4 Years Ago (2018)
A slow week for the site 4 years ago.
8 Years Ago (2014)
I sort of did a history post called “2009: This week (April 1 to April 6) – 5 years ago”.
I just went back and looked at some events that happened in the music business.
Record Labels: The 360 deals that the labels had artists sign had a lot of headlines as the labels found a new way to get more money from the artists. In this case, the 360 deals take income from touring and merchandise for almost nothing in return.
As a guitar player it was that C#m7(add9) chord that i always return to.
It is basically a C#5 power chord played on the 4th fret on the A string. Add the ninth note (the D#) and then let the open B and E strings resonate. It is a beautiful sounding chord. When you tab it out, it looks like this.
The first time I heard a power chord with the added 9th was in “Message In A Bottle” and then again in “Every Breath You Take” by The Police.
Both songs have Sting as the songwriter, however the real credit goes to Andy Summers. He was the one that took a keyboard line or a bass line and made it rock.
Then I heard that chord again in 1992. From bands I had no idea about. One band was Dream Theater and the mighty John Petrucci used it in “Take The Time”.
The other band was Saigon Kick and their very underrated guitarist/founder/main songwriter/producer/record label owner/studio owner and general music business lifer, Jason Bieler also employed the same sounding chord in the song “Love Is On The Way”.
And that chord has been in my arsenal ever since. If I need to play a C#m chord in a song, this is the one i play.
The other chord is this G#m9(#5) that I heard in “Jet City Woman” by Queensryche and again in “Another Day” by Dream Theater.
Hearing “Love Is On The Way” again today, brought back all of those memories.
And that is what music is all about. A soundtrack to our lives. Memories from different times that somehow connect with one another. That is what the C#m7(add9) chord achieved.
Music was all about achieving LIBERATION.
Music is all about the tyranny of MONEY.
Bands/Artists needed to be busy to make it or stay relevant.
Bands/Artists still need to be busy to make it or stay relevant. Just check out George Lynch and the amount of releases since 2008. Or Mark Tremonti or Myles Kennedy and their involvement in various projects.
At the time, Avenged Sevenfold was out on the road promoting the “Hail To The King” album, working on the “Deathbat” game and an anniversary re-issue for “Waking The Fallen”.
The challenge was getting your music heard
The challenge is still about getting heard.
No one toured South and Central America.
Touring dollars are in South and Central America. If you are an established band and are not touring South/Central America, then you are leaving money on the table.
Platinum selling bands/artists were told that they owed the label millions.
Van Halen comes to mind here during the Van Halen II era. “We went platinum. We toured for a year, we came back, and Warner Bros. told us that we owed them $2 million,” said drummer Alex Van Halen.
“And on top of that, we owed them another record,” added guitarist Eddie Van Halen.
“It was the end of the year. We had three weeks to deliver another record…then boom, we went straight out on tour again. The first record took about a week, seven days to do. The second record took about three weeks.”
Platinum selling bands/artists are still told that they owe the label millions.
Bands/Artists covered songs as a career choice and made them unique. They made those cover songs their own. Van Halen did it with “You Really Got Me” and again with “You’re No Good”, which Linda Ronstadt also covered.
Bands/Artists do cover songs as a tribute to their influence.
The Record Labels didn’t know what would succeed or what would fail.
Metallica’s “Kill Em All” was independently financed.
Motely Crue’s “Too Fast For Love” was independently financed.
The Record Labels still don’t know what would succeed or what would fail.
Five Finger Death Punch is a big seller in the world of metal and hard rock and they couldn’t get a deal at the start so they self-financed their debut and issued it on a small subsidiary label.
Music was a risk business.
Music is still a risk business.
Labels invested in a lot of projects because they didn’t know what would connect.
Labels invest in fewer projects and blame piracy because they still don’t know what will connect.
Recording was expensive.
Recording is cheap.
Distribution was expensive and controlled by gatekeepers.
Distribution is cheap.
Marketing was all about radio and record shops.
It is about Spotify, YouTube, social media and virality.
Labels had executive boards/owners that were music fans.
Labels have executive boards that are actual business executives.
The release of music was controlled.
We have plenty. We are overloaded.
The rise of the internet, has given rise to sites like UltimateGuitar.com and Songsterr, which has full transcriptions of songs from artists.
The beauty of it all is that the transcriptions are free and made by musicians who are fans of the band. Some of the more complex progressive stuff is also out there and massive kudos to the guys and gals who sat down to transcribe Dream Theater, Periphery, Sikth, Animals As Leaders and Protest The Hero because they love the bands and not because they get paid to do it.
On the flip side you still have Hal Leonard selling Note For Note books for $50 to $70 plus dollars in Australia. And they wonder why no one is buying. Let’s blame piracy. Why not, everyone else does.
Of course, there was a time when the Music Publishers Association freaked out about PowerTab and went all nuclear on the software and tried to kill the user transcription sites.
Ahead Of The Game: YouTube dominates music streaming UNOFFICIALLY.
Behind The Eight Ball: Apple’s got no streaming solution. iTunes Radio is no match for Pandora so Apple/Cook making a billion dollar deal with Beats Music (which was losing money) so that they could have a streaming solution. And Trent Reznor (who was an investor in Beats) cashed in with the Beats sale to Apple by making way more money than he ever made in music.
Ahead Of The Game
Independent bands that come up with creative ways to engage their fans. “The Airborne Toxic Event” a few years back released a series of stripped-down, single-shot videos for every song on their album. Check out their Spotify and YouTube numbers today. A lot of the established rock bands do not have those numbers. The lesson here is that the artists in today’s world have way more opportunities to reach out to their fans and share content with them. It’s a lifer game.
Behind The Eight Ball
Artists talking about CD sales. Or research that focuses on innovation hurting sales of music. Hell, lets bring back Eight Track Tapes and Cassettes while we are at it.
If you are an artist, you need to keep on creating so that you can stay ahead of the game. If you are a label, you need to be finding talent and innovating to stay ahead of the game. Otherwise, you will be behind the eight ball and blaming everyone else for your shortcomings.
And that’s a wrap for another week of DoH history.