4 Years Ago (2017)
“New Jersey” from Bon Jovi was doing the rounds.
“Slippery When Wet” was written while Jovi and Sambora still lived at home and had a million dollar debt to the record label. The start of the “New Jersey” song writing process began as soon as the band came off a gigantic 18 month world tour with millions to their name.
A double album was demoed and rejected.
Desmond Child was brought in again and a few more songs got written. Other outside songwriters like Dianne Warren and Holly Knight also contributed. The double album then became a single album and months after the conclusion of the “Slippery” tour, Bon Jovi had a new album ready to release and another 18 month world tour on the cards.
In between the tour, Jon escaped to Vegas and got married.
Once the tour ended, Jon the went on a road trip, released a solo album for a movie and achieved even more success. Richie Sambora was left in limbo, picked up the pieces and also released a solo album.
While “Jersey” didn’t have the same sales success as “Slippery”, it is a solid album and the band earned its keep as one of the best live shows.
Customers of music showed the recording industry what they wanted via Napster. When other services stepped in, music customers showed the labels what choice brings to the conversation.
Choice for fans to decide and make their own decisions and the power to demonstrate what they believe something should be worth.
But the labels ignored it.
It wasn’t until a hardware company created iTunes and then techies created streaming services that customers started to get what they want, digitally.
So are the the record labels and the publishers doing their best for artists in the long term or are they just focused on the short term profits?
Instead of following a path that leads to better standards/outcomes for artists in the long term they seek a litigious path that only benefits them in the short term.
The labels and artists should understand that there are fans who don’t pay for recorded music because they don’t believe they should, however these same fans have no problem coughing up $200 plus dollars for a concert ticket for a larger act and these same fans have no problems coughing up $20 to $70 for independent acts. It’s their choice how they choose to interact with music.
And then there are the fans who have large LP and CD collections, who don’t pay for music anymore, but still pay for concert tickets and what not.
And then there are fans like me who have large LP and CD collections and decided that streaming is the way forward. So I pay for a family account and I have no problems forking out cash for a concert ticket. And I still add to my physical collection when I feel like it and when I see it as worthwhile for my collection.
And then there are fans who have large LP and CD collections who have decided that purchasing physical is what they want to do.
And these fans also have no problem paying for a concert ticket.
The recording industry has never been more powerful. There’s all this crap about piracy, streaming rates and the techies taking over. But the techies make tools, not stories or music.
Life is a struggle for everyone, not just creators.
If you risk, you could lose. There’s no safety net in life. And we don’t hear from those who risked everything and failed and now have nothing. Hell, we don’t even know their names. Only the winners get their story told.
It’s a “winner-take-all” economy and we plod on, trying to make it. But we don’t know where to start, so we take all the roads on offer, only to get back to the start.
Making music is great, but making connections is better. It’s the way of the world today.
Did you know that Book publishers make more than 90% of their profit from books they published years ago. And yet they put 2% of their effort into promoting and selling those books.
Would it be fair to say that 90% of the income that the record labels get comes from music that came out years ago compared to what is new.
The majority of music consumers don’t normally purchase creative content all the time but when they do, they buy what is popular.
It’s the reason why the “Black” album from Metallica still sells. It’s the reason why “IV” from Led Zeppelin still sells. It’s the reason why “No More Tears” still sells. It’s the reason why “Slippery When Wet” still sells.
However we are living in a different era, one controlled by consumers. And the new stuff released by artists is originally purchased by a smaller hard-core super fan group. Much like the 70’s. Then in time as word spreads, people will check out the release and keep it in the conversation. Much like the 70’s.
Recognition doesn’t come on day one or week one or month one or year one. It percolates year after year after year until it boils to the surface. Will you be around to capitalise and monetise?
YouTube tells the world that the service pays more in the U.S for Ad-Supported Streaming than other services like Spotify and Pandora.
The record labels via their lobby group RIAA disagree with YouTube’s math.
But the record labels and the publishing/licensing companies are the first to get paid. And nowhere in this debate have these organisations mentioned what they get.
But there are thousands of news articles showing what the artists or the song writers get from YouTube streams in their bank account, but the artists are the last ones to be paid, once the labels and publishing companies take their cuts.
But whose robbing who.
8 Years Ago (2013)
“Trial of Tears” is from the “Falling Into Infinity” album released in 1997.
The album is a controversial subject for Dream Theater fans. Some say it is incredible, others say that it was a sell out and others say it’s crap. Mike Portnoy said he hated it, and that by releasing the Official Bootleg of the album on a Double CD format, he felt that he has corrected that hate and given the album its due justice.
If the other members agree with that statement is an entirely different matter.
“Trial of Tears” is a three movement song. John Myung owns this song. His groovy bass lines are all over it and for any aspiring bass player, this is a song that should be in your bible of bass songs to learn.
This song is not the heaviest Dream Theater song however it is one song that has heaps of melody around it. Words can’t describe the emotions this song stirs, so let your ears do the listening and give it the time of day.
Lifehouse just seems to hang around in my life. Maybe it is because my wife played the “No Name Face” album to death at home and in the car when it came out in 2000. While the lead-off single “Hanging By A Moment” had the traction, it was cuts like “Cling and Clatter”, “Quasimodo” and “Everything” that hooked me in.
“No Name Face” was the pinnacle. “Stanley Climbfall” and the self titled album didn’t even come close. I was starting to lose interest.
“Who We Are” in 2007 got my attention with the sorrowful “Storm”, the soul searching rock of “Disarray” and the Johnny Cash vibe of “Broken” .
Then in 2010, came “Smoke and Mirrors”. Tracks 1 to 8 are top notch. They should have stopped the album right there. It would have been perfection. “Almeria” has the song “Moveonday”, which reminds me of “When The Levee Breaks” from Led Zeppelin.
The rest however pales compared to “No Name Face” and “Smoke and Mirrors”. Crank em.
I wrote a little story about what artists could learn from Rosalia Mera the co-founder of fashion giant Zara.
Piracy can never be handled with a one size fits all business model.
Piracy is hard to be stopped however it can be competed against. Piracy is a service issue. Pure and simple.
The internet is just another disruptive service to the entertainment industries; like the time the VCR was going to destroy Hollywood. Instead the VCR opened up a whole new ownership and rental income stream for Hollywood. With all new technologies, the entertainment power brokers try to destroy it at first. When they realize that they are going to fail, it then becomes part of the new market. In 2012, recorded music had its first year of small growth. Since then it’s been growing.
And music-streaming services will reduce piracy.
And that’s another wrap for another week.