Copyright, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

Ripped Off – Here Is My Middle Finger Salute

“Gettin’ ripped off, underpaid” ….. from “It’s A Long Way To The Top If You Wanna Rock ‘N’ Roll”

Bon Scott knew his stuff. For a person who had been trying to make it for a long time, he was well seasoned and experienced enough to come up with some great lyrics. He was a perfect fit to the youthism of the Young brothers. If you take the time to dig deep into his lyrics, you will notice a certain theme of being ripped off by promoters and record label execs, which is polar opposite to what artists are saying today. With so much backlash against streaming services and royalty payments, more and more artists are going on record to state that the “fan doesn’t support and respect music”.

So how can the music industry explain how bands that have performed live have not been paid the monies owed to them by the promoters?

The fans that supposedly “don’t support and respect music” purchased their $180 plus concert ticket. Surely this is a show of support to the acts on the bill that people value and respect music.

“So if you’ve got the money, we’ve got the sound,
You put it up and we’ll put it down,
If you got the dollar, we got the song,
Just wanna boogie woogie all night long” ….. from “Aint No Fun (Waiting Around To Be A Millionaire)”

For those that don’t know, the 2016 Soundwave Festival in Australia has been cancelled due to poor ticket sales. However, the roots of the problems go back. From the 2015 edition of Soundwave, a lot of bands are still owed money from their festival appearance.

For the full list, click on this link.

Here is a selection of a few;

The main artists;

  • Soundgarden — $2,132,075.00
  • Slipknot — $1,645,299.29
  • The Smashing Pumpkins — $1,267,446.43
  • Faith No More — $751,076.20
  • Marilyn Manson — $588,000.56
  • Incubus — $571,428.58
  • Slash — $484,628.00
  • Fall Out Boy — $394,107.14
  • Judas Priest — $349,560.55
  • Ministry — $203,952.01
  • Godsmack — $200,000.00
  • Lamb of God — $161,323.33

The medium-sized and self-financed artists;

  • Papa Roach — $93,050.93
  • Steel Panther — $92,517.57
  • Fear Factory — $78,263.96
  • Apocalyptica — $65,601.90
  • Falling In Reverse — $54,064.98
  • Atreyu — $52,044.64
  • New Found Glory — $43,279.88
  • Nothing More — $35,000.00
  • Of Mice and Men — $29,040.00
  • Killer Be Killed — $24,513.00
  • Escape the Fate — $21,985.68
  • Dragonforce — $21,000.00
  • Monuments — $19,153.00
  • Animals as Leaders — $16,607.14
  • Nonpoint — $8,137.54
  • Ne Obliviscaris — $5,720.60

Commissions to an agency for organising acts;

  • Live Nation Worldwide, Inc — $1,180,325.56

That’s some serious dollars taken from the hard-working hands of the fans and not paid to the artists. You see, a fan believes that the act would be getting their cut. It’s an unwritten law that it will happen. The fan also knows that the promoter, venue and so forth would also get their cut. Which in a lot of cases is more than the acts cut.

“Living on a shoe string,
A fifty cent millionaire,
Open to charity,
Rock ‘n’ roller welfare” ….. from “Down Payment Blues”

Life is tough and when you don’t get paid, it’s even tougher, because we all have other commitments that we need to make. So are the fans to blame again for not supporting music.

Are the fans to blame when managers, promoters and record labels rip off the artists?

“It’s a song (“I Believe In You) I wrote a long time ago. Well a long time before it got put on a record, which is kind of a drag in a way because our original managers ripped us off for our publishing (on) the first two Yesterday and Today records. We haven’t received a penny publishing to this day from those two records. I wrote “I Believe in You” about the time they were managing us so when I put it on the “Earthshaker” record well after they were gone they still took my publishing and never gave me a cent for “I Believe In You”. Anyway it was written a long time ago about a break up that I had with a long-time relationship I had with a girl so the song inspired itself more or less.”
Dave Meniketti 

There is a lot of money to be made in music and the fans are spending. The fans respect music and value music. It’s a shame that the corporate entities that benefit largely from the music that artists create don’t value and respect music in the same way.

Unless Artists make a stand and take back their copyrights or organise better rates for themselves when they sell/license their rights to the corporations, then that copyright royalty pay rise will just end up with the corporate entity the artists sold their copyrights too.

SoundExchange, the organization that collects royalties is considering an appeal at the Copyright Tribunals decision to increase the royalty rate that Pandora and other stations needs to pay.

Now why would SoundExchange want to do that?

It’s because they have collected over $3 billion dollars in royalties since 2003 and once you take their standard 30% administration costs, it adds up to a lot of money for SoundExchange for doing absolutely nothing. But they want more of that pie.

Artists as usual get short-changed by all of the corporations taking their cut. And even when they perform live, it looks like they are still being shafted by the promoters.

In Australia, the recording industry revenues are growing and have been since 2012. And what was the defining moment in 2012 that caused this shift in revenue.

Of course, it was the arrival of Spotify in May 2012.

And that is what fans of music do. We double dip. I like to stream and on occasions I love owning something physical from the artists that I support.

Since 2008, those physical purchases include only the special deluxe pieces of art that bands produce. To pay $30 for a DVD/CD special edition album release is just not worth it. I would rather pay the $12 a month Spotify subscription and access that digitally. Recently, I was one of 40,000 people who purchased Coheed and Cambria’s “The Color Before The Sun” Super Deluxe Edition for $70US and I am one of many who have pre-ordered Dream Theater’s new album “The Astonishing” for $170.

Music doesn’t exist without its best customer; the fan. So as a fan, here is a big middle finger salute to all of those comments about fans of music not respecting music.

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Music, My Stories

A Day In The Life of Sevendust, Soundwave and AJ Maddah

I purchased tickets to watch Sevendust open up for Creed as part of their Australian Tour back in March 2002. ONE week before the tour started, Sevendust pulled out due to “undisclosed unforeseen circumstances.” In their place was a band called “Crash Palace”. I was like WHO. I didn’t purchase tickets to watch Creed and Crash Palace. I purchased tickets to watch Sevendust only.

As a Sevendust fan I was disappointed. A week after they announced the “undisclosed unforeseen circumstances” press release, drummer Morgan Rose said that the reason why the band pulled out was that John Connolly’s grandmother passed away and he needed to be there. Also Clint Lowery married his long-time girlfriend and needed to spend more time with her.

In March 2004, Sevendust toured Australia as headliners with support from Sunk Loto and Full Scale. At that time I wasn’t financially viable and I didn’t end up going to the shows.

In May 2006, Sevendust cancelled a planned UK/European tour due to a “lack of tour support”.

In March, 2008, Sevendust toured Australia again.

Then Sevendust where on schedule to appear with Avenged Sevenfold. I didn’t mind Avenged Sevenfold, however I purchased tickets based on Sevendust appearing. Then in July, two weeks before the Australian tour commences, they issued the following message;

“Unfortunately we will not be making the trip to Australia this time with A7X. We will be making plans to come back soon. So sorry for any inconvenience and look forward to our next tour there.”

In 2010, Sevendust pulled the plug on their European tour earlier than scheduled for “circumstances beyond their control” .

In 2011, Sevendust made the trip to Australia, playing Soundwave and they also did a few Sidewave Shows as well.

In November 2013, Sevendust dropped off the “From Death To Destiny Tour” with Asking Alexandria, All That Remains, Emmure and For Today several dates earlier due to a “personal family matter.”

Now we have this issue of the Soundwave cancellation. The way the parties tell it is that the band asked for assistance with additional costs and if Soundwave/AJ Maddah didn’t agree to the request, Sevendust still had a Plan B to get to Australia. However, the rejection from Soundwave/AJ Maddah was a swift denial of their request for additional assistance and a cancellation of their Soundwave spot.

Okay, as a fan it is disappointing when a band you like and purchase tickets to go and watch, don’t end up showing up. Based on the above, Sevendust has built up a healthy trend of cancelling tours. The Australian tour cancellations are always hard to swallow as they happen a week or two before the shows are meant to start while some of the other tours have been cancelled mid-way.

It’s very easy to get caught up on the cancellations and forget the amount of shows that Sevendust play each year. Go to Google and type in “setlist.fm Sevendust”.

In 2013, Sevendust played 116 shows.

For comparison sake, Bon Jovi played 106 shows. Five Finger Death Punch played 78 shows. Coheed and Cambria played 97 shows. Shinedown played 103 shows. Volbeat played 131 shows. Avenged Sevenfold who had the most successful album of 2013 in the metal genre played only 49 shows.

The only band to eclipse Sevendust in the “Road Warrior” title of the year is Volbeat.

2012 was a lean concert year for Sevendust, playing only 19 shows.

In 2011, Sevendust played 120 shows.

To compare again, Bon Jovi played 65 shows. Five Finger Death Punch played 46 shows. Coheed and Cambria played 44 shows. Shinedown didn’t play any shows in 2011, however in 2010 they played 101 shows and in 2012 they played 128 shows. Volbeat played 97 shows. Avenged Sevenfold played 120 shows and shared the honours with Sevendust in the “Road Warrior” title of the year.

2010 saw Sevendust play 69 shows.

So what does the above tell you about Sevendust. They are bloody hard workers, who put in a lot of miles to perform to their audience. Of course it is disappointing that they have had to withdraw from a few Australian tours, however they are in the music business. With any business, why should anyone do something at a loss or if they can’t make any money from it. The only crime from Sevendust is not being transparent enough. We live in an information society and the fans wanted the information straight from the band.

As the war of Twitter words escalated, the story started to become clearer however that was all too late. The band has the attention of their fans via Facebook and other social media outlets. They should use that notice board to communicate with them in a proper personal way, not in the PR way of “unforeseen circumstances beyond our control”.

For any band to tour Australia it is a costly exercise. With our declining dollar, it will make it even more costly. I remember the nineties and the early two thousands. Not a lot of metal bands toured Australia when our dollar was worth 50 cents US. It wasn’t worth it.

AJ Maddah calls Sevendust pissweak for cancelling on him on three occasions. So what about the 314 shows the band has played since 2010. Three Australian tour cancellations vs 314 shows. I don’t call that pissweak.

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