got people who are streaming, but then they use that to decide whether or not they wanna buy the album, as opposed to illegal downloading. But then there’s the other side of it where people are kind of using it as, basically, satellite radio, where it’s, like, ‘I’m just gonna listen to this.’ But people still pay a subscription for it. So, in one way or another, the economy is still working. It’s just that… We can’t catch up with the technology; that’s the problem. There’s so many innovations that the powers that be can’t figure out… they can’t get ahead of it.”
Corey Taylor. SLIPKNOT/STONE SOUR

The gatekeepers are no more. It’s an open market and simple economics rule. Supply vs Demand. Music at the moment is in huge supply and the demand from the fans is spread thin.

For example, in the next three months there are about 40 albums that I am interested in listening too.

For August, I am looking forward to Soulfly’s “Archangel”, Bon Jovi’s “Burning Bridges”, Disturbed’s “Immortalized”, Pop Evil’s “Up”, Five Finger Death Punch’s “Got Your Six”, Fear Factory’s “Genexus”, Bullet for My Valentine’s “Venom”, Act of Defiance’s “Birth and the Burial”, P.O.D.’s “The Awakening”, Motörhead’s “Bad Magic” and Soilwork’s “The Ride Majestic”.

For September, I am looking forward to Shinedown’s new one, Iron Maiden’s “The Book of Souls”, Slayer’s “Repentless” and Atreyu’s “Long Live”.

For October, I am looking forward to Children of Bodom’s “I Worship Chaos”, Collective Soul’s “See What You Started by Continuing”, Coheed and Cambria’s “The Color Before the Sun”, Deftones new one, Queensrÿche’s “Condition Hüman”, Sevendust’s “Kill the Flaw”, Trivium’s “Silence in the Snow”, W.A.S.P.’s “Golgotha” and Stryper’s “Fallen”.

Some I would buy and a lot I would just stream WHEN I HAVE THE TIME.

“All due respect to Mr. Simmons, I think when he talks about rock being dead, I think he talks about the old-school way of album-tour-album-tour-album-tour. That’s just not the way you do it anymore. There’s so many other things and ways to continue the history of this industry, and to continue to be on top. I mean, I’m looking out at headlining Download [festival] in the U.K. [Sarcastically] Yeah, rock is dead. That’s why there’s 85,000 people here at 11:30 at night in a downpour, and nobody left. Yeah, rock’s dead. Yeah.”

Corey Taylor. SLIPKNOT/STONE SOUR

Spot on. Fans of music haven’t disappeared and they haven’t resorted to freemium as the labels or the RIAA would like us to think. Fans still support music and artists in their own way. I purchase CD’s, I stream music, I download music and I go to concerts. The old model of album sales and then a tour is broken. So a new model is required.

“Well, we have such an incredible reaction to [JUDAS PRIEST’s latest album] ‘Redeemer Of Souls’ that really motivated us to crack the whip and get on with making the next record pretty quickly. The clock is ticking, you know. We can’t afford to wait three years, or five years now, to make the record. And especially while we’re having this great, kind of, vibe with the fans and just this massive PRIEST family love fest type of deal. You know, who wants to go home and sit down for a year?”
Rob Halford. JUDAS PRIEST

“Fewer records get sold or streamed, less money is there,” he continued. “You used to sell enough records to not go on tour. In the 90s, you used to make as much money on tour as you would selling records. Now you make one-tenth of that money on records sales or streaming. The biggest problem with the new record business is that I don’t know who the fans are. Fans are the people who will actually pay for something.”
Peter Mensch. MANAGER

They (the recording industry) have to. But probably the best route they should take, I think they’ve been playing catch-up for a long time — they’re constantly trying to readjust and adapt. I think that probably the truth of the matter, the answer is to start from scratch and create a whole new playbook. Build a whole new business plan off of that. I don’t think anybody, at least that I’m aware of, has done that, started with just a blank slate and just started over. I think that’s really what needs to be done. Just level the building and build something brand new.”
Dee Snider. TWISTED SISTER

Fans are people who will actually pay for something when they want to pay. Growing up the Eighties, I had a circle of friends who would wait with blank cassettes for the latest music I purchased. We had a running joke to say “the leeches are in the house”. These fans copied Motley Crue, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Megadeth, Whitesnake, Night Ranger and so many other bands from me. Their whole music collection was dubbed music.

So time goes on, they get older, they get jobs, the internet comes, Napster rises and suddenly they have money to spend. They didn’t start to purchase recorded music, they just downloaded that for free. What they did start to purchase was concert tickets for the bands they liked. When Maiden toured Australia for the “Caught Somewhere Back In Time” tour, they went to the shows in Sydney and Melbourne. I only went to the Sydney shows. When Motley Crue came for the Carnival Of Sins tour they went to the shows around Australia. I only went to the Sydney show. When Metallica came, they went to the shows around Australia, plus the Soundwave shows and so on. When Megadeth came, they went to their shows.

“Because, at the end of the day, it’s about people knowing the music, not owning it.”
Corey Taylor. SLIPKNOT/STONE SOUR

Perfectly said.

“The only thing that’s really been affected is albums sales. Because there’s still just as many rock fans out there as there were, and there’s a whole new generation coming up. I mean, the contracts that you signed back then — even today — you’d have to sell five, six million at a pop to be able to turn a profit. So, for people like me, it wasn’t about making money off the album sales. I mean, it’s be nice, but it wasn’t the essential.”
Corey Taylor. SLIPKNOT/STONE SOUR

“I’m talking about the cost to buy a CD. You can get a brand new record from your favourite band for ten dollars, basically. And even that’s high, ’cause most bands will sell ’em cheaper, especially the first or two the records are out. So, for ten bucks you can get a new record. I mean, it wasn’t that long ago that CDs cost $18.99 at the Virgin Megastore. Records cost half what they used to cost, and people aren’t buying them as much, which is crazy to me. It’s never been cheaper. What more do the people want?”
Scott Ian. ANTHRAX

No one wanted to buy an album. WE WANTED TO LISTEN TO MUSIC. It was unfortunate that the music we wanted to listen to was put on a piece of vinyl or a CD or a cassette and sold at a very high price.

“For me, the album is the calling card. You hope people are hearing the music, but it’s not essential to sell the music, and that’s the thing you kind of have to balance today.”
Corey Taylor. SLIPKNOT/STONE SOUR

“Right now I don’t even know what the music business is. I have no idea. There’s no record stores. We live in Los Angeles, and the radio sucks. It’s better elsewhere. The bands put an album out, and they don’t play it. Then everybody downloads it for free. And it’s a mess. ‘Cause people need to earn money when they play music, just like you go earn money when you go to work. It costs money to make an album. You can’t just give it away for free.”
Vinny Appice. DIO, BLACK SABBATH, HEAVEN AND HELL,

But it’s not for free. The album that you recorded has been put up on a streaming site. The label that put it up was paid a fee to license the music they have on that streaming site. Speak to your label and re-negotiate. When people listen to your album, 70% of the monies go to your label. Again, speak to your label and re-negotiate.

What is better?

A million streams or a 1000 units in sales. A million streams shows a large audience supporting your product that is waiting to be monetized in other ways.

1000 units in sales shows a 1000 people who purchased your music and then maybe listened to it once or twice or a lot. The problem is the artists don’t know either way if those 1000 units in sales are fans or not.

“Cause people are still buying CDs, but they’re also buying music on iTunes, they’re paying for accounts on Spotify. So it’s not like they’re not hearing the music. So when they come and see the show, and you play a song that is brand new and you get that huge pop, that’s what it’s all about. It’s all about that live show”
Corey Taylor. SLIPKNOT/STONE SOUR

“I understand there’s a thing called the Internet and people have the ability to steal music. So I understand why it’s happening, but you would think that people would just have the attitude, ‘I’m gonna support music, I’m gonna support the bands I love, because if I don’t support this, well, the bands I love aren’t gonna be able to make records anymore and they’re not gonna be able to tour as much anymore.”
Scott Ian. ANTHRAX

Scott Ian is unfortunately stuck in the sales equals success mentality. As Corey Taylor has stated, fans of music support the bands they like in different ways. A typical fan could fit into any of the following combinations;

– Stream for free only
– Stream for free and purchase tickets to a show
– Stream on a paid subscription only
– Stream on a paid subscription only and purchase tickets to a show
– Stream for free and purchase a CD/mp3 only
– Stream for free and purchase a CD/mp3 and purchase tickets to a show
– Stream on a paid subscription and purchase a CD/mp3 only
– Stream on a paid subscription, purchase a CD/mp3 and purchase tickets to a show
– Purchase a CD/mp3 only
– Purchase a CD/mp3 and purchase tickets to a show
– Illegally download for free only
– Illegally download for free and then purchase a CD
– Illegally download for free, purchase a CD and purchase tickets to a show
– Illegally download for free and purchase tickets to a show

“Look, if I was a kid, and it was 1977 and I had a way to get KISS albums for free, I’m pretty sure I probably would have jumped on that bandwagon. But for me to get a free KISS album in 1977 would have meant having the balls to walk into a record store, take a vinyl album, stick it under my shirt and walk out without getting caught. There was a consequence to that. So it’s a completely different thing [today]. There’s no consequence to stealing music online … or anything: movies, or books, or anything.”
Scott Ian. ANTHRAX

Look Scott, when you were a kid, I am sure that you copied an album onto a cassette tape. That is called Copyright Infringement. This is the problem that you face with the internet. People have copied your music and are spreading your music via the Internet. No one has stolen anything. The iTunes mp3 is still available for purchase, the Anthrax albums are still available for streaming and so forth.

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

The Copyright Hijack

“What’s going on right now is a total conspiracy amongst all of the record companies and the music society, ’cause so many of those records, samples were done with no law around it. They took care of each other under the table. They took the money from the rappers, they charged them, told them they was paying me. They were splitting it amongst themselves.”
George Clinton

There is a common music quiz question, “Who wrote “This Land is Your Land”?

Woody Guthrie is credited as the songwriter. However, Guthrie is famous for writing lyrics to melodies of other songs, so in this case, the melody came from a song called “When The Worlds On Fire” by the Carter Family. So in 2004, the holders of Guthrie’s Copyrights, threatened a website with a lawsuit, who more or less did the same thing as Guthrie. They added new lyrics to the same tune.

So who is Copyright benefiting here?

What about the story of “Happy Birthday To You”. In 1893, kindergarten teachers Mildred and Patty Hill, wrote a song called ‘Good Morning to All’ for their students. In the 1920’s, the melody from that song evolved and the lyrics kind of changed to ‘Happy Birthday to You.” The song’s publisher, Summy Co. copyrighted both the songs and in the 80’s Warner/Chappell bought the company. Since then, Warner/Chappell has been collecting approximately $2 million a year in licensing fees for a song that is 100 years old.

So who is Copyright benefiting here?

The best part of Copyright is when government bills extending the terms of copyright. In Jamaica, the copyright term is now 95 years from the death of the author, or 95 years from publication for government and corporate works. What is made worse, is that the term extension, also retroactively went back to January 1962, which meant “that works that have already passed into the public domain in Jamaica are now to be wrenched back out again” and put under Copyright.

So who is Copyright benefiting here?

In all instances, Copyright is benefiting a corporation.

But, wait a minute isn’t copyright meant to benefit the creator and then the public domain.

In the UK, the Government wants people to respect Copyright, so their answer is for the High Courts to make it illegal to rip music off a CD or put DVDs onto hard drives that you legally purchased while streaming services tell us “we don’t want to own content, we just want to access it”.

Meanwhile, when legal services are made available at a price point that agrees with people, something magical happens. Money is made from recorded music.

In the UK, there are on average 500,000,000 streams a week. In one year that figure has doubled. That is a lot of money coming into the recording labels coffers. Do the math!

In Spain streaming payments are proving to be the recording industry’s savior. Isn’t it funny when legal services are made available at a price point that the public likes, piracy becomes obsolete.

So who is Copyright benefiting here?

500 million streams a week is a decent amount of money going to the record labels.

But due to heavy lobbying from the film and music industries, the UK Government plans to raise the online piracy prison sentence to 10 years while artists thank piracy for bringing fans to their concerts.

“I just want people to have access to my music. If there was no piracy, why can I sell out 20,000 people every time in Brazil? Is it because of how many records we sold in the shops? Of course not.”
Dave Guetta

If the above sounds familiar, it should, as a lot of metal artists have said the same thing. Watch Flight 666 and see what the Maiden guys have to say about selling out Costa Rica, India, Mexico and other parts of Central and Southern America. Those ticket sales and merchandise sales came from people who obtained their music illegally.

The best answer to piracy is to accommodate it.

Look back to the book pirates in the 1500s. The printing press (new technology of the time like the Internet) came out in 1440. This led to the Governments of the time to give certain Publishers a monopoly (like Copyright) on printing books. This led to issues between the publishers that didn’t have any rights to print books. So their response was to become pirates.

Eventually, these pirates or idealists started to be accommodated and more legal licenses given to various Publishers. Piracy problem, solved.

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