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

It’s An Artist World, So Why Are You Giving Your Rights Away

When you have a non-major label song enter the much loved “major record label” chart, you get a sense that something is happening in the wind.

Especially when its a kids song, released in 2016, written by a South Korean company who does children music, with 50 plus million Spotify streams and over 2 billion YouTube views.

The song is stupid and not my cup of tea, but this post isn’t about the song, it’s about how a non major label song can breakthrough in the internet era. These anomalies that happen few and between will end up being the norm. If the artists allow it to happen.

Because at the moment, we still have our favorite bands drip feeding a pre-release single every 4 weeks of their upcoming album and unless it’s ubiquitous, the music is instantly forgotten. Can anyone say “Bullet For My Valentine” had a new album out last year?

We also have these “newbie” acts struggling for years to get their songs noticed and then they build a loyal audience, get an offer from a label or a publisher, sign away their copyrights and they forget why they broke through in the first place. Which was their music to fan connection.

In other words, if you are not being heard, you can’t solve your marketing problem tomorrow.

Some acts could not have made it without a label, but the label is not keeping these acts going anymore, the fans are.

But the recording industry is the same as it ever was by focusing on radio and charts while the internet allows acts to put out new music every day if they desire.

Every artist riding high on the “much loved” charts started by giving their music away for free. No one waited for a label rep to say yes, or for a label to give them money. They just started, they wrote, they played, they recorded, they released and they repeated. And they failed, and they tried again.

And if you have a deal, you need to know that the labels work to a calendar about what to release and when to release it. It’s never your choice.

Record Labels want to sell, while an artist is looking to have a career and fans are looking for access. And remember if there is no artist and fan connection/access, the labels will have nothing to sell and the artists will have no career. It’s an artist world right now, so why are you giving away your rights.

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Music, My Stories

The Record Vault – Anthrax

I purchased “Persistence Of Time” many years after it came out, from a second hand record shop, because I remembered the “Got The Time” video. I guess it was still ticking in my head for the over playing it got on MTV.

And it’s the best song on the album. And it’s a cover.

Hearing it today, I think the album was a bit ahead of its time, sound wise, but I struggled with it back then. And vocally, I wasn’t sure how to take the melodies.

But i do remember some cool lyrical lines. So here we go with some Anthrax truth.

Life and death as words they don’t mean shit
It’s what you do with it
And how you live with it

From Time

Our life span on Earth is limited and really short. It’s easy to complain and blame others, it’s easy to procrastinate and say you have no time, and it’s hard to make a change and build new habits.

As Steve Jobs said in a speech, death is a destination we all share and how it’s life’s best invention, because it clears out the old to make way for the new. Our time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition because your heart and intuition already know what you truly want to become.

I also dig the riff before the solo break, as it reminds me of “Natural Science” from Rush.

“Blood” kicks off with a cool groovy intro.

Misery can be so attractive
When making yourself happy is the only alternative
At the expense of someone else’s life
Do it for yourself, damn it, do what’s right!

From Blood

Even though it was written back in 89/90, it’s so relevant today. The majority of people in social media want to be friends and liked by a huge circle or network of people, when the truth is, if your circle is smaller, you will be more happier because you won’t be disappointed and you will not disappoint others, as you would have the time to make to keep the friendships going.

For “Keep It In The Family”, James Hetfield was obviously listening because you can hear “Sad But True” in the intro of the song.

The public enemy’s not the man who speaks his mind
The public enemy’s the man that goes and acts blind
Searching for an answer that he’ll never find

From Keep It In The Family

We have fake news all over the net, and people don’t like it. We have fake news on tv stations because the owners of said stations are pushing their own agenda. In Australia, you will never get a positive article on the Labor Party by a Rupert Murdoch owned news site or TV station.

And while our ancestors went to war against dictatorships that spy on their citizens and suppress free speech, it’s really concerning how those things are happening in countries with democratically elected leaders.

Keep it in the family
Don’t even try to tell me what you think is right
When to you blacks are niggers and jews are kikes
And you expect to be taken seriously

From Keep It In The Family

Racism is more prevalent today than I remember growing up. Maybe it’s due to the internet, our connections online and how information spreads fast.

And we have so many laws that prevent racial abuse and discrimination, but hate is still there, lurking in the undertow.

I just want my life
To do whatever I like
Yeah, it’s a selfish need
To have no responsibility
So I’ll say what I’m gonna say
‘Cause I’m going to hell anyway
I’d rather be alone
In my world

From In My World

We want attachments, we want to live in society and we want to be off the grid. Mmmm. It sounds like my week so far. Regardless as we get older, the things that bothered us, don’t matter anymore. Other issues take their spot. And when you have a duty to others, to provide and to keep them safe, you start to lose a little bit of you. So what do you do?

You think it’s so easy?
Put yourself on trial everyday
Against a hung jury
You don’t know a thing about me

From Gridlock

People want success, but when they get it, they are not happy with the judgements, the scrutiny, the lack of privacy and all of the other changes that come with it.

Trust in hope is to trust in pain
From Belly Of The Beast

So much truth. Plan for disappointment to experience happiness instead of the other way around.

You may not know this
We may be different
Different but equal
Different and free

From H8 Red

In the end we all bleed the same and our blood colour is the same.

If a racist person needs life saving blood, they will not have a clue if that blood came from a race they hate. And you know what, I’m pretty sure, people have been given blood donated by races they hate, because blood doesn’t discriminate.

And the wall, cracks, and the walls come crumbling
Down with old ideals that could never work in modern times
Free choice, religious freedom, basic rights are on the bottom line
Down with all the icons of the past cold war and detente
The flock no longer fears the wolf, the flock is taking what it wants

From One Man Stands

The fall of the Berlin Wall is one of the biggest moments of change without any bloodshed. It changed Eastern Europe to this day. And this song sums it all up.

While people might be oppressed for years, the next generation coming through will not have the same fears and obedience of their parents.

In other words, the children of the revolution no longer fear the wolf and are ready to take what they want.

Well, that’s it for my Anthrax collection. I had friends who had other albums which I heard plus I had whatever clip came on music TV, recorded on VHS.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Evergrey – The Atlantic

The way the music in “A Silent Arc” starts off, it feels like I am in the turmoil of the ocean, getting thrown around with the currents and waves, taking a quick breath before the next wave pushes me under.

And in the lyrics Tom Englund is using the ocean as an analogy for the breakdown of his marriage.

In the first chorus he mentions how their Heaven is dead and how they have been adrift for years.

But in the middle section, he’s seeing all the years of drifting come to an end.

And it’s all backed up by music which echoes the chaos and turmoil and calmness of the ocean, in the same way chaos and turmoil and calmness happen in our lives.

In “Weightless”, Englund looks back and reassesses his past.

I can’t help to think that we got lost because of me
Can’t help to feel that I brought on this travesty
Been lost so long that lost is the only thing I’ve ever known
Can’t help to feel that I’m alone

It’s real and heartfelt and anyone who has been in a relationship knows how easy it is to tear it apart so quickly.

And sometimes it’s nothing big that breaks people up, it’s just the different paths you started a few years ago end up being too far apart to reconnect.

And in the chorus, the ocean analogy is there again.

I’m weightless in the water
Surrounded by the deep

How fucking heavy is the intro to “All I Have”?

It’s all I have
It’s all I have
All I have
All I own that I can give to you

The emotion and agony in Englund’s voice hooks me in.

And that outro solo is excellent.

“A Secret Atlantis” is your typical Evergrey sound.

I stare the skies of abandoned hearts
Dare I break the wave will I be safe?
Our secret Atlantis
We were the only one who knew
what we were hiding
You from me and me from you

They both had in their minds a secret place to hide from each other. Sad and yet so powerful.

And I wanted to let you know
That I’m leaving to let this go
And the sky is painting my sorrow
The sky is painting my sorrow

Sometimes you need to let it go for the sanity of all involved. And it’s hard, it’s sad, especially when children are involved but if it didn’t happen, the relationship would just decay into something worse.

In “End Of Silence” the heaviness introduces the first three lines.

Adrift, the sleep made us liars
It kept us close and
convinced us we’d be fine

How many times after an argument, you go to bed together, sleep so close and yet so far away emotionally.

Our wishes similar but not the same
and with sunrise the reason came

And it’s the crux of every issue. When do you start to take care of you and put you first?

And that harmony lead from 3.15 brings all the emotions to the forefront.

At the Atlantic edge awaits the end of silence

Most people want to disappear when relationships breakdown. Because your partner was also friends with your friends and so forth. And people pick sides. And it sucks.

In “Currents”, Englund sees the water rise but he hopes the threat goes away so everything would stay the same.

Come
Come save me from these waters
These waves too tall for me
They’ll bury me in silence
The currents forcing me to sea

How fucking good is this chorus?

It’s catchy and that keyboard riff under the vocal melody is addictive.

“Departure” is one of my favorite tracks on the album.

We were the reasons for us losing ground
We were the reasons for why the lights went out
We were the reasons for the years we had
And we were the reasons to why it had to end at last

A perfect summation of a relationship.

And the vocal melody when Englund sings, the struggling, the reaching, the searching for feeling, weren’t there no longer” is emotive and sad. Because relationship break downs are fucked.

And how cool is the riff and piano lines after the chorus. I had the guitar out ASAP.

And when those harmonies come in from about 4.28 it’s a fuck yeah moment.

It’s quality. It doesn’t have to be heavy and loud to sound heavy.

In “The Beacon”, Englund is looking for that light to point him into the direction of life again.

Conformed to comfort
Our sanctuary it was worth the unease
It offered shelter and at bay in silence
the spreading disease

It’s why so many stay together who shouldn’t. The comfort. It’s hard to escape what you know and head out into the unknown. But when you do head out, you need that beacon to get you back to civilization. Because it’s easy to get lost.

In “This Ocean”, Englund mentions how he cried this ocean.

I’ve cried this ocean
And the tears that I wept
Shadows the apparent horizon
I’ve cried this ocean

Tears are expected when something for so long breaks up.

And that section from about 2.50 minutes. It’s heavy, melodic and progressive.

Also in the chorus there is this guitar lead in there which is addictive.

And the song ends with a lot of evil intent.

For a band that has remained stable for three albums, Tom Englund, Henrik Danhage, Jonas Ekdahl, Rikard Zander and Johann Niemann have captured an excellent vibe here.

If you also want to read a cool interview with Tom Englund and Jonas Ekdahl, go over to the Man Of Much Metal website.

And here is a review I totally agree with, also from the same website.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Profit Comes Later

In simple business sense, when you bring a new album or song to the free market, the market will decide what it’s worth.

The labels did set the price point once upon a time and people paid. Then came greed and the people started to revolt against paying for a full price CD with a few good songs. There is no greater demonstration of this revolt than Napster.

Napster showed the recording business how much people love music and how they like to trade music. And this bothered the recording business and the acts because to share music meant the labels didn’t get paid.

But it’s different these days. That power has shifted to the consumers and to the acts. Consumers know decide what price they would like to pay for recorded music via the different distribution methods and price points and the acts set the price points for tickets to the show.

Just because you spent months creating your masterpiece, along with your blood, sweat and tears, (as most artists like to say) it doesn’t mean you are entitled to be paid. The truth is you are not special. And even if you had some success before, it doesn’t mean your new music will have the same success.

If you don’t want to be treated like dirt, then you need to have a think about the path you are on, because the current path of “write an album and release album” is not working.

Then again if their is no artist and fan connection, then nothing will work.

Fans will always pay extra for something because it’s limited or rare or one its kind.

It was the reason why Pledge and Indiegogo and other fan funded websites took off. The artists offered something limited and unique.

But the record labels came in with their artists and made it basically the same rubbish that every marketplace has. Instead of buying a used drum snare skin from a certain gig on a certain date, you now have 100 used snare skins to buy from which could have come from the recording session or normal rehearsals.

Instead of buying the proper hand written lyrics, you get the chance to buy 250 copies of the lyrics written out by hand after the fact. It’s bullshit and the fans have seen its bullshit.

By the way, Pledge is not even paying the artists. When you run a business like a Ponzo scheme, expect the house of cards to fall down.

As an artist, do you want to create value or profit?

For a fan, that TDK cassette which had a copy of Crue’s “Shout At The Devil” on Side 1 and a copy of Maiden’s “The Number Of Beast” on Side 2 and was handed down for free is more valuable than something they paid for.

Create value first. Profit will come after.

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Music, My Stories

The Data We Give Away

Electric eye, in the sky
Feel my stare, always there
There’s nothing you can do about it
Develop and expose
I feed upon your every thought
And so my power grows

Electric Eye by Judas Priest

In the internet age, it’s all about spying. The most obvious spying activity, which we don’t even care about are our search histories. I bet ya, if all of those search words are given to our partners, it would make “The War Of The Roses” movie look like child’s play.

However, with our uptake of social media; Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter are all making billions from content put up by their users and by selling data from their users to third parties.

And the TV industry has seen this, they know about this, and those SMART TV’s that once seemed out of price are suddenly affordable, because the manufacturer is capturing your data and selling it to a third party for a profit. But there is a high chance you didn’t agree to this invasion of privacy.

The manufacturer tracks what TV shows you watch, what ads you watch and what sport you watch. They then sell all of that data to other parties for product placements. So while the TV was cheap, the manufacturer stands to make billions by selling your data to marketing companies.

Then again, is it any different to what YouTube, Netflix, Amazon, Spotify and Apple do.

And what about the power of WeChat. It’s basically WhatsApp, Facebook, PayPal, Uber and many other softwares in one.

Is it good for one company to have so much power?

My view is no, but people just hand over their info and data because it’s easy to use and they are connected. And since it’s a Chinese company, 90% of the users are from China, which is a censored society. Which means that the Government would have access to this data as well.

As my favorite band from Australia “Cog” sings, “yes they’re making lists of people interested in this”.

Maybe it’s time we take back our privacy.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories

The Album Vaults – Aerosmith

This is a new little blog series in which I showcase my album collection.

And if you are going to start with A, then Aerosmith is a perfect band to kick it off.

It started with “Walk This Way”. Their version with Run DMC was all over MTV. Then “Permanent Vacation” dropped. And I can’t find my LP. In the six house moves, I’ve lost a few boxes and unfortunately “Permanent Vacation” is a victim.
I purchased the single to “Love In The Elevator” first and really dug the B side “Young Lust”. And that clip was everywhere. The scorched earth marketing policy Geffen employed was working. I didn’t buy it straight away, but “Pump” had the distinction of being my first Aerosmith album purchase.

And “Pump” is a solid album from start to finish.
Even in that late 80’s period of mega sales, Aerosmith still had their sound rooted in the blues. It’s why they kept their existing fan base and they just added enough catchiness to grab new fans along the way.

I got “Get A Grip” as soon as I could get it and for the amount of songs on it, I was disappointed with it as an album, but it did give me “Eat The Rich” (love the verse riff), “Get A Grip” , “Livin On The Edge” and “Crying”.

At this point in time, I needed to get my hands on some of their earlier 70’s releases. But I started with “Aerosmith’s Greatest Hits” as it was an obvious choice to peruse their back catalogue.

“Draw The Line” was next with the mighty “Kings And Queens”. On the “Greatest Hits” collection the song was edited down to 3.48 from its original 4.55 running time. But hearing it in it’s full glory is excellent. I swear Dave Meniketti built his career on this song.

“Toys In The Attic” came next, followed by the excellent “Rocks” and the unbelievable riffy “Nobody’s Fault”.

“Get Your Wings” and “Night In The Ruts” proved disappointing however back in the present, I was surprised at “Nine Lives” and the risk they took to bring exotic melodies into their music, like “Taste Of India”, which is an excellent song.

“Just Push Play” proved disappointing and another greatest hits package called “Oh Yeah” rounded out my Aerosmith purchases.
Through streaming I’ve heard the other albums that I don’t have, but don’t feel a real need to go out and get em as I’m quite happy having access to em.

Here is the playlist.

Happy to hear about other people’s favorites.

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Music, My Stories, Stupidity

Burn

We got a blackout. My kids haven’t been through one before. Actually my kids don’t know how good they’ve really had it, because everything works without fail.

As a kid growing up, blackouts happened a lot and then the infrastructure became stable and they stopped. But the storm passing through was crazy and the infrastructure is now old, unable to cope with the demand of a growing population.

And man, our weather in Australia has been even crazier. We get hot, humid days and then a crazy storm in the afternoon. Sometimes hail and cyclonic winds. We used to get these kinds of days before, sporadically, but these days, it’s every fucking day.

We’ve basically become a tropical climate across all parts of Australia, but hey, according to the the politicians who do the bidding for the corporations, our world is fine. All of the damage the Industrial Age has done to our environment is nothing because their bottom lines look great.

At the moment we are sweltering through another extreme heat wave. The last heatwave a few weeks ago brought a dust storm with it and so did the one a few weeks before that.

And I’m thinking of a city ablaze, a town on fire and how the woman who foretold it, we called her a liar.

Time for some Deep Purple.

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