4 Years Ago (2018)
While everyone was complaining about freemium and the monies streaming services pay to the rights holders of music, Fortnite “Battle Royale” came out for free and conquered all. It’s already at everyone’s price point. It can’t get any lower so it costs nothing to try it.
But Fortnite was originally a game for purchase. Within six months of its release in 2017, it had over a million users. But then in September 2017, Epic (the game developer behind it) did something different. They released a free-to-play “Battle Royale” mode. Within 2 weeks of its release, it had over 10 million players.
For Epic, the “Battle Royale” mode is a major hit. It’s like Bruce Springsteen, “Born In The USA” style of a hit. And it’s still going strong because the best marketing tool is word of mouth.
Fortnite spread because the people who played it, enjoyed it and then they asked their friends to create an account and play with them online.
And their friends said “why not”, it’s free, let’s give it a try. The game kept growing in popularity because Epic constantly upgraded it on a regular basis.
In other words, the fans of the game are not waiting 2 years for a new upgrade. Like how fans of artists wait years for new products.
I come from the era of the album, but all I want is frequent content. It’s the reason why the bootleg industry was huge in the 80’s and 90’s. Hell, my record collection has hundreds of bootlegs, from live recordings, to demo recordings, to sound check jams and what not. It was the need to fill the gap between albums.
And like all hit’s there is a writ.
8 Years Ago (2014)
Mick Mars said that he almost left Motley Crue during the “Generation Swine” sessions and that still to this day, he hates the album.
It was meant to be called “Personality #9” with John Corabi on vocals. But the label was still reeling from the $3 million loss on their accounts from the 1994 self-titled album so they demanded that Vince Neil come back in.
The Crue started working on the follow-up in 1995. Nikki Sixx wanted to road test the songs before they recorded them, in small venues and using different band names, like the Four Skins. It was a back to the seventies approach, when bands used to debut new songs on the road before committing them to tape in a studio. That is why so many songs from the seventies worked well in a live setting. Deep Purple played “Highway Star” for at least 12 months before recording it. Same as Ted Nugent and “Stranglehold”. The list goes on, however today’s rock star doesn’t need to pay their dues on the live circuit.
But they road tested nothing.
The biggest Achilles heel to “Generation Swine” is the lack of the hit song. Like “Kick Start My Heart”.
It wasn’t a hit on the Billboard Charts, however in rock circles it was a song that all the rock heads and the metal heads could latch onto. Even the self-titled album, didn’t have that kind of song that people could latch on to.
Here is a summary, however each rule is expanded in the blogpost.
On Motley Crue’s 2008 song ‘Welcome To The Machine’ they provided a few general rules about the recording business and the machine that is the music business.
Rule Number 1: “Sign on the x to sell your soul”.
Rule Number 2: “It’s so automatic, Hocking broken plastic, Royalties you’ll never know”.
Rule Number 3: “Give your ass like a whore, Once you take a hit, You need more more more”.
Rule Number 4: “Welcome to the machine, Once it sucks you in you’ll never leave, Grind you up spit you out, After all you’re just a piece of meat”.
Rule Number 5: “Sell out to the rats, Make em rich make em fat”.
On Motley Crue’s 1999 song ‘Fake’ they seem to provide a few more general rules about the recording business.
Rule Number 6 (supporting Rule Number 1 and 2): “Sold my soul while you sold records, I have been your slave forever.”
Rule Number 7 (supporting Rule Number 5): “What are you fat cats doing anyway?, Take our money and flush it down the drain.”
Ugly Kid Joe asked “Mr Recordman” if he knew who they were or if he gave a damn about them or if he was purely there for the dough. Based on their career trajectory, the answer was obvious. Mr Recordman didn’t give a damn about them once they stopped being “commercially viable”
Rule Number 8 – Mr Recordman doesn’t know who you are. Look at the band “Winger”. When Reb Beach called the label after the Beavis and Butthead episode hit TV screens, the label claimed they never knew a band called Winger.
Rule Number 9 comes from Disturbed and their song “Sons Of Plunder”.
Rule Number 9: “You say you’ve found yourself a new sound, one hundred more all have the same sound”
The song Chainsaw Charlie from WASP is littered with music business rules. The first three lines, “Will you gamble your life?, Sign right here on the dotted line, It’s the one you’ve waited for all of your life” fall into Rule Number 1. Then the lyrics of “And tomorrow when I’m gone, Will they whore my image on?” brings us to Rule Number 10.
Rule Number 10: The record label will forever whore your image on after they have dropped you or after you have departed this Earth. There is a lot of money to be made in death.
Rule Number 11: “We’ll sell your flesh by the pound you’ll go, A whore of wrath just like me, We’ll sell ya wholesale, we’ll sell your soul, Strap on your six string and feed our machine.”
Rule Number 12: “Welcome to the morgue boy, Where the music comes to die” is about songs written by a committee. It’s soulless, however it sells.
Rule Number 13: “Ah, trust me boy, I won’t steer you wrong, If you trust me son, You won’t last very long”
Rule Number 14: “The new morgue’s our factory, to grease our lies, Our machine is hungry, it needs your life” is the definition of the recording business.
Rule Number 15: “I’m the tin man, I’ve never had a heart, I’m the tin man, But I’ll make you a star” is the Record Label CEO. All promises and that tin heart doesn’t care if those promises are broken.
Savatage is another band that covers the music business in a bit of detail. Rules 16 to 18 are from the song “Jesus Saves”.
Rule Number 16: “You know Jesus he started changing, Things got really strange, He saw his tee shirts everywhere, He started missing shows, The band came down to blows, But Jesus he just didn’t care.”
Yep, it’s a tough gig keeping a band together, especially when a band member becomes the idol that the fans latch onto.
Rule Number 17: “Things got out of hand, And so he quit the band, Still the critics they would rave”
Rule Number 18: “hear Him cut through the night, On those late night radio waves”
Eventually, we get old and we become “classic rock”. There is no way around out. Embrace it and play to your core audiences.
The final two rules are from the song “When The Crowds Are Gone” from Savatage.
Rule Number 19: “I don’t know where the years have gone, Memories can only last so long, Like faded photographs, forgotten songs”
Rule Number 20: “The story’s over, When the crowds are gone.”
Adrenaline Mob are seasoned professionals collaborating on a hard rock project. For some reason they remind me of Night Ranger.
The debut album “Omerta” was number 4 on my list for releases in 2012. I hold the vocal talents of Russell Allen and the guitar talents of Mike Orlando in high regard. Add to those talents the powerhouse drumming from Mike Portnoy on the first album (and the two EPs) and of course the mighty AJ Pero appears on the second album. As a Twisted Sister fan, this is a great thing to see happen. And finally John Moyer from Disturbed is providing the bottom end.
Listening to “Men Of Honour”, it comes across as a band having fun. Check it out and while you’re at it, listen to Mike Orlando.
I don’t know what to call Orlando’s guitar style. One term I have for it is “Technical Chaos”. He has the chops, but he plays with an improvised abandonment that sounds so precise and I like that.
If you remember back to 1998, the recording business became famous for saying that no one will be interested in downloading a crappy mp3. Guess they didn’t know how many billions those no ones came too.
Pono came out at a time when fans of music had decided that YouTube and Spotify are better alternatives.
And that is what Pono Music fails to understand. The fans of music are in control. If they want to pay, they will. If they want to go to a show, they will. If they want to download for free, they will.
But Neil Young’s PR said that mp3s are crap.
So in 2017 it was discontinued.
And that’s another wrap.