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

Keep On Selling In A Free World

Five Finger Death Punch moved 119,000 units of their new album “Got Your Six”. 114,000 of those units are pure album sales and it a time of free, it even surpassed the 112,000 opening sales week of 2013’s “The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell: Volume 1”.

In the U.S, Iron Maiden moved 75,000 of their “The Book Of Souls” album and in a time of free, it is Iron Maiden’s best sales week since Nielsen Music began measuring sales in 1991. It even surpassed 2010’s “The Final Frontier” sales by 12,000 units. Again in a time of free, you would expect a sales decline to happen.

In the U.K, Iron Maiden moved over 60,000 units and Five Finger Death Punch also landed in the Top 10.

In Australia, we know that Iron Maiden came in a Number 2 and Five Finger Death Punch at Number 3.

Both of the above bands have had their BEST SALES week for these latest releases. Especially in the U.S market. For Iron Maiden, it is their best sales week since 1991. Consider that. Piracy was at an all-time low in 1991 however in 2015, when piracy is meant to be at an all time high, bands sell more than before in opening weeks.

But it’s not always like that.

Disturbed’s “Immortalized” sold 98,000 total copies. If you compare these sales with 2002, when their second album “Believe” sold 284,000 copies you can see a steep decline in first week sales.

2005’s “Ten Thousand Fists” sold 239,000 copies, 2008’s “Indestructible” sold 253,000 copies and 2010’s “Asylum” sold 179,000 copies. On the same week that Disturbed made their comeback, Swedish metal act Ghost had opening week sales of 29,000 units of their second album “Meliora”

So what does all of the above tell us?

Has anyone seen the latest MTV Video Music Awards?

How many metal and hard rock bands got mentioned

If you are an artist in 2015, there is no use comparing 2015 to 1985.

Shawn Drover can complain all he wants.

The truth is, no one really cares about his new act “Act Of Defiance” first album at this point in time.

What the above data shows me, is that the music business is not all about the first album. It is about what comes after the first album. Remember, “Kill Em All” from Metallica had a life span of about nine months, before Metallica was back in the studio recording “Ride The Lightning”. That album also had a nine month life span before Metallica was back in the studio to record “Master of Puppets”.

There is no doubt that internet piracy has affected every genre, especially the metal and hard rock genre.

Does that mean that there is no money in music?

Of course not.

Publishing agency, BMI raked in $1.013 billion dollars for the financial year. ASCAP, also raked in $1.001 billion. This is money, earned by agencies for licensing out artists songs to radio, TV, streaming services and other platforms. And the reason for this big boom is;

  • Music streaming

But with everything corporate, the payouts to artists comes after both BMI and ASCAP subtract their operating expenses and other creative expenses from the revenue. This is what happens when you have a monopoly on music licensing. You abuse it.

BMI actually paid $877 million to its thousands of members, including songwriters like Dave Grohl, Linkin Park, Nickelback and Evanescence. ASCAP on the other hand paid its members $883 million.

What about that?

ASCAP had less revenue than BMI but paid out more. Regardless, when you add the expenses that both organisations kept, that is another $600 million kept away from artists.

But BMI blamed their legal fight against Pandora for the reduced payouts?

And certain artists have jumped on the bandwagon to criticise Pandora. But so many are clueless to the work that Pandora has done to help the recording industry and the music industry at large. They have 80 million listeners.

But did you know that Five Finger Death Punch partnered with Pandora to launch their album “Got Your Six”. Mumford and Sons, partnered with Pandora for a live stream of a concert. Jack White did the same. All of these partnerships led to Pandora increasing their fan base and the artists increasing their exposure and sales.

Pandora put on 79 live events last year and this year it’s expected to rise to 120.

This is on top of Pandora paying out half its revenue to SoundExchange in licensing fees, which in turn has ensured that the company is in a loss position. Other countries are not that quick to embrace Pandora, because to date, the service only operates in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand.

Which is silly.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity

Copyright Stupidity Again And Again

Remember the days of going into a restaurant or a pub/bar and hearing live music. Depending on the venue and what they offered, in most of the cases the bands would play cover songs. Well those venues are drying up faster today than the lands starved of rain.

You see when you have a law that gives power to organisations that contribute nothing creatively to the arts, however their whole business model is based around the arts, you get some nasty juju going down.

The music licensing agencies are financially challenged. Their whole business model was based on radio plays and sales. So when the Record Labels controlled the gates, the music licensing agencies smiled all the way to the bank. However, when that gate was blown open by Napster, then P2P, then the iTunes store and now streaming, the monies coming in to these agencies started to dry up.

So these agencies decided to diversify (and I use that world with a lot of sarcasm). Their diversification efforts involved shaking down venues that provided a live music service to the community and getting them to pay extortion like amounts if the bands played cover songs.

It has been happening for the last five years.

Does anyone think that the monies that BMI (one of the music licensing agencies involved in these shakedowns) collects from these venues would end up going back to the artists that had their songs supposedly “infringed on”.

Or what about the monies that Universal is aiming to collect from companies that offer care packages for prisoners. For those that don’t know, Universal Music has filed a complaint against companies selling “care packages which contain mix tapes” for families to send to prisoners.

Is it another shakedown attempt to extort money from companies or a sincere attempt to compensate their artists?

Asking an owner of an establishment to pay three sets of license fees just to allow local bands to perform is always going to end with the owner ending live music at their venue. Especially the smaller venues.

It’s simply bully tactics by an agency and Copyright Laws allow it to be a bully. Of course those Copyright Laws got re-written by the large associations like the RIAA and the MPAA over the last 60 years to ensure that laws kept the balance of power on their side.

BMI says that it’s songwriters and composers deserve compensation for their creative works.

So they view the collection of licensing fees from venues that are of zero risk to the music industry as crucial. But what they are actually doing is harming the music industry.

Does anyone seriously believe that Diamond Head was compensated when Metallica performed their songs at venues prior to being signed? I have bootlegs of shows from Motley Crue, Poison and Ratt before they were signed. A decent amount of cover songs are performed at the gigs and there is no way that the songwriters got compensated back then for these performances. The licensing agencies didn’t give a shit about venues at that point in time.

But now they do and the law allows them to do what they do. Just because it is law it doesn’t mean the practice is acceptable. Copyright Law is stacked in favour of the monopolies. Hell, they had a big hand in ensuring that it was re-written to keep that power in tact. So what we have are a bunch of government granted monopolies that contribute nothing to the arts, but have a large say in the arts.

That is why organisations like Rightscorp come to be. Again they contribute nothing to the arts. They are copyright trolls sent in to shakedown people. There is no other word to describe their business models.

But we still get the same bullshit from these agencies and associations that the world needs stronger copyright.

What the world needs is sensible copyright.

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