A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Copyright, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Unsung Heroes

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – December 26 to January 8

Well it’s been two weeks since the last DoHh post.

Here we go.

4 Years Ago (2017 going into 2018)

2018 STARTED WITH SOME RANDOM LISTENING

Yngwie Malmsteen’s “Trilogy” album is full of great riffs and leads.

When the U.S record labels went anti shred in the 90’s, the Japanese and South American markets kept his career going.

There is no denying his 80’s output and it’s a shame that a rumoured collaboration with Ronnie James Dio never happened.

Then I moved to “Trash” from Alice Cooper. It’s commercial sounding, but it’s still Alice Cooper singing.

How can it not be good?

The real gems are “Spark In The Dark”, “This Maniac Is In Love With You”, “I’m Your Gun”, “Why Trust You” and “Trash”.

Afterwards, “Operation Mindcrime” from Queensryche got a listen.

It’s loaded with excellent guitar playing and the album gave me a tonne of great riff ideas to use as influences in my own song writing.

“Flesh and Blood” from Poison was next.

“Valley Of Lost Souls” is one hell of a good song and the best on the album.

“Let It Play” could have been on a John Cougar Mellencamp or Bryan Adams album while “Life Goes On” is a good power ballad and CC plays a tasty intro lead. “Come Hell or High Water” is another underrated tune in the vein of the Classic Rock of the 70’s that doesn’t get its dues.

“Ride The Wind” is another sleeper, while “Something To Believe In” copies the “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” country bluesy vibe, however this time, the piano is the main driver instead of the acoustic guitar.

“Blow My Fuse” from Kix was up next. Now this album is a perfect example of the “progress is derivative model”.

It starts off with “Red Lite, Green Lite, TNT” which sounds very familiar like something from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”. “Get It While It’s Hot” is heavily influenced by “You Shook Me All Night Long” from AC/DC. Actually it’s very heavily, heavily influenced by that song.

“No Ring Around Rosie” is a beefed up “La Grange” from ZZ Top in the verses. “Don’t Close Your Eyes” is taking its cues from “Home Sweet Home” and “Dream On”. “She Dropped Me The Bomb” is again heavily influenced by AC/DC with a touch of The Who.  “Cold Blood” is a very similar to “Long Way To The Top” from AC/DC in the verses.

“Piece Of The Pie” is very heavily influenced by Aerosmith. “Boomerang” is influenced by Led Zeppelin. “Blow My Fuse” is such a good track where the influences are not as obvious as the other tracks. “Dirty Boys” is influenced by “Let There Be Rock” by AC/DC.

Finally, Winger is up.

The groovy “Can’t Get Enough” kicks off the album.

When “Miles Away” came on, I wasn’t sure if it was Bad English or Def Leppard. It’s one of those slow tempo melodic rock songs. “Easy Come Easy Go” has a cool groove and I dig the horn section in the verses.

The next two songs are two of my favourite songs. “Rainbow In The Rose” and “In The Day We’ll Never See”.

RANDY RHOADS AND THE BLIZZARDS

The project could have been called that.

It all started when Ozzy auditioned Randy in LA. Afterwards they jammed for a few days with Dana Strum and Frankie Banali.

Then Ozzy went back to England and he met with Bob Daisley. Ozzy and Daisley jammed with another guitarist and drummer however Daisley mentioned that they needed better players.

Ozzy mentioned Randy Rhoads, however the label wanted a well-known British guitarist, but no one was interested to join because of Ozzy’s reputation. Gary Moore was Ozzy’s first choice and he rejected the offer to audition. Eventually the label relented and Randy was flown over to London. Rhoads and Daisley started writing music and it worked well. Lee Kerslake came towards the end of the writing process.

Here are some summaries of what I wrote about the songs.

Crazy Train

You can call this song Ozzy’s biggest hit but it never registered on the charts back in the day. But on Spotify and YouTube it’s huge. The new paradigm shows us what is being listened too.

Bob Daisley provided the title while Randy Rhoads had the riff and the chord structure. For the lyrics, Bob Daisley used Ozzy’s vocal melodies and referenced what was happening in 1979/80. The Berlin Wall was still up and the Cold War between the USSR and USA was still going on.

Goodbye To Romance

It was Ozzy’s title and it came from an Everly Brothers song called “Bye Bye Love.”

The lyrics were written by Bob Daisley and the subject matter was Ozzy’s “divorce” from Black Sabbath.

On the “Don’t Blame Me” video, Ozzy mentions he was humming the vocal melody, and Randy heard it and developed the chords around the melody. Ozzy’s revisionist take makes it sound that Bob Daisley was not involved at all in the song writing process, which is obviously not true at all.

CRITICAL MASS

There are always different kinds of audiences.

You have the early adopters, the first to hear about an artist. These early adopters are looking and wanting a different experience than the people who identify as the critical mass market.

Early adopters want something fresh, exciting, new and interesting.

The critical mass market don’t. They want something that is familiar.

Metallica when they started had an audience that adopted them early. Some of those fans stood by them all the way, even when they broke through to the critical mass market in the 90’s and some of those early day fans just moved on to something new and different.

And who should the artist please, the early adopters of their music or the mass market?

Profits are fine as they allow the artist to invest back into their art. But if profit becomes the main aim, well, nothing and no one benefits if profits are the only thing the artist seeks.

And yes, there are routes to popularity which are random or accidental or luck or being in the right place at the right time.

BOB ROCK AND METALLICA

Bob Rock knew exactly what every song needed.

The demo of “Sad But True” (I had a drummer in a band who thought it was called “Sad Patrol”) was heaps quicker. Bob heard a “Kashmir” feel and asked James to slow it down and make it crunchy.

Rock kept telling James to re-write lyrics to songs. He told him to use fewer words in the choruses and to use stronger words. He questioned James on what the song was about. He asked him how the verse lyrics referenced the song message. James didn’t like this line of questioning. If James couldn’t explain it back to Rock, it meant he hadn’t nailed the lyric.

Rock told Lars to take drum lessons and he told James to take singing lessons. He told Kirk to rewrite solos.

And as a side note, in “Get Him To The Greek”, Lars gets told by Russel Brand to “Go sue Napster and your fans”, and unfortunately that is the stigma that will forever stick with Metallica. They got so out of touch with reality that they sued their own fans for sharing their music.

Nicko McBrain sums up piracy in “Flight 666”when he said “We sold out in Costa Rica but haven’t sold an album in this country…”

8 Years Ago (2013 going into 2014)

GRAMMY’S

From when Jethro Tull won the first metal award at the Grammy’s, the whole awards has been a joke for metal and hard rock music.

Having Metallica then win the “Best Metal Performance” in 1990 for “One” and then in 1991 for “Stone Cold Crazy” just added to the Grammy metal jokes.

“One’s” fate was tied with the “…And Justice For All” album and that was meant for the 1989 Grammy ceremony.

And seriously, for the 1991 awards, a cover song was the best that was on offer in the metal world for releases released from October 1989 to September 1990. I don’t think so.

Even in 1999, Metallica won again for “Better Than You”.

For which song, I hear you say.

“Better Than You.”

Does anyone know from which album it was on or how the riff goes or the vocal melody?

I bet that most people will answer NO.

HEADED FOR A HEARTBREAK

Billy Squire made one ridiculous video with a pink top. And just like that an amazing voice, with a catalog of songs was gone.

Winger had Kip Winger. A Playgirl pictorial was too outlandish and as glam music was committing suicide by cloning itself over and over again, Beavis and Butthead came along and trashed the band.

Metallica even threw darts at Kip Winger while they recorded the “Black” album.

But.

“Headed For A Heartbreak” is a hell of a good song.

Winger’s debut didn’t come from out of nowhere. Kip Winger did his time as a songwriter and studio session musician working very closely with Beau Hill who would of course go on to produce the first two Winger albums that went platinum.

Guitarist Reb Beach is a graduate from the esteemed Berklee College of Music. He also did his time in backing bands and studio work, until he met up with Kip Winger and started writing demos.

Drummer Rod Morgenstein was the most experienced. Active since joining jazz fusion legends “The Dixie Dregs” in 1974, he was a very accomplished drummer to bring into the fold.

Keyboard player and back up guitarist Paul Taylor was the x factor. He was the touring keyboardist for Aldo Nova during his “Fantasy” success. He did his time with Alice Cooper’s backing band at the same time with Kip Winger and played on the “Constrictor” and “Raise Your Fist and Yell” albums.

Go on Spotify and check them out. Go on YouTube and check them out. Focus on the music and not on the pretty boy images put out there in the video clips.

DONT KNOW WHAT YOU GOT UNTIL ITS GONE

Andy Johns (RIP) was on deck again to deliver another big sounding album.

Drummer, Fred Coury didn’t even play on the album as Johns just kept on finding timing issues.

The end result is an album which is seen as a blues rock classic that can rival all the best output from seventies bands like Bad Company.

Hearing them again today, it sure brought back a lot of memories. Guess you don’t know what you got until it’s gone.

SEMI – OBSCURE BON JOVI SONGS PART 1

Everyone knows the singles and even some of those songs have now slipped into obscurity but if you dig deep enough you’ll hear some cult classics.

Tracks like;

THE HARDEST PART IS THE NIGHT

From the “7800 Degrees Fahrenheit” album released in 1985.

“Stay alive, the hardest part is the night”

SHOT THROUGH THE HEART

From the debut album released in 1984. “Runaway” took most of the glory as it became a radio staple however “Shot Through The Heart” was the reason I got into Bon Jovi.

It was good to see the song get some concert time during “The Circle” tour.

HOMEBOUND TRAIN

It’s written by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora and it’s got this heavy blues rock swagger that just connects.

The magic is at the three minute mark when it goes into this Elvis Presley meets James Brown meets Rolling Stones vibe.

The guitar drops out and it is the bass and drums that keep the groove going and Jon does a few voice impersonations, while Sambora keeps it funky and they build up the song again while Jon keeps singing “Here I Come”. The interlude is filled with church organ and harmonica lead breaks.

On “The Circle” tour, “Homebound Train” came back into the mix with Richie Sambora on vocals.

STARTING ALL OVER AGAIN

It’s got this “Rock N Roll Aint Noise Pollution” style intro written by the Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and Desmond Child song writing team.

THE RADIO SAVED MY LIFE TONIGHT

Another tune written for the “Keep The Faith” album that never made it.

To buy all the music that I liked was expensive, so I always purchased blank cassettes and kept my finger ready on the record button to record the latest song from the radio.

SEMI – OBSCURE BON JOVI SONGS PART 2

RIVER OF LOVE

It never made the “New Jersey” album and it is a tragedy that it didn’t get fleshed out and recorded properly. It’s got a basic foot tapping riff that sticks with you from the outset. For those keen fans, you will hear the riff groove re-used in “Save A Prayer”.

“Pretend we’re in some movie instead of faded jeans”

Listen to the “Raise Your Hands” reference in the interlude. You could write a whole song based on that riff. Wait, they already did.

Progress is derivative.

JUDGEMENT DAY and GROWING UP THE HARD WAY

Both songs begin with that whole “Na Na NaNaNa” in the same vein as “Born To Be My Baby”, “Rosie” and “Hide Your Heart” from Kiss. Both songs also share the same riff. Both songs are written by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora.

As with “River Of Love” these songs were recorded for the “New Jersey” album and they failed to make the cut. When a band is at their peak, they are able to churn out some great songs. The motivation is there to keep the machine rolling to see if the first round of success can be repeated.

In relation to the three demos mentioned above, I really thought that they would have seen the light of day “officially” when Bon Jovi released “100,000,000 Fans Cant Be Wrong” Box Set.

IF I WAS YOUR MOTHER

Man, this song is heavy and it has got some serious groove.

What a great vocal melody.

I saw them play it live on the “Keep The Faith Tour” and it rocked hard. The subject matter is weak and it hampers the song from being a powerhouse.

LETS MAKE IT BABY

It didn’t make the “New Jersey” album, however the bass line was used again in “Diamond Ring” (which was also originally written for the “New Jersey” album however it was officially released on the “These Days” album.

WEDDING DAY

“Wedding Day” was written for the “These Days” album, however it didn’t make the final cut.

The song is like a sleeper demo hit on YouTube.

Some of the lyrics made it into another Jon Bon Jovi song called “Janie Don’t Take Your Love To Town”.

SEMI – OBSCURE BON JOVI SONGS PART 3

DAMNED

It has a soul like funky blues groove very similar to what Lenny Kravitz was putting out.

“These Days” from 1995 is a very misunderstood album, released in a very confusing time.

Hard/Glam rock as we knew it was dead, Grunge was fading and alternative rock was rising, along with a form of industrial rock/metal.

LOVE IS WAR

Of course it sounds like “You Give Love A Bad Name” because Jon tried really hard to recreate the same vibe and the same kind of hit.

Is that a bad thing?

I’D DIE FOR YOU

“Slippery When Wet” was a monster of an album. And it was easy for other songs to get missed.

It’s got that Judas Priest “Breaking The Law” guitar line.

Did anyone pick up on that?

On YouTube, “I’d Die For You” is a cult hit. The fan’s have taken the song and made their own film clips, lyric videos and so on.

MY GUITAR LIES BLEEDING IN MY ARMS

The title is a take on the George Harrison classic, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”.

ONLY LONELY

The bottom line is this; it is a fan favourite.

THE PRICE OF LOVE

“We live, we learn, we lieFor the price of love”

Aint that the truth.

WITHOUT LOVE

Written by the Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and Desmond Child song writing team for the Slippery When Wet album.

BURNING FOR LOVE

Sambora goes to town during the lead breaks, showcasing his abilities as a melodic shredder. He never went too over the top, always focusing on enhancing the song, instead of enhancing his ego.

RIVER RUNS DRY

It is a Jon Bon Jovi and Desmond Child composition that begins as a derivative version of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven”.

Remember, progress is derivative.

SAVE A PRAYER

No one knows this song even exist, but they should.

THE BALLAD OF BOB DAISLEY

The music business is tough.

However, what happens when an artist in a position of power and mainstream success, does their best to undermine the work of previous people in their career.

This is what the Osbourne’s are doing to Bob Daisley.

They are trying to re-write history to show that Ozzy Osbourne himself was the main reason why his solo career progressed.

They are omitting important facts that when Randy Rhoads and Bob Daisley signed on, it was always spoken of as a band. They are omitting important facts that the band was actually called Blizzard Of Ozz. They are omitting important facts of Ozzy punching Randy, because Randy didn’t want to do a live covers album of Black Sabbath songs.

Most importantly, they are omitting the main fact, that Bob Daisley served as the lyricist for for six albums.

The sad thing is that if anyone reads the credits to the “Bark At The Moon” album, you will see it listed as “All music and lyrics by Ozzy Osbourne.”

Like, yeah right, Ozzy really churned out all of those riffs.

It is sad at to what level the Osbourne’s stooped at that stage. One more thing, read the book from Ozzy and tell me how many times he mentions Jake E. Lee in the book.

But that is a story for another day.

VITO BRATTA

I did a Top 10 of Bratta killer riffs or moments.

All The Fallen Men

Wait

Love Dont Come Easy

Fight To Survive

Hungry

When The Children Cry

Cry For Freedom

Lady Of The Valley

Little Fighter

Warsong

In the end I had a hard time picking 10 songs for this post as each song that Vito has played on all have unbelievable sections.

BATM SONGWRITING CONTROVERSY

Coming into the “Bark At The Moon” sessions, the Blizzard of Ozz band was finished.

Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake were fired before “Diary of A Madman” came out and the other driving force, Randy Rhoads died tragically when the plane he was on crashed into a mansion and burst into flames on March 19th, 1982.

Ozzy Osbourne as usual was at his drunken best but he still delivered the “Speak/Talk Of The Devil” album, and by doing so he was free from his Jet Records contract, ready to sign a major label deal with CBS.

Jake E Lee joined during the “Speak of the Devil” tour. Once that tour ended, the song writing process began for the next album.

Most of the writing was done by Lee and Bob Daisley.

“Bark At the Moon” was a title that Ozzy came up with. Jake E. Lee came up with the riffs and Bob Daisley wrote the lyrics.

While Bob Daisley got a buy out for “Bark At The Moon”, it looks like Jake E.Lee got screwed over. There are no royalty checks for the songwriting and no publishing monies either.

COPYRIGHT INC

I just finished watching the Rush documentary, “Beyond The Lighted Stage” and in the documentary, Neal Peart is talking about their “Vapor Trail” tour of South America and how they didn’t know what to expect because they never had big sales there and in the end they played to their biggest ever concert attendance at Sao Paulo.

The Brazil tour took place in November 2002. File sharing started in June 1999. Maybe copyright breaches by fans is not a bad thing.

And that’s another wrap for these last two weeks.

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

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – November 21 to November 27

4 Years Ago (2017)

For some strange reason I didn’t post anything during this period.

8 Years Ago (2013)

ZOLTAN BATHORY

If you look at the Wikipedia page for Zoltan Bathory, the earliest musical output you get is from 2004, where he played bass in the band “U.P.O”. However his story begins a long time before that, in communist Hungary.

He was basically trying to succeed in a genre that didn’t have a voice in communist Hungary.

So he comes to America.

And the first FFDP album was recorded by the band. They produced it and paid for it.

REFORMS

REFORMS and CHANGES present challenges for every business. So why should it be any different for the Music and Entertainment Business?

TV content providers and streaming services take a lot of gambles with shows, just to remain relevant.

Are the labels doing that?

The Entertainment business instead asks for laws to be re-written in order to protect their business labels.

Music is always a risk game.

No one is entitled to make it in the music business.

There is no safety net.

VOLITION

I was still listening to Protest The Hero and writing about it.

PROGRESS IS DERIVATIVE

Society today is all about multi-tasking.

My drive home from work at that time consisted of the following songs;

“Shepherd Of Fire” – Avenged Sevenfold
“Lift Me Up” – Five Finger Death Punch
“Mist” – Protest The Hero
“Live In Love” – Times of Grace
“Fallen” – Volbeat
“Bulletproof” – Evans Blue
“Be Still and Know” – Machine Head

And all of the above songs can be traced back to other songs.

Here are some examples;

“Shepherd Of Fire” – the influence of Megadeth’s “Trust” and Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” are unmistakable.

Of course “Enter Sandman” had its main riff come from a band called Excel and a 1989 song called “Tapping Into The Emotional Void.” Megadeth’s “Trust” intro was also inspired by the Pittsburgh Penguins’ entrance theme “The Boys of Winter.”

“Lift Me Up” – the vocal melody influence is from “The Ultimate Sin” is very similar.

And then the post morphed into a Bad Company review.

SALES

Dream Theater had a 5 week sale run and by week 6 the album was done.

Avenged Sevenfold was still going strong after 12 weeks.

Five Finger Death Punch was also going strong after 16 weeks.

Black Sabbath had an 18 week run before it disappeared to come back again.

Trivium had a 4 week run of sales. It was a quick spiral out of the public consciousness and a lot of people didn’t like the Draiman influence on it.

And Stryper had a two week sale run.

There is no safety net.

DOING DOUBLE

A lot of artists are doing multiple projects. It’s not all about the one band.

Jared Leto does acting and Thirty Seconds to Mars.

Corey Taylor does Slipknot, Stone Sour and book writing.

Rob Zombie does his solo project and Directing.

Nikki Sixx at the time was doing Motley Crue, Sixx: A.M. + Radio DJ, Book Author and Photographer.

Claudio Sanchez was doing Coheed and Cambra, his Prized Fighter Inferno side project and Comic / Book Author.

It’s the way to survive in the business.

And that’s another wrap for another week.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Derivative Works, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – November 7 to November 13

4 Years Ago (2017)

DIARY OF A MADMAN

Back in the 80’s, when songs from the 60’s and early 70’s used to come on the radio, I used to say, “really, play something more current.”

They sounded old.

Fast forward to today and all I play is old tunes. Actually 70 percent of the music I listen to is pre 1995.

More specifically; 1980 to 1992.

It’s hard to believe that “Diary Of A Madman” is 40 years old. 

Like the “Blizzard” album before it, “Diary” is a listening experience from start to end.

And because of my addiction to the “Tribute” album, I was blown away by the depth of material on “Diary” that didn’t appear on the live album, like “Over The Mountain”, “SATO”, “You Can’t Kill Rock N Roll”, “Tonight” and the unbelievable title track.

To top it off, it clocks in at 43 minutes which meant back in the 80’s I could dub it one side of a 45 cassette tape and the other side I could devote to the “Blizzard” album.

Check it out.

RELEASE DAY FRIDAY

Back in 2017, during this week I was listening g to;

Sweet And Lynch – Unified

Babylon A.D – Revelation Highway

Shakra – Snakes & Ladders

These three artists had my attention back then. Tomorrow it would have been someone else. They might come back at another time and get my attention. Maybe they won’t.

But if they are not releasing new product on a regular basis, they become forgotten.

So heading towards the end of 2021;

Sweet And Lynch are reading a new album.

Babylon A.D haven’t released any new music since 2017.

Shakra released “Mad World” in 2020 which I missed and they dropped a new single this year which I also missed.

8 Years Ago (2013)

WHO IS THE STAR (The Band Name Or The Personnel In The Band)?

When Metallica started on the scene, I dont recall anyone walking around saying that they got into Metallica because James Hetfield was such a cool cat or Lars Ulrich was the man.

People get into a band for multiple different reasons.

Like being a fan of genre and looking for similar artists of that genre or the songs connected or the album cover connected or the artist was getting a lot of word of mouth and people wanted to be part of the conversation and so on.

Of course some outliers do exist and some people become a cultural influence that transcends their music. In other words, they become institutions themselves like Ozzy.

Slash also comes to mind but it took him almost 14 years from when he left Gunners to re-establish and re-brand himself as a force to be reckoned with.

But he’s back with Gunners.

Because the band name is the star and it always will be.

That is why Axl Rose went all legal to claim the name.

That is why Tommy Lee returned to Motley Crue.

That is why James Hetfield returned to Metallica after rehab. That is why Lars Ulrich never contemplated anything else except Metallica during this period.

That is why Dave Mustaine resurrected Megadeth after he disbanded the band towards the end of the 90s.

That is why David Coverdale resurrected Whitesnake after he disbanded it.

That is why Dimebag didn’t want Pantera to end. He knew that Pantera was the star.

That is why David Lee Roth worked with Van Halen again. That is why Sammy Hagar wanted to work with Van Halen again.

That is why Alex Skolnick returned to Testament.

That is why there was a fight over who owns the right to the Queensryche name.

That is why Dave Gilmour and Roger Waters went all legal for the Pink Floyd name and the rights to “The Wall”.

That is why Benjamin Burnley went all legal for the right to use the Breaking Benjamin name.

That is why Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith returned to Iron Maiden.

That is why Rob Halford returned to Judas Priest.

That is why Black Sabbath reformed with three of the original members and released ’13’.

That is why bands like Ratt, Quiet Riot, Dokken, Poison and Skid Row are still continuing with very different line ups and in some cases no original members.

To finish off with the immortal words of Ronnie James Dio “And on and on and on and on it goes….”

COPYRIGHT

For all artists that sign record deals remember this. The label owns your copyright.

And guess what the labels are pushing for.

Even longer copyright terms. Because their is value in copyrights for the corporate entity holding it.

GREED

Greed from the major record labels could end up killing streaming services.

Back in 2013, musicians from Sweden were threatening to sue major labels Universal Music and Warner Music over streaming royalties.

These artists had identified that the problem lies with the major record labels rather than the streaming service and they took action to get royalty rates that better reflect the costs involved in digital production and distribution.

Even the UK Government did a review of streaming paymnets in 2020 and found that the labels are at fault.

Spotify is just one streaming service and they pay 70% of its revenues to music rights holders. Apple is similar and Tidal as well.

And Spotify, as at 2020 has paid $23 billion to the rights holders. When you add the numbers from the other streaming services, it’s a prettty massive profit the labels are making.

Once upon a time, the artists had the power.

Then in the Eighties, the labels stole it back. With the rise in revenue due to the CD, it made the labels mega rich powerhouses.

Well it’s time for the artists to take back the power. Basically the labels without any artists are worth nothing.

But there’s a new player in town. Hedge Funds and Investment firms. And they have cash and artists are cashing in.

TIME

It’s 1992.

The labels are signing Seattle bands, left, right and centre while at the same time they are dropping hard rock and heavy metal bands left, right and centre. This is the power the label had. Not only could they make an artist famous, they could also destroy an artist.

Because the labels controlled all the points of distribution.

But in 2013, things had changed dramatically.

But the power is still with the major record labels. They gathered enough of it during the Eighties and Nineties to be a force to be reckoned. Then in the Two Thousands the massive mergers and takeovers happened, further enhancing the power of the labels. Then in order to allow digital start-ups, the labels did one of three things; charge high licensing fees or litigate the start-up to bankruptcy or negotiate a large ownership stake in the start-up.

So even though the internet has lowered the barriers of entry, without the money and power of the label behind the artists, there is a pretty good chance, the artist would probably go unnoticed.

One thing is certain in 2013.

We move on fast.

Look at the Top 10 lists of pirated movies that TorrentFreak publish each week. It’s always changing and very rare for the same movie to be at number one spot for two weeks in a row.

Look at the Top 10 of the streaming Charts published by each country. The artists in the list are always changing.

And that’s another wrap for another week.

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

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – October 24 to October 30

4 Years Ago (2017)

ATTENTION

Attention is fleeting.

Attention is there and then it’s gone.

Or it never goes away because fans care about the artist; love what the artists does, their music and their connection to them via social media.

But some of those fans will grow and change and fall out of love with what the artists does.

And what will the artist do to get back their attention.

STREAMING

All the action is in streaming. The oldsters hate it and the youngsters embrace it. 

Personally, I thought all the 80s acts I grew up with would re-enter the charts because streaming would allow them to compete with the new acts. But back in 2017, none of the old acts had hit a billion streams.

Used to be you weren’t a star until you got a record deal and heard your song on the radio.

Then it was MTV. 

Then it was YouTube and now you’re not a star until you see your track in the Spotify Top 50 and just recently your not a star if you don’t have a song with a billion plus streams.

The media keeps pushing stories about the small payments of recorded music to artists and songwriters, however revenues are going up on the back of streaming. If you ain’t making money, get a better deal because streaming will pay you forever.

COPYRIGHT

Copyright issues are always in the news.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) was speaking out against the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), accusing the RIAA of asking the US government to apply copyright law the way the RIAA wishes it to be applied.

Because if Copyright is there to reward creators then there would no need for the Spinal Tap creators to take Vivendi/ Universal Music to the courts.

Both of these corporations are making up accounting transactions so the creators of the Spinal Tap movie and the soundtrack are STILL shown as being in debt to the studio/label.

Yep, you would pay off a home loan in 35 years, but in 2017, the Spinal Tap soundtrack still had a debt to the studio/label.

And all they wanted to do was take back their copyrights. Because Copyright law was written to allow the creator to take back their copyrights after 35 years.

80’s AND TODAY

80’s
It was hard being a musician
Today
It’s still hard being a musician.

80’s
You wrote and performed music.
Today
You write and perform music, maintain an online presence, manage yourself, promote yourself, have to know your legal rights, organise your own shows, licensing, merchandise and more.

80’s
Artists did the hard work of building up a local fan base, city by city
Today
Artists want to take over the world in an instant.

80’s
The labels and the media measured attention via sales of recorded music.
Today
Well, attention is measured by likes, shares, views, streams, sales of physical, sales of digital, sales of tickets and so forth.

80’s
MTV was king.
Today
YouTube is king.

80’s
To discover new music, we needed to rely on a knowledgeable record store operator, gatekeepers, radio and expensive import magazines.
Today
We don’t know when new music comes out? There is just too much noise. Spotify Release Friday is one avenue. We have Google, YouTube, Bandcamp, Sound Cloud, Spotify, Pandora, iTunes, blogs and many more.

80’s
Gatekeepers decided who would get signed or not
Today
The internet decimated the barrier to entry.

GETTING PAID

Do you wanna get Paid?

The ones who write the songs always get paid.

Sting gets paid for “Every Breath You Take”. He’s listed as the sole songwriter, but the guitar arpeggio pattern created over the synth/bass lines from Sting’s original demo is the iconic part of the song. And it wasn’t written by Sting, but Sting gets the payments.

Ozzy Osbourne gets paid for all of the “Bark At The Moon” album songs as he “supposably wrote” it all by himself.

Bon Scott wasn’t kidding when he said “getting ripped off on the pay” in “Long Way To The Top (If You Want To Rock’N’Roll)”.

But in the 80’s, two things happened to the music scene. 

MTV made artists into global superstars and the CD revolution cashed up the labels while all the fans replaced their vinyl and cassette collections with CD’s.

Suddenly you had record label execs flying private and living in mansions on the backs of monies earned from songs the artists wrote.

Motley Crue almost had their career derailed when Elektra Records refused to promote the band post Vince. They got Vince back and the label still didn’t deliver on promises. Nikki Sixx along with manager Allen Kovacs went into battle. They got back all the rights to the Motley’s songs, left Elektra Records, formed Motley Records, took control of the Motley narrative and re-invented the band to become a commercial behemoth from 2003 onwards.

And we moved from Napster to iTunes to YouTube to Spotify in little over a decade while at the same time MySpace tanked and got replaced by Facebook, Yahoo lost the search battle to Google, video stores lost out to Netflix and Amazon became the one stop shop.

It turns out the public is paying for music. It’s called streaming and if the Spotify royalties the artist is getting are low it’s because not enough people are streaming their songs. Then again, if you are on a label, the label will be taking the lion’s share of the royalty.

And with streaming, every artist is competing with Metallica, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, AC/DC and the whole history of music.

The power of music is in the song, not the distribution system. And if we are listening, artists will get rich and have more power than they know what to do with. It’s the modern music business.

8 Years Ago (2013)

KILLSWITCH ENGAGE

I was listening to “Disarm the Descent.”

I came to Killswitch Engage late. I didn’t listen to their first three albums.

It was a “Guitar World” issue from 2007. At that time the magazine still came with a DVD of bonus content. One of the bonuses was a lesson from the Killswitch guitarists on how to play “My Curse” and after watching it, I was hooked.

So I asked my bass player friend to burn me all of their albums, which he did.

By the time, their 2009 self-titled album came out; I was purchasing it without even listening to a single note. So free does pay as I became a buyer of their next album.

Sales data can show what is in demand at a certain point in time; however the reach and the popularity of a certain band or a certain album cannot be properly measured until many years later.

Remember that history is written by the winners. In music, the winners are the artists or bands that outlast the competition.

VITO BRATTA

The record labels didn’t have no moral obligation to keep their hard rock rosters in tact. The only obligation they had is to their shareholders and their bottom line.

So with every major label signing bands from Seattle, the poor old hard rock bands that made the labels billions over the last 10 years suddenly disappeared. White Lion was one of them. The label never dropped them, however they would have if the band stayed together.

White Lion finished up because Vito Bratta became conflicted. Disillusioned.

The recording business only cared about short-term income and total control.

Vito wanted longevity and he didn’t like how White Lion was seen as part of the same movement of bands that he was commenting about. He was an artist competing in a game of rock stars. He was an artist competing in a game of profits. With each game, there is a winner and a loser.

By 1991, every artist needed a hit to get recognition. The album format was already dead due to MTV playing the “HIT” video. If a band had a hit single then people were interested in buying the album to see what that band is all about.

This was Vito’s disillusionment. When he made an appearance on the Eddie Trunk show, he said words to the effect like “how do you write a hit single” when he was talking about Big Game, the following up to Pride.

White Lion was never a band that played the singles game, however the industry forced them into it and their main musical songwriter started to second guess himself as a creator.

CHARTS

What do the Billboard charts tell us?

On the Rock and Metal chart we had the following list for the week;

  1. Korn – Paradigm Shift (1 Week on The Chart)
  2. Alter Bridge – Fortress (1 Week On The Chart)
  3. Cage The Elephant – Melophobia (1 Week On The Chart)
  4. Stone Temple Pilots with Chester Bennington – High Rise (EP) (1 Week On The Chart)
  5. Avenged Sevenfold – Hail To The King (7 Weeks On The Chart)
  6. Dance Gavin Dance – Acceptance Speech (1 Week On The Chart)
  7. Metallica – Through The Never (Soundtrack) (3 Weeks On The Chart)
  8. Five Finger Death Punch – The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell: Volume 1 (11 Weeks On The Chart)
  9. Dream Theater – Dream Theater (3 Weeks On The Chart)
  10. Rush – Vapor Trails: Remixed (2 Weeks On The Chart)
  11. Asking Alexandria – From Death To Destiny (10 Weeks On The Chart)
  12. Skillet – Rise (16 Weeks On The Chart)
  13. Volbeat – Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies (27 Weeks On The Chart)
  14. Black Sabbath – 13 (18 Weeks On The Chart)
  15. Bring Me The Horizon – Sempiternal (27 Weeks On The Chart)

Special mention:

Imagine Dragons – Night Visions (58 Weeks On The Chart)

So the above charts show me a few things:

  1. That the fans love new music. There are 5 albums that have their first week on the charts.
  2. After a week, if that new music is not great, we move on very quickly.
  3. If that new music is great, we spread the word and the album hangs around in the “charts”.  Avenged Sevenfold, Five Finger Death Punch, Skillet and Volbeat are a few bands that are hanging around.
  4. If you create a group of songs that connect, expect to be hanging around for a long time. Imagine Dragons is one such band.
  5. Artists need to adapt their business practices. Instead of spending months on an album, just to see it fade away within 6 weeks, they should be releasing more frequently. It doesn’t have to be original songs all the time. It could be acoustic versions, cover versions, unique live versions, blog posts and so on.
  6. Here today, gone tomorrow is the modern paradigm. Artist need to adapt, so that they are here today, everyday.

Expectations (Alter + Adapt) = Survival

So what do all of our favourite bands/artists keep on doing?

They keep on spending a lot of time writing and recording 10 to 15 songs, just so they can group them together and release them as an album.

This “expectation” worked once upon a time.

However it is not working today.

But Metal and Rock artists still have time as metal fans are loyal and still purchase the “album”.

Check out the following comment from Anita Elberse and her book “Blockbusters: Hit-Making, Risk-Taking, And The Big Business Of Entertainment”. It is probably the best advice that any artist will get.

“…out of a total of 870,000 albums that sold at least one copy in 2011, 13 album titles sold more than a million copies each, together accounting for 19 million copies sold.

That’s 0.001 percent of all titles accounting for 7 percent of sales.

The top 1,000 albums generated about half of all the sales, and the top 10,000 albums around 80 percent of sales.

Deep in the tail, 513,000 titles or nearly 60 percent of the assortment, sold fewer than 10 copies each, together making up half a percent of total sales.”

513,000 album titles sold fewer than 10 copies each. So if you are one of those 513,000 bands that sold less than 10 copies, what do you do?

You obviously expected a better return on your investment. A lot of artists will give up, a lot of bands will break up and then there will be a small percentage who will adapt and alter their expectations.

The competition for listener’s attention is huge.

Like the Seventies, the Eighties and the Nineties, there are still only a select few of releases that end up selling more than a million.

And that’s another wrap for another week.

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

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – October 17 to October 23

4 Years Ago (2017)

METAL T-SHIRTS

My then five year old had to draw his family in kindy class. In the drawing he had me drawn with a black T-shirt and black shorts.

When they say “Take the Black” in “Game of Thrones”, a metal/rock head says, “pffft, we’ve already done that”.

All though I’ve morphed to plain black tees as I have gotten older, I still break out the metal and rock t-shirts now and then.

When I first got together with my wife, I had a Posion T-Shirt with the sleeves cut off and she had dance music playing in the car.

I asked her if she had anything else.

The answer was no.

I asked her if she would be okay if I introduced some new music in the car.

She said okay.

The next day, I had the rock and metal mix tapes ready for indoctrination.

At first it was the more commercial sounding rock and metal.

Secretly the dance tapes ended up in a draw in my room. It was many years later that she asked what happened to those tapes.

\::/

ALBUMS

I started this post with “Just put out the damn album”.

When we laid out cash for the 10 to 15 albums we used to buy a year, we had time to digest and live with the music for a long time so we were okay with the lead up.

But.

The 8 week lead up to the release is too much these days especially when the LP run could be over in a month after it’s released.

That’s right.

That’s how fast new albums disappear from the conversation in the current environment.

The first week sales that might look great on paper are irrelevant.

Check the second week streaming numbers. Then the third, then the fourth and so on. Those numbers will show you if the fans care for the music or if only the press (that the marketing team has paid to promote your product) cares.

And people will complain about streaming revenue and how it doesn’t pay enough. Control your rights, have a song that people connect with and you will be paid well and forever.

If investment firms are cashing in, it’s because streaming pays. But it pays the organization who controls the rights.

YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music and all the rest will pay forever.

Isn’t that better than the one off transaction between the record store and the fan?

That fan could have purchased the album, taken it home, played it once and traded it.

Maybe that fan played the album a million times. But the artist wouldn’t know that behaviour. 

Data tells us what’s hot and what’s not. And like it or not, it’s always been about the hits. To me a hit isn’t the song that takes the number 1 slot on a chart.

“Fear Of The Dark” or “Hallowed Be Thy Name” or “Creeping Death” or “Fade To Black” or “Master Of Puppets” didn’t set the charts alight but the fans made those songs hit’s. Convert staples.

We don’t live in 1989, where mediocre stuff on the radio gets some traction because of the marketing/hype dollars invested into the promotion. We live in the era of connectivity and virality and hits and streaming that pays forever.

But artists need to release a continuous stream of product to win.

TRIBUTE

It’s my bible.

I played the cassette tape to death trying to learn every riff and lick. And when I couldn’t pick it all up, I shelled out $50 on Wolf Marshal’s transcription of the “Tribute” album and I spent a lot of hours woodshedding to it.

Even though Ozzy re-cut his vocals for the release there is no denying Randy Rhoads and his love for his instrument. The way he re-imagines his multi-layered guitar riffs from the studio versions and turns it all into one definitive guitar cut is brilliant. For any guitarist, new or old, this is it. It gets no better than this.

“Mr Crowley” was the first song I got stuck into. It has two shred leads and the way Randy combined those guitar lines into one definitive track for the “was he polemically” section is brilliant. And the outro lead is just one of those songs within a song lead breaks.

“Revelation (Mother Earth)” has a finger picked part at the start which is breathtaking, the interlude is subdued and relaxing but that outro is breathless. And the live tempo is much better than the studio tempo. 

“Children Of The Grave” was the next song I tried to learn after “Mr Crowley”. I love the way Randy plays the C#m riff on the 4th fret on the 5th string. That’s how I learned this song. It wasn’t until many years later I heard the Sabbath version and Iommi is down tuned to C#.

I must say, I love the tempo of this live version.

And that outro improv lead is brilliant especially when Randy starts to reference Ace ala “Love Gun”.

When I think of “Children Of The Grave”, I think of this.

“Goodbye To Romance” is the piece d’resistance in guitar playing. The jazz like chords in the verses, the arpeggio chorus riff and that guitar solo.

These day’s guitarists can do unbelievable and very advanced things on the guitar but do they have the song sense of Randy Rhoads.

JACK BLACK

My kids back then had been watching “School Of Rock” and “The Pick Of Destiny” on and off, so i did a \::/ salute to Jack Black for spreading his love of rock and heavy metal to the masses.

Because the movies capture what rock and roll is all about;

  • going against the grain, 
  • breaking rules set by the institutions/parents and having fun along the way. 

Let’s make sure it will never be forgotten. 

MY NINTH POST ON THE YEAR THAT WAS 1983

“Back To Mystery City” by Hanoi Rocks was covered. It’s unfortunate that most people know of Hanoi Rocks because of drummer Nicholas “Razzle” Dingley’s death due to being drunkenly driven by Mötley Crüe’s Vince Neil.

All death is tragic. And I remember reading an interview (I think it was in Faces) that if Razzle’s didn’t join in 1982, the band probably would have broken up. And then his death in 1985 ended the band.

“Speaking in Tongues” by Talking Heads is mentioned. “Burning Down the House” sold the album. It was everywhere. One of my hard rock bands in the 90’s even covered the song in a rock context.

“Streets” was the creative musical outlet for Steve Walsh in between his departure from Kansas.

The debut LP was released in 1983 on Atlantic Records. The deal was negotiatied with one manager and destroyed by their next manager after he argued with the President of Atlantic Records, Doug Morris.

So Atlantic just released the albums with no promo and if they stuck, good. But they didn’t stick. And they never released the albums on CD while they controlled the rights.

Steve Walsh even got a lawyer to get the albums back from Atlantic and Rock Candy re-released the Streets albums recently.

So before people beat up streaming, they need to understand how it was back then and the monopoly the labels had to kill or break a career.

The Eric Martin Band released a great melodic rock album called “Sucker for a Pretty Face”.

And I still don’t understand how “Burning” from Shooting Star wasn’t a big hit.

Maybe because they were on Virgin Records, a label known for new wave and running low on funds, so when a rock album landed in their laps they had no idea how to promote.

But the truth is that the bands first managers were stealing from em, so the band fired em.

And because these managers used to work as record promotion guys, they blacklisted the band to the radio stations.

Meatloaf released “Midnight At The Lost and Found” but it was lost as “Bat Out Of Hell” was still selling like it was a new release.

And Aldo Nova was trying to capture the highs of “Fantasy” with “Subject”.

8 Years Ago (2013)

STREAMING

The public has voted. It prefers streaming.

You would think the war is over. But it’s not.

Spotify pays millions to the copyright holders.

Now unless the artist is a DIY artist who controls their own copyright, or Metallica or Motley Crue who own their masters, most of the copyright holders are the major labels. So the labels are raking it in.

There is also a term doing the round, called “Black Box Revenue.” This is the name given to income that the record labels collect that cannot be directly tracked to the recordings of a specific artist.

To put it all into context, streaming services pay the labels an upfront fee to access their catalogues. In addition, the services then pay the labels royalties for each stream.

Yep the labels get paid twice because they “own” the masters that artists created.

Musicians always had to work hard to get somewhere, that part hasn’t changed and it will never change while others fly private on the backs of the hard work of artists.

THE LIES OF THE LABELS

During the recorded music industries heyday, there was this widespread idea, sort of like an unwritten law, that we (the fans of music) could purchase music and own it, the same way we purchased and owned the toaster and any other commodity.

Of course when it comes to music, its never that simple.

What the music fans actually purchased was a non-transferable license to listen to the music under very specific and strict conditions. If you don’t believe me read the fine print.

We basically had the right to enjoy the music in private, over and over again.

METALLICA

I had been re-reading a lot of the magazines I accumulated during the Eighties and the Nineties and I finished reading a story about Metallica from the Australian magazine “Hot Metal”.

It was the June 1992 issue.

And in the interview James Hetfield was talking about the stage design and how they would have an area in the middle of the stage set aside for taping. The fans would have to buy a special ticket for the tape section area and Hetfield saw it as a cool thing to flood the market with bootlegs.

Metallica in 1992, wanted to flood the market with bootlegs. Metallica in 2013 had the following disclaimer on their Live Metallica website “Terms of Use”; Any violation of copyright laws may result in severe civil and criminal penalties. Violators will be prosecuted to the maximum extent possible.

KIRK HAMMETT

Kirk Hammett said that there hasn’t been any great bands “because of things like iTunes and streaming and social networking, it’s destroyed music. It’s destroyed the motivation to go out there and really make the best record possible. It’s a shame.”

You see, when you detach yourself from the streets and live in your ivory tower, you don’t see what is happening at ground zero.

Five Finger Death Punch is going GOLD and PLATINUM in a tough sales market. They have great numbers in relation to YouTube views and Spotify streams. Their albums have been selling up to the point of when their new one is released. Think about that for a second.

Shinedown are doing super numbers in relation to sales, YouTube views and Spotify streams. They have certifications to prove it as well.

Will we have the superstars of the Eighties and Nineties again?

Of course not, but we don’t live in a monoculture anymore.

We are living in the golden age of music access. The history of recorded music is at our fingertips and that is a good thing.

STREAMING vs OWNERSHIP

If I pay $120 for a Spotify Premium account, it means that i can listen to millions of songs.

If I buy $120 worth of songs from iTunes in Australia, I can only listen to 70 songs.

If I pay $120 for CD’s, I can pick up 5 albums with a potential of 50 to 60 songs.

BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE

I’m a fan.

The music that BFMV creates is very reminiscent to the hard rock / heavy metal music created between 1981 and 1986, before Bon Jovi released “Slippery When Wet” and the majority of bands started chasing the pop metal / pop rock “pot of gold”. It is basically the same music that I grew up on.

Metallica – CHECK
Iron Maiden – CHECK
AC/DC – CHECK
Slayer – CHECK
Megadeth – CHECK
Judas Priest – CHECK

Modern influences like Machine Head, Pantera and Metallica “Black” album period are also found in the songs. It’s probably why I connected with the band.

And that’s another wrap for another week.

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

Sacred Copyright

I thought I’ll go with a Dio title for this post since I’m on a Dio kick at the moment.

Ahh, Copyright. A right created for creators to have a monopoly on their creations for a limited time, which was hijacked by corporations (Record Labels, Movie Studios and Publishers) and recently Investment funds.

I’m not a fan of “The Jesus and Mary Chain” but like so many artists before them, they are going to court because their label Warner Music doesn’t want to give them back the rights to their debut album, “Psycho Candy” released in 1985, even though the law states that they should.

This got me thinking about John Waite, who also went to court, because UMG wouldn’t give him back his rights.

And he didn’t win, because on the contract he signed, it was his “loan out company” on the paperwork and not him. Loan out companies are set up by the creator to employ themselves. This gives the artists a lot of tax benefits and when organisations make agreements with the artists, it is via their “loan out company”.

Read this post on CopyrightLately.com for an excellent explanation.

So UMG took the position that Waite didn’t grant them the copyrights, his company did and a company is not eligible to terminate a copyright.

Now for the triple smack down.

Are you ready?

The termination clauses in the Copyright Act, only allow natural persons and the heirs to terminate a copyright, so individuals benefit and not corporations. Yet, it is a corporation like Warner Music and UMG who benefit if the copyrights don’t revert back to the creators.

What a mess?

Waite’s tax-planning vehicle has crashed his termination rights and he had no idea that would be the case when he formed his loan out company.

And while creators are fighting to get back their songs, other creators are fighting to get back control of their brand. The estate of Chris Cornell, which is run by Vicky Cornell, has been controlling Soundgarden’s website and social media accounts. The surviving members of Soundgarden have asked previously for access, but they have been denied and they have not been happy about it.

Vicky Cornell sued the remaining members in 2019, accusing them of withholding royalties to force her to hand over recordings that Chris Cornell worked on before his death. And at the start of 2021, she sued them again over money and then offered to buy out the other members so she could control the Soundgarden brand.

But the change of ownership is a step in the right direction.

Meanwhile, Gene Simmons from KISS has become a lobbyist, making his prophetic lyrics in “Cadillac Dreams” come true. Instead of recording new material, he is meeting with members of Congress to get laws passed so streaming services pay them more.

From the lips of Gene Simmons, “most people don’t realize every time you download a song, the songwriter is making minuscule amounts of one penny”. Umm is he talking about downloads or streams. Two totally different things there. And he goes onto a rant that there will be never be another Lennon, etc., but when you live in an ivory tower, you’re so out of touch, you have no idea what is happening and how much money new artists are making.

New Organisations which come from the labels or the publishers are still rooted in the same crappy innovation ideals of those organisations. So when Congress passed a law to create a new arm to match the unpaid royalties to artists, the first thing the new organisation did, called MLC, is nothing.

Their claim portal for artists to log in and search through unmatched songs and claim the ones they own is still not up and running.

Someone should tell Gene, to lobby this corporation to get the Claim Portal up and running.

So potentially, the unpaid royalties will now sit with MLC for at least 5 years and maybe more, before they even get a chance to be distributed.

But in all honesty, this will be a disaster, because there are a lot of conflicts of interest present when it comes to songs. Ex band members will claim songs out of spite, not because they wrote them.

Meanwhile, Gene’s punching bag, YouTube, paid over $4 billion to the labels and publishers over the last year. How much of that found its way back to artists or songwriters remains to be seen?

And the Federal Court of Australia made Clive Palmer pay even more money back to Universal Publishing, for his recreation of “We’re Not Gonna Take It” into the song “Aussies Not Gonna Cop It”, which he then used in all of his campaign videos across the nation. So instead of paying $150K for a 12 month licence to use the proper song, he has ended up paying $1.5 million in damages plus lawyer fees and what not.

What a dickhead?

And on the topic of dickheads, the major record labels (Sony Music, UMG and Warner) along with the music publishing companies are doing their best to own the title.

There hell bent nuclear strategy to go after internet service providers (ISPs) for the actions of a few users, these organisations have found a way to cut people off from the internet based on a mere accusation of copyright infringement.

A recent court decision in the U.S, has given these organisations unprecedented power and the Electronic Frontiers Foundation (EFF) is doing their best to get this bad decision overturned due to the incorrect instructions the judge had given the jury.

Basically these organisations claim for damages when people use the songs they have the rights for and then they get the courts and the law and the politicians to fight their battles.

Meanwhile, in Germany, the labels, publishers and independent copyright holders have teamed up with the ISP’s to block sites without the need of a court approval.

Each Copyright complaint by a label or TV producer is reviewed by a committee made up of retired judges. Streaming services make up 55% of revenue in Germany and piracy has reduced significantly. However people still seek out P2P services hence the reason why they want this kind of power.

But web-freedom activists are not happy as they believe this kind of power restricts internet freedom. The method here is to attack the services that offer illegal content rather than the users.

As the article in Billboard stated: “In Germany, the legislative environment is heavily weighted against censorship and attacks on internet freedom. Having lived under the Nazi Third Reich and communist East Germany, Germany considers privacy a hard-won freedom.

The power granted to corporations for Copyright Infringements is a form of censorship and for the German people, censorship will never happen again.

Meanwhile Twitch is getting hit with thousands of copyright infringement claims on a daily basis. So the entertainment corporations close down or take down or shake down people and services from trading in pirated works, and then when they use music in their live streamed videos, these same bodies issue infringement claims to take it all down.

Maybe a conversation between Twitch and the entertainment corporations would have resulted in a better outcome.

But that’s too difficult.

Talking, that is.

And remember when Steven Spielberg was trying to destroy streaming services and Netflix in general and he didn’t want Netflix movies nominated for Oscars because the movies that Netflix makes are shown on TV screens. Well Netflix won seven Oscars at the recent Academy Awards and that was more than any other studio.

Well good old Steve knows a good deal, and he just signed up to make movies for Netflix. I guess reality is a slap in the face.

Thank you for your cooperation. A copyright complaint is just around the corner.

And I feel like listening to “2112” from Rush right now.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

1976 – Part 1.3: Boston – Boston

It’s another band I really got into during the 90’s and I’ve posted my record collection of Boston here.

It was a Guitar World issue that got me interested to hear Boston as it spoke about the making of the album, Tom Scholz diligence to sound and it also had a transcription of the opening track, “More Than A Feeling”. At 445.7 million plus streams on Spotify, it’s a monster track.

At 29 years of age when the album was released, Tom Scholz wasn’t your typical rock star in waiting, working as a project manager for Polaroid with a Master’s degree in engineering and writing songs that he liked to hear in his basement when he wasn’t working. And as good as Scholz is, he needed a voice for his songs, and that voice came from Brad Delp.

Disco also ruled the airwaves when this album hit the record stores. Most labels passed on the band because they didn’t believe a guitar heavy rock record could even chart. But Scholz stumbled onto a sound that would be imitated by all bands since.

My favourite is “Peace Of Mind” purely for the guitar leads in the intro and the outro. On Spotify, its sitting at 117.8 million streams.

I then ignored the rest of the album for a long time, finding it generic. An Epic A&R rep even said to the band in one of the rejection letters that they have nothing new to offer and sounded generic, but then credited himself as discovering the band when they broke big.

Then in the 2000’s I revisited the album.

“Foreplay/Long Time” came into my life and I didn’t notice it before but it has a similar riff in it as “More Than A Feeling. On Spotify, its sitting at 74.4 million streams.

“Rock And Roll Band” and “Smokin” are your standard blues rock fares, with “Smokin” having a more ELP vibe in the middle section. It’s also sitting at 47.3 million streams on Spotify.

And the other tracks are “Hitch A Ride”, “Something About You” and “Let Me Take You Home Tonight” showcase a more of blues country rock feel, but compared to the massive first two songs, they are lost in the “deep album cut” landscape. And it’s those first two tracks which sold the album throughout the world.

17 million sales in the U.S alone. Not bad for an album recorded in a basement.

In 2013, Scholz filed a termination notice to claim back his copyrights to the debut album and “Dont Look Back” as per the clause in Copyright Law which allows him to do so after 35 years. And it ended up in the courts.

Who knows if he succeeded?

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

Copyright This And Copyright That

Ahh yes, Copyright abuse is rife these days. The RIAA, the record labels standover organization, just keeps sending takedown notices to Google on legitimate content.

To show how silly the RIAA really is, their notices are targeting Spotify and Apple. There is a chance that your music might be taken down by a bogus takedown from an organization that keeps telling people they are the good guys and have the artists best interest at heart.

Um yeah. Sure.

Because if the labels did care for the artists they wouldn’t be fighting them when the artists try and reclaim their Copyrights, which the law allows them to, after 35 years.

Here you have a Soul icon asking her fans to not stream or buy her music while she fights for her rights and for her songs Masters to be returned to her.

But the labels won’t return anything without a fight as they want to be the ones doing deals with Investment Managers. And these kind of companies are popping up everywhere. Barometer Capital Management Inc. is launching a new investment fund called the “Barometer Global Music Royalty Fund LP.”

And the main investments will be the Copyrights to songs with a strong track record of earnings. Expect to read about more and more artists making big deals.

Remember back in the day when the biggest Copyright killer was the cassette. It allowed people to copy their vinyl records onto the format. The labels took out huge campaigns to tell the world that home taping is killing the recording business. Instead it made more money for it because it led to more innovations which led to music being more portable.

The creator of the cassette, Lou Ottens, passed away recently at the age of 94 and I would like to thank him for allowing me to create mix tapes, record jam sessions and most importantly to tape my vinyl collection onto it so I could listen anywhere. And become a pirate in the process.

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

Selling Your Songs And Creative Copyright To Get Around Laws

Richie Sambora sold his 200 song catalog to an investment fund called Hipgnosis Songs for a large undisclosed sum. Hipgnosis was founded by a former manager called Merck Mercuriadis, who has spent over $1 billion on catalogs over the past 4 years.

So did Bob Dylan for $300 million and Stevie Nicks sold 80% of her stake for $100 million. Desmond Child sold his share in his songs a long time ago and regrets it.

All of this activity is because of streaming.

Spotify is the great paradigm shift.

Streaming scales and it pays for the big songs. The publishing companies and investment funds are not stupid. The return on their purchases of catalogues can now be quantified because of the data available. It’s not hidden and shrouded in record label secrecy anymore.

Desmond Child mentioned in the linked article how in 2017, the publishing company that purchased his songs in the mid 90s made up that huge purchase price x 20.

And since Copyright terms last forever, these purchases are guaranteed to keep bringing monies into the companies for the life of the creator plus 70 years after death.

And Copyright law is designed for songs to fall into the public domain but artists and labels are finding different ways to circumvent these laws.

Like Bob Dylan.

His label released a collection of songs/jams with George Harrison in Europe. This release was in response to a European law which states that recordings will enter the public domain if they aren’t officially released by the copyright holder 50 years after their creation.

Since 2012, the Dylan team have been avoiding copyright laws by releasing albums in limited runs to avoid these songs from the entering the public domain.

I guess it’s not a bad time to be a musician with a huge catalogue of songs and a popular one at that.

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

Theater Of Copyright

It looks like the “Stairway To Heaven” case going to die?

For those that don’t know, Michael Skidmore (from here on in, known as “The Trustee”), is the trustee for the Randy Craig Wolfe Trust, which has the rights to the songs written by Randy Wolfe and his time in the rock band Spirit. The song in question here is “Taurus” and the similar feel and structure that both songs have.

My view on this is easy, a dead artist cannot hold a copyright and the law which changed copyright terms to last the life of the artist plus 70 years after death is a stupid one.

Because this is the rubbish you get. But Jimmy Page didn’t win because of the silliness of dead people holding copyrights.

Jimmy Page won because the sheet music is different. But “The Trustee” believes that the court should have been able to hear the sound recordings. But that rule allowing sound recordings came into place in the mid 70’s and the songs in dispute here are under old laws.

Anyway, the case got booted.

But for how long will “artists of the now” be taken to court over copying claims from the trustees or heirs of dead artists. Institutions cannot charge fees to the dead, so how can the dead claim a copyright and be paid for it and whoever passed a rule to allow copyright to be transferred to others has committed a wrong to the public domain.

Did you see that Universal Music Group announced a $1.2B Hotel, Performance Venue and Casino in Mississippi? It’s also going to do a similar venture in Atlanta and Orlando.

You see, this is what happens when artists give away all of their rights to the labels. It gave the labels power. They used that power to lock up culture for the life of the artist plus 70 years after the death.

But David Crosby still tells everyone streaming is the enemy. Gene Simmons as well. The enemy to an artist is ignorance and a fixed mindset. There is a lot of money in recorded music. As long as you hold the copyright to the recorded music.

Otherwise why would companies spend a lot of money buying the copyrights to popular songs. The return on these songs because of streaming payments is always going up, while stocks on Wall Street go down.

And look no further than Frontiers Records from Italy. They are releasing a lot of product compared to other labels because their President knows that music scales and will keep paying forever.

And the Labels, they are pieces of work. It’s a power play. You know how artists are trying to reclaim their copyrights back from the labels after 35 years, which is legislated in Copyright Law, but the labels are fighting hard to keep the rights. So while those court cases are ongoing, the labels are now counter suing the artists for selling their own albums on their websites or for using the album art on their websites.

So the artist make the labels rich and somehow the artists are the problem.

And Copyright keeps getting very ugly because artists sue each other.

You see an idea is an idea. I could have an idea for a song here in Australia, and there is a very high probability that other people would have a similar idea, somewhere else in the world. And when one song becomes a hit, then expect a writ, because even though ideas are not copyrightable, there is also someone who believes they are.

But.

And there is always a but when it comes to Copyright.

If there isn’t a court case for similar ideas, then there are cases over licensing, samples and whatever else lawyers can fit into the grey world which is Copyright.

Not sure if you have seen the stories about Tracy Chapman suing Nicki Minaj over a sample from Chapman’s song “Baby Can I Hold You” which appears on an unreleased track from Minaj called “Sorry”.

The song “Sorry” was pulled from the album’s release because the label couldn’t get clearance to use the sample. Minaj even begged Chapman over Twitter to approve it, but Chapman is anti-samples.

And even though the song was pulled, it still didn’t stop the song from getting played on radio stations and once the song was aired, the fans quickly ripped it from the broadcast and sent it out onto the worldwide web.

Hence the court case. Chapman wants payments and Minaj says there are none.

And the arguments have all gone off track and no one really knows what the hell they are arguing and counter arguing over. Anyway, Minaj won the case.

And labels just keep doing wrong on behalf of the artists. Here you have a label called Trax Records who specialise in dance and house recordings being accused of fraudently filing sound recordings to the U.S Copyright Office of other artists and claiming the recordings as their own.

Sony Music is also doing everything it can to keep as much money from old artists in the Sony bank account. Sony paid $12.7 million to settle a case and is allowed to deny any wrongdoing. It’s amazing what $12 million buys. The fact that these old songs are still under copyright, long after the artist has passed away is an issue for me.

I guess Copyright just lives on and on and on and the courts are kept busy with cases and the labels keep ripping creators off, while they invest in start-ups, make billions and then build casinos.

All in the name of Copyright.

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