A to Z of Making It, Alternate Reality, Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Gene Simmons

Fans of rock and metal have had a shitload of releases in the last 3 years. There is more music being created right now than ever before.

Five Finger Death Punch are selling out a lot of their shows. Coheed and Cambria just finished a “house full” tour in support of the anniversary tour of “In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth”. Has anyone that isn’t a Coheed and Cambria fan actually paid attention to the amount of work that goes into Claude Sanchez’s storytelling. “The Afterman” releases told the origin tale of Sirius Amory who discovered an energy source called the Keyworth, which is sort of the common gravity that keeps all these planets aligned. The whole Coheed and Cambria saga is based around the “Amory Wars”.

With all of the good that is happening in rock and metal music, we still have people who just don’t get it like the out of touch Gene Simmons who said, “Rock is dead” a while back. I already covered that part a while ago so let’s look at some of Gene Simmon’s achievements over the last 40 years.

He is known as the “God Of Thunder” however the actual song that he is famous for is written by Paul Stanley.

“Cold Gin” and “Parasite” are Ace Frehley songs, however in the early days Ace wasn’t comfortable singing so Simmons took lead vocal. “Parasite” became a favourite of all the early thrash heroes like Scott Ian, Dimebag Darrell and James Hetfield, however it is no creation of Gene Simmons.

The “Rock And Roll All Nite” chorus was written by Paul Stanley.

“I Love It Loud” and “Unholy” needed Vinnie Vincent’s metal touch to make it happen. .

“War Machine” was written by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance.

“Domino” actually appeared on a Black N Blue album. On the Black N Blue album the song was called “Nasty Nasty” and the songwriters are listed as Gene Simmons, Jaime St. James and Tommy Thayer however “Domino” is listed as being solely written by Gene Simmons.

So in a nutshell, his achievements on his own are pretty much close to zero. Basically, Gene Simmons achievements are no different from a record label CEO, making money from the hard work and creativity of other people like Paul Stanley.

His cartoon Demon superhero persona is more popular than the actual music he has written and in today’s world you either lead with your music or you get left behind.

From the solo albums that came out, Ace Frehley’s outsold all the other three. From the hits, “Beth” was it and it was written by Peter Criss and molded by Bob Ezrin. However, Gene is trying his best to rewrite history and make himself to be more important than what he really is.

The main difference between today and yesteryear is the connection/interaction between fans and artists. Gene Simmons has none. As far as he is concerned, the connection means he creates and we must buy.

The biggest test of the relevance of the artist is in moments of crisis. Gene Simmons answer to the copyright infringement crisis was to call for file-sharers to be sued. He then responded by threatening lawsuits and withholding new music. He also said that the FBI should arrest the people who upload/download and take away their houses.

I like Kiss. I even took my kids to watch them when they toured Oz with Motley Crue.

But dude, seriously, you need to create something that we can sink our teeth into again.

It’s obvious that Gene Simmons cant do it on his own, so he needs to start writing with other artists again to come up with something magical.

It’s no use just sitting back and blaming everyone else for why no one cares about your new music. And for why no one is buying, guess what, those buyers are slowly declining and have been for the last 15 years. I have said it a million times and I will still say it. Napster showed the recording industry that we want access to free music and that paradigm shift event happened 15 years ago.

The majority of music fans have moved on to the access model, which means that people could be at a Kiss show that have never purchased a Kiss album. That is the reality we live in, Mr Gene Simmons.

Standard
Alternate Reality, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Unsung Heroes

June, 1993

It’s June 1993 and I am flicking through the new issue of Hot Metal Magazine, which at the time was Australia’s premier metal and rock magazine. For $3.50 it was an excellent alternative to the overpriced American and British magazines.

On the cover there was the John Bush fronted Anthrax. Three members are wearing white t-shirts with blue Jeans, and two members are wearing black t-shirts with blue jeans. It was a sign of the changing times as publicists and record labels pushed their artists to have a more grungy look.

“The Sound Of White Noise” got 5 skulls in the magazine review, which equates to ‘KILLER’. A few months after it’s release the album was certified GOLD. This is probably the album that Scott Ian was referring too when he made his comments that in the past they would sell a shitload of albums.

It was a hungry album. John Bush’s transition from a struggling band to a major label act was the catalyst. It was an album chock full of metal “hits”. “Only” comes to mind straight away. Even James Hetfield called it the perfect song. “Black Lodge” didn’t sit out-of-place with the current crop of chart toppers in Soundgarden and Alice In Chains. Credit producer Dave Jerden who produced both “Dirt” from Alice In Chains and “The Sound Of White Noise”. It was the last good Anthrax album and it is not even up on Spotify. Actually none of the John Bush-era of Anthrax is on Spotify which is a shame.

And the critics that said “Worship Music” is a great album cannot understand why it didn’t resonate with the audience. Look at the top ten songs on Spotify for Anthrax. Not one song from “Worhsip Music” is on the list. Same goes for YouTube.

Then you have the bloodbath from the Eighties scene.

Jani Lane (RIP) and Warrant had split and both acts had their contracts reduced to demo deals. So even though you had three albums that had moved 500,000 plus units each, they still ended up on the scrap-heap. Kik Tracee also split with vocalist Stephen Shareaux (bet he wished he tried harder for that Motley Crue vocalist spot) and both of them had been reduced to a demo deal. Looks like all the promo to sell the act just didn’t connect with the audience because in the end the songs where rubbish.

Meanwhile Rowan Robertson from “The Lock Up The Wolves” Dio era inked a deal with Atlantic Records for his new band that had Oni Logan from Lynch Mob on vocals. We all know that this didn’t end up going anywhere.

While, Roberston’s former employer, Dio (RIP) was working with WWIII guitarist Tracy G after his “Dehumanizer” venture with Black Sabbath went sour. These sessions would go on to create the “Strange Highways” album while Jake E.Lee was working with WWIII singer (and i use that term loosely) Mandy Lion.

Reports coming through at that time spoke about the new Bruce Dickinson solo album being an “updated, toughened up Santana vibe with a heavy leaning towards Peter Gabriel type atmospherics and experimentation.”  That album would become “Balls To Picasso” and apart from the song “Tears Of The Dragon” which sounds like an Iron Maiden song the rest of the album was a listen best avoided.

On the drug front we had David Lee Roth getting busted in New York after purchasing a $10 bag of weed. Seriously, for someone like his stature surely he could have done it more discreetly or gotten that $10 bag delivered to the studio. However, Roth is Roth and he decided that he should go out into the town and look for a dealer. On the other drug front, there was news that started coming out about Tim Kelly (RIP) from Slaughter who was alleged to have been involved in a major drug smuggling ring that was busted after a five-year investigation by the F.B.I.

Then we had the Motley Crue vs Vince Neil shenanigans.

The Vince Neil “Exposed” album got a good review in the magazine. I suppose it was inevitable that the solo album from Vince Neil would sound a lot like Motley Crue, even though NIkki Sixx insisted that Vince Neil had nothing to do with the creation of the songs in Motley Crue or the Motley sound. I think Nikki Sixx missed the memo that the actual voice plays a big part in the sound. Credit music business vet Phil Soussan for delivering a stellar performance in the songwriting department that helped kick-start Vince’s solo career.

Then on the other side you had “The Scream” with new singer Billy Scott battling to get their album done in time so that they can tour with Motley Crue as part of the singer transfer deal. For the uninitiated John Corabi from “The Scream” replaced Vince Neil in Motley Crue. However, the Crue’s album was REJECTED by Elektra Records. It wouldn’t be until the following year that the self-titled Motley Crue album saw the light of day. And within 6 months it disappeared from the public conversation and the tour got reduced from arena’s to theaters to getting cancelled.

Finally Pride and Glory was still on hold while Zakk Wylde worked with Ozzy Osbourne on the follow-up to “No More Tears”. Producers John Purdell and Duane Baron took over from Michael Wagener (who produced the first few songs and was then retained to mix the album until Micheal Beinhorn got involved). James Lomenzo was being used as a bass replacement for the recording sessions. The album that would become Ozzmosis would take another two more years before it saw the light of day and the style of the songs would be re-imagined into the modern sound of the day.

In the end the majority of artists mentioned above are still part of the music business in some way. And for the ones that aren’t, only death could separate them from the music world.

Standard
A to Z of Making It, Alternate Reality, Music, My Stories, Piracy

Are People Listening And Sharing Your Album?

I still can’t listen to the new Evergrey album on Spotify in Australia. I went to the AFM Records Facebook page and I saw they have a post that states “Listen to the new Evergrey album on Spotify and add it to your favorites!” So I went on to Spotify and like the day before only “King Of Errors” is available for streaming. I then saw on the AFM post that they had a Spotify Embed link, so I clicked on that and the whole album came up on a webpage. I clicked on the other songs on the webpage and in my Spotify player I got the message “This track is currently not available in Australia.”

And I was like, WTF. It’s like 2014. What the hell is AFM Records thinking withholding the album from Spotify? And what the hell are they thinking of doing a gated released based on which countries/zones?

This is silly. Evergrey is not known as a huge seller of recorded music in Australia. All of the CD’s that I have purchased from them I have done so as Imports. So whoever is the brains at AFM should return the brain they have and get a new model that is fitted for 2014 and beyond as they are leaving money on the table by not making the album available on Spotify, while YouTube who pays less has it.

Also the norm is that when I purchase an album from Amazon, it comes with an AutoRip feature that allows me to download an mp3 version of the album. Sixx A.M’s “Modern Vintage” had that feature, Godsmacks “1000hp” had that feature however Evergrey’s new album is not even part of that agreement either. AFM Records is out of touch with the modern world. Their answer to Spotify is to charge consumers more to have access to music.

Sales are irrelevant. It is an old metric and no way a guarantee of success. Seriously ask any artist what they would prefer. To be number 1 on an irrelevant chart or to be number 1 on Spotify or YouTube. Consumers of music have moved over to the access model. So why not service those fans as well as the fans that want to buy the album.

The only important thing today is how many people LISTENED to the album.

It is a different train of thought and the usual media outlets don’t publicise it. Think I am wrong, go on any Blabbermouth post about a band and there is always a paragraph or two about first week sales and what the album charted. Seriously, who cares. The future is that artists will get paid for every play of their track for all time. The money is in play. The more people who are subscribing and listening, the more each play is worth.

And the future is also in sharing. It doesn’t matter how many people download albums (legally or illegally). What does matter is how many people shared them via social media or word of mouth. Every artist thrives on their audience talking about their material. That is how they keep their audience and how they replenish it. I have talked to anyone who listens about how good “Hymns For The Broken” is and every time the people I told went to hear the new album they said the same thing. “King Of Errors” is great but why isn’t the album up on Spotify”

The old mainstream hype does little. New albums are hyped and are instantly forgotten. Like “13” from Black Sabbath or the self-titled “Dream Theater” album. However, if you go on Spotify, you will see that people are listening to these albums. The play counts are rising. In Australia, even Stone Sours “Looking Glass” got a stream increase thanks to Slipknot.

And U2 did do a $100 million deal with Apple (which seems to have inspired Lars Ulrich immensely). As Lars said in a recent Billboard music and branding discussion, he doesn’t care if the endeavor was a success or not. The way I read that is “as long as the band gets a cool hundred million who cares if the music is shit.” Metallica has earned their success and the truth is successful artists make more money than ever before. It’s just that these artists want to make the same as the techies and bankers do and in their quest to line their pockets they forget about creating quality art. And they forget that in 2014 and beyond it is all about the plays and the shares. Get 3 million plays a week for one song on a consistent basis and watch the money come in (provided you have a fair recording contract in place).

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

Some Music Business Truths

Music Is Not Free

Look at the complex math that goes on here. The recording and publishing industries get a yearly license fee from the tech companies like Pandora, Spotify, Amazon, iTunes, Google and so on to have their music collections on the products that the tech companies offer.

Then the recording and publishing industries (via the music fan) get paid 70% for a download and 70% in royalty payments from a stream/view.

So with so much money trading between people how can people say that music is free.

How come no one is saying that APPS are free. We are all using a plethora of apps every day, and 99.9% of them are free. If anything we expect them to be free. And has that stopped people from creating new apps.

We Don’t Need Stronger Copyright Regulations To Encourage People To Create

Back in 1999, the RIAA said that Napster and piracy would stop people from creating new music because they would have no incentive to make music anymore. Then by 2005, the same argument shifted to Copyright Reform. The recording industry argued that copyright needed stronger enforcement provisions and no due process because if that didn’t happen no new music would be created.

Well guess what.

Just the opposite has happened.

More people are making more music than ever before. What we do need is for the Public Domain to be replenished again with music.

The CD

Apple has phased out the CD/DVD drive from their computers which means the CD be another niche product in the same way that vinyl is. For collectors only, because it turns out that the majority of music lovers just wanted access to music. It was never about ownership.

The MP3

It was a by-product of the CD. As the tech got better, the quality got better. Now it will become a by-product of streaming.

Streaming plus MP3

Putting my Nostradamus hat on, I predict that the streaming services will begin to offer MP3 downloads as part of a super-premium package. At the moment 45% of people still like to buy mp3’s. 45% of a three hundred million population in the US is a lot of people.

Anyone seen the adoption curve. It’s basically a bell curve that shows that 2.5% of people are innovators, 13.5% are early adopters, 34% are early majority, 34% are late majority and 16% are laggards. So in relation to streaming, it is safe to say that we are in the early majority phase right now. So if you are an artist or a record label or a tech company, how do you get the 50% plus of the late majority and the laggards to commit earlier. Offer them a product that meets their needs.

Record Labels

Still the best way to get your music heard as they have the money and the contacts. But they are still doing it wrong. They believe that a blitzkrieg publicity campaign will ensure success. The more we’re beaten over the head with something, the less likely we are to check it out.

Music Press

Save your money and don’t take the easy way out. Promote yourself personally. Work with people. Talk to people. There are no short cuts. In today’s world, the music press has never broken a band to the masses. The band has broken themselves with their music. If you make it great they will come.

Technology And Music

Fans of music want to listen to old songs however we have no desire to use an old computer like a Commodore 64 or an Amiga 500. However if both industries want to stay relevant they need to innovate and create something new and great on a regular basis. If you don’t you will be like Gene Simmons, slowly fading in the rear-view mirror and screaming to anyone who cares about the old gatekeeping model to return.

Concerts

Streaming concerts will never work as people still want to be there for the experience even though the sound quality might be terrible. As for the price of tickets, the acts are to blame. The prices I have paid range from $50 to $250 a ticket over the last two years. Guess who charged $250 a ticket. Yep it was the big acts from the Seventies and Eighties. Kiss, Motley Crue and Bon Jovi charged that.

Bands like Avenged Sevenfold, Trivium, In Flames, Five Finger Death Punch, Richie Sambora, Coheed and Cambria all charged around the $70 to $80 mark while Protest The Hero charged $50.

Know Your Fans

Great artists have made a living long before the advent of the phonograph and the recording industry. It’s because of patronage. Loyal fans will buy your super deluxe packaging, they will view your YouTube videos, they will stream your music on Spotify and they will spread the word for you. Do you know who they are? If you don’t then you are leaving money on the table.

Success And A Career

The odds of success are really low. So what can you do differently? You need to be determined as the bar is set really high. You have to be committed to the cause and honest. If you want a career you need to always pick up a new generation of people to discover you.

You want to know an upside to music piracy. Just have a look at all of the Classic Rock acts from the Seventies, Eighties and even Nineties doing big business on the live circuit and they are making way more money now than what they made at the peak of the fame when recording sales set the benchmark.

Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Twisted Sister, Slash, Evergrey, Europe, Whitesnake, Stryper, Machine Head, Dream Theater and Tesla have been seeing for the last decade, younger and younger people coming to their shows. They sing along and know all of the words. The audience base needs to be replenishment if you want a career.

And you need to have an opinion, which is hard to have in a society that is focused on being liked. However life is short and you have one voice. Use it.

Teaching

Imagine your favourite artist as your teacher. The personal interaction is what makes a difference. Playing a big show is one thing however teaching has a greater impact. You are giving someone more than just a good time, you’re helping someone grow, hopefully to the point that they will do the same for others.

And I am  not talking about guitar clinics or drum clinics. I am talking about being an actual music teacher on your time off. It could be a six to eight week course in the city you live in. Eight 30 minute lessons per day might seem like a waste of time to you but to someone else it could be a lifetime changing experience. So what are you waiting for, make the connection.

Standard
Alternate Reality, Music, My Stories

Alternate Reality – What If Randy Rhoads Didn’t Get On That Plane?

I like “The Family Guy” and I like Brian the family dog. So when Brian got killed off in a recent episode, I was not happy. However when Stewie found a way to go back in time and save Brian, a conversation started at work about which person we would go back in time and save.

I was first to go and my answer was Randy Rhoads. There was no hesitation. What a different musical history we would have if Randy Rhoads lived.

One of the people in the conversation said that if Randy Rhoads lived, then Ozzy’s next album would not have been called “Bark At The Moon” because Jake E Lee would not be on it.

I replied back that the “Bark At The Moon” album would still have been written as Ozzy Osbourne had the song titles already at hand and lyricist Bob Daisley was also on hand to write lyrics again. The big difference would be the music. Instead of hearing the Jake E Lee riff used for “Bark At The Moon” we would be hearing a Randy Rhoads riff instead.

Then another person in the conversation goes that if Jake E Lee wasn’t identified as a hot guitar player, then the Badlands project that I love so dearly would not have existed.

That is true from a certain point of view. It is pretty clear from all the interviews that I had read that Randy Rhoads was growing tired with the touring and the Osbourne camp. However, it was also pretty clear that he was committed to delivering one more album for Ozzy.

So if Randy Rhoads walks away from Ozzy after the “Bark At The Moon” album, who would step in for the next album. Jake E Lee would have seen the band Ratt take off without him and Rough Cutt was nowhere near the level of a platinum selling act.

Maybe Jake E Lee was always meant to break out in 1989 via the Badlands project. Maybe that is how his life was meant to play out. However, Randy Rhoads stepping on that small plane in March 1982 changed everything. Then again if Badlands didn’t exist, would Ray Gillen still be alive today.

So let’s say that Randy leaves Ozzy after the “Bark At The Moon” album to study classical. That means by the end of 1985, Ozzy is in need of a guitarist.

So which guitarist was out of job by then. Vivian Campbell comes to mind as he had a nasty split with Ronnie James Dio.

Keeping with the alternate reality theme, Jake E Lee at this point was not available to join Ozzy’s band as he was hired to replace Vivian Campbell in “Dio’s” band on the recommendation of keyboardist, Claude Schnell. The song “Dream Evil” would have the music that we know as “Bark At The Moon”. Or would it have something entirely different. Jake has said in interviews that for the “Bark At The Moon” album he was throwing riffs and ideas out there and he was getting a lot of rejections and some approvals.

Would it be wise to say that the “Bark At The Moon” music would not have been written in the way that it was without the input from Bob Daisley and Ozzy Osbourne?

Where does this leave Zakk Wylde or Phil Soussan?

What about Quiet Riot (the band)? When Randy Rhoads died in the plane crash, it more or less sealed Rudy Sarzo’s fate and he preceded to quit the Ozzy Osbourne band. Kevin DuBrow then contacted Sarzo and asked him to play on a track called “Thunderbird”, which was a tribute to Rhoads which then led to a full albums worth of material and a name change back to Quiet Riot from DuBrow. So if Quiet Riot never made “Metal Health”, then heavy metal in 1983 would have been in a different state, instead of the multi-platinum army it started to become.

It’s pretty scary when you think of “The Butterfly Effect” principle in relation to this. When I started to play guitar, the live tribute album was my bible. I learned every lick and every riff. If Randy Rhoads lived, then that album would have been released and I would be a totally different guitar player.

Standard
Alternate Reality, Music, Unsung Heroes

The Metal Manifesto

I can’t recall how many times I have been in a conversation about music and then when I am asked what styles of music I am into, I reply back with “hard rock and metal”. Then I get a smug look and an “Oh”.

In most cases, the people respond back with, “I didn’t picture you as a metal fan” or “You don’t suit the stereotype of a metal fan.” You see to those outsiders, us metal heads are still seen as misfits, criminals, drug takers, mentally unstable, satanic and people who in general do not conform to any standards that society wants them to conform to.

However, if you look into it, the metal heads are the ones that assist society the most. We are the tax payers. We are consumers. We spend the money we earn, in the areas we live and we keep people employed. We spend the money we earn on the bands we like, showing them a devotion like no other, which in turn keeps those bands employed and making music.

Look at the history of metal and rock bands. They don’t seem to disappear like all of the manufactured pop crap that comes and goes. The only metal and rock bands that disappear are the ones that got into the business for the wrong reasons (which for them was pure cash).

And then I started thinking about the quote “metal as a lifestyle”. It is a lifestyle with a million unwritten laws that somehow all of us metal heads abide by.

So without further delay, here is The Metal Manifesto;

Metal music is a way to belong. We wear the patches/colours of our favourite bands on black t-shirts.

Metal heads are rebels. We are the ones that question everything put in front of us, as we strive to find our own place in society and our own road to walk on. It’s okay to be “weird” in the eyes of society. What people see on the outside is just skin. What is on the inside is what matters.

Metal heads are knowledgeable.
A study from 2007, showed that a large number of members in the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth list heavy metal – or “metal”, as their favourite kind of music. Look at other famous people in other industries like Jack Black, Javier Bardem, Jim Carrey, the South Park guys (Matt Stone and Trey Parker) and the current Russian PM who is a Deep Purple fan.

Metal music allows us to make sense of the chaotic and corrupt society that we live in. It is for the outsiders. The underdog. It isn’t about getting rich quick. It is a lifestyle. We live it and we breathe it.

Metal music is empowerment. It is freedom. It is release. The live show is the rally. While generations of children are turned into generations of links and cogs on the factory floors, metal fans are the ones that stand out. The unique ones. While others were brainwashed to fit in, metal music lives on the fringes, as an outlier ready to change the world.

Metal music has its own heavy metal salute, a call to arms, in which the pinkie and forefinger are raised over a clenched fist. Credit Ronnie James Dio for the salute.

Metal music has its own code of conduct when it comes to circular mosh pits. Those who fall, will be helped back up. Those who are violent will be forced to leave. The aim is to vent our aggression and have a good time doing it.

Metal music is confrontational. Deal with it. From listening to our heroes suffering, it provides us with redemption. From listening to our heroes views on the world and their views on governments, it provides us with purpose. We embrace change, while others litigate. From confrontation, innovation is born.

Metal music is diversity. It doesn’t matter what colour, religion or country you are from. We are all one.

Metal will never fade into obscurity. It is always there, a survivor of the times and the mega corporations that tried to kill it after they raped it and abused it and made billions from it.

Metal is derivative. We wear our influences on our hearts.

Metal music is more than just the term of “Heavy Metal”. It is Hard Rock, Heavy Rock, Progressive Rock, Progressive Metal, Technical Metal, Math Rock, Math Metal, Djent, Death Metal, Metalcore, Emo, Melodic Death Metal, Symphonic Metal, Punk Rock, Pop Metal, Industrial, Nu-Metal, Alternative Rock, Alternative Metal and many others. There is no room for elitists.

As Robb Flynn screams out “This Is Who We Are”. Instead of saying the word divided, I will say UNITED WE WILL STAND.

Standard
A to Z of Making It, Alternate Reality, Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Chaos + Disruption = The Music Business

It’s a chaotic and disruptive time in the music business and with chaos comes opportunity.

On one side you have COPYRIGHT. And that can be broken down into a lot of other little chaotic categories like infringement, the length of copyright terms, copyright monopolies, the lack of works entering the public domain and so on.

The public domain is culture. Keith Richards once said, ‘you can’t copyright the blues.’

Culture is built and expanded by sharing stories and building on the works of others. Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and all of the sixties greats like Hendrix, Clapton and Beck used this concept. They built off the blues.

However copyright law and its real purpose got hijacked by corporations and everything changed. Instead of culture being built up in the works that the public creates and shares, the public is now faced with copyright corporations locking away works that should be in the public domain by now. These works that should be in the public domain do not benefit the original creators in any way, however they are beneficial for the few copyright monopoly gatekeepers.

For culture to thrive once again, it is important to respect the public domain.

Then on another side of the music business you have the RIAA who continually push lies out into the world, so that technology companies can do something to protect crap business models. Did you know that the global music industry sent it’s 100 million takedown notice to Google, to remove search links to certain sites. It looks like the RIAA doesn’t get it.

So if a person types in “free mp3” in Google Search what should Google return?

Sites that have free mp3’s or sites that the RIAA want Google to point to when that term is typed in. Maybe when that person types in free mp3, they want a free mp3 and have no interest in paying.

Then you have the ISP’s on another side that are caught up in the middle of all this as they offer the service that provides internet access to users. According to the RIAA and the record labels, the ISP’s allow “copyright infringement” to happen, therefore, they need to do something about it to help out the music industry. In Australia, this is heavily disputed, however in other parts of the world gradual response schemes are in place.

Then you have the technology companies trying to offer low cost services to fans of music. However, low cost to a fan means high costs to the RIAA and the record labels in licensing fees. This is before the new service is even allowed to trade. If the new service starts to trade without licensing in place, expect them to be litigated into submission.

Have you noticed that artists have not been mentioned anywhere as yet. That is how far the music business has come, where the actual music is only a small part of it, however it should be the major part of it. For the business to thrive, you need great music.

I was looking back to some of the releases in 2013 that I liked. Two of my favourites are “Protest The Hero” and “Coheed and Cambria”.

“Protest The Hero” and “Coheed and Cambria” are working to the “Keep your fan base close” mantra. Both of the bands moved from major labels into a DIY independent mindset, realising that their fans are king.

Exceptional fan service is the key driving force behind a bands success. I expect “Coheed and Cambria” will get a lot more fans purchasing the next super deluxe package for the new album because they did such a great job with “The Afterman” releases.

“Protest The Hero” on the other hand have fallen into the fan funded conundrum where the perks always arrive later than expected for international fans. I live in Australia and I am still waiting for the perks to arrive. The band have been clear with their information, advising that it will take 6 to 8 weeks.

It’s good old business 101, “treat your customers right and they’ll stay with you forever”.

Then you have bands like Five Finger Death Punch, Avenged Sevenfold, Dream Theater, Stone Sour, Killswitch Engage, Trivium, Volbeat, Alter Bridge and TesserAct that have label deals.

Should those bands go independent like Protest The Hero or Coheed and Cambria. It all depends on a person’s definition of success and hard work. Going independent means that you need to build a team around you like any business start-up.

What are the benefits of going independent?

The lesson is simple. Selling your artistic freedom and independence as a “success” strategy can bring lucrative rewards. But it’s not always the best move for your career, as you are also selling off important data to the record label. The record label doesn’t want to know your fans or connect with them. They want you to do it, so that the label can make money of that relationship and then pay you a percentage of it.

Coheed and Cambria moved over 100,000 units of their deluxe “Afterman” editions. At $60 (I think it was $68, however I will use $60 for the example) an edition, that comes to $6 million in revenue. If the band was on the label model, what percentage would the band see from that $6 million.

The music market/business is filled with acts trying to make it. It is going to take a huge effort to stand out amongst the rest. Music is a lifer game. It is a slow and steady approach that builds careers.

Artists should be looking at development. With each song release, artists should never be afraid to try things out. Even try out new technologies that make it very easy for their fans to interact with them and their music. In a company, this is called research and development. Investing in your career is never a mistake.

The artists have the power to make the record labels redundant, purely to be used as a distribution arm if needed, however with the rise of streaming technologies, even this arm can be in danger of disappearing. Bands like Coheed and Cambria, Protest The Hero and Digital Summer have seen the recorded business side of things and have decided, hey we can do it better. That’s what great businesses are made of.

So in all of this chaos, who will rise and who will fall? Time will tell, however if you compare music to technology, you will see only a select few rise to the top. Smartphones and tablets is all Apple and Samsung. Amazon has online shopping cornered. Google is the king of search. Spotify will win the streaming war. Facebook rules social media. iTunes rules the mp3 and app market. Will the same fate happen in the music business?

2019 Crystal ball predictions;

Coheed and Cambria – will get bigger and bigger. Their style is unique, so expect them to keep to that style, sort of like how AC/DC releases music in the same style or Iron Maiden.

Protest The Hero – proved to themselves that they still matter. Will get bigger and more crazier. The future of progressive metal.

Machine Head – will still be bigger then what they are. Robb Flynn understands the internet and understands the change that is coming. He will make sure that Machine Head rides the wave all the way to the shoreline, while Adam Duce circles in the undercurrent, ready to litigate the band into submission.

TesseracT – will become the next Pink Floyd.

Digital Summer – are one of the hardest working rock bands around like Twisted Sister and Dream Theater. They will get bigger as they are lifers.

Avenged Sevenfold – will become the new Metallica.

Five Finger Death Punch – I have a feeling that they will break up after one more album.

Shinedown – will be bigger than what Aerosmith ever was.

Volbeat – will remain relevant in their niche genre.

Metallica – will still be relevant in the same way the Seventies act remained relevant.

Dream Theater – will still tour and do a lot of side projects, however they will be replaced by TesseracT and Protest The Hero.

Black Veil Brides – will take over the void left by Motley Crue and Guns N Roses.

Trivium – will deliver an astounding progressive technical metal album.

Killswitch Engage – will remain relevant in their niche genre.

Alter Bridge – The world needs Led Zeppelin to continue. Expect Alter Bridge to fill this void. They have one of the best vocalists of the modern era in Myles Kennedy. Marc Tremonti is a prolific writer. Call his Creed project, “The Yardbirds” and Alter Bridge as “Led Zeppelin.”

Bullet For My Valentine – will deliver their own version of “Master Of Puppets” and “The Blackening”.

Lets see how it pans out.

Standard