2018 (4 Years Ago)
Vice News at the time had a great 5 minute segment on an artist who built his career off streaming.
He was offered a major record deal and turned it down. The highest offer was a $250K advance and a $300K recording budget. A lot of people would have taken the offer and become slaves to a system designed to favour the record label. But he turned them down, because the terms bothered him.
He looks at the money from a 100% pot. So when the label is offering him an 18% royalty rate, what is happening to the other 82% of monies earned?
So the artist and his manager invested $30K of their own monies to record the debut album.
They then went on a 3 month tour using streaming data to lead the way. In one month, the artist made $25K from music streaming services like Spotify and Apple music. His team mines the data from those streams to find out exactly where and when a show will sell out, spending $18 a day on ads to target those cities.
Super fans are fans of the artist who have streamed the music for 45 days in a row. For example in Philadelphia, the artist had 13,600 listeners and 3,186 super fans. They used this data to target ads in Philadelphia and sold out the venue.
By 2018, it was over 2 years since Sykes announced a new solo album was in the works. And 18 years since his last studio album.
The new music paradigm is to release music and to keep on releasing music. The listener decides what to listen to.
It’s a scary thought for the artist, especially legacy artists who are used to the comfort metrics of the past, like a large advanced payment.
Funny thing is, Europe and Bon Jovi had bigger recording and marketing budgets for the follow up albums “Out Of This World” and “New Jersey” and they didn’t even get close to the traction and numbers of their breakthrough albums. It doesn’t mean the albums are crap, however it shows a scorched earth marketing policy is not a guarantee of global reach. Both acts had more money thrown at them for “Prisoners In Paradise” and “Keep The Faith” and again, they failed to get the public acceptance that “The Final Countdown” and “Slippery When Wet” got.
8 Years Ago (2014)
One thing about the world of heavy metal and hard rock is that we never took ourselves too seriously. It was always a camaraderie, a culture to have “Nothin But A Good Time”.
When Zakk Wylde was playing “In This River” at the Revolver Golden Gods Awards in 2014 as a tribute for the fallen rockers and a picture of Jani Lane from Warrant came up, and it stated, “Jani Lane, Motorhead, 1964-2011”, it was just one of those things we had to laugh about.
It was the gift that kept on giving. Geoff Tate was known as “The Voice Of Queensryche” after the split before he became “Operation Mindcrime” or whatever else he was known as. And Queensryche hired Todd LaTorre who decided to accumulate stuff from the other guys in the band and sell it on eBay.
A band from France formed in 20016, which is a mixture of alternative rock and metal music on a background of progressive and experimental grooves.
The Tool influence is very prominent but there are overtones of at least four other bands like Chevelle, Earshot, 10 Years and Karnivool.
“Out Of Reach” was released in 2012 and that was the album I was cranking in 2014. Many years later when I became a heavy Spotify user, I reconnected with the bands music and saw that they had a 2014 album called “Majestic”, an album called “Shift” released in 2018 and an album called “Eroded” released in 2021.
Check em out.
Chevelle – La Gargola
Chevelle blew my mind when they came out with their Tool infused pop stylings.
It was perfect back in 2002 and 2004. Now it is getting old. Still good, but old like AC/DC.
Sebastian Bach – Give Em Hell
Sabo and Bolan couldn’t get signed with all of the previous vocalists and then Sebastian comes on the scene and suddenly the band is hot and dangerous.
With this solo album, Bach is in top form. It is a solid album from start to finish with each song written by a who’s who list of musicians and producers.
James Durbin – Celebrate
The memories of Durbin doing “You Got Another Thing Coming” from Judas Priest on American Idol still live on. And the debut album comes out and the opening track “Higher Than Heaven” blows me away with its heaviness and popiness.
And here we are in 2014. If you want to hear James Durbin try to be like Kate Perry or One Direction then press play on this. Noteworthy tracks are “Louder Than A Loaded Gun”, “Real Love” and “Children Of The Sun”. The rest not so much.
Black Label Society – Catacombs of the Black Vatican
Zakk was just a skinny little blonde kid when he joined Ozzy and now he is a Viking marauder, ready to take over this town. I like Black Label Society for the same reason I like AC/DC. You know what you are gonna get and it is a good thing. It’s groovy hard rock and metal, with Zakk’s Ozzy meets Layne Staley style vocal phrasing.
“My Dying Day” is a full strength brewski. “Angel Of Mercy” for a ballad is also a full strength brewski with an unbelievable guitar solo. “Damn The Flood” has a Goddam wah-drenched solo section. So another brewski for that. “Empty Promises” is a double full strength brewski.
The Used – Imaginary Enemy
My first exposure to The Used was in the first “Transformers” movie and that car chase scene between Bumblebee and the Decepticon Police Car. I loved the riff, so I tracked down the soundtrack and found out that the song was called “Pretty Handsome Awkward” from a band called The Used.
But I have no idea what The Used is trying to achieve with this album. I’m hearing it and I am thinking about the latest Daughtry album which alienated the hard core fans in its quest for the One Direction and Train pop dollars.
In music, your only as good as the last song you released or the last album you put out or the last show you played.
Music is forever.
Paul Kossoff’s career was short at 25 years of age. As a guitarist he was always looking to “have a jam”.
Randy Rhoads just wanted to play guitar, as he even took classical lessons while on tour with Ozzy and then copping a punch in the face from Ozzy when he told him that he wanted out.
Jimi Hendrix was always booking studio time and running his different bands through jam sessions over and over again.
Chuck Schuldiner was a technical death metaller who just wanted to be a guitarist in a band and he finally achieved that dream with “Voodoocult” and the progressive “Control Denied”.
They all wanted to create.
Paul Kossoff was involved in 10 studio albums and 2 live albums between 1969 to 1976. Talk about jamming up a storm.
Jimi Hendrix was prolific. Apart from the official releases (three within a year), Hendrix created a musical vault so deep, his family members are still making money from his legacy.
Dimebag Darrell had 4 independent releases and close to 10 years of experience under his belt before “Cowboys From Hell” opened the door for a bigger stage to play on.
Chuck Schuldiner was involved in 9 albums between 1987 and 1999.
It’s always been tough for new bands or artists to make it. From the sixties to now, that toughness hasn’t changed.
My first introduction into Trivium and Bullet For My Valentine was from the Kerrang “Master of Puppets” 20 Year Anniversary album.
My initial interest to hear the album was because Machine Head was covering “Battery”. So after they blew me away with their downtuned cover, along came Trivium with their cover of the title track. Bullet For My Valentine didn’t set the world on fire with their cover of “Welcome Home (Sanitarium) however they did enough to get me interested in it.
So I started to seek out the original music of Trivium and BFMV. All because of a cover song.
“Hey Joe” didn’t do much for “The Leaves” in 1965, however it was The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s first hit single in 1966. “All Along the Watchtower” these days is well-known as a Hendrix psychedelic groove rock song instead of a Dylan folk song.
As good as the VH debut album is/was, they still needed something familiar for the audience and “You Really Got Me” was the song. “Hard To Handle” was the breakthrough hit single for “The Black Crowes” in 1990 and it is a cover song from 1968, originally written by Otis Redding.
Quiet Riot went platinum in 1983, with “Cum On Feel The Noize” and it was a cover song from 1973.
“Black Magic Woman” is known as Carlos Santana’s flagship song, however it is a cover from the Peter Green version of Fleetwood Mac.
Cover songs are the doorway to the other treasures that lay in waiting for artists. Find a great tune and get cranking on a kick-ass remake/re-imagining of it. You never know how it could connect as music has a way of making peculiar connections.
The major Record Labels own the majority of copyrights and don’t they love to overvalue their content.
The RIAA has never stopped lobbying the Government to pass laws that will protect their business models. Even Irving Azoff still blames technology for diminishing the music business profits instead of blaming the real devil, which is the GREED of the POWER PLAYERS. Someone like Azoff built a career on the backs of the songs that artists created.
Very few artists ever “recouped” even after the labels made back many times what they actually gave the artists.
RATT sold 7.5 million albums in the U.S alone which meant total gross sales of $75 million. Even if the label gave them $1 million dollar advances for each album, that is $5 million the label would have spent on the band and in the process the Label made $70 million. If the financials are ever made available, it would show Ratt as a band that still hasn’t recouped.
In the end, the real copyright abusers are the actual Record Labels.
And that’s a wrap for another week.