A to Z of Making It, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

STREAMLINE

Where do you want your fans to go?

Give people too much choice and they don’t buy at all. It’s one of the reason’s why a lot of people are still sitting on the fence when it comes to streaming. They’re not sure if it’s going to stick. My musical journey started with vinyl and cassettes, then I had to upgrade my vinyl/cassette collection to CD’s, then I ripped all of my CD’s into MP3’s and now I’m doing streaming. As just one music consumer from the millions in the world, I have Megadeth’s “Rust In Peace” on vinyl, on CD and on CD again as a remastered release. Actually, this is the same deal for all of Megadeth’s output up to “Rust In Peace”.

For Motley Crue, (it’s the same deal for all of their albums up to 1989) I have “Dr Feelgood” on cassette, vinyl, CD, CD remastered, in the box set “Music To Crash Your Car Too” and on CD again remastered with bonus tracks.

For the 1994 Motley Crue CD, I have it on cassette, the CD with the red writing and the CD with the yellow writing. Plus I have the super expensive Japanese EP, “Quaternary”.

So you can see how band sales are really inflated when you have other people in the world doing the same thing I am doing, which is re-purchasing the music in different formats and in some cases with bonus tracks upgrades.

I will used “Shout At The Devil” and “Dr Feelgood” from Motley Crue as a case study.

“Shout At The Devil” came out in January 1984. By November 1989, it was certified triple platinum for 3 million in sales in the U.S. You could safely say that Motley Crue had 3 million fans. However in May, 1997, it received its 4x Platinum award for 4 million U.S. sales. While the label and the band would believe they had picked up an extra million fans, the truth is, those million sales over 8 years came from their original 3 million fans, re-buying the same album in a different format or packaging maybe once or twice.

“Dr Feelgood” came out in November 1989. By January 1991, it was certified 4x Platinum for 4 million U.S. sales. Its next certification came in May, 1997, for six million U.S sales. Again, the band didn’t just pick up 2 million new fans. Instead it was the hard-core fans re-purchasing an album they already owned on normal CD and then with the remastered bonus tracks.

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in the late 90’s they had too many models, all with design and functionality issues, that even Apple couldn’t keep up servicing them. So, it’s no wonder that Jobs streamlined the product range. And then Apple started to make money again. Now that Jobs is gone, Tim Cook is following the same mistakes of the other clueless leaders Apple had when Job’s wasn’t in charge. Too many products with too many bugs.

Look at the band releases these days and how many different offerings they have. The recent Metallica release has the following packages;

  • CD – normal album
  • Vinyl – normal album
  • CD – Deluxe album
  • Vinyl – Deluxe album
  • iTunes – normal album
  • iTunes – Deluxe album
  • Streaming – normal album
  • Streaming – Deluxe album

Why is there a need to have a normal album release and a deluxe album release these days?

Why can’t the album just be the album? If the band wants to put out three discs, let them and call it THE ALBUM…

Price and the how people will pay high prices for what they deem superior or rare is one of the reasons mentioned for the deluxe edition still existing but these days the deluxe edition is not in limited supply anymore. Millions are in circulation. The real main reason is due to artists and labels refusing to abandon the past.

Jobs refused to be chained to the past. Legacy ports were axed on the iMac. CD Rom drives got axed on later versions. The iPod was murdered by the iPhone. If Jobs let the past dictate the future, Apple would have been left dead and buried. But the past is the Achilles heel for the music business. The public is moving on. It doesn’t care if HMV goes under. It doesn’t care if mp3’s are declining. Hell, mp3’s via Napster is nearly 20 years old. The public at large doesn’t care about deluxe editions. Super fans and fans of bonus tracks do care but the music business cannot roll on these fans alone. It needs the majority, hence the reason why streaming has become a big player, because it offers access.

Trust me the labels would prefer to not have streaming, because the listens are anaemic on signed acts. Hell, there are DIY bands who have more listens on their account than label backed bands. But streaming exists, because the majority wanted it.

Don’t let the past dictate the future.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Dictatorships

It needs to be clear who is in charge of the ship. Metallica have Ulrich and Hetfield in the song writing department, however Ulrich is the captain of the ship with the help of managers Mensch and Burnstein. But without Hetfield creating, Metallica are nothing. He went missing during the “St Anger” period and what we got was an album with the main songwriter not there creatively. But it’s Ulrich who rules the roost.

Motley Crue have Nikki Sixx but there was a period when Tommy Lee (due to his relationship with Pamela Anderson plus a certain tape) was bigger than the Crue and he destabilised the band. But Nikki Sixx has re-invented himself since the start of the 2000’s, to a point where he is now bigger than Lee. And Sixx kept the Crue going.

Jay Jay French believed he was in charge of Twisted Sister as band creator and manager however Dee Snider was the main songwriter and the face of the band, so he believed he was in charge. It was no surprise that the band imploded from within.

Bon Jovi have Jon Bon Jovi and everyone else comes a distant second. Even Richie Sambora.

Dokken is a whole 300 page story in itself. George Lynch believed he should be in charge because the songs that gave Don Dokken his record deal are songs that Lynch and Brown wrote in a previous band. But it was Don Dokken that got the deal originally and since the band had his name, he should be in charge. No wonder they imploded.

Van Halen’s early albums had music written by all 4 members. This always surprised me and when I started getting into bands, I could see how difficult it is for all members to contribute actively to a song. Anyway, in the mid 2000’s the song writing credits on past albums changed to exclude Michael Anthony and keep it as Roth and the Van Halen brothers. For who was in charge, David Lee Roth believed he was in charge and could do what he want. This almost made EVH leave the band which carried his surname. So when EVH started to disagree with Roth, it was no surprise that Roth departed. EVH got Hagar and then put his trust in management to steer the ship. And it was no surprise that Hagar also departed due to management issues in the mid 90’s. And it’s no surprise the VH has not been very creative the last 20 years. They have no LEADER to steer the ship.

Black Sabbath had Tony Iommi.

Ozzy Osbourne had Sharon. Without Sharon, Ozzy wouldn’t have a solo career.

Ratt didn’t have no-one in charge, handing their career over to their manager, so it’s no surprise that they have the shenanigans going on right now, with court cases over the use of the name Ratt.

Deep Purple had Richie Blackmore in charge. When he steered the ship, the band rolled. But Ian Gillian showed his limitations. So it was no surprise that the band broke up not long after Blackmore left. Blackmore worked with better singers in Coverdale, Dio and Joe Lynn Turner. So when Purple returned in the mid 80’s, he pushed on through until the mid-90’s when he decided he couldn’t continue anymore with Gillian. So he left and Purple continued on aimlessly without their leader.

David Coverdale formed Whitesnake from the ashes of Deep Purple. When he was challenged, band members got fired. Case closed.

Same deal with Ronni James Dio. He formed his own band and when his dictatorship was questioned, the members got fired. Vivian Campbell wanted a cut of profits, instead he just got cut from the band.

Queensryche had Chris DeGarmo in charge, however when he departed there was no successor selected. Tate took up the mantle and we all know how that turned out.

Guns N Roses have Axl Rose as captain. When that was questioned, Slash and Duff walked.

Mike Portnoy thought he was in charge of Dream Theater however it was always John Petrucci. So when Mike decided to put the band on hiatus, the decision was made to move on without him.

Iron Maiden have Steve Harris. He has kept the band running, in the same way Iommi kept Sabbath running. Bruce Dickinson left and failed as a solo artist. Adrian Smith left and failed as a solo artist. Lucky for them, Harris kept Maiden going and when the time came to reunite the classic line up, with the addition of Gers, it proved to be a masterstroke at the right time. The Rock In Rio DVD is testament to the power of that decision.

For any newbie band starting out, you need a leader to steer the ship. Otherwise it will be chaos and just a hobby.

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A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Score Card V4.0

Mutiny Within
In 2010, Mutiny Within released their self-titled debut on Roadrunner Records. It didn’t get the traction they hoped for and Roadrunner didn’t get the return on investment. Roadrunner blamed piracy, however, the whole marketing campaign was centered on stating that the band is a cross between Killswitch Engage and Dream Theater. It was a terrible comparison and a terrible marketing campaign.

They had tours booked, but no financial support the label, plus they had to contend with band member departures. Then in 2011, vocalist Chris Clancy left the band due to financial reasons. He had some interesting viewpoints on piracy and recording contracts in general. For some reason, he believed that just because he got a recording contract for album number 1, he was guaranteed to make an income from music. A few weeks after Clancy left, Roadrunner dropped em. 9 months later, the band was on hiatus due to the difficulties of finding a new vocalist.

Then social media came to the rescue. In 2012, they posted some unreleased demo tracks from unreleased album number 2 on YouTube and got a positive response from fans. By the middle of the year, Chris Clancy was sort of back, finishing off vocals on the unfinished tracks.

In January 2013, they released album number 2 in “Synchronicity”. Clancy also set up a project called Industry Embers, an organisation dedicated to spread the word about music piracy. He revealed that music piracy had been the downfall of Mutiny Within, with the debut album only selling around 10,000 copies since released, and the album being shared and pirated at least 100,000 times.

I don’t really subscribe to the theory that 100,000 downloads = 100,000 lost sales. If your music is getting pirated, it means people are interested, but when they choose to pay is really up to them. It could be instant, it could take years. I like Mutiny Within, however I don’t own any of their music. The first album I heard on YouTube, the second album again on YouTube and once I had a Spotify account, on Spotify.

Anyway, the response album number 2 was surprising for the band and one of the Facebook posts mentioned how the band was left speechless. Maybe 20% of the 100,000 people who downloaded the first album illegally, became monetized fans this time around.

Regardless, there is no denying the excellence of “Become”.

Can’t forget what I’ve become

In February 2017, “Origins” came out and “Reasons” is the track that is connecting with me. And to my surprise, guitarist Andy James makes a surprise guest appearance on the song.

All I wanted was a way to survive,
A simple reason to make me feel alive

The album was written by collaborating digitally over two continents and leaving the joining of it all to Clancy who also mixed and mastered the album. Music is a lifers game and the guys in Mutiny Within are in it for real this time.

Evans Blue
By 2013, I was spinning “Graveyard Of Empires” their 2012 release. Then the band went on hiatus, while singer Dan Chandler hooked up with Dan Donegan from Disturbed to create the band Fight Or Flight.

In July, 2013, “A Life By Design” was released and it had the excellent tracks “Leaving” and “First To The Last”. But the album got no traction. It couldn’t rise above the noise. Donegan went back to Disturbed and Chandler returned to Evans Blue and in 2016, we got a brand new Evans Blue album called “Letters From The Dead”. The songs are not as good as their previous releases but Dan Chandler has one hell of a voice and he keeps it sounding fresh. I’m still interested to see what comes next.

Corroded
In 2012, they released “State Of Disgrace” with the excellent “Let Them Hate As Long As They Fear” and “Believe In Me”. But I forgot about them, because the album was not on Spotify.

Then the new song “Fall Of A Nation” came up on my Release Radar playlist. So I was interested, as nothing new had come out since 2012. I went to check out the Spotify account and lo and behold, their previous albums are now available.

They are another band from Sweden that I dig, and musically, if you like Machine Head, Black Sabbath and groove orientated Judas Priest, then you will like Corroded.

Another Lost Year
In 2012, they released their debut album “Better Days”, which to be honest was a pretty good f listen. Then I heard nothing from them via the normal news cycle.

But when I went on Spotify to check em out a few weeks ago, I saw they had been busy.

They released an EP called “The Revolution: Pt. 1 The Other Side” in 2014, another EP called “The Revolution, Pt. 2: It’s a Long Way Home” came out in 2016 and an album called “Alien Architect” was also released in 2016. While the EP’s are hit and miss, “Alien Architect” is a return to form.

Hell Or Highwater
An excellent side project from Atreyu drummer and their melodic vocalist Brandon Saller.

So when Atreyu went on a “Disturbed inspired” break in 2011, Saller decided it was a good time to bring out his side project where he is the main vocalist. In 2011, the excellent hard rock album “Begin Again” was released. I came across it in 2012 and dug it.

“Gimme Love”, “Find The Time To Breathe” and “Rocky Waters Edge” are pretty good rock tunes.

But then I heard nothing from them. Most of the metal news outlets focused on Atreyu getting back together and releasing a new album.

But from writing this post, I now know an EP called “The Other Side” came out in 2013. So off to Spotify I go.

“The Other Side” is a brilliant track, along with

I’ve been feeling like a stone here
All my gathered moss in tow
So I packed up my cases
And headed into the unknown

Heartist
In 2012 they released the excellent EP “Nothing You Didn’t Deserve”. And they went silent, until the album “Feeding Fiction” dropped in 2014. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t as good as the EP. However I am still interested to see what comes next and a recent Facebook post mentions that vocals are complete for the new album.

I Am Giant
2014 gave us “Science And Survival” but it was “The Horrifying Truth” from 2011 that cemented their status, plus it had a re-recording of my favourite song, “City Limits” which first made its debut on the “The City Limits/Neon Sunrise” released in 2010.

In between, they toured, placed their music with corporations, became ambassadors of certain clothing ranges, became X-Factor NZ judges and helped produce other bands.

Fast forward to February 2017 and a new single called “Dead Flower” is doing the rounds on my Spotify release radar, however, it’s with a different singer.

Fates Warning
The addictive “Disconnected” album, released in 2000 is a perfect blend of Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd, Tool and “Images and Words” era Dream Theater with the unique Matheos song crafting underpinning it all.

After a few more albums, the band went on hiatus circa 2005, only to resurface in 2013, with “Darkness In A Different Light”, which had the excellent “One Thousand Fires”.

Then in 2016, “Theories of Flight” came out, with a few more gems in “Seven Stars”, “The Light And Shade Of Things” and “White Flag”. To have a career and a future in music is to keep on creating music. You cannot rest on past successes.

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Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Score Card Checkpoint V3.0

A lot can happen in music and to bands in three years.

Vanishing Point
Great melodic metal band from Melbourne, Australia. 2014 gave us the “Distant Is The Sun” album. The excellent title track, “When Truth Lies” and “Let The River Run” still get listens today. I was on their Facebook page a few days ago and a new album is in the works, plus a few of their older titles are getting re-issues via AFM Records.

Harem Scarem
In 2013, they re-recorded their 1993 album “Mood Swings” and called it “Mood Swings II” for Frontier Records, which is all part of their President Serafino’s idea to amass a large and profitable catalogue of hard melodic rock music, so he can negotiate better streaming rates and keep all the profits for himself. In 2014, they released “Thirteen” also on Frontiers.

Rev Theory
I got into this band with their 2008 release “Light It Up” and the songs “Hell Yeah”, “Broken Bones”, “Wanted Man”, “Ten Years” and “Far From Over”. Then came the “Justice” album and it didn’t connect with me, so I sort of lost them afterwards. Then came a couple of hit and miss EP’s and suddenly we have a new album in “The Revelation”. It’s just how it is these days. We fall in and out of liking artists who are also competing with the history of music, plus their old hits for our attention. And for me, the 2008 album is what stands the test of time and because of that release I am always interested to see what the band does next.

Adrenaline Mob
2012 gave us “Omerta”. 2013 gave us “Coverta” and 2014 gave us “Men Of Honour”, while 2015 gave us “Dearly Departed”. In between, Mike Portnoy left and AJ Pero came in. They went on tour and AJ Pero died. Bassist, John Moyer also left and other bassists came in. But the mainstays are still there and still writing, with a new album expected to drop in 2017.

Lizzard
In 2013, I was giving their “Out Of Reach” album released in 2012, a lot of attention. I don’t know how I came across it or who gave it to me. It’s much different to when I used to purchase albums. Anyway, I was wondering what happened to them a few weeks ago, so I searched them up on Spotify and found they released an album called “Majestic” in 2014 and prior to “Out Of Reach”, there was a debut album called “Venus” in 2011.

Their take on Tool like progressive grooves in a shortened pop rock way is unique enough to convert me as a fan. But no one else knows them.

Thirty Seconds To Mars
In 2013, they released “Love Lust Faith Dreams” and went on a world tour to support it. In the process Jared Leto won a few awards for his acting and on the back of the publicity, the band grew a little bit more. With streaming services, they have songs pushing above 50 million streams and some songs pushing close to a 100 million streams.

Audrey Horne
They are one of the original classic rock/metal supergroups created by extreme metallers. This one hails from Norway. It’s their self –titled album, released in 2010 that hooked me in and the song “Sail Away”. In 2013, they released “Youngblood” and 2014 gave us “Pure Heavy”. Since then I haven’t seen or heard any news about them, apart from a few live shows here and there in Norway.

Stryper
2013 gave us re-recorded versions of 80’s Stryper in “Second Coming” and towards the end of the year “No More Hell To Pay” came out. In 2015, “Fallen” was released. Lead vocalist and main songwriter Michael Sweet was also busy with “I’m Not Your Suicide” in 2014 and “One Sided War” in 2016. Sweet and Lynch also released “Only To Rise” in 2015.

All I can say is that Michael Sweet understands what the music business is about in 2016. In 3 years, he was involved in six new music releases and in all of them he was the main songwriter. Remember in the early 80’s, bands released new product each year. Then MTV blew up and suddenly bands became global superstars and releases started to be every two years and then three years and for some, every four years.

Nonpoint
They released their self-titled album in 2012, which was more of a rock record than a metal record. “The Return” came out in 2014 and “The Poison Red” in 2016. In 2017, they will be touring with Alter Bridge and will also celebrate 20 years since their formation in Florida.

Breaking Benjamin
In 2010, all hell broke loose in the Breaking Benjamin camp, when their label made an agreement with other members to release a greatest hits package while vocalist/guitarist and main songwriter Benjamin Burnely was on hiatus trying to find a diagnosis to his health condition. This infuriated Burnley who fired the members and sued everyone in sight.

The recording contact was part of the dispute and the whole world got to see a real recording contract and the band agreement. The case went to arbitration and three years later, it looks like proceedings went in favour of Benjamin Burnely.

By the middle of 2014 Breaking Benjamin was a new band with new members, carefully selected from other modern rock bands. In 2015, “Dark Before Dawn” came out and it went straight to number 1 and it blew away major label releases from other artists in the pop genre who had bigger marketing budgets and PR campaigns.

On Spotify the band has 2,084,806 monthly listeners and lead single, “Failure” is at 20,721,981 streams and “Angels Fall” is at 19,926,003 streams. Meanwhile songs from earlier albums like “The Diary Of Jane” are at 76,513,373 streams (and it’s a song on a Spotify playlist called “Rock the 2000’s, which has 657,616 followers). The future for Breaking Benjamin is bright and the album is still selling and they are still on tour supporting it.

Sound Of Contact
The excellent concept album “Dimensionaut” came out in 2013 almost by pure accident amongst the members writing and performing on solo albums and other projects. For fans of Phil Collins, his son, Simon fronts the band. Then from there, in 2014, Simon was arrested on suspicion of supplying drugs and questioned over possession of drugs. He was released on bail and then all charges were dropped against him, which leaves him free to concentrate on music. And in 2016, Sound of Contact is recording a new album, plus all of the members are recording solo albums.

Kingdom Come
In 2013, Lenny Wolf released the “Outliers” album under the Kingdom Come name. By 2016, Kingdom Come played shows with Danny Stag and Johnny B Frank back in the fold and then Lenny retired the band.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

The Speed Of Moving On

Once upon a time, there was the BlackBerry. It was the phone for professionals with a full miniature keyboard and an operating system that provided emails and messaging functionality. But, the iPhone’s launch with apps in 2007 changed the game. It showed the world, that people didn’t just want a phone for emails and messaging. They wanted to do more. And that more came from apps. This brand new ecosystem, put tools into the hands of their users. Developers and companies rose up all around the world, just to create apps for the iPhone. But they couldn’t do the same on the Blackberry.

So while the Blackberry executive brass said that users would not want an iPhone, they totally missed the boat on how app developers increase the value of their own product.

In 2007, Blackberry was number 8 in global smartphones sold. Fast forward 10 years later, it has 0.0% market share.

Google dominates the numbers game because it gives out Android to phone makers for free, making it the operating system of choice for low-cost handsets in the developing world like India and China. Apple, on the other hand, keeps iOS in-house and its prices high — limiting its reach but maximising its profits.
BUSINESS INSIDER ARTICLE

The speed at which people abandon one thing and move on to another is huge. Remember MySpace. Remember Yahoo. Remember dot-matrix printers. Remember film cameras.

We are living in the generation of kids born from 1997 onwards. A generation who wants to consume music but not in the same way that their parents did. Their sense of community is all online. These kids weren’t alive when the Record Labels ruled the day, so they have no desire for yesterday, they are all about today and what lays beyond.

And the biggest story of the past five years that hasn’t been told is the seas of information that makes it nearly impossible to get any message heard. The main newspapers articles are written by publicists. The artists chime in to help Metal Hammer rise again, but they keep on forgetting that it’s the people who used to purchase the magazine that have moved on. We are sick and tired of the publicist articles. There is nothing new there. We can get all of that information from Wikipedia. Hell, artists who have a following, don’t need to do interviews, just start-up a blog and control your own news.

Success tomorrow means having an opinion today.

Attention is first. The money comes later.

This is 2017, where even the biggest acts in certain genres are unknown to many. It’s different to the mid 80’s, when MTV ruled and a limited number of acts had constant rotation on the channel.

I dare most people to sing two Shinedown songs and the average person has no idea who Five Finger Death Punch is, however both bands get as many RIAA certifications as bands in the 80’s did. In the same way, that most people don’t know which is the biggest video game, or the biggest online game or the biggest app or the biggest book. There’s just too much information.

Businesses depend upon customers. If no one is buying, companies fail. Artists depend upon audiences. If no one is listening, artists fail because the money is in the mass. The more people who listen, the more money the artist will make. But they need to get people’s attention.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Unsung Heroes

Piracy Incorporated

The Pirate Bay (TPB) is going to turn 14 years this year.

From its inception, it was a facilitator, spreading the disruption caused by Napster years earlier to even larger audiences. It showed the entertainment industries how they needed to change. But they didn’t change and it took companies like Netflix and Spotify to make this happen. And they did it by using the same technology made famous by The Pirate Bay. But while Netflix realised that money is in producing your own content, Spotify and other streaming providers have not. Licensing content from someone is not a satisfactory business model. Just ask HBO, formerly known as Home Box Office. Their early business model was all licensed content and they lost money year after year, while the movie studios got richer. It wasn’t until HBO went into original content, that they started making some serious cash. As soon as Spotify, Apple, YouTube and Pandora realise that they need to enter the recording business to produce their own content, the music industry will change and disrupt even more.

TPB had to stand strong against the pressure put on it by the MPAA and the RIAA and their sister organisations throughout the world. It has stood firm against government officials (loaded up in lobbyist dollars) trying to prosecute it. It was taken down, raided and it still survives. And it keeps on innovating even when court orders become the new normal, requesting ISP’s to block the web address or domain registries to deny any applications for TPB domains. Even in it’s home country of Sweden, court appeals and cases are still ongoing. Google was even pressured to alter (in my view censor) its search algorithm, so TPB doesn’t come up.

But TPB is still alive. It has become a vessel for people to access content they normally wouldn’t have access too. In the process, it has made the world a better place.

Metal music in general has grown to all corners of the world. Suddenly, every country has a metal scene and the larger metal bands that have the means to tour are suddenly hitting markets they’ve never hit before.

The high rates of software piracy in Eastern Europe caused an IT skills explosion.

Romanian President Traian Basescu, once told Bill Gates that digital pirating helped his nation build a budding software industry.
REUTERS Article on Eastern European Piracy

The high rates of music creation software piracy led to the electronic dance explosion coming out of Europe.

In the process, artists have gained decent followings. However, while bands in the past had followings, it was assumed that every single follower had purchased recorded music and that the band had made money. But that was not the case in the past and it still isn’t today.

I had music recorded on cassette tapes and video tapes to begin with.

  •  If the radio played a song I liked, I recorded it on cassette. I did this by pressing record every time a song started or was about to start and if I dug the tune, I kept the recording going. If I didn’t dig it, I stopped the recording and rewinded the tape to the last song, so I can start again. The rewinding part was easy when the tape was new, but when you started to record after a previously recorded song, you had to rewind to that point in time. The same process was carried out with video tapes. I was explaining this to my kids and they didn’t look amazed at all by my rewinding abilities.
  • I had friends of my brothers who had dubbed music on a cassette from someone else who copied it from someone else who copied it. So on some occasions the music I got was a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy. It sure sounds like mp3 downloading to me.
  • My brothers had one friend who purchased a lot of music, but he wouldn’t let no-one copy it. I remember one time I borrowed the “Fireworks” album from Bonfire and “Blow My Fuse” from Kix from him, without asking or telling him. He reckons I stole it. What kind of thief am I, when I returned the borrowed goods?

So what can artists learn from The Pirate Bay?

The Pirate Bay spread via word of mouth. It didn’t embark on a scorched earth marketing policy. For an artist there is no better marketing strategy than word of mouth. That is how virality works. With social media, it can spread even faster. But you need to be able to follow it up, quickly and with quality.

  • Volbeat got traction in the U.S in 2012 on the backs of a song they released in 2008. This in turn started to bring attention to their previous albums. Success comes later in today’s world. In some cases, much later.
  • This is very different to say, Galactic Cowboys. Back in the late eighties, Geffen Records signed them to a deal and just kept on pushing the band onto the public with a pretty high-profile marketing campaign. The marketing budget was huge, the recording budget was huge, but the public just didn’t take to them. There was no word of mouth. No one spoke about them and when you brought them up in a conversation, it was a “who”. In saying that, I thought the band was innovative and excellent.

The Pirate Bay’s user base is growing and replenishing.

  • For the thousands that stop using the service, another thousand start using the service.
  • For the thousands that stop listening to Metallica, another thousand started listening to Metallica.
  • For the thousands that stop listening to Ratt, another 10 started to listen to em.

You do the math as why certain things get bigger or remain bigger, while other things reduce in scale.

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Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

In The Name Of Metal

Y&T sang “In The Name Of Rock’N’Roll” but if you wanted to find their music, you had to go to the heavy metal section of the record shop. You see, it was all one of the same, once upon a time. Hell, even Bon Jovi could be found in the metal section.

Metal music, much like the politics of today, was the very unpopular movement that took the mainstream by surprise in the 80’s. In the process it became a commercial behemoth. The record labels got rich and suddenly metal music went from the unacceptable to the acceptable. Isn’t it funny how billions in revenue from sales of metal music changed the people’s viewpoint.

But religious leaders hated metal. “Satan was on the loose”, they told their followers. These fanatics needed an enemy to push their sermons and there was no easier target than metal bands. The Government’s of the world sided with these religious group and certain factions came about, who also hated it, because of its anarchist lyrics and themes of violence, decadence and drug use. But the music got louder, the bands more popular and suddenly and suddenly the artists became as powerful as the leaders of nations. So it was only a matter of time before laws needed to be passed to censor or slap down the movement.

Society was suddenly at a crossroads.

How did the children of the baby boomers become so disobedient?

Why couldn’t these kids just conform to the system like their parents did?

A rethink of beliefs was happening.

Heavy metal bands questioned religion and made comments on politics. And the “metal fad” that most magazines predicted would die, didn’t. Instead, the message got louder. Metal music was alive in all parts of the world.

Music critics at first labelled it noise. Led Zeppelin’s first three albums (even though they are not metal, are still seen as influences of the metal movement) were labelled as disjointed and noise by Rolling Stone magazine. Black Sabbath’s first album was reviewed as a discordant jam that never finds it’s synch by the same magazine. However many years later, Rolling Stone would rewrite their own history and they put the albums in the 1001 albums you must hear before you die lists.

If you were a fan of heavy metal or hard rock, there was a system of persecution at play from unsupportive teachers, clueless leaders and an out of touch mainstream. But the music survived, it thrived and maintained a fan base for over 40 plus years.

Was it the roots to the blues that made metal appeal to the people?

Was it the borrowing from the Classical genre that made metal appeal to the people?

Was it the borrowing from the Jazz genre that made metal appeal to the people?

Was it the roots and upbringing of the artists that made metal appeal to the people? In other words, the majority of metal and rock fans came from the blue-collar social class. The people who keep the country they live in, running and producing goods.

It’s no surprise that the bands that would influence the metal genre the most originated in Europe. You had Led Zeppelin a supergroup of musicians who dabbled with the supernatural and borrowed from every genre known at that point in time. You had Black Sabbath, coming from industrial Birmingham with their sludgy and aggressive bluesy sound merged with the devil chord (the tritone) from classical music. You had Deep Purple who along with Led Zeppelin showed ambition and virtuosity in their music. If you go back further, you have The Beatles and Rolling Stones in the 60’s. ABBA and David Bowie showed the pop world how to write ambitious pop songs in the 70’s and pop music was never the same again. What the European artists did was introduce virtuosity into music that wasn’t there before.

Then there was UFO with their virtuoso guitarist Michael Schenker who would go on to influence all of the 80’s guitarists. Judas Priest, Motorhead and Iron Maiden flew the European metal flag in the early 80’s along with songs that sounded faster and more abrasive. A lot of critics called this a merging of punk rock with metal, however that wasn’t the case. I remember watching the Metal Evolution docu-series and Steve Harris totally disagreed with this viewpoint. As far as Harris was concerned, he hated punk music and he couldn’t see why he would merge the speed of punk with rock music to create the Iron Maiden sound. The U.S had Van Halen break through on the backs of the Van Halen brothers, who were born in Europe and grew up with the European technicality and the influences of classical music.

But metal had another genre hiding within which would go on to become bigger and more profitable. Its name became known as glam metal/rock. It was full of arena rock chorus’s, guitar solos by guitar heroes and “having a good time” lyrics. Combining the over the top glam look with MTV, proved to be a platinum move. Suddenly mediocre acts became platinum acts. A new cultural movement was born. The charts became a metal/rock paradise. Due to its crossover appeal, metal’s audience changed from male teenagers to include females, pre-teens and college teens.

While rock music in the 50’s changed society, metal music in the 80’s did exactly the same. And the world is better from it. I kneel at the altar of metal.

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