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

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – August 16 to August 22

4 Years Ago (2017)

NEW JERSEY

“New Jersey” from Bon Jovi was doing the rounds.

“Slippery When Wet” was written while Jovi and Sambora still lived at home and had a million dollar debt to the record label. The start of the “New Jersey” song writing process began as soon as the band came off a gigantic 18 month world tour with millions to their name.

A double album was demoed and rejected.

Desmond Child was brought in again and a few more songs got written. Other outside songwriters like Dianne Warren and Holly Knight also contributed. The double album then became a single album and months after the conclusion of the “Slippery” tour, Bon Jovi had a new album ready to release and another 18 month world tour on the cards.

In between the tour, Jon escaped to Vegas and got married.

Once the tour ended, Jon the went on a road trip, released a solo album for a movie and achieved even more success. Richie Sambora was left in limbo, picked up the pieces and also released a solo album.

While “Jersey” didn’t have the same sales success as “Slippery”, it is a solid album and the band earned its keep as one of the best live shows.

THE LABELS

Customers of music showed the recording industry what they wanted via Napster. When other services stepped in, music customers showed the labels what choice brings to the conversation.

Choice for fans to decide and make their own decisions and the power to demonstrate what they believe something should be worth.

But the labels ignored it.

It wasn’t until a hardware company created iTunes and then techies created streaming services that customers started to get what they want, digitally.

So are the the record labels and the publishers doing their best for artists in the long term or are they just focused on the short term profits?

Instead of following a path that leads to better standards/outcomes for artists in the long term they seek a litigious path that only benefits them in the short term.

The labels and artists should understand that there are fans who don’t pay for recorded music because they don’t believe they should, however these same fans have no problem coughing up $200 plus dollars for a concert ticket for a larger act and these same fans have no problems coughing up $20 to $70 for independent acts. It’s their choice how they choose to interact with music.

And then there are the fans who have large LP and CD collections, who don’t pay for music anymore, but still pay for concert tickets and what not.

And then there are fans like me who have large LP and CD collections and decided that streaming is the way forward. So I pay for a family account and I have no problems forking out cash for a concert ticket. And I still add to my physical collection when I feel like it and when I see it as worthwhile for my collection.

And then there are fans who have large LP and CD collections who have decided that purchasing physical is what they want to do.
And these fans also have no problem paying for a concert ticket.

The recording industry has never been more powerful. There’s all this crap about piracy, streaming rates and the techies taking over. But the techies make tools, not stories or music.

Life is a struggle for everyone, not just creators.

THE WAY OF THE WORLD

If you risk, you could lose. There’s no safety net in life. And we don’t hear from those who risked everything and failed and now have nothing. Hell, we don’t even know their names. Only the winners get their story told.

It’s a “winner-take-all” economy and we plod on, trying to make it. But we don’t know where to start, so we take all the roads on offer, only to get back to the start.

Making music is great, but making connections is better. It’s the way of the world today.

MONEY FROM THE OLD

Did you know that Book publishers make more than 90% of their profit from books they published years ago. And yet they put 2% of their effort into promoting and selling those books.

Would it be fair to say that 90% of the income that the record labels get comes from music that came out years ago compared to what is new.

The majority of music consumers don’t normally purchase creative content all the time but when they do, they buy what is popular.

It’s the reason why the “Black” album from Metallica still sells. It’s the reason why “IV” from Led Zeppelin still sells. It’s the reason why “No More Tears” still sells. It’s the reason why “Slippery When Wet” still sells.

However we are living in a different era, one controlled by consumers. And the new stuff released by artists is originally purchased by a smaller hard-core super fan group. Much like the 70’s. Then in time as word spreads, people will check out the release and keep it in the conversation. Much like the 70’s.

Recognition doesn’t come on day one or week one or month one or year one. It percolates year after year after year until it boils to the surface. Will you be around to capitalise and monetise?

HOW THE LABELS ROB CREATORS

YouTube tells the world that the service pays more in the U.S for Ad-Supported Streaming than other services like Spotify and Pandora.
The record labels via their lobby group RIAA disagree with YouTube’s math. 

But the record labels and the publishing/licensing companies are the first to get paid. And nowhere in this debate have these organisations mentioned what they get.

But there are thousands of news articles showing what the artists or the song writers get from YouTube streams in their bank account, but the artists are the last ones to be paid, once the labels and publishing companies take their cuts.

But whose robbing who.

8 Years Ago (2013)

TRIAL OF TEARS

“Trial of Tears” is from the “Falling Into Infinity” album released in 1997.

The album is a controversial subject for Dream Theater fans. Some say it is incredible, others say that it was a sell out and others say it’s crap. Mike Portnoy said he hated it, and that by releasing the Official Bootleg of the album on a Double CD format, he felt that he has corrected that hate and given the album its due justice.

If the other members agree with that statement is an entirely different matter.

“Trial of Tears” is a three movement song. John Myung owns this song. His groovy bass lines are all over it and for any aspiring bass player, this is a song that should be in your bible of bass songs to learn.

This song is not the heaviest Dream Theater song however it is one song that has heaps of melody around it. Words can’t describe the emotions this song stirs, so let your ears do the listening and give it the time of day.

LIFEHOUSE

Lifehouse just seems to hang around in my life. Maybe it is because my wife played the “No Name Face” album to death at home and in the car when it came out in 2000. While the lead-off single “Hanging By A Moment” had the traction, it was cuts like “Cling and Clatter”, “Quasimodo” and “Everything” that hooked me in.

“No Name Face” was the pinnacle. “Stanley Climbfall” and the self titled album didn’t even come close. I was starting to lose interest.

“Who We Are” in 2007 got my attention with the sorrowful “Storm”, the soul searching rock of “Disarray” and the Johnny Cash vibe of “Broken” .

Then in 2010, came “Smoke and Mirrors”. Tracks 1 to 8 are top notch. They should have stopped the album right there. It would have been perfection. “Almeria” has the song “Moveonday”, which reminds me of “When The Levee Breaks” from Led Zeppelin.

The rest however pales compared to “No Name Face” and “Smoke and Mirrors”. Crank em.

ZARA

I wrote a little story about what artists could learn from Rosalia Mera the co-founder of fashion giant Zara.

REALITY

Piracy can never be handled with a one size fits all business model.

Piracy is hard to be stopped however it can be competed against. Piracy is a service issue. Pure and simple.

The internet is just another disruptive service to the entertainment industries; like the time the VCR was going to destroy Hollywood. Instead the VCR opened up a whole new ownership and rental income stream for Hollywood. With all new technologies, the entertainment power brokers try to destroy it at first. When they realize that they are going to fail, it then becomes part of the new market. In 2012, recorded music had its first year of small growth. Since then it’s been growing.

And music-streaming services will reduce piracy.

And that’s another wrap for another week.

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Music, My Stories

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

4 Years Ago (2017)

How many times do you hear the record label/RIAA people talk about the “music industry” suffering or hurting or getting back on its feet after piracy decimated it?

How many times do you hear the Publishing Rights Organisations talk about the “music industry” suffering or hurting or getting back on its feet after piracy decimated it?

What these “industry people” fail to understand is there is no industry, no economy, no market if there isn’t people who consume music. People obtaining content without purchasing is nothing new. People going to the rock and roll show and not owning a legitimate copy of an album is old news.

I still reckon streaming is priced too high. If it is priced lower, more people will convert to paying. It’s better to have 100 million people paying $5 a month than 50 million people paying $10 a month.

And as a consumer, don’t you love how 30 entertainment companies joined together in The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE).

Its business model is working with law enforcement to shut down pirate sites and services, file civil litigation, and forge new relationships with other content protection groups.

Funny how there is nothing about providing the people/consumers with what they want.

Funny how an alliance for Creativity is all about suppression and control.

The internet liberated the people and rich organizations want to censor it, control it, regulate it and suppress it.

All this Alliance wants to do is bring the internet under their control. And then, they would go back to delivering what once worked decades ago in a world that’s moved to on demand.

Want to get eradicate piracy?

Give the people what they want, how they want it and when they want it. Guess that’s too creative for the Alliance to tackle.

8 Years Ago (2013)

It was all Dee Snider this week.

I saw Dee Snider as the spokesperson for Metal music in the Eighties’. Apart from writing generational anthems, he could also string sentences together like no one else could, and this led him all the way to Washington.

“Reason To Kill” is from the excellent Widowmaker debut, “Blood and Bullets”, released in 1992.

So you used me
Then threw me away

This is an angry Dee Snider, and that anger is directed at Bob Krasnow, the head of Elektra Records and the person responsible for killing off the Desperado project.

Widowmaker didn’t have the same commercial success as Twisted Sister, however as a Dee Snider and Al Pitrelli fan, I loved the project and the combination of two talents.

After Widowmaker released Stand By For Pain in 1994, I was at a loss as to what was happening with Dee Snider. Information was hard to get. All of the music magazines wrote about Grunge, Alternative Rock and the rise of bands like Korn, White Zombie and so forth. Hard rock, heavy rock and heavy metal news was hard to come across, especially in Australia.

So imagine my surprise when I walked into an independent record store and came across “Never Let The Bastards Wear You Down”. This was in November, 2000 and the album had been out for about six months by then.

I really liked the whole CD package, the booklet and the back stories provided by Dee for each of the songs. It is those connections that fans look for.

You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll” preceded “Stay Hungry” and it was this album that started to give the Twisted Sister machine some momentum.

So “Stay Hungry” comes out and it’s huge.

“We’re Not Gonna Take It” became the anthem for the teenagers of 1984.

We’ll fight the powers that be just
Don’t pick our destiny cause
You don’t know us, you don’t belong

Rising up against the life that our parents, our teachers, our employers want from us..

I really like “Come Out And Play”. I remember lying in bed, staring at the back album art, reading the lyrics and singing the songs as they played on the turntable.

“Come Out And Play” was released in 1985. By now Twisted Sister was on an album per year cycle since 1981.

Join our cavalcade
Enter the world you made

Joined em we did. But “The Fire Still Burns” is by far the best song on “Come Out and Play”.

Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant)” is from “Love Is For Suckers” released in 1987. It was supposed to be the opening track on Dee Snider’s first solo album. Instead it was the opening track of the final Twisted Sister album.

Who the hell are they to say
What we can do and how we can play

Dee was always good at writing the anthem of the SMF’s vs the world.

It’s our rights they’re abusing,
It’s our right to fight back
So rally the troops and
Let’s start the attack

It’s the war cry against the censorship that was taking place against heavy metal music.

“Love Is For Suckers” had “Slippery When Wet” from Bon Jovi, “Girls Girls Girls” from Motley Crue, and Whitesnake 1987 to compete against. All of those albums were in the Billboard Top 10. “Look What the Cat Dragged In” from Poison was just outside the Top 10 at number 13.

Finally, bands are dysfunctional. They always have been and always will be.

Read “The Dirt” or “The Heroin Diaries” for how it was to be in Mötley Crüe.

Watch “The History of the Eagles” to hear the comment from Don Henley on the break up. He called it a “horrible relief”.

Dokken is the poster child for dysfunction.

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

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – March 22 to March 28

4 Years Ago (2017)

I always like to highlight some of the bullshit that Copyright spews up. For a law that’s meant to protect the artist, it’s a instantly abused so that Corporations benefit. And pretty soon, expect to see laws change that benefit investment funds.

I wrote about how the RIAA/MPAA are large perpetrators of fake news in the world. When billions of dollars are involved, these industries employ some of the most creative writers in the business to basically creating fictional works of fakery. Does anyone remember these ones.

  • Home Taping Is Killing Music And It’s Illegal
  • Copy a CD and get a criminal record
  • Piracy: It’s a crime
  • Piracy kills artists.

And I wrote about artists who made up by sharing their files with fans as unsigned artists and how some bands couldn’t include a song on an album because they couldn’t track down the original writer because of bad record keeping by the same organizations who claim to protect the artists.

Artists were also taking their labels to court for digital payments as Spotify was making inroads in the US market and these artists on deals pre tech were still getting paid on that old sale royalty deal.

The Spotify Release Radar was that good that I need to write about the artists and songs that appeared like “Midnight Flyer” by The Night Flight Orchestra.

My favourite Swedish supergroup of metal heads was back, playing the classic rock music I love. This time around, it’s about a galactic space opera, where the human race is pitted against female space commanders with pearl necklaces. It’s a brilliant James Bind script.

“Sinking Ship” by Harem Scarem and that funky groovy foot stomping Intro riff was on the list.

How good is Pete Lesperance on guitar?

Along with Harry Hess they have navigated 30 plus years of Harem Scarem, plus their solo work and side projects.

Other tracks that appeared are “Snakes In Paradise” by Crazy Lixx, “Never Was A Forever” by Honeymoon Suite, “Light Me Up” by Doom Unit, “Straight To The Top” by Creye, “Underneath” by Blacktop Mojo and “Big Sky Country” by KXM.

8 Years Ago (2013)

I was still on a Bon Jovi and White Lion deep dive into their catalogue. Here is a post of “We Got It Going On”. It’s the best song on the “Lost Highway” album.

I did a week 2 update on Bon Jovi’s “What About Now” album as it slipped from Number 1 to Number 7. In week one they had 101K unit sales to 29K units in week 2.

At the time, Mumford and Sons who after 26 weeks on the chart, was still moving 27,000 units of their album “Babel” and in total, “Babel” had sold 2,122,000 copies.

7 years later, the “What About Now” album still doesn’t have any certification.

Where does a band fit who where promoted as pretty hair boys in tight leathers but played a brand of hard rock that was technical and who also wrote about serious themes.

Thats the predicament White Lion found themselves in. “El Salvador” appeared on “Fight To Survive”, the anti war ballad “When The Children Cry” appeared on “Pride” and on Big Game, the band was singing about apartheid in “Cry For Freedom”, religion in “If My Mind Is Evil”, Greenpeace and the Rainbow Warrior in “Little Fighter” and violence in the family “Broken Home”.

Here is my review of the “Big Game” album.

And here was Part 2 of a Guitar World interview with Vito Bratta discussing the album.

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Music, My Stories

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – March 15 to March 21

4 Years Ago (2017)

I wrote about heavy metal music.

In 2018, it was 50 years from when Steppenwolf, screamed the words, “Heavy Metal Thunder” in their iconic “Born To Be Wild” song. And while the reference to “heavy metal thunder” was the loud sound of the motorbike, it seemed to stick for a style of music that was just around the corner.

But heavy metal goes back a bit further than that. I go back to the 1930s to talk about Django Reinhardt and how a certain guitarist from Birmingham used him as a reference to deal with losing the tips of his fingers.

8 Years Ago (2013)

I was on a Jovi kick as they had just released “What About Now”, which I didn’t like, so I did a deep dive into their catalogue. It brought back a lot of memories. And I wrote a post on what made “Slippery When Wet” explode?

But it wasn’t all back catalogue songs, as I posted about how the old scorched earth marketing policy also got Jovi a Number 1 album for “What About Now” and I asked the question if it would be around for a month.

And I can tell ya, the album within 4 weeks was almost out of the Billboard 200.

Then I moved to Vito Bratta and his Guitar World, September 1989 interview.

And I came back to Bon Jovi to talk about two classic Bon Jovi songs waiting to be discovered in “BrokenPromisedLand” and “This Is Love, This Is Life” and having a few gamesmanship digs at the band.

Finally there was a two part review of the Kiss and Motley concert.

To close off this post, there was a personal post on my cousin called “Remembering Mega” during this period.

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