Copyright, Music, My Stories

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – June 14 to June 20

4 Years Ago (2017)

I reckon Copyright is a Ponzi scheme and they are using the law to protect it.

Copyright terms are ridiculous.

All of the songs from “Hardwired To Self Destruct” will be in the public domain by 2120 (approx. based on the current terms of life of the creator plus an additional 70 years after death).

Led Zeppelin’s “IV” will be in the public domain by 2110 (approx.).

The crazy thing is the 10 year difference of the estimated public domain date between Metallica and Led Zeppelin, however the albums have a 40 years difference between release dates.

Proof of how much Copyright was hijacked by corporations during the 70s. And while the executives take it in, the artists are left with nothing.

Because the music business has a payment problem.

Artists are constantly fighting to get paid properly.

Promoters don’t pay on time or they don’t pay what is promised. The labels get creative with their accounting and underpay the artists. Then trusted people like managers skim too much and people who didn’t create anything of value are flying private while the artists who created something of value are traveling by road or flying second class.

I was listening to some thrash music and wrote about my fandom of Megadeth and the the year 1986.

In Australia, we have a lobbyist for the MPAA called Graham Burke, who is so good at spinning the piracy argument that politicians believe him.

Burke and his organization “Village Roadshow” are meant to lead the movie business into the new age. But they think by denying that the new age exists they will get back to the old age.

And I was pissed at the broadband rollout in my area because I lost internet access for my whole family for three plus months. But according to Burke, we are all filthy pirates.

8 Years Ago (2013)

I was listening to a lot of Motley Crue and Sixx AM so a Nikki Sixx “What Do Ya Mean I Don’t Write Good Lyrics” appreciation post was written.

I’m no puppet
I engrave my veins with style ….from Dancing On Glass

I was on Team Sambora when Jon Bon Jovi said that if Sambora was The Edge he would be harder to replace. It was a cheap shot from Jon. And since 2013 was the year I experimented with some douchebag posts, you can read one here about Jon. I did others as well.

And the anemic sales figures of artists kept getting publicity, but no one cared about sales anymore except the ones who wanted bragging rights.

I compared 1993 and 2013. From long haired stoner boy to short hair corporate guy. A slave to the grind I had become. And here is its sequel.

Music has been my companion my whole life. And I thought about that while I was watching Australia qualify for a World Cup.

At the end of a football game, music is always played. On the trip home, music is played again via the radio or a playlist or a CD mix. It’s always in my life.

I was surprised that people haven’t heard of Kim Dotcom or MegaUpload.

Kim Dotcom has been painted as a money laundering criminal by the FBI on evidence gathered by the MPAA and somehow he was that dangerous that his arrest needed SWAT teams to break down his door and arrest him in the early hours.

All because he ran a cyber locker that people used to share songs and albums through.

We are exposed to news 24/7. If any musician/artist wants to survive the times, they need to be creating news every day. Because what’s trending today is over tomorrow.

Nintendo designer Shigeru Miyamoto said that Nintendo wants “to create a game that people will want to keep and keep playing for a long time.”

Sort of like our favorite artists and their best works.

I like hard rock. I cannot escape it. And I came across a band called Angeline and their “Life: Volume 1”, EP. They are from Sweden and formed in 1987.

Initially the band was influenced by Bon Jovi, Europe, Iron Maiden and Queensryche.

When the music scene changed in the 90s they reverted to being a cover band. It’s not all about the glamour and the fame. There are highs and lows. Artists do what they need to do to survive.

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Copyright, Influenced, Music, My Stories

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – May 24 to May 30

4 Years Ago (2017)

There are a lot of stories of how the recording industry has been transformed since Napster and most of those stories centered around the losses of income to the record labels. They blamed the technology as its never the fault of the record labels.

Then came iTunes and the purchase of mp3’s became legal, putting money into the labels balance sheets. But the labels still complained.

Then YouTube appeared, then streaming came on the scene in Pandora, Grooveshark, Deezer and Spotify and the conversation shifted to the pennies paid per listen. The labels blamed the technology for the low payments because it’s never the labels fault.

In the end if you are signed to a label, creating music which is being listened too and are not getting paid, your issue is with your employer, the record label.

But it’s never the record labels fault.

“We sound like cocaine” said Bjorn Strid, the singer from The Night Flight Orchestra.

If you read this blog, you will know of my appreciation for The Night Flight Orchestra.

It all started in 2012 with the excellent debut. “Internal Affairs” and it continued in 2015, with “Skyline Whispers” and in 2017, we have “Amber Galactic”, which you can read my review here.

Artist Don Brautigam passed away and I wrote about him here and here.

If you’ve seen the Metallica “Master Of Puppets” or the Motley Crue “Dr Feelgood” covers, then you’ve seen his work.

The album cover is a forgotten art form, but man, it’s an important one. Once upon a time, the look of an album cover would be the deciding vote if a person outlaid their money.

It carried the brand of the band.

It was the first thing that spoke to the music buyer. And as time has gone on, the artists who created some of the iconic covers are never mentioned.

8 Years Ago (2013)

I was listening to Vaudeville. They merge the styles from Muse, Deftones and Radiohead with Hard Rock. It sounds beautiful and original.
And if you want an entry point into the band, check out the song “Restless Souls”.

Will you stand up
And fight against their wrath
Or will you run
Until there’s nothing left

Their first album “Dismantle The Sky” came out in 2009. The next album “Vendetta” came out in 2012, and this is the album with “Restless Souls”. In March 2013, they released an EP called “House of The Rising Sun”.

And after I wrote this post they released “Masquerade Part 1” in 2014 and “Masquerade Part 2” in 2015.

Which I didn’t know about. So I have some listening to do.

Daft Punk entered the charts this week in 2013 at Number 1, moving 339,000 copies of their “Random Access Memories”.

And streaming/digital was king as 65% of Daft Punk’s sales came from digital sources. And I was thinking, why couldn’t metal and rock artists get these kind of numbers.

And Victory Records were in the news again about shitting on artists.

It first began in August 2006, when Hawthorne Heights filed a lawsuit against Victory Records, accusing the label of creative accounting practices, unpaid royalties and for damaging the band’s reputation and relationship with their fans.

In 2011, A Day To Remember also filed a suit against Victory Records for unpaid royalties.

And in 2013, Streetlight Manifesto is telling their fans to not purchase the album from any physical and online retailers and to only purchase merchandise from the band’s website because of their dispute with Victory.

After this post, in 2017, another band called “Darkest Hour” said that they never received a penny from their Victory contract.

And to slap the artists in the face even more, it sold for more than $30 million in 2019 and the artists didn’t get a cent from the sale.

TesseracT is one band that really got my attention and you can read my review of their excellent “Altered State” album here.

Dream Theater announced a “Live At Luna Park” DVD/CD release in February 2013 for a May 2013 release. May was almost at its end and no news had been forthcoming.

Well the release finally came out in November/December of that year.

And people were getting arrested and locked away for copyright offenses. Their jail terms for non violent crimes were longer than violent crimes.

And Police Departments were not doing any investigation of their own. They simple took the evidence of the movie studios and record labels as being true and correct.

Draw The Line” from Disciple was doing the rounds.

This is where I draw the line
This is where the old me dies
Light a match, let it burn, kiss it goodbye
Give it up, what I was, this is where I draw the line

I always like to write posts that highlight how certain songs are inspired by other songs. You can read my post called “The Kashmir Effect”.

And I started a new series called “Classic Album Closing Songs”, thinking it will be a monthly post. And I’ve only done one.

Which actually covered a few albums.

Like “Diary Of A Madman” (1981), “Hallowed Be Thy Name” (1982), “Who We Are” (2011), “S.M.F” (1984), “Shogun” (2008), “Aerials” (2001) and “The Count Of Tuscany” (2009)

And “What About Now” disappeared from the charts and the sales.

Bon Jovi (the band) spent over 5 months recording and writing this album, a few more months promoting it, only to have it do a run of 10 weeks before it disappeared.

From Bon Jovi I went to Megadeth and the lyrics of Dave Mustaine.

And my iPod shuffle was on fire with its selection so I wrote about “Chainsaw Charlie (Murders In The New Morgue)”, “California Morning”, “Crazy Train”, “Caught In The Middle”, “Caustic Are The Ties That Bind” and “Cardiff”.

Well that’s another wrap for another week.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Influenced, Music, Unsung Heroes

The Record Vault: Dokken – Back In The Streets

“Back in the Streets” is a bootleg released in 1989 by a German label who had apparently stolen the demos from Don Dokken back in the day.

Well that demo must have been found because these recordings also ended up on “The Lost Tapes”.

While the songs are written by Don and George Lynch, only Don plays on this album along with drummer Gary Holland at far left, and guitarist Greg Leon second from the left, both former members of the band “Suite 19”. At far right is bassist Gary Link.

But the band members mentioned on the back gives the buyer an impression that George Lynch, Mick Brown and Juan Croucier are actually playing on it.

But there not.

In the bottom writings there is a line which states; “Reminder to Don Dokken for not returning Thomas’ vintage 100 W 4 x 12 Marshall Cab”.

Maybe this is why the EP bootleg was released, as a F.U to Don Dokken?

Even though the band, Dokken had broken up at this point, people were still interested in their music and like me, purchased this as soon as it hit the streets.

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Copyright, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – May 10 to May 16

4 Years Ago (2017)

Barry McKay was at war with Steve Harris over “Hallowed Be Thy Name” and “The Nomad”.

I posted my viewpoint and McKay posted his replies and we had a bit of a back and forth.

I did my 7th post on the the year 1983. It included the bands Slayer, Queensryche, UFO, Motörhead, Heavy Pettin, Saxon and Choirboys.

And I was questioning how many of the social media followers artists have are actually fans or invested in what the artists has to say.

And it’s okay to be influenced. For example, Poison – “Unskinny Bop” (1991).

The song has over 7 million streams on Spotify. The guitar riff is influenced by the intro guitar riff in Billy Squier – “Powerhouse” from 1986.

The bass lines are very similar to the bass line from 45 seconds onwards in Great White – “Mista Bone” from 1989. Then again, that running bass line is pretty common in most songs. You hear it in “Disturb The Priest” from Black Gillian’s album “Born Again”.

And “Unskinny Bop” still sounds original.

8 Years Ago (2013)

I was discussing the prices of tickets for Bon Jovi’s Australian tour.

If a Bon Jovi fan wanted to sit in Row 1 and purchase a Diamond VIP package, the price of one ticket is $1975 + $10 booking fee.

If a Bon Jovi fan wanted to sit in Rows 2 to 5 and purchase an Emerald VIP package, the price of one ticket is $1475 + $10 booking fee.

If a Bon Jovi fan wanted to sit in Rows 6 to 13 and purchase a Sapphire VIP package, the price of one ticket is $975 + $10 booking fee.

And for the Sydney show, these VIP tickets had been sold out. And after the JBJ website sale, the next stage of the sales was the Telstra pre-sales, the Showbiz pre-sales, then the Ticketek VISA pre-sales and the general pre-sales and finally the public release.

What a collusive, exploitive and unregulated process.

And the Telstra presales were a disaster. The website went down and people couldn’t get tickets but eBay had tickets on sale for triple the price.

In other words the band was scalping its own tickets.

And the “What About Now” album continued its free fall, sitting at 133.

And I was always trying to tie together various threads from different artists. This post was called “The Crazy Lifestyles of the Rockers and Metallers”.

All our heroes are flawed and far from normal.

I was spinning the “Operation Mindcrime” album and wrote about the title track, “I Don’t Believe In Love” and “Eyes Of A Stranger”.

Continuing my Queensryche kick, I wrote about “Bridge”.

And “Silent Lucidity”.

And how good is the Vince Neil – Exposed album?

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

Universal Music Gets $1.5 Million for “We’re Not Gonna Take It”

The case between Clive Palmer and Universal Music (UM) is over, with the judge awarding damages of $1.5 million to UM.

For those that don’t know or don’t remember, Clive Palmer is an Australian businessman who decided to start up a political party called United Australia. He asked to use the song, heard that the licence fee was $150K for eight months use and decided to write a parody version of it called “Australia ain’t gonna cop it”.

Well, when Dee Snider and Jay Jay French heard about it, they got the lawyers involved. Dee has said on other occasions, that if someone agreed to pay the licence fee, it was still up to the writer to approve the use of the song and if the person/organization did not represent the message of the song to include all and give people a right to speak up and choose, he would have vetoed the use.

Palmer is not liked by the majority of Australian’s. He’s been found guilty of not paying workers properly, for creative accounting and when he doesn’t get things his way, he sues. Just recently he took the state of Western Australia to court because of their hard border closure. But he met his match with Dee Snider and Twisted Sister.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Treating Fans Like Shit

Copyright City

Eminem is going after everyone.

Eight Mile Style is Eminem’s publisher and it is going after Spotify first.

The case alleges that Spotify has no license to have the songs on its service, and while the songs have been streamed billions of times, “Spotify has not accounted to Eight Mile or paid Eight Mile for these streams but instead remitted random payments of some sort, which only purport to account for a fraction of those streams.”

A judge now has also cleared the way for Eight Mile to go after the Harry Fox Agency who acts as an intermediary between organizations who secures licenses.

And while Eminem is going legal to be paid monies which only the lawyers will gobble up, other Copyright organizations are buying out other Copyright organizations.

Concord last year spent over $200 million acquiring the Copyrights for songs. Now in April 2021, it’s estimated that Concord has acquired another 145,000 copyrights from Downtown in a deal worth $400 million.

The deal will take Concord’s catalogue of works over 600,000 songs. Included in the deal are works performed by Adele, Beyoncé, Bruno Mars, Carrie Underwood, David Bowie, Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, Sam Smith, Stevie Wonder, and The 1975.

How much of the sale would go back to the original artists and creators remains to be seen, as the artists would have probably gotten a payment from Downtown for their works in the first place.

So imagine the fear these organizations must get when they read about Google’s court case vs Oracle.

You see Google, ‘copied’ 11,000 lines of Oracles software code, and Oracle didn’t like it, so they sued. Google argued it was fair use and after going back and forth in the Courts, it was ruled in Google’s favour because the end use of what the code was used for, was very different for both organizations.

And now the Andy Warhol Foundation is trying to get the Courts to use the Google case verdict in their case against a photographer who took pictures of Prince, which Andy Warhol used to color differently like the Marilyn Monroe and Campbell Soup cans pictures.

This in turn has brought in other heavyweights like the movie, book and music industries as they want the Google verdict to remain within software only and not be brought over into music, movies and publishing.

Because Hollywood lobbyist and music lobbyist oppose everything that could benefit people.

Recently, the WHO got a waiver written into Copyright law which said that all drug manufacturers should share their research and formulas, so that COVID-19 could be defeated and that vaccines could be manufactured by others.

The MPAA and RIAA didn’t like it, but they never clarified what language bothered em.

Then again, when an organization like these have spent their whole life exploiting loopholes in Copyright Law to benefit them and turning black and white areas into grey, they are now afraid of others doing the same, like the thief who has Fort Knox like security on their house.

I guess Copyright City just keeps getting interesting. And nothing mentioned about how the actual creators benefit. And what about the fans.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music

Re-Recordings

Last week, there was a lot of discussion on Taylor Swift and her re-recordings. This week, crickets. Nothing. It’s amazing how fast news rises and dies. And I’m surprised at how many different views people have on it.

In the end it’s all about control.

In metal and rock circles, these kind of re-recordings have been happening from when I could remember.

Def Leppard created forgeries of a few of their songs in the last 10 years so they could be on streaming services as they were having a contractual dispute with the label over the payments they should be getting from digital services.

Any artist that ends up on Frontiers Records, ends up doing forgeries of their classic songs. Check out this Frontiers list of a whose who ofre-recorded classics.

Jeff Lynne re-recorded a lot of ELO songs and released them as a solo album with the title, “Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra.”

Stryper re-recorded their best off and called it “Second Coming” album.

Whitesnake had their biggest hit by re-recording an earlier song in 1987 which was on Geffen Records and as a Frontiers artist David Coverdale re-recorded his Deep Purple era and released it as a Whitesnake album.

Journey re-recorded the majority of their classics with Arnel Pineda and released these re-recorded songs with an album of new material as a bonus disc.

Pretty Maids did the same with “Louder Than Ever” in which they left the “sacred” albums of “Future World” and “Jump The Gun” alone but took songs from the others.

Trixter did it with a few songs on each of their Frontiers albums.

Kid Rock said in 2012 that he will re-recording his 12x Platinum smash, “Devil without a Cause” so that he will own the rights to the new versions.

Styx re-recorded some of their classics plus a couple of Damn Yankees songs with the “Regeneration: Volume I and II” releases.

Dokken (the version with Don Dokken on vocals, Jon Levin on guitars, Barry Sparks on bass and Mick Brown on drums) re-recorded the classics from the 80’s and released those versions as a “Greatest Hits” package in 2010. Maybe the title of the album should have been “Greatest Re-Recorded Hits”

KISS also re-recorded their classic songs with current members Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer and released em as a bonus disc with “Sonic Boom”.

Arch Enemy went down this route to re-record classic songs from their first three albums with their new singer. Fans who liked the original albums didn’t like the forgeries while people who discovered the band during the Angela Gossow period, didn’t care.

Any person who purchased a “Guitar Hero” or “Rock Band” game, most likely supported an artist who had re-recorded their song because the master went missing, or something was wrong with the master or because they wanted to have control of the higher license payment for the songs that appeared on the games.

And let’s not forget what the Osbourne camp did with “Blizzard Of Ozz” and “Diary Of A Madman” by taking out Kerslake and Daisley from the recordings and getting their parts re-done by the current members at the time in Mike Bordin and Rob Trujilo. Bordin expressed regret at doing it many years later.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories

AI Riffs And Lyrics

AI created music is always talked about when it comes to Copyright.

Who actually has a right to it?

Especially when you start to get AI-generated songs that sound like copyrighted bands and it starts to become a bit more complicated.

In the case of AC/DC and Metallica, the AI Bot scraped all the lyrics the bands wrote and wrote new lyric passages. But a human still needed to discern which lines to use. And for these songs, the music and vocals are performed by a person.

For the AI Jimi Hendrix song called “You’re Gonna Kill Me” and the AI Nirvana song called “Drowned In The Sun“, the organisation behind these songs had AI algorithms created to listen to hooks, rhythms, riffs, chord structures, solos, melodies and lyrics of the artists and then the AI learns how to generate a new string of ideas that could be used for songs. And the same AI used to create the AC/DC and Metallica lyrics was used to create the lyrics for these songs.

The AI would create about five minutes of new riffs, which only 10% was usable. So humans would then take out the stuff they thought was good and discard the rest and then press the create button again for a new 5 minute sample of music. And the process will repeat, until there are enough new ideas to create a song. So while the music is computer generated, it’s still a laborious task to put it all together by a human.

Also the vocals that the AI produces are just mumbles and hums that outline a melody, which you sort of get to hear on the Hendrix track, but for the Nirvana song, the vocals are handled by a Nirvana tribute singer, so it actually sounds like a Nirvana song.

Finally the “The Lost Tapes of the 27 Club” project was created to highlight mental health, but it also reminds us that there is still a lot of human involvement and decision making to create a song based on musical ideas generated by a computer.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music, My Stories

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – March 22 to March 28

4 Years Ago (2017)

I always like to highlight some of the bullshit that Copyright spews up. For a law that’s meant to protect the artist, it’s a instantly abused so that Corporations benefit. And pretty soon, expect to see laws change that benefit investment funds.

I wrote about how the RIAA/MPAA are large perpetrators of fake news in the world. When billions of dollars are involved, these industries employ some of the most creative writers in the business to basically creating fictional works of fakery. Does anyone remember these ones.

  • Home Taping Is Killing Music And It’s Illegal
  • Copy a CD and get a criminal record
  • Piracy: It’s a crime
  • Piracy kills artists.

And I wrote about artists who made up by sharing their files with fans as unsigned artists and how some bands couldn’t include a song on an album because they couldn’t track down the original writer because of bad record keeping by the same organizations who claim to protect the artists.

Artists were also taking their labels to court for digital payments as Spotify was making inroads in the US market and these artists on deals pre tech were still getting paid on that old sale royalty deal.

The Spotify Release Radar was that good that I need to write about the artists and songs that appeared like “Midnight Flyer” by The Night Flight Orchestra.

My favourite Swedish supergroup of metal heads was back, playing the classic rock music I love. This time around, it’s about a galactic space opera, where the human race is pitted against female space commanders with pearl necklaces. It’s a brilliant James Bind script.

“Sinking Ship” by Harem Scarem and that funky groovy foot stomping Intro riff was on the list.

How good is Pete Lesperance on guitar?

Along with Harry Hess they have navigated 30 plus years of Harem Scarem, plus their solo work and side projects.

Other tracks that appeared are “Snakes In Paradise” by Crazy Lixx, “Never Was A Forever” by Honeymoon Suite, “Light Me Up” by Doom Unit, “Straight To The Top” by Creye, “Underneath” by Blacktop Mojo and “Big Sky Country” by KXM.

8 Years Ago (2013)

I was still on a Bon Jovi and White Lion deep dive into their catalogue. Here is a post of “We Got It Going On”. It’s the best song on the “Lost Highway” album.

I did a week 2 update on Bon Jovi’s “What About Now” album as it slipped from Number 1 to Number 7. In week one they had 101K unit sales to 29K units in week 2.

At the time, Mumford and Sons who after 26 weeks on the chart, was still moving 27,000 units of their album “Babel” and in total, “Babel” had sold 2,122,000 copies.

7 years later, the “What About Now” album still doesn’t have any certification.

Where does a band fit who where promoted as pretty hair boys in tight leathers but played a brand of hard rock that was technical and who also wrote about serious themes.

Thats the predicament White Lion found themselves in. “El Salvador” appeared on “Fight To Survive”, the anti war ballad “When The Children Cry” appeared on “Pride” and on Big Game, the band was singing about apartheid in “Cry For Freedom”, religion in “If My Mind Is Evil”, Greenpeace and the Rainbow Warrior in “Little Fighter” and violence in the family “Broken Home”.

Here is my review of the “Big Game” album.

And here was Part 2 of a Guitar World interview with Vito Bratta discussing the album.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music, My Stories

Sales vs Streams

Ryan Downey over at Stream N Destroy goes to some lengths to track what is hot and cold in the world of rock and metal and all the different sub genres that fall within.

The below Zombie and Queen stats are from his latest email blast, which can be read online here.

Rob Zombie, The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy
24,700 Album Units (Nuclear Blast Records)
Released: March 12, 2021
20.6k Album Sales, 2400 Song Sales
2.5M Song Streams this week

Queen, Queen
18,800 Album Units (Hollywood Records)
Released: July 13, 1973
54 Album Sales, 8k Song Sales
23.2M Song Streams this week

Check out the anemic album sales from Queen versus the song streams. 54 physical album sales vs 23.2 million song streams. This is why music and the catalogues of artists are becoming so valuable. People and especially investors have real data as to who is listening to what. Get people listening on streaming services and it will pay forever. And if you ain’t getting a slice of those payments, we’ll your deal needs to be renegotiated.

Once upon a time, when streaming started to be taken seriously, the record labels and Billboard had no idea what was hot or number 1. The Billboard charts didn’t correlate to what was played the most on streaming service. In other words the labels and Billboard were out of touch. So Billboard decided they had to bring streaming into the Charts equation and made their charts more like a mathematic assignment.

But at least the charts are now taking streams into account by using 1,500 streams as an album sale or unit. I still think it’s wrong to try a fit something new into an old metric, but hey what do we fans know.

Song sales also add up to album sales. 10 songs equal an album.

In Queen’s case, there is enough activity for those 23.2 million streams and 8K song downloads plus 54 album sales to equal 18,800 units.

Compare Queen’s numbers to Rob Zombie’s first week numbers.

There are 20,600 physical album sales from RZ versus 54 for an album released in 1973. While record sales will give people an instant quick payday and some bragging rights about charting, it’s streaming that will show if anybody is listening after the hype of the album release.

You would expect based on evidence right now, that RZ fans will be listening to his music in 40 years’ time. But will he keep replenishing his fan base enough to keep the streaming numbers. Because replenishing the fan base is the key to long term survival.

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