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

Invasion Of The Swedes – The First To Embrace Streaming and Guess What… Their Scene Is Flourishing

What do all of these bands have in common?

Evergrey, Corroded, Yngwie Malmsteen, Crashdiet, Avatar, In Flames, Europe, Soilwork, Jeerk, John Norum, Angeline, Baby Jane, Arch Enemy, April Divine, Cervello, The Night Flight Orchestra, Pretty Maids, Wig Wam, Fatal Smile, H.E.A.T, Hardcore Superstar, Scar Symmetry, M.ill.ion, Machinae Supremacy, Meldrum, Meshuggah, Overload, The Poodles, Shotgun Messiah, Sister Sin, Coldspell, Kee Marcello, W.E.T, Work Of Art, Audiovision, Dream Evil, At The Gates, Angelica, HammerFall, Tad Morose, Hollow, Pain Of Salvation, Opeth, Sonic Syndicate, Dead By April, April Divine, Bonafide, Crazy Lixx, Diamond Dogs, Plan Three, Treat, Takida, Royal Republic, Renegade Five, Vains Of Jenna, Amon Amarth, Bathory, Candlemass, Karmakanic, Degreed, Diamond Dawn, Eclipse, Gemini Five and House Of Shakira.

They are all from Sweden. And it was “Tearing Down The Walls” the fourth album from the band H.E.A.T that got me thinking about this invasion.

And the thing is they have always been producing so many good bands and great music. But when the record labels controlled the market, we didn’t know of the bands unless they broke big like Europe, Roxette, Yngwie Malmsteen and so on. Now with the internet, we know a lot more.

“Address The Nation” from 2012 was the first piece of music I heard from H.E.A.T and then I went back and heard their 2008 self-titled debut and it’s 2010 follow-up “Freedom Rock”. I liked them all, so I had high hopes for the fourth album. Going in blind, “Point of No Return” didnt disappoint. After listening to Bonfire a few days ago, I can honestly say that H.E.A.T reminds me of a cross between Europe and Bonfire. And that is a good thing.

Which melodic hard rock band these days isn’t from Sweden. It’s a Viking musical invasion in so many ways.

Max Martin is rocking the Billboard Top 10 charts with his pop formula. Other artists are also breaking through. Avicii and Swedish House Mafia are the big EDM artists that have crossed over recently.

And a lot of the hard rock and metal bands that I mentioned earlier would probably not tour the Americas or Australia on a frequent basis however they have a career touring around Europe and Japan. And trust me, they are big markets to hit.

H.E.A.T for example have shows all over the continent. And you know their name is built on the backs of song number 14 on album number 1. Yep, “1000 Miles” almost has 3 million streams on Spotify.

And for a Swedish band, H.E.A.T’s new album is not even available to be streamed.

Which is a big contrast to say the band called “Takida”. Yep, they are another Swedish band and their song “You Learn” from their 2011 album “Burning Heart” has 21,853,323 streams on Spotify. WTF.

I can tell you that a lot of American major label acts do not have those stats. I just checked Five Finger Death Punch and they are nowhere near this figure. To prove that it is not a one-off fluke I checked out some of their newer material from 2014 and the song “One Lie” is sitting at 900,000 plus streams. I went deeper and the song “Curly Sue” from their 2007 album is sitting at 7,677,597 streams. Bands would kill to have these stats and I bet a lot of people reading this would be saying, who the fuck is Takida?

The same could be said for the band “Mustasch”. Their song “Double Nature” from 2007 has 8,627,129 streams. Yep they are another rock band from Sweden. If you want to compare streams, Dream Theater’s “On The Backs Of Angels” has 1,419,649 streams.

Then what about the band called Sabaton? Their song “Ghost Division” has 7,817,664 streams. Or the Swedish band “Dream Evil” that features Gus G. Their song “The Chosen Ones” has 1,161,146 streams. Or the band “Dead By April” and their song “Mystery” that has 11,643,378 streams.

Isn’t it funny how the home country of Spotify also has one of the most vibrant rock and metal scenes in the world. But wait a second. I am sure I have heard the RIAA and their proponents scream that because music has been devalued, no one will create anymore.

Well it looks like someone forgot to tell the Swedes.

But, the RIAA and their proponents still screams piracy and the copyright industry still screams for stronger copyright enforcement. But the truth of the matter is that all eyes should be on Sweden. Here is a country that has embraced streaming and guess what, their musical scene is flourishing.

Once you add in all of the crossover artists like Swedish House Mafia and Avicii, along with songwriting king Max Martin (aka Martin Sandberg) it is safe to say that free music to a consumer DOES NOT MEAN THAT CREATORS HAVE NO INCENTIVE TO CREATE.

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

Shifting Thoughts with Evergrey, Dream Theater and Five Finger Death Punch – Are Corporate Deals the New Music Business?

The internet is flush with information about artists needing to do what is valuable to them. However what is valuable to them doesn’t always mean that it is valuable to everyone else.

So artists are always going back to square one. This is when artists will start to compromise their artistic vision and produce cookie cutter crap. However what an artist should be doing is to keep on writing. In the end, that valuable song will be written and it will translate to your audience. This is when the thing that you love to do, translates to an audience that loves what you do.

Evergrey is a Swedish progressive metal band. They are eight albums in so far. Their first album The Dark Discovery came out in 1998 and the most recent one Glorious Collision came out in 2011. The mainstay of the band is guitarist/vocalist Tom Englund, who also functions as the main songwriter in the band. Around him, band members come and go, with the most recent change happening in 2010.

Englund is remaining true to his artistic vision. He is not compromising on it and he is not changing his vision to chase any current trends. Drummer Jonas Ekdahl and guitarist Henrik Danhage left Evergrey in 2010 to form a metal core outfit called Death Destruction with the lead singer from another Swedish band called Dead By April. Chasing trends.

It all comes down to what the artist wants to achieve from their career. Englund is all about the art and to me it seems like he is happy with the level of success he has. Would he like to be bigger? I am sure the answer would be YES to that, however would he complain about his lot in life. I think not. Englund is doing the thing that he loves to do and he has found an audience that loves what he does.

Bands like Coheed and Cambria, Digital Summer and Protest The Hero all get it.

Digital Summer is all fan funded. They have been around since 2006. They have toured strategically since inception as all the band members hold down full time jobs. They are three albums and one EP in so far and based on their business model, they will be around for a long time.

Protest The Hero is also fan funded. Their recent Indiegogo campaign more than tripled their goal (and YES I am one of those fans that donated). They have even rewarded the super fans that have shared the contribution link and gotten other people to contribute with additional perks.

Coheed and Cambria are a very fan centric band. The way they have packaged The Afterman releases with the digital downloads available on the day of release, along with demos and back stories of each song, as well as an 80 odd page hard cover book is just brilliant. They did it their way and with a price that was just right.

Dream Theater is one band that is sitting on the fringe here. They are still doing it the old way as they know their fan base will lap up the new self-titled album. Their recent co-promotion with mainstream entity USA Today to launch their new single The Enemy Within is just another corporate deal in the same vein as Jay Z partnering with Samsung.

USA Today offer a certain amount of dollars so that they are the exclusive and first on line website to premier the new song. By doing this, Dream Theater, their label, their manager and whoever else has a stake in the band will get paid up front and USA Today will get traffic to their website which they can then use to get a higher ad revenue from their advertisers’.

Before all the DT Forum Elitists start jumping up in arms and start calling me an idiot, every band is entitled to earn money in any way they see fit. This is no different to Dire Straits and Phillips teaming up in the Eighties, to push the new CD format onto consumers. If that what Dream Theater’s business model needs them to do, good on them. In the end the fans will decide the fate of the band, as they have done for every band that came before and that will come after.

Five Finger Death Punch did something similar were they teamed/partnered with Loudwire to produce a track by track webisode series. The Five Finger Death Punch co-promotion was super cool as it focused on delivering back stories to each of the songs. As a fan, it is those little extra details that I really like. That could be the reason why Five Finger Death Punch have reached Gold status with each album release. Those little things, like a track by track webisode.

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