A to Z of Making It, Alternate Reality, Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity

Some Music Business Truths

Music Is Not Free

Look at the complex math that goes on here. The recording and publishing industries get a yearly license fee from the tech companies like Pandora, Spotify, Amazon, iTunes, Google and so on to have their music collections on the products that the tech companies offer.

Then the recording and publishing industries (via the music fan) get paid 70% for a download and 70% in royalty payments from a stream/view.

So with so much money trading between people how can people say that music is free.

How come no one is saying that APPS are free. We are all using a plethora of apps every day, and 99.9% of them are free. If anything we expect them to be free. And has that stopped people from creating new apps.

We Don’t Need Stronger Copyright Regulations To Encourage People To Create

Back in 1999, the RIAA said that Napster and piracy would stop people from creating new music because they would have no incentive to make music anymore. Then by 2005, the same argument shifted to Copyright Reform. The recording industry argued that copyright needed stronger enforcement provisions and no due process because if that didn’t happen no new music would be created.

Well guess what.

Just the opposite has happened.

More people are making more music than ever before. What we do need is for the Public Domain to be replenished again with music.

The CD

Apple has phased out the CD/DVD drive from their computers which means the CD be another niche product in the same way that vinyl is. For collectors only, because it turns out that the majority of music lovers just wanted access to music. It was never about ownership.

The MP3

It was a by-product of the CD. As the tech got better, the quality got better. Now it will become a by-product of streaming.

Streaming plus MP3

Putting my Nostradamus hat on, I predict that the streaming services will begin to offer MP3 downloads as part of a super-premium package. At the moment 45% of people still like to buy mp3’s. 45% of a three hundred million population in the US is a lot of people.

Anyone seen the adoption curve. It’s basically a bell curve that shows that 2.5% of people are innovators, 13.5% are early adopters, 34% are early majority, 34% are late majority and 16% are laggards. So in relation to streaming, it is safe to say that we are in the early majority phase right now. So if you are an artist or a record label or a tech company, how do you get the 50% plus of the late majority and the laggards to commit earlier. Offer them a product that meets their needs.

Record Labels

Still the best way to get your music heard as they have the money and the contacts. But they are still doing it wrong. They believe that a blitzkrieg publicity campaign will ensure success. The more we’re beaten over the head with something, the less likely we are to check it out.

Music Press

Save your money and don’t take the easy way out. Promote yourself personally. Work with people. Talk to people. There are no short cuts. In today’s world, the music press has never broken a band to the masses. The band has broken themselves with their music. If you make it great they will come.

Technology And Music

Fans of music want to listen to old songs however we have no desire to use an old computer like a Commodore 64 or an Amiga 500. However if both industries want to stay relevant they need to innovate and create something new and great on a regular basis. If you don’t you will be like Gene Simmons, slowly fading in the rear-view mirror and screaming to anyone who cares about the old gatekeeping model to return.


Streaming concerts will never work as people still want to be there for the experience even though the sound quality might be terrible. As for the price of tickets, the acts are to blame. The prices I have paid range from $50 to $250 a ticket over the last two years. Guess who charged $250 a ticket. Yep it was the big acts from the Seventies and Eighties. Kiss, Motley Crue and Bon Jovi charged that.

Bands like Avenged Sevenfold, Trivium, In Flames, Five Finger Death Punch, Richie Sambora, Coheed and Cambria all charged around the $70 to $80 mark while Protest The Hero charged $50.

Know Your Fans

Great artists have made a living long before the advent of the phonograph and the recording industry. It’s because of patronage. Loyal fans will buy your super deluxe packaging, they will view your YouTube videos, they will stream your music on Spotify and they will spread the word for you. Do you know who they are? If you don’t then you are leaving money on the table.

Success And A Career

The odds of success are really low. So what can you do differently? You need to be determined as the bar is set really high. You have to be committed to the cause and honest. If you want a career you need to always pick up a new generation of people to discover you.

You want to know an upside to music piracy. Just have a look at all of the Classic Rock acts from the Seventies, Eighties and even Nineties doing big business on the live circuit and they are making way more money now than what they made at the peak of the fame when recording sales set the benchmark.

Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Twisted Sister, Slash, Evergrey, Europe, Whitesnake, Stryper, Machine Head, Dream Theater and Tesla have been seeing for the last decade, younger and younger people coming to their shows. They sing along and know all of the words. The audience base needs to be replenishment if you want a career.

And you need to have an opinion, which is hard to have in a society that is focused on being liked. However life is short and you have one voice. Use it.


Imagine your favourite artist as your teacher. The personal interaction is what makes a difference. Playing a big show is one thing however teaching has a greater impact. You are giving someone more than just a good time, you’re helping someone grow, hopefully to the point that they will do the same for others.

And I am  not talking about guitar clinics or drum clinics. I am talking about being an actual music teacher on your time off. It could be a six to eight week course in the city you live in. Eight 30 minute lessons per day might seem like a waste of time to you but to someone else it could be a lifetime changing experience. So what are you waiting for, make the connection.

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

Complicated Copyright and Why Do People Pay Good Money To Go To A Concert And Then Spend The Whole Time Filming It?

I do not understand why people go to a rock show or a metal show to film the whole damn thing on a smart phone. Seriously are they going to go back home and watch it over and over again afterwards? Of course not because it will sound like crap as smartphones are not designed to capture high volumes without distorting the sound.

Having been a high gig attendee my whole life, I have also been known recently to break out my iPhone and capture some footage or a few photos for posterity. However, I can honestly that 99% of the time I’ve never gone back and referred to my amateur filming or photography.

The reasons are simple, those captures can never accurately reflect the concert as I witnessed it.

So why did I do it? Why do other fans do it?

Is it for them to validate or prove to other people that they were there at the concert?

Like does anyone care these days. Everybody goes to concerts these days. Maybe once upon a time it was a big thing to go to a concert but these days it’s a nothing thing. Hell, I took my kids last year who were 8 and 7 to see, Kiss, Motley Crue and Bon Jovi. This year I took them to see Richie Sambora.

Do you think my father would have taken me to a rock concert at the age of 8? No chance.

Even if those people placed their concert video footage on YouTube, would anyone really care?

For example, Metallica is the biggest metal band in the planet right now. So they played “Frayed Ends Of Sanity” live for the first time and a fan of the band put it up on their YouTube account called MetallicaSoloFan and it has a whopping 2,473 views. Other accounts have the same song filmed from different viewpoints and again the view count is dismal.

Because no one cares that you went or for the crappy footage on display.

And what about the poor old fan that is standing behind a person filming the concert. As is the norm, in order to film a concert, you would need to hold up your device high above your head to capture the footage and in turn you are taking away from my viewing experience. Me and my boys copped that at the Richie Sambora gig.

However it is a product of the times. I get that.

In 2014, we don’t leave home without our Apple or Samsung devices. It is part of our make and build.

There are bands out there that would like this process of filming their show to be stopped.

The Eagles are one such band.

They want to stop people from filming their concerts by banning the use of the smart phone. Don Henley has hinted their tour of Australia could possibly be the band’s final tour and he wants fans to experience it with their eyes not their phones.

Of course we all know that Don Henley is very knowledgeable about artists copyrights and he is also opposed to fan filmed footage ending up on YouTube. For him it is all about CONTROL. He should be the one that CONTROLS how his music or the music that he is involved in is distributed.

So is videoing a concert with a phone a violation of an artist’s copyright. Don Henley says it is, however he also said that he doesn’t want the shows posted on YouTube because it spoils it for people who are going to come to a show in the future and that he doesn’t want to see Eagles content out there that sounds horrible.

However, live concert filming is done every day by multiple people at the same show. Some use it as a form of a diary record, to remember or relive that moment when their favourite song came on. Some do it to share the moment and their love for the artist. Some do it because they simple can. A smart phone or an iPad or Tablet, allows us the convenience to do so.

To put into context about how messed up the current music copyright business is you need to get your head around the Copyright laws that have been written over the last sixty years.

At a high level, every live performance has a multiple set of rights that come into play.

(1) the copyright in the music, usually controlled by the publisher;
(2) the copyright in the lyrics, also usually controlled by the publisher;
(3) the copyright in the live performance, usually controlled by the label;
(4) the band’s right of publicity;
(5) trademarks owned by the band;
(6) contractual rights (potentially arising from signage posted by the band or the venue, the ticket stub or the terms and conditions of the website to which the footage is posted.
(7) the performance rights organisation like APRA or ASCAP, from which the venue needs to obtain a license.

Music was never meant to be this complicated but over the last sixty years it has come to be so.

And what about the rights of the fan who paid $600 for a front row ticket and another $100 plus at the merchandise store.

What about the rights of the fan, who had to drive 90 minutes to get to the venue and then pay another $30 in parking fees and then get charged $10 for a beer and $20 for a Hotdog and Chips.

There needs to be a sensible re-think but due to the money involved the copyright holders are not playing ball. They want stricter copyright laws, which is contrary to the public and culture in general.


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

Does a band have customers or fans? Read on metal heads and find out.

A customer is a person who purchases goods or services from another. A fan is an ardent admirer of a pop star, film actor, football team, etc.

So how can a band turn fans into satisfied customers that keep on coming back, again and again?

You ask any artist what kind of fan/customer they want and I guarantee you they will say statements like the following;
Fans who are loyal
Fans who spread the word
Fans who spend money on record music, concerts and merchandise
Fans who spend money on concert tickets
Fans who spend money on merchandise
Fans who interact with the band

So if artists want fans then the artists need to do more than just satisfying them. They need to bring the WOW factor to everything they do.

A lot of artists and their representatives come up with loads of dazzling ideas and packages however they are still rooted in the old record label business models.

For example;

Dream Theater has been pushing the same Super Deluxe packages since “Black Clouds and Silver Linings”. The packages have more or less been in the same format, same items and for the same price.

Avenged Sevenfold did a similar package for the “Hail To The King” album.

Five Finger Death Punch didn’t.

Trivium had album and merchandise specials happening.

Coheed and Cambria focused on the Deluxe packages.

Protest The Hero focused on their Indiegogo campaigners and the perks involved with that campaign.

What would have happened if the bands “under promised and over delivered”?

Imagine the service Roadrunner and Dream Theater would have done by giving the fans that purchased the Super Deluxe packages, a site to download the mp3’s when they found out the album leaked on the internet.

Protest The Hero did exactly that. As soon as the band found out about the leak on torrent sites, they went into action. I guess it helps to know who your fans are and to have that data handy.

Customer satisfaction is artists delivering on promises, like releasing a product when they say they are going to release it. Cough Cough, Live at Luna Park DVD.

Artists are doing exactly as they said they would and fans/customers are satisfied.

Imagine if the customers get something more than they expect, like more options, early delivery, a special download site when the album leaks, additional perks attached to the orders, access to demo’s or ideas that didn’t get developed further – I would expect the artist to end up with a very loyal and more than satisfied customer base, that can propel them into the next level of success.

It’s a simply idea. When we get a service that we don’t expect, rather than a service that we do expect the payoff can be enormous.

However under promising is not just about throwing in extras and doing things faster.

If the album is being released on Thursday 13 December, make the mp3 download available a week earlier to the fans that purchased the Super Deluxe package. “Great news, we wanted you to have the music as soon as possible. Click on the below link to download an mp3 rip of the album. No extra charge.”

It’s simple, all bands need to do is change their promise and watch satisfied customers become devoted customers. What do you think Lady Gaga and Kate Perry where doing with their “leaks” and then bringing the album release date forward. They were employing the under promise over deliver business model.

Every artist needs to be looking at making their fans become customers.

“Our audience are fans first and customers second. We really try not to annoy them.”
The above quote is from Stefan Mennerich, Bayern Munich Director of New Media, Media Rights & IT.

A soccer/football club is no different to a band or an artist. The devotion is there.

“You have to think about what the consumers want and tailor the experience to their unique interests. And the experience is also very different depending on the platform the consumer is using.”
The above quote is from Ken Fuchs, Head of Entertainment, Sports and Games at Yahoo!

This is how the record labels tailor the experience.

PRODUCT A is coming out on DATE XXXX.
IT COSTS $$$$.
PRE-ORDER it now at iTunes, Best Buy, Amazon.

Wow, what an experience for the fan.

Imagine if the above experience was tweaked.

BAND A is releasing a PRODUCT A in three weeks’ time.
GO to YOUTUBE now and watch a recording of BAND A performing the songs live in the studio. That same recording is available to be downloaded as an AVI file and an MP3 rip via BitTorrent.

BAND A is releasing a PRODUCT A in two weeks’ time.
Go to YOUTUBE now and watch the latest video clip.

MP3 downloads are available for the Super Deluxe Package orders RIGHT NOW. That’s right, this is 2 weeks before the actual release date.

BAND A is releasing a PRODUCT A in two weeks’ time.
We have a special MP3 deal from our website. For $5 you get an mp3 rip of the album, regardless of your geographical location. This is a two week sale before the official release date.

One week before the release date, the album is available for STREAMING at YouTube, Spotify, iTunes Radio and Pandora.

The sad thing is no band with major label backing would do the above because for some insane reason they still believe that the charts matter.


See what I mean.


Where Is The Loyalty Program in the Music Business?

Why is that bands have no idea who their fans are? They are clueless.

Today, we live in a world of loyalty schemes. If you shop at any major retailer there is a pretty good chance that you have signed up to their loyalty scheme and after you spend a certain amount of dollars with them, you get a discount or some other reward for your next purchase. Some of the loyalty schemes (especially around gaming) invite the most loyal and regular customers into the store for a two-hour huge sales event that is especially designed for these types of customers.

So why isn’t this happening in the music business.

Let’s start with the live business.

Why is that the regular customers of the artists are not courted and rewarded. These are the people who purchase the super deluxe packaging. These are the people who purchase meet and greets on a regular basis.

For some reason these people cannot be given discount tickets to the shows or given an extra ticket to bring a friend who might not otherwise choose to attend.

A regular customer/fan is much more valuable than an inactive one.

However artists are clueless to these people as they have always relied on the labels to promote them and bring fans in. In addition, the recorded business has always relied on the transactions to take place between intermediaries.

Therefore, the data sits with these sellers. No wonder the recording business is in a state of flux.

Let’s use Dream Theater and Avenged Sevenfold as an example (solely because they had Super Deluxe packs selling for over $100).

For example, iTunes and Amazon would have the data on the fans that purchased their new album, along with a history of other purchases.

I would assume that Roadrunner would have the data on the fans that purchased the Super Deluxe packages from Dream Theater and Warner Bros would have the data on the fans that purchased the Treasure box from Avenged Sevenfold.

Live Nation or Ticketmaster/Ticketec would have the data on the fans that purchased tickets to the live shows.

Spotify and Pandora have the data on which fans streamed the new album and which fans continually stream Dream Theater And Avenged Sevenfold songs.

Musicmetrics put out reports that show various internet behaviours of fans for a lot of bands especially around BitTorrents.

Soundscan shows the units moved in relation to sales.

YouTube has view count metrics.

Now, imagine if Dream Theater or Avenged Sevenfold had the above information. Would they know what to do with it? Imagine if they had all that information and they see a trend of certain fans appearing as buyers of music and tickets. Those same fans are constantly streaming their songs. Those same fans are always appearing on Facebook and Twitter. Those same fans are buying merchandise from the bands own web store.

It is those fans that need to be rewarded. They are a bands best asset.

A lot of the independent bands are collating stats like these. Protest The Hero recently rewarded fans that got other fans to contribute to their funding campaign with additional perks and free passes into live concerts.

Why can’t the label backed bands reward their loyal customers? Everything is full price when it comes to music.

In relation to the live show, once upon a time everyone could attend as ticket prices where low. Then society started changing and suddenly a new market started to appear that charged a higher fee for a Section A pass and less for a Section B. So of course, a battle started for the best seats.

Then people who didn’t generally like rock music wanted to say that they went to the next Rolling Stones concert or the next Kiss show or the next Bon Jovi show and claim that they had front row seats.

Then Section A passes started to be tiered, with names like Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze. Each tier came with a ridiculous price tag.

The hard-core fans started to dig even deeper.

To prove my point, I have a banker friend who has seen Bon Jovi once and paid $1200 for the Platinum ticket a few years back.

I have a work colleague who has seen Bon Jovi over 40 times in various parts of the world. She even planned her US trip to take in cities that Bon Jovi was playing at and got tickets to all of the shows along with meet and greets.

I have seen Bon Jovi on two occasions and I am taking my family to see the band in 10 days’ time in Sydney. That makes it 3 for me.

So the banker friend has outlayed $1200 for a Platinum ticket. He is not going to watch the current show because he has seen Bon Jovi once and it was cool to say that he has seen Bon Jovi in his lifetime.

The crazed work colleague has outlayed over $20,000 on Bon Jovi tickets, purchasing various meet and greets around the world. That same work colleague purchased Bronze tickets for the upcoming Sydney show. She is back again.

Me personally, I have outlayed close to $1400 on tickets to three concerts. The current Sydney tickets cost me $1100 for 4.

So has the band rewarded my work colleague. She is one of many fans that are super loyal to the band and yet they still have to queue up online and fight for premium tickets, only to find out that only a small amount got allocated to the selling agency and the rest are given to the secondary market. Where is the bands loyalty to these kind of fans?

In general where is the loyalty at all.

A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories, Treating Fans Like Shit

What does Vito Bratta, Chris DeGarmo, Richie Sambora, Iron Maiden and Dream Theater have in common?

The top four searched items that bring people to the Destroyer Of Harmony site are as follows;
1. Vito Bratta or Vito Bratta 2013
2. Chris DeGarmo or Chris DeGarmo 2013
3. Live At Luna Park DVD (during the period of no information on the status of the release)
4. Richie Sambora

When someone types in Vito Bratta or Vito Bratta 2013 in Google, there is a very good chance they will end up at Destroyer of Harmony.

The posts on Vito Bratta are like are like a slow hit burner for the site. People are really interested to find out what he is doing. Since he doesn’t have a social media presence himself, it’s up to hard-core fans to keep his talent going. All I am doing is trying to connect the past with the present for Vito.

Isn’t it a coincidence that all the searched topics have a lot of question marks?

The Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora split was very vague and even though Richie Sambora said recently he just wanted to spend time with his daughter, Jon Bon Jovi still wants an explanation as stated in a recent interview he did with the Herald Sun.

“… he was never fired, we certainly have no animosity and when the tour is over he can come and see me and Tico and Dave and explain what happened.”

Fans want to know what the hell is going on. They want to know what their heroes are doing. We live in an information society, now more so than ever.

Vito Bratta is leaving money on the table here. The glory days of 1988 are long gone. The glory days of someone putting a sizeable offer on the table are also long gone. The “guarantee concept” is fading. Promoters are waking up. They are starting to look at different models.

There is no point in giving an artist $200,000 a show based on what they did twenty years ago. What are they worth today?

Vito Bratta touched on this “up front guarantee” when he did the Eddie Truck interview back in 2007. He was open to the idea of White Lion reforming; however he needed to know that if he left his house, there would be something there to keep the lights running and the bills paid. In other words he was looking for a guarantee and that was something a lot of the promoters did not want to do.

Mike Tramp does his normal thing, playing small venues and clubs, sharing in the takings with the owners. There is no guarantee in what he does however it is a source of income and it gets him out there, connecting with people.

No one is guaranteed of making it in the music business. That is the nature of art. It is subjective. People will either connect on a large-scale or a small-scale.

The bottom line is this; Vito Bratta has a hard-core fan base. It is a niche audience that is made up of Eighties Hard Rock fans and Guitar Enthusiasts. It is a market that has been waiting for a long time for something new and that is why his name is searched out every day.

Chris De Garmo is missed. There is no guarantee that if he remained in Queensryche everything would be rosy and of high quality. However with the current debacle with the two Queensryche bands and a looming court case over the name, the Queensryche fans are looking for a shining light in all of this. And that light is Chris DeGarmo. He got out before it all went south.

People want to know what his thoughts are on the two Queensryche bands that are doing the rounds. They want him to create new music. They want him to step back in and save the band name.

As with everything there is no guarantee that if he does step back in, it will all work. And that is the issue. Is Chris DeGarmo prepared to leave his family for something that is not guaranteed. If he had some data that could advise him, then maybe he could commit.

In my opinion, data is actually the biggest currency in the music business however it still remains relatively untapped.

Has anyone seen the data that Musicmetric puts out?

Iron Maiden is the most heavily BitTorrent’ed band in Brazil. Brazil is also one of the biggest file sharing countries. What does this data tell Iron Maiden? It tells them that they have fans in Brazil that love music. It tells Iron Maiden that they need to get Flight 666 to South America and turn these free file sharing fans into concert ticket paying fans.

Having the data available to track where a bands fan base is more vital and more important than how many units an artist sold from a recorded product.

Iron Maiden has not sold great numbers in South and Central America since Peer to Peer Sharing started. However, they have toured the continent on a yearly basis, selling out large stadiums in the process and heaps of merchandise as well.

In relation to Dream Theater, the whole Live at Luna Park DVD/CD/Blu-ray release was a debacle. The fans wanted answers. Their Facebook page had thousands of comments from fans, all asking what is happening with the DVD release. The responses went unanswered for about eight weeks before Dream Theater made any comment on the delays.

Up until 2005, Dream Theater more or less avoided South America due to the “what they wanted to be paid so that they can bring the full show vs. what the promoters wanted to pay”.

This is what Mike Portnoy had to say on South America, on the Ytse Jam Bootleg DVD live release of their Santiago, Chile performance that took place on June 12, 2005.

“..the promoters in South America were apprehensive to give us what we would normally get to put on a show not knowing what the turnouts would be like. So in order to finally do a proper tour of South America, we agreed to bite the bullet and strip down; do the tour completely barebones so the promoters could feel out what to expect on future tours.

Well, surely they must have been shocked (as were we) when 20,000 people showed up for our very first show in Santiago, Chile.”

There you go; both the promoters and the band had no idea about the size of the fan base. Dream Theater avoided South America due to a hunch. That hunch is “hey the guys are not moving a lot of sales in Brazil so that must mean that they have no fan base.” Even for 2005, this line of thinking was outdated.

There is change coming to the live business. It’s slow but it is happening. What is a ticket worth these days for a concert? Normally, a number is pulled from somewhere and the promoters go to market to see if the fans are willing to pay for it. If the tickets don’t sell, then discounting begins and that more or less alienates the true hard-core that paid top dollar up front.

This even happened to Dream Theater when they played Sydney on the Black Clouds tour. A fortnight before the show, the tickets went to half price, just so they could fill the venue (that more or less sold out two years prior).

In the end the fans are an artists best asset. Treat them with the respect they deserve and not like the rock star that is portrayed in the Protest The Hero song, Underbite.

Iron Maiden article http://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/nov/29/iron-maiden-llp-stock-exchange

Jon Bon Jovi Herald Sun article http://m.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/music/jon-bon-jovi-reflects-on-his-latest-and-most-challenging-world-tour/story-fni0bvjn-1226771962259