A magazine article from 1983, inspired the original “Top Gun” movie.
The author, Ehud Yonay, transferred the copyright to Paramount for a fee. There is a Copyright law that allows him to terminate this transfer after 35 years.
But he died in 2012, so his widow and son filed a termination notice in 2018 which was approved and in effect from 2020.
I don’t agree with Copyrights lasting 70 to 90 years after the death of the creator, but it’s a law that’s in effect and it will not change anytime soon. This law was designed to benefit the Corporations originally as they are the ones who lobbied hard to get it passed, but as a by product, it also benefited the heirs of very valuable works. Much to the hatred of the movie studios and labels.
So “Top Gun: Maverick” comes out and it starts making some serious coin, the author’s heirs sued Paramount Pictures. They claim that the sequel never should have been made as the Movie Studio does not hold the rights to the magazine story.
Expect a decent settlement before it gets to the courts. Because all the heirs want is a payday.
Her 1994 song “All I Want For Christmas Is You” has been streamed over a billion times earning Carey over $60 million in royalties.
And now an artist is suing for Copyright Infringement because they had a song with the same title out a few years before that.
Yep, they are suing because of the song title which has been used 177 times in the U.S by different artists. It’s no so original is it.
Imagine Judas Priest suing Def Leppard and Halestorm for “Love Bites”.
But the mind boggling Copyright action at the moment comes from Mary Bono, the widow of Sonny Bono and a former Republican U.S. Representative. She was instrumental in getting a law passed called “The Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act” in 1998 which extending the terms of copyrights for another 20 years for any works created in 1923 and after. This meant the Public Domain in the US got nothing from 1998, until 1 January 2019.
And now she has filed termination notices to several corporations to get back the rights to Sonny’s works (as he was the writer) and remove Cher from those rights as well which Cher is suing for.
Because Cher’s royalties came because of the divorce agreement she had with Sonny when they agreed to split the royalties equally. I never knew that dead people still had to pay monies post divorce.
And that’s what Mary Bono is arguing. That copyright law supersedes divorce agreements.
And the RIAA and MPAA still argue that we need longer Copyright terms to benefit the creators.
“Slowhand” is the fifth full-length studio album by Eric Clapton, released on 25 November 1977 by RSO Records.
Clapton is in the news these days for the wrong reasons. I was even called a racist at my place of work for listening to his music.
I suppose it’s the age old question.
Do you stop listening to an artists for things they’ve said or done that you don’t agree with?
I have three vaccines in me so I don’t really care if artists I enjoy listening to sprout anti vaccine bullshit. The racist rant he went on in a 1976 concert was bizarre to say the least, especially how he is influenced by black musicians. And I’m a foreigners son but I didn’t care much either way.
It gave rise a Rock Against Racism movement back then and then he dropped “Slowhand” which became a massive seller for him.
And coincidence or not his band is white.
Eric Clapton is on lead vocals and guitars. Dick Sims is on keyboards, George Terry on guitars, Carl Radle on bass, Jamie Oldaker on drums/percussion and Mel Collins is on saxophones. Yvonne Elliman does the excellent harmony and backing vocals. Marcy Levy is also on the harmony and backing vocals, and duets with Clapton on “The Core”.
Glyn Johns expertely captures the sounds as engineer and producer. Clapton really wanted to work with Johns, because of his work with The Rolling Stones and The Eagles, however while in the studio, Johns ran a disciplined ship which discouraged jamming. According to Johns, why take away precious time from recording to jam. Since Clapton and his band were drunk most of the time, Johns had no other choice but to run a tight recording schedule.
Written by J.J. Cale who it seems like was getting covered by everyone. The riff is straight from the songbook of “Sunshine Of Your Love”.
At 333.6 million streams on Spotify, it’s one of his most played. And I don’t care how Clapton spins it, the song is about taking the drug,
Lay Down Sally
Written by Eric Clapton, George Terry and Marcy Levy, I like the 12 bar bluegrass shuffle on this. It reminds me of Dire Straits even though this was written before.
On Spotify it has 309 million streams but press play for the lead breaks which make up for the lyrics which could be classed as silly.
A live song written by Eric Clapton for his then wife.
Next Time You See Her
Another track written by Eric Clapton which could pass for the embryo of the Hootie And The Blowfish sound.
There is anger here at losing his lover.
We’re All the Way
Written by country artist Don Williams. It’s a slower song with shimmering acoustic lines, a soft brush drum beat and baritone vocals.
And it is this style which dominates the album.
Written by Eric Clapton and Marcy Levy. At almost 9 minutes long, Clapton is trying to re-create “Crossroads” from Robert Johnson in certain sections however there are lot of riffs to unpack here and all of them are a fun to play.
May You Never
Written by John Martyn.
Clapton breaks out the acoustic guitar here, with a kind of Eagles-style tune that doesn’t disappoint and is one that I enjoyed quite a bit.
Mean Old Frisco
Written by Arthur Crudup
Clapton brings a gangster attitude to this as the song reminds me of something that The Black Crowes would do in the 90’s.
Peaches and Diesel
Written by Eric Clapton and Albhy Galuten.
It’s an instrumental with a guitar hero like solo. Musically it shares elements to “Wonderful Tonight”.
And the album did great business all around the world with various certifications from different regions.
The thing I like about Clapton is that he takes on covers and re-invent those songs for the modern market. In a way, making em his songs.
Investment funds are purchasing licenses to music catalogues that make money. Streaming services have shown how much money they pay to the copyright holders which in most cases are the labels, the publishers, the few artists who own their rights and now, Hedge Funds and Investment Funds.
The three major music labels jointly brought in over $25 billion in revenue last year, with $12.5 billion coming from streaming recorded revenue alone. Spotify payments represent around a third of that streaming total. Major label profits combined in 2021 exceeded $4 billion.
Furthermore, social media services like Facebook, Tik Tok, Snapchat and the like also pay a lot of license fees to the copyright holders. Even games like Roblox had to settle a $200 million suit around licensing fees to the publishers and labels. There is a lot of money going out to copyright holders which isn’t filtering to the actual people who make those copyrights valuable.
Then again, a lot of those people are dead and their copyrights are unfortunately held by corporations (instead of being in the Public Domain) who might pay a few million or a few thousands to the artists heirs. Sort of like a lifetime pension that reverts to the spouse and then to the kids.
From a Metal point of view, investment fund, Tempo Music acquired a majority stake in some of Korn’s recordings and compositions. And another investment fund called, Round Hill Music did a deal with members of Supertramp.
David Bowie’s catalogue went for a lot and he’s not even alive to spend it. So did Bob Dylan to Universal Music Group, who is figuring out how to spend his $400 million at his age. And Neil Young sold 50% of his stake in his song to Hipgnosis for $150 million.
81 year old Tina Turner also sold her rights to BMG (a music publishing company) along with her image and likeness. “Chanisaw Charlie” from WASP comes to mind and how “Charlie” the label boss in the song, whores the image of the dead rock stars.
And the cases for plagiarism in music just keep coming.
You see, I find it hard to believe that an artist is so original and free from influence. And yes, some songs might sound the same or have similarities. Hell the whole Southern Rock genre sounded the same in the 70’s and so did the Blues Rock genre from the same period. They actually both sounded the same.
Listen to progressive music like Yes, ELP and Rush and you would start to hear a lot of similarities. It’s just how creativity works. Nothing is created in a vacuum, free from influences. Creativity is a sum of our influences and experiences.
Plagiarism cases don’t happen much in metal and hard rock circles these days, but if any of the artists have a hit song right now, well, where there is a hit, there is a writ.
Drake and Chris Brown are in court over copyright infringement. Kate Perry just won her suit. Bad Bunny is also sued for infringement. Ed Sheeran has a special team that constantly fights plagiarism court battles.
And Taylor Swift is almost done re-recording her old songs to get away from a restrictive contract in which her copyrights are owned by her original label and for some reason they had the right to sell those rights on to anyone, which they already did.
In other words, they used Taylor Swift as a bargaining chip, sold the copyrights they held in her music and took the money with no compensation to the artist.
“Frontiers” from Italy is constantly putting money out there to get famous artists from the 80’s and 90’s to record new music for them and to re-record their old songs for the label.
From looking at the metal and rock genre, “Frontiers” have the highest releases from any label that I am aware off. I guess the Frontiers execs are aware that having assets like “copyright” under their control, makes good business sense.
Those copyright assets will never go down to zero. Because streaming pays those who hold the copyrights and the money is in holding the copyrights for the life of the artist plus 70 years after death. In some countries its 90 years after death.
In other words, music is a better investment than anything else. If you buy physical property, you would need to maintain it, renovate it and keep paying bills for utilities, however music just scales. And artists will keep on creating.
AI can create new songs from Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra or Michael Jackson. A company called OpenAI can generate new pop songs in the style of these artists. It’s not studio quality, more like garage demo’s as the AI creates derivative versions of music they’ve already released and new lyrics based on the songs the artist previously released.
But the biggest issue always facing artists is payments.
The streaming services have secret licensing agreements with the music publishers and the labels. These black box deals are worth a lot to the labels and publishers.
But the music publishers and labels are in these positions of negotiating power because of the works that the artists have created, however those licensing monies do not filter down to the artists.
Then again, these kinds of black box creative accounting from the labels is engrained in their system. It’s nothing new.
But I’ll sign my contract baby, and I won’t you people to know Every penny that I make, I’ve got to see where my money goes
From “Working For MCA” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
But artists don’t see where their money goes and they haven’t seen for a very long time.
And when the labels had the power and control of the distribution chain before Napster, they could sign artists to the most crappiest deals ever. Which they still enforce today.
Machine Head had been leading up to a demo release for the song “Killers and Kings” since February. In the lead up, Robb Flynn talked about his youth, the San Francisco thrash scene and how bands used to release demo’s of songs before the album and how the fans would go away and debate it.
Then the marketing started. Machine Head (along with Nuclear Blast) started releasing the different single covers on a weekly basis (which look great by the way) and they got into partnership with the Record Store Day event.
To put it in simply pseudocode;
Where an audience exists and if an artist has new material, release it.
They are no more and according to the internet, they barely existed.
Faktion’s self-titled release hit the streets in 2006. I came across it in 2014. It was up against some stiff competition for listener’s attention. The audience that could have gravitated towards Faktion had already devoted their ears to other bands.
Like Breaking Benjamin released “Phobia”, Skillet released “Comatose”, Stone Sour released “Come What(ever) May”, Daughtry released his self-titled debut, 10 Years released “Autumn’s Dream”, Crossfade released “Falling Away”, Pillar released “The Reckoning”, Red released “End Of Silence” and Papa Roach released “The Paramour Sessions”. Already it is a pretty crowded marketplace.
BUT it gets worse.
They had a deal with Roadrunner Records who didn’t know how to promote them in a crowded modern rock scene.
Should Dave Mustaine been inducted with Metallica into the RNR Hall of Fame?
Jason Newsted and Rob Trujilio got inducted however there contribution pales to what Mustaine brought to the band. If you make an assessment of early Metallica, the evidence is there for Dave Mustaine to be inducted. The style of technical thrash that Mustaine brought to Metallica would end up influencing their first four albums. Otherwise they were just another NWOBHM copycat.
The induction criteria does state that the committee looks “at the influence and significance of the artists’ contributions to the development and perpetuation of rock and roll” on an official recording, but as you know, the first album was written while Mustaine was in the band. He just didn’t play on it.
Metal and hard rock are niches. Accept it and focus on it. It can be a lucrative business for you if you do. It will not bring back the glory days of the Seventies and Eighties, however it will give you a career.
A song takes off because fans start to spread the word. They share links to it, they talk about it, they blog about it. A marketing campaign can never achieve this. Only great music can.
Back in 2014 I wrote, “when are the people involved going to realise that Queensryhce is no more. Move on, forge a new career and a new identity.”
And I still stand by that.
Vinyl, CD’s, Digital Downloads
Streaming has won. The rest of us that actually purchase any music in physical form do it because we are collectors.
I listen to most of my music on Spotify however I still purchase physical product of bands that I like. BUT I haven’t even opened the shrink wrapping as yet. I have no need to.
MONEY IN MUSIC
Back in 2014, I wrote that “there is still a lot of money in the business. Streaming pays the labels well. It’s just doesn’t filter down to the artists. Revenues from streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora and YouTube surpassed the $1bn mark.”
Streaming Revenue is at $22bn in 2022.
ENTERTAINMENT LOBBY GROUPS ASKING GOOGLE TO DO MORE TO PROTECT THEIR BUSINESS MODELS
23 years post Napster we are still hearing about this. It is the usual b.s. about how Google “could do so much more” or that Google has “not been effective” in preventing illegal music downloading.
If you never experienced the Seventies, then this album from a super group of melodic death metal bands recaptures it all.
From the “Immigrant Song/Achilles Last Stand” references in “Siberian Queen” to the “I Was Made For Loving You” references in “West Ruth Avenue” or the “Play That Funky Music/ Stevie Wonder’s Superstitious in “Internal Affairs”.
Play it loud.
Adrenaline Mob – Omerta
It is a balls to the wall metal classic in the style of Accept, Scorpions, Dio merged with the metal stylings of Disturbed and Godsmack. “Undaunted”, “All On The Line”, “Angel Sky”, “Indifferent” and “Hit The Wall” are worthy additions to any metal bands setlist.
The cover of Duran Duran’s “Come Undone” is also a fitting metal tribute to a pop number one hit.
So put aside all of your views on the members that make up the band and from what bands they come from and embrace a great balls to the wall metal project.
Digital Summer – Breaking Point
DIY band from Phonenix, Arizona, getting stronger with each release. “Breaking Point” was a Kickstarter funded project and it didn’t disappoint. The lead single “Forget You” has racked up 1,027,533 views on YouTube. They are great numbers for an independent band, that also manage themselves, record and release their own music and hold down day jobs.
If you like modern rock, then you will like this band.
Richie Sambora – Aftermath Of The Lowdown
The good old Richie Sambora released a great modern rock album that didn’t get the recognition it deserved because at that point in time he was still in Bon Jovi and Bon Jovi (the band) needed him to start the promotional interviews for the “What About Now” album.
Check out “Seven Years Gone”, “Nowadays”, “Every Road Leads Home To You”. Hell, the whole album is good. Give it your time.
Lizzard – Out Of Reach
This band is definitely under the radar for what they do. Think of Earshot meets Tool meets 10 Years meets modern rock. Vocalist, Mathieu Ricou has a voice that crosses between Chad Kroeger, Aaron Lewis and Maynard James Keenan.
There is a feel of Progressive Metal, TOOL, Hard Rock, Trance & hypnotic music, DEFTONES, YES and PINK FLOYD. It’s a potent mix.
Vaudeville – Vendetta
Vaudeville is one band that deserves more recognition for what they do. They merge the styles of Muse and Radiohead with Hard Rock. It sounds beautiful and original.
Check out the song “Restless Souls”.
Hell Or Highwater – Begin Again
The new band from Atreyu drummer Brandon Saller. Hell or Highwater finds Saller stepping away from his drum kit and taking the mic to be the band’s lead vocalist. It’s hard rock people and it rocks real good and it doesn’t sound generic.
One Less Reason – A Blueprint For Writhing
This EP was my first introduction to One Less Reason. I knew nothing about them and when I heard “All Beauty Fades”, I was left speechless. And they are another DIY band. It’s six songs and there is no filler. A very smart decision to release the best.
Corroded – State Of Disgrace
Corroded have a decent following in their own country of Sweden. They are a skilful band that create groove based hard rock. Stand out songs are “Let them Hate As Long As They Fear”, “I Will Not”, and “Believe In Me”.
You know Copyright is all wrong, when you have a composer of several Motown hits combining copyright law with divorce law. Seriously, how much more distorted can copyright get.
Smokey Robinson is seeking a declaratory judgement against his ex-wife. You see, Robinson is reclaiming the rights to his pre-1978 songs from Jobete Music Co. Robinson’s main problem is that his ex-wife (since 1985) believes she should be entitled to 50% of whatever income these songs generate and she has filed suit to ensure that happens.
The labels claim that all pre-1978 songs are “works of hire”.
Smokey Robinson claims that his ex-wife isn’t entitled to his profits but his heirs are.
Remember Copyright’s meaning. To give the creator a monopoly on their works for a limited period of time, so they could create more works. Something looks a miss here.
The smarter acts started building their Ark’s. They saw the warnings while the rest all drowned in the flood. Castle Donnington in August had AC/DC, Metallica, Queensryche, Motley Crue and Black Crowes. All of those bands survived the flood, however Queensryche managed to commit hara-kiri many years after.
But from a hard rock point of view, 1991 had a lot of guitar heroes looking for work.
Jimmy Page announced that he was working with David Coverdale. The media reported it as White Zeppelin and Led Snake. The band was filled out with Denny Carmassi (Heart) on drums, Ricky Phillips (Bad English) on bass with Johnny and Joe Gioeli from the band Brunette rounding out the band. Fast forward to March 1993, “Coverdale/Page” finally came out. The wheels of motion in the recording business travel slowly.
Neal Schon along with Deen Castronovo signed an unnamed band to MCA which also featured Johnny and Joe Gioeli (who apart from being in the band Brunette, had a gig with Coverdale/Page) whom Schon discovered when he started dating their sister. The bands line up was completed by Todd Jensen (DLR) on bass. And that project would become “Hardline”.
Vinnie Vincent was writing songs with Gene and Paul. Most of those songs would end up 1992’s “Revenge” including the excellent “Unholy”.
John Sykes was rumored that he joined Def Leppard to replace Steve Clark and those rumours started to earn some credibility when Carmine Appice and Tony Franklin quit Blue Murder.
Adrian Vandenberg was out of a gig after David Coverdale disbanded Whitesnake. Rumours started circulating that he was forming a project with John Waite as Bad English was done.
Then he had a solo deal with Victory Records. Then rumours persisted that he was tapped to join House Of Lords who also had a deal with Victory.
Adrian Vandenberg went on to be involved in the supergroup “Manic Eden” that had Rudy Sarzo, Tommy Aldridge as well as Little Caesar vocalist Ron Young. The House Of Lords connection was there in the early incarnation of the band, as James Christian was the original vocalist.
Steve Stevens was also between employers. He was also on the radar to fill the guitarist slot with House Of Lords and then he was working on a solo record and then he was announcing plans to work with Michael Monroe which became Jerusalem Slim. And a few years later he would be the guitarist on Vince Neil’s rocking debut album.
Randy Jackson spent 5 years working on the “China Rain” project, assembling a brilliant band that included Brian Tichy on Drums, Ronnie Snow supporting Randy on guitar and Teddy Cook on Bass. Then the label decided to not release it.
Vivian Campbell was in a new hard rock band called Shadow King, with Lou Gramm of Foreigner, Bruce Turgon on bass and Kevin Valentine on drums.
Vito Bratta at that point in time had a solo deal with Atlantic. And then nothing.
Jeff Watson was rumoured to be in a project with Carmine Appice, Bob Daisley and Derek St Holmes. That project ended up becoming “Mother’s Army” and the final line up consisted of vocalist Joe Lynn Turner, guitarist Jeff Watson, bassist Bob Daisley and drummer Carmine Appice.
Richie Sambora didn’t know if Bon Jovi would continue and released a solo album based on the blues infused with a little bit of pop and rock. He never achieved the platinum sales that he got with Bon Jovi, however he got to show a side of himself that could never have been shown in Bon Jovi.
Back in November, 2021, a Crue fan posted their excitement to Nikki Sixx, when a book on Motley Crue called “Kick Start My Heart” by Martin Popoff arrived at their home.
Well, Nikki Sixx responded in a way that took a lot of people by surprise, when he said that Popoff was just “another person making money” off Motley Crue’s legacy, And if you have read books from Martin Popoff, most of us were like ‘WTF’.
It’s pretty obvious that emotional stability is something that the Crue guys struggle with.
And when other people mentioned the good work that Popoff has done for the hard rock and heavy metal industry with his books and reviews, Nikki Sixx replied by calling him a scumbag, a criminal, a leach.
I suppose every artist wants to control their own narrative (and then they hand over the narrative when they seek out interviews with publications to someone else).
But they cannot stop people from publishing works on them.
Is Nikki serious?
People are writing books on dead rock stars and making money in the process. People are writing unauthorized biographies on current rockstars and making money from it. I have seven books on Led Zeppelin from different writers. All of them unauthorized but written brilliantly.
If you want to be in the public eye, these kind of books are part of the territory. And writers like Popoff fill a void because the artists fail to satisfy it. There is demand and no supply.
From my understanding of this book, Popoff even makes mentions of the references he uses to produce this work. It’s just his take on various authorized books.
And while I don’t agree with Nikki Sixx on this, it doesn’t mean I’ll stop listening to his music, but he should step down from his ivory tower once in a while and actually see the body of work that Martin Popoff has produced.
All ideas or If you use the words “intellectual property” for the Copyright maximalists, have an influence from something that came before. We learn to write music by learning the music from others. We learn to write stories by reading the stories of others.
It’s probably why people shouldn’t get all emotional over ideas/intellectual property.
People like familiarity.
Derek Thompson in his book “Hit Makers” mentioned how people are drawn to music that might be new, yet familiar enough to be recognizable.
In other words, that new song we all like has enough variation in it to make it not a carbon copy of its source influence.
And people still like to claim that their song is so original and free from influence and when people have that fixed mindset, well, the courts are busy and the lawyers are making money.
Check out my recent Google alerts on the word Copyright.
A lot of delusional people who believe that their works are so original and free from influence.
All of our ideas have already been stolen. Because there is no such thing as the genius loner. It’s a myth. We are all social people and our creativity is fuelled by our social environments. Every single day, we take in our surroundings, we set meaningful and important goals and we are always thinking of solutions to problems.
A neuroscientist and a psychologist broke down creativity into three main buckets;
Bending means you take a previous work and re-model it in some way. “The Walking Dead” and “Night Of The Living Dead”.
Blending means merging previous works together so you have multiple melodies and re-cutting it to suit what you want to write. Jimmy Page was great at doing this with Led Zeppelin’s music. Metallica did that with “Sanitarium”.
Breaking is taking a short and important musical idea otherwise known as a musical fragment and building on it. Think of my post on “One Riff To Rule Them All”, which covers the A pedal point riff used in songs like “Two Minutes To Midnight”.
The differences between humans and computers is how we store information and how we retrieve information. For the computer, the riff stored on the hard drive will sound exactly the same three years later, however that same riff stored in our head would be different.
Our brain breaks it down, blends it and bends it with other information. This massive mash up of ideas in our brains is our creativity. And when we play that riff three years later, it has a different feel, different phrasing or something else. Some of them stink and sometimes we create something that breaks through into society.
A funny thing started to happen when streaming became the main source of income for the labels.
Live albums started to come out.
You see, streaming services like new content. And since bands like to take their time or need to make time to record new original music, they filled the void for new content by releasing live albums.
Suddenly getting new product out yearly instead of every two to three years became the norm. But it still didn’t solve the problem of people not buying albums.
Whitesnake is a band which keeps firing out live recordings year after year. “Made In Japan”, “Made In England”, “Bad To The Bone 84”, “Castle Donnington 90”, “Live In The Heart Of The City” and “The Purple Tour” have been released as stand-alone albums over the last 10 years.
And David Coverdale knows the value of his super fans.
Each week, the sites that enable copyrights to be infringed innovate at a rapid rate to stay ahead of the curve. They are competing against each other for people to use them to illegally access entertainment.
Read the post to see how these sites innovate. Instead of shutting em down, the labels and movie studios should be employing these people.
I played Nostradamus and looked into my crystal glass full of whiskey in the jar-o to make some predictions.
ON A DOWN SLOPE
The band leader, Chris Daughtry messed up big time chasing the crowds of “Train” and “Imagine Dragons”.
He is a hard rocker from day dot and rock gave him his legion of fans. For the ill-fated and recent “Baptized” album, he committed career suicide, throwing his lot with the hit songwriters.
The songs are good, however they are not Daughtry songs. It would have been better for him as an artist to have given those songs to other artists that are more electronic pop rock minded. That way he would have been the songwriter, the way Bryan Adams gave songs away to other artists that wouldn’t suit the Adams sound back in the 80’s.
We can see through the hype and we hate it.
So much hype was around Dream Theater’s self titled release and it disappeared from the conversation within six weeks.
Megadeth’s brand new album “Super Collider” was being outsold by the Black album.
THE ALBUM FORMAT
Making money is hard. Just because a band releases an album, it doesn’t mean that people would pay for it or would want it.
And when we are inundated with product we tune out, however, it turns out we have time for Metallica’s “Black” album. At this point in time it was still moving two to three thousand units a week and it was expected to pass 16 million by May 2014.
GOING GOING – ALMOST GONE
Classic Rock bands have another 10 years left.
ON THE UP – STORYTELLING
That is why TV shows are the most downloaded torrents of all time. Tell a good story and the world will be at your door step.
Read the financial reports on Universal Music Group.
Spotify has propped up their bottom line and that bottom line will get better each year for Universal. And they keep spreading the bull shit that they are out there fighting for the artists. The good guys.
Frontiers has become a major player in the classic rock, melodic rock and hard rock scene. They kept the flag of melodic rock flying high since 1996, when all of the other major labels abandoned the style and put their monies into grunge first and then industrial rock/metal and then nu-metal.
And their business model is all about locking up copyrights for a long time.
They have realised it’s not about sales anymore, and while steaming numbers and revenue are still tiny, in the long term the labels will be able to reap the benefits.
Because streaming is a regular recurring revenue business. And these Copyrights are valuable?
Let’s put it this way, if Metallica is on Spotify, then the rates paid back to the COPYRIGHT HOLDERS (which in this case is Metallica as they do own their Copyright) must be good, because Lars Ulrich and their manager Cliff Burnstein would not allow Metallica to enter a business arrangement that is not in their favour.
And back in 2014, Tool or AC/DC or Def Leppard were not on Spotify. They all are now.
The real truth is that there is much more music out there than there has ever been, so the issues that are present to artist and labels is how do they get people’s attention directed towards that new music.
Personally, I don’t even know anybody who pirates music anymore. There is no reason to pirate and legitimate customers/fans would always turn to legal alternatives.
Add “Recording Sales Revenue” plus “Streaming Revenue” plus “YouTube Ad Revenue” plus “Ticket Revenue” plus “Merchandise Revenue” plus “Corporate Deals Revenue” plus “Sponsorship Revenue” plus “Publishing Revenue” plus “Licensing Revenue” and then decide if you are winning or not.
Again, if you are not seeing a lot of revenue, then you need to be speaking to your label, because if you have numbers in all of the above Revenue streams then something is a-miss contractually.
You know the drill. A new technology comes out and eventually it will start to get some traction. Then the word will spread about and more people would flock to it. It’s new, it’s cool, it’s hip and its innovative. Then when it is at its peak, the people who testified for the new tech, will abandon it, looking for something new and better.
MySpace, Facebook, Twitter are three such platforms that came, peaked and right now are suffering an identity crisis.
MySpace is finished.
Facebook got traction because it connected people in a way that MySpace couldn’t. Now, all of these connected people need to deal with the marketing of products, advertisers, like requests, fake friend requests and spam.
Twitter is well, Twitter. With so many people tweeting or having their tweets connected to their Facebook Posts or their blog posts, everything is getting lost in the mix. When a big news item hits, Twitter is the platform to go to, because people who are directly involved in these big events are the ones that are tweeting.
Spotify has been around for a while now and in the last 3 years it set up base in a number of large music markets like Australia, Canada and of course the US.
The people tried it. Some have stuck to it. Some have abandoned it. The ones that speak out against it have never used it.
Spotify however needs a game changer. Sort of like how the move to APPS changed the iTunes store. And it’s all about the FREE. Fans of music showed the world that they want FREE music to listen to. And don’t say that FREE doesn’t work. How the hell did Free To Air TV exist and grow over the last 60 years.
I am all over the shop when it comes to music. I still purchase product from the bands I like and I stream as well.
And the funny thing is that I don’t use iTunes anymore.
Who would have thought that day would have come?
And that is what Spotify needs to think about it. Once the newness has rubbed off, what’s next. Consolidation. How can you consolidate when the modern paradigm is DISRUPTION?
I wrote this in 2014 and since then Spotify has innovated a lot to keep people interested. Putting their lot in with PODCASTS and it looks like they will be moving to Audio Books as well based on a recent survey I undertook with them.
It’s all about stopping copyright infringement. It’s all about shaking down internet users. It’s all about a ridiculous and “out of touch with reality” penalty system. For example, if a user downloads one song, the RIAA have argued that the copyright holders are out of pocket between $20 to $10,000. Seriously.
When discussions are had on Copyright, it’s all about the enforcement. It’s all about creating a monopoly. The ones that sit on the innovation fence are shouted down to from the ones that control/hold the Copyrights.
The thing is, people have been “copyright infringers” since day dot. Anyone that remembers cassette tapes, will tell you how they used to copy songs from recordings onto a cassette tape. James Hetfield used to copy Lars Ulrich’s record collection onto cassettes.
We used to copy songs from the radio onto cassettes. We used to copy movies from TV onto VHS cassettes. Then we got even more creative and hooked up two videos at once to make copies of the latest releases. With the advent of the CD and blank discs, we started making mixed CD’s. When Napster exploded, people flocked to it. Because we had been copyright infringing forever.
It is easy to lay the blame on others. However it is the record labels that need to take responsibility. They still don’t get it. People want FREE music. Spotify provides a service that is free, however it is still seen as restrictive and people still go to other torrent sites to download content. YouTube also provides a service that is free.
And then the recording industry claims that these sites make so much money from running ads on their site. If that is the case, then why isn’t the recording industry offering the same service and making that same money.
They don’t want to, because that would mean they would have spent dollars in Information Technology. And they don’t want to do that.
And most artists have never made a living from royalties. The record labels always have.
Well I hope you enjoyed another wrap up of Destroyerofharmony history?
There are no spoilers in this post as I watched “Matrix Resurrections” and stopped half way through it.
And I was thinking, what was its purpose?
If they needed more time to develop the story, Netflix, Amazon, HBO, Disney, and any other streaming service would have been okay to give them a budget to develop the story over 10 episodes or over a couple of seasons.
Because the story needs to be engaging. The plot needs air.
If the creators wanted to capitalise on the existing fan base they should have looked at shows like “Cobra Kai”, “The Mandalorian” and “The Book Of Boba Fett” to see how it’s done. These shows are appealing to the existing fan base and as a by-product, a whole new fan base is also being created at the same time. But those franchises also had some false starts with the movies.
And sometimes, a movie trilogy just doesn’t need another movie.
On a different note, and if you haven’t watched it yet, make sure you check out “Sense 8” from The Wachowski’s on Netflix. One of the best TV shows that did the rounds between 2018 and 2019.
The problem with writing about 80’s music is those who remember it, care about it and those who don’t remember it or did not grow up in it, don’t really care about it. Well not all people. There are some.
But for those of us who lived it, the artists inhabit a special place inside us, where our memories are triggered by the melodies and distortion. Play a Top 100 Rock list from the 80’s and you’ll be surprised how many songs you can sing along to.
The Music Business launches an Anti-Piracy Game App to educate young people on piracy while at the same time copyright infringement of music is declining each year due to decent and well-priced legal alternatives.
The game allows players to select an aspiring artist from a list of hopefuls, compose tracks from a roster of song-writers, producers and studio technicians and balance the books by keeping an eye on how radio play, streaming and piracy impact on profits. But the game doesn’t show the players how much an artist REALLY gets for a song and how much the labels keep for themselves.
In the metal and rock sphere, two record labels come to mind, where I feel that their intentions are motivated by having a copyright monopoly on certain songs.
One is Frontiers and the other is Rock Candy. Frontiers are getting a lot of the Eighties greats to create forgeries of their hits, while Rock Candy is buying up albums from the Eighties and re-releasing them with expanded packaging, so that all these forgeries and new versions of the Eighties albums fall under a new copyright term.
I wrote back in 2014 that “In This Moment” would regret signing with Atlantic Records.
Remember “Bush”. After three successful releases on a smaller label, “Bush” signed a big dollar deal with Atlantic for their fourth release and in return they had their least successful album. And the label wasn’t happy. So with no mainstream success and a lack of label support, “Bush” called it quits.
“Winger” was signed by Atlantic and they had success with them and Atlantic reaped in millions from the first two “Winger” albums while the band was classed as still in debt. After “Winger” delivered their best album “Down Incognito”, “Beavis and Butthead” also happened, and after the dui lynched a Winger loving family in one of their episodes, Atlantic Records suddenly developed amnesia and claimed that they had never heard of “Winger”.
“Collective Soul” already had a demo version of their massive hit “Shine” doing the rounds on radio for about six months before Atlantic picked them up and re-released the same demo album under the Atlantic brand. What an artist and development program at Atlantic. While the band kept selling, Atlantic loved them. Then when the sales started to decline (although still great numbers compared to other bands), the label started to lose interest and after 7 years of making Atlantic wealthy, once their contract ended, it wasn’t renewed.
“Pride” from White Lion broke out and Atlantic pushed them to write more hit singles for the next record. This pressure to create “hit songs” caused a conflicted Vito Bratta even more conflict and when that attempt at “hit songs” failed to provide an increase in sales for “Big Game”, the label just stopped caring. As a last resort, they gave them a lot of money for the “Mane Attraction” album but the band took their time and they were out of the music scene for 12 months recording that album. And Atlantic had already moved on. The album was released with no marketing budget and within 5 months, the band was over. No one from the label even called them.
“Twisted Sister” had a huge local following, however US labels just kept on rejecting them. Eventually, they went looking for a deal in Europe and after a false start with Secret Records, they ended up getting signed to Atlantic Europe. So of course, Atlantic US came knocking, signed them (even though they ignored and rejected them for ten years prior to that), made a huge amount of money of the “Stay Hungry” album and then dropped them three years later.
“Zebra” had a huge local following before they got signed with Atlantic Records. Then the “Zebra” debut album became one of the fastest selling releases on the Atlantic roster. Three years later, Atlantic dropped the band, however they kept an option open on Randy Jackson. So Jackson finished the “China Rain” record in 1990 and Atlantic Records decided not to release it but they wouldn’t allow him to take the masters and release it with a different label.
“Badlands” was signed by Atlantic. The self-titled debut came out and it achieved cult like status among the jaded metal community. “Voodoo Highway” came next however Atlantic was not impressed as the label wanted hit songs for MTV and they wanted those songs written to a strict radio formula. Ray Gillen apparently had songs that suited what the label was looking for. Those frustrations came to a head when Jake E. Lee accused Ray Gillen of going behind his back. In the end, Atlantic broke the band up and then dropped them when they went chasing the grunge dollars. And there albums will never see the light of day on digital services or re-releases because of Ray Gillen infecting the daughter of an Atlantic Exec with HIV.
Dave Mustaine will never have to spend another dollar on marketing. I have a Google Alert set up for Dave Mustaine, and man, what can I say, the web is a flux with Dave Mustaine news. Because he likes to express his opinions. And people either hate him or love him.
In an interview on the FasterLouder website, Mustaine is asked questions, around the then recent album “Super Collider” and how it is seen as a failure. Mustaine responded by saying it debuted at No 6 on the Billboard charts, so he wouldn’t call that a failure.
It’s important to note that the charts do not have the same meaning and influence as they once did. When someone comes up with a chart that combines sales, streaming counts, YouTube views along with the conversation occurring on social media, only then can we call the charts sensible.
And the album “Super Collider” is a failure.
In the end, we are mainly interested in what is great and it is better to release great more frequently instead of an album every 2 years that has a couple of great tracks.
“When you spend nine months working on an album, all the work that goes into it and recording it, mixing it, mastering it, then you release it and it falls on deaf ears.”
“I’d rather work on two songs under that plan (exploring the idea of placing their songs in films, or signing sponsorships deals through integrated marketing with other types of companies that want to use their song specifically to reach tens of millions of people) than do eleven songs that only reach 100,000 people.”
Nikki Sixx from Motley Crue said the above in an interview on the Classic Rock website back in 2014. The link to the story is in the original blog post.
The record labels and the RIAA will say that artists would stop recording less because people pirate/copyright infringe. They will call for stronger copyright enforcement.
Sociologist would say that sales of recorded music have declined due to the rise of other desirables, like apps and gaming in general. Look at the sales of the “Halo” games series by Microsoft. “Halo 4” made $220 million in 24 hours. Overall, the whole series has grossed over $3.4 billion.
Have any rock bands reached that many people or made $220 million in sales in one day?
And artists are still creating and still releasing and still breaking through. Just not the big artists from yesteryear.
Critics will say, that Motley Crue should release something worth buying and that they will buy it.
Musicians took risks and stood for something. They made money, they blew money, some did drugs, and they made money again. Basically rock stars did it their way. There was no safety net. That is why we flocked to them. That is why we became fans. They represented an attitude, a sense of freedom that connected with us.
Spotify has been in the news a lot lately and when it hits the news its always for the wrong reasons.
I can tell ya that no one in Australia gives a crap about Joe Rogan and the Neil Young/Joni Mitchell drama. The majority of the country here doesn’t even know or care who Rogan is. And for Young pulling his catalogue of songs from the service, he’s cut his income by 60%. Maybe it’s a North American issue as Young’s reach in Australia is minimal unless he had a crossover song which became mainstream like “Rockin In The Free World” and “Hey Hey My My”.
Young can take this stance as well. You see, he hasn’t sold his rights to investment firms and hedge funds, so he’s entitled to do what he wants with his music, whereas the artists who sold their rights and took the money are silent. Because they have to be. There are too many players on their rights.
And the news cycle is fast. What was trending last week, disappears after 24 hours and I’m probably the only one writing about this a week later.
But this post is not about Neil Young or Rogan. It’s about Spotify.
It’s about the algorithms from digital services.
We’ve come a long way since Apple release the iPod in October 2001.
While the algorithms might have been cool at the start, all they do now is recommend more of the same.
It looks like the coders behind em, have gone to various lists and Wikipedia pages across the internet and used those lists to create their algorithms.
For example, Google, “Great Guitar Solos” and multiple lists come up. The Spotify coder would then take that list and use the artists in the lists for a playlist. In other words, its basic dumb coding.
When I want to hear Guitar Solos like “Comfortably Numb” from Pink Floyd and Dave Gilmour, I want an algorithm that uses the emotion of that solo to find me other emotive solos like it from artists I don’t know and know.
Like “Try Me” from UFO and the great Michael Schenker. Or “Angel Of Mercy” from Black Label Society and Zakk Wylde as the guitarist. And it would be cool if its evolving, bringing in something different, like the “Live at Budokan” version of “Hollow Tears” from Dream Theater and John Petrucci. And the next time I go to it, the list is different, because it’s trying to recommend something cool and new and different.
But the algorithms just look at my past listening habits and mirror those habits back at me. And I’m not finding anything cool from em.
I’ve gone back to the old school way of getting recommendations from friends and other bloggers, reading reviews and making my own decisions on whether to check something out or from artists themselves who mention an act or band that’s blown em away.
And artificial intelligence can automate a lot of this, but it can’t automate the cool and social aspect of being blown away by something sounding so good, because each listeners experience and connection to the music is different. While music is a personal experience, its social in nature. We want to share our experiences, talk about it, watch it live with others, dance to it and put our views out there.
I overdosed on “A Love Unreal” from Black Label Society.
Since 2014, I have been playing “Angel Of Mercy” non-stop. It’s made my 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 end of year lists. It’s always in my Top 100 Spotify songs I play each year. The guitar solo on it is “guitar hero” level. With “A Love Unreal” Zakk has orchestrated another candidate. The guitar solo on this song is a 10 out of 10 for me.
It’s a song within a song. God damn, the whole solo section is 1 minute and 20 seconds long. There are pop songs on the charts which are 2 minutes long.
The Grammy’s is not about the awards, it is about the performances. The Grammy organisation exists solely to sell a TV show and advertising.
The music websites back then wrote about the performances, and how Metallica mashed up “One” with classical pianist Lang Lang. And they got a 125% boost in Spotify streams for the song “One”. Overall, across their whole catalogue, their Grammy performance gave them a 63% increase.
No one wrote about the actual winners in the Best Metal category.
Who was it again?
That’s right, it was “God Is Dead?” from Black Sabbath, And it didn’t get any traction after the awards.
The ACCC, our competition watchdog launched an inquiry into the pricing. The techies went in front of the commission and stated that they didn’t set the price for music in Australia and that the price was set by the Record Labels.
It was found by the Commission that there should be no reason why Australians should pay more for software and music.
However, nothing has changed in relation to the prices. If anything, with the labels pushing vinyl, the prices have quadrupled, with a brand new double vinyl set going for $80.
And music sites would talk about the return of vinyl, but its miniscule compared to what digital brings in. Music is about data. It’s not about how many albums or songs are sold.
Are people listening, sharing and talking about your music?
And if they are, where are these people located, so you can organise ways to tour there and monetise.
I don’t see myself as depressive, but I do have a lot of songs in playlists that are classed as depressive or sad. So I wrote about some of the songs. The link is more in depth however I will summarise.
“Give Me A Sign” is from the album “Dear Agony” by Breaking Benjamin released in 2009. “Break Away” is from the album “The Illusion Of Progress” by Staind released in 2008.
“What A Shame” is from the album “The Sound Of Madness” by Shinedown released in 2008. “Broken Bones” is from the album “Light Me Up” by “The Rev Theory” released in 2008.
“Let Me Be Myself” is from the self-tilted Three Doors Down album released in 2008. “Alias” is from the album, “A Sense Of Purpose”, released in 2009.
“Wake Up” is from Story Of The Year, who are a very underrated band in the metal community. From the outset they got labelled as Emo. However, to me I always saw them as a metal band. This song is from the “The Black Swan”, released in 2008.
“That Was Just Your Life” has so many familiar bits, like the “Enter Sandman” riff backwards, the harmony guitars at about the 5.50 minute mark ripping Thin Lizzy rip offs and a section in which they plagiarise “Jump In The Fire”. Call it a great song, to open up the “Death Magnetic”.
“The Forgotten” is from the last album of the Howard Jones/Killswitch Engage era released in 2009 and what an album it is.
“The Unforgiven III” is another Metallica classic.
These two movies are for all the people who believe that if you work hard, get a good education and put in the 12 hour days, that somehow, success will work itself out and befall on them.
But it doesn’t really happen that way at all. Everybody is putting a scam in motion.
What these movies have shown is that it doesn’t matter what level of education a person has. It doesn’t mean that they will win. Quitters never win and it is the winners that write history. The winners write history because they bend the laws and they twist social morals to suit them. People may not like it, but it’s the truth.
I love it’s eeriness.
This movie is for the people who only believe what they are told and even when they come across something that questions that belief, they re-frame it and twist it, so that it conforms with what they believe in, because that is all the know. Whatever Mission Control said was the truth and the whole truth.
We life in an information society right now with everything at our fingertips.
Don’t be a fool. Do your own research and question everything. Don’t just follow. Whereas “The Wolf Of Wall Street” and “American Hustle” reflect the hustling mentality of life, “Oblivion” reflects our servitude to institutions.
Now You See Me
This movie is a sleeper hit. For a movie that cost $75 million to make and promote, it has returned over $350 million.
World War Z
I wrote back then how we have had a pretty clean run in relation to pandemics compared to previous centuries. I guess it was a bit premature.
In “World War Z” the virus needs a viable host to spread and therefore it is found that people inflicted with various diseases are immune from the zombie swarms as they cannot spread the disease.
Respect our world is the message that I get from WWZ. The more we disrespect it and pollute it, the more we and our future generations will suffer.
And the rich pharmaceutical companies care about treatments. There is no money in cures for them.
I found an Hot Metal article from November 1991 on Richie Sambora, so I did the painstaking task of typing it all up and adding my own comments. The interviewer is Stefan Chirazi and it was part of Sambora’s press campaign for his first solo album “Stranger In This Town”.
1991 was three years after “New Jersey” came out and five years after “Slippery When Wet.” The band Bon Jovi was on hiatus meanwhile Jon Bon Jovi had another hit with “Blaze Of Glory.” This was a crucial time for the artist known as Richie Sambora.
Here are some quotes from the article;
“I don’t consider myself a rock or pop star, I consider myself a musician and I would like people to consider me as an artist.”
“At the time Blaze Of Glory hit, Jon said he didn’t really know if he wanted to go on with the band again. That kind of left me in a difficult position because I didn’t have a record contract and I didn’t have a contract with Bon Jovi.”
“Then, at the end of our last tour, we had some disagreements about different things. I owned the record company which is now Jamco and used to be The Underground – Jon and I and Doc McGhee owned it all together. And I didn’t wanna be part of that anymore because I was so tired and beat up from being out there so long.”
“Bon Jovi’s sold 30 million records and I can’t even evaluate that or relate it to real terms. All I know is that I work as hard as I can, and at this stage of my career I’m still working this hard.”
Once the year was over; hard rock, melodic rock, glam rock and so forth would never be the same. In relation to hard rock releases, what a year it was. So many great albums got released, however according to the record labels barometer of success, those albums failed miserably.
One of the best releases from 1992 was “Blood and Bullets” by Widowmaker. Not only is it a great album, it was also the first “official” album to feature Dee Snider from Twisted Sister after Twisted Sister.
Along with the self-titled Lynch Mob album, “The Crimson Idol” from W.A.S.P., “Dog Eat Dog” from Warrant, “III Sides to Every Story” from Extreme, “Sin-Decade” from Pretty Maids and “Revenge” from Kiss, it formed my decadent seven wonders of heavy rock.
My metal tastes got serviced by “Countdown to Extinction” from Megadeth, “Fear of the Dark” from Iron Maiden, “The Ritual” from Testament, “Dehumanizer” from Black Sabbath, “A Vulgar Display of Power” from Pantera and a new band from Seattle called Alice In Chains” and their excellent “Dirt”.
Dream Theater blew me away with “Images and Words” while Yngwie Malmsteen delivered the excellent “Fire and Ice” and no one outside of his hardcore fan base heard it. Another neo-classical shredder Tony MacAlpine released “Freedom To Fly” and boy didn’t he fly with it.
“Hold Your Fire” from Firehouse, “Five Wicked Ways” from Candy Harlots, “Don’t Tread” from Damn Yankees, “The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion” from The Black Crowes, “The Wild Life” from Slaughter, “Nothing Sacred” by Babylon A.D., “Hear” from Trixter, “Tangled In Reins” from Steelheart, “Double Eclipse” from Hardline and “Adrenalize” from Def Leppard satisfied by hard rock cravings.
I didn’t like “Even Flow” or “Alive” when they hit the air waves back in 1991. They just didn’t connect with me at that point in time. In addition, I was really anti-grunge because all of the rock bands that I was into started to disappear.
So I was staying loyal to my team. The hard rock team.
Then in 1993, I saw a live performance of the band on MTV doing “Jeremy” and then they went into “Rockin In The Free World” with Neil Young and suddenly, I was interested. Loyalty to hard/glam rock was still strong, however in the end I am a fan of music and if there is great music to hear from other genre’s I will dig deep and hear it. So I asked a previous hard rock friend of mine who switched to the grunge side to copy the album onto a cassette for me.