Back then I asked the question “If we stop using Spotify or Netflix, would we miss them?”
Since then a lot of other players have taken market share in the steaming world.
I am a heavy user of Spotify. For Netflix its hit and miss. Sometimes I could go weeks without using it and on other occasions it’s every day.
At the moment, in 2022, I also have subscriptions to Stan, Amazon, Paramount+ and Disney.
Being missed when you’re gone is a worthy objective for any organisation. It also should be an objective for any artist. If I stopped listening to music in general, I would miss it. If I stopped listening to music from certain artists I would really miss it.
And the ones who will survive are not those looking for short term profits, but those that realize it’s a war of attrition.
Metallica wanted to re-issue their 1982 demo “No Life To Leather”. Dave Mustaine on Twitter, said the talks broke down because Lars wanted song writing credits on two songs that Mustaine wrote every note and word to. So instead of agreeing to share the song writing, Mustaine passed.
Song writing is always an issue with bands.
Van Halen had all the band members listed as songwriters on all of their albums. Suddenly, when the band re-negotiated their publishing deals for their earlier David Lee Roth albums, Michael Anthony was removed as a song writer.
Skid Row’s Dave Sabo and Rachel Bolan said that Sebastian Bach didn’t contribute to the Skid Row debut album as most of the songs were written before Bach joined. Bach countered to say, that the way he sung the songs, and the way he decided to hold certain notes was enough of a contribution to the debut album and he should be listed as a songwriter. Manager Doc McGhee said Bach has no idea how copyright works.
Nikki Sixx said one of the reasons for Vince Neil’s departure from Motley was due to his lack of song writing contributions, which Vince countered to say he had enough co-writes on Motley’s classic 80’s era to counter that.
100% of the time, when an individual writes a song, there will be music, words and melodies written at the same time.
I went in cold on this as well. The first thing that came to mind was “A Perfect Circle”. So I Googled it and of course it is Billy Howerdel’s project. And he sings on it. The album came out in 2008 and the first time I heard it was May, 2014.
“Keep Telling Myself It’s Alright” is the album name and there is no filler here. Check it out.
“Angel Of Mercy” from Black Label Society always gets me to pay attention.
The song appears on the album “Catacombs Of the Black Vatican” from Black Label Society.
And the lead break is pure magic. Just listen.
It builds and builds to the point where you cannot help but be in awe at the feel, the melodic phrasing and the disciplined technique on display.
The song was never a hit on the Billboard Charts and due to its mellow nature it might never get a live appearance, but god damn it, the song is a classic.
Ozzy probably didn’t know it, but in Zakk, he had a guitarist who could do Black Sabbath better than Black Sabbath, do the works of Randy Rhoads justice. (Of course, as a diehard RR fan, no one could do RR better than RR himself) and Zakk could play Jake E Lee better than Jake E Lee. Zakk once called his Ozzy gig the most glorified covers gig ever, where he gets to play some cool shit written by others and he also gets to play his own shit.
The follow-up self-titled Lynch Mob album had Keith Olsen producing. I suppose anything to do with George Lynch, includes a saga with a lead singer.
Dokken was four years dead. In between that time George Lynch and Mick Brown shacked up together with Lynch Mob and remained with Elektra Records. Jeff Pilson went to War and Peace and lead singer Don Dokken got wined and dined by Geffen Records and jumped ship.
The first post Dokken battle between had Lynch scoring some points with the excellent “Wicked Sensation” coming first. However, Don Dokken and John Kalodner were still building their all-star cast for “Up From The Ashes” and even though the album was an exemplary piece of melodic hard rock, it failed commercially. I suppose Don’s $1 million advance sign on fee didn’t help the budget. But it is still a favourite to me.
And the great momentum built up by the Mark 1 version of Lynch Mob was taken back a few steps with the ousting of vocalist Oni Logan. The story goes that Lynch had a problem with the way Logan sounded live. So after letting Logan go, the band had Glenn Hughes come in. He would sing the songs on the demos and then new singer Robert Mason would record em.
Fun fact for the day is that Glen Hughes did co-write a few tunes with Don Dokken for the “Up From The Ashes” album, with “When Love Finds A Fool” making it to the final cut.
But the album failed to match the sales of “Wicked Sensation” even though “Tangled In The Web” was a Top 10 hit.
Lynch Mob went on tour and Lynch was “not feeling it” with Mason and he wanted to get another singer. That singer was Ray Gillen, who at the time wasn’t interested because he had just completed “Voodoo Highway” with Badlands and was keen to push and promote that album.
If only Gillen knew the fall out that would happen between him and Jake a few months later. Glenn Hughes was considered, however he was discriminated against because of his age.
And then George Lynch returned to Dokken for the already written “Dysfunctional” album and even though as a hard core fan, I thoroughly enjoyed it, the truth of the matter is the band was spent. And we can speculate or argue why or just revel in the greatness of what came before.
The recording industry tells us that we need more Copyright for music to thrive and survive. But nursery rhymes survived all this time without the recording industry and copyright.
Say bye-bye to the old and say hello to the new. Here is a list of the new nursery rhymes that my two-year old loves.
“We’re Not Gonna Take It”
Back in the Eighties, the PMRC listed “We’re Not Gonna Take It” as number 7 on their filthy fifteen list. And the reason why it was on the list. Violence. Yep, Tipper Gore and her housewives found the song to be violent while millions upon millions of adolescent teens found it empowering.
“Cum On Feel The Noize”, “Rock and Roll”, “Rock N Roll All Nite”
Songs about letting your hair down.
“Livin On A Prayer” and “Don’t Stop Believin”
Two songs are about never giving up and believing in yourself. And those people are still believing with billion plus streams for these songs.
“Eye Of The Tiger”
The “Rocky III” producers wanted to use “Another One Bites The Dust” however they could not get permission to use the song, so Sylvester Stallone hired Survivor to write an original song instead.
“We Will Rock You”
The boom boom cha. It’s undeniable.
And these songs get passed on via word of mouth. It’s how culture rolls.
Six years had passed since Death Magnetic was released.
Led Zeppelin Reissue’s
Seriously. How many times can someone own the original three albums or the songs contained within those albums.
Seriously. Is this still an issue in 2014?
Streaming Doesn’t Pay
It does pay. If you are not getting any of the pie speak to the label or the organisation that holds your rights.
They are irrelevant. All they do is give the old guard a way to measure something that is irrelevant because the new way to measure an artist’s reach is just too hard to fathom for them.
Are people listening to the album?
Press Releases for new albums
People can see through the hype. We don’t care when bands say “how great this new album is” or “how it is a definitive statement of the band right now”. All we care about is if we like it. If we do like it, we will talk about and we will push it. If it is crap, expect it to disappear.
Because if publicity does increase sales, then bands should be selling by the millions and selling out their shows. But they don’t.
And that’s another wrap of DoH history for a week.
Life always throws curveballs. I have reached the stage in my life where I don’t have the time to do my full time IT job. I wouldn’t have it any other way with all of the family distractions, however my blogging has suffered a fair bit in 2022, from the usual daily posts to a post or two in a week and then back to daily posts and then to one or two a week again. Even reading and commenting on posts has gone a bit slack, but I will get around to reviewing it all.
So here is a two week review of Destroyer Of Harmony History.
4 Years Ago (2018)
Copyright was designed to protect the artist and to enhance culture. It did this, by giving the artist a monopoly on their works, so they could make money from their works and have an incentive to create further works. This monopoly was for a short period with the option to renew. Once the expiry date passed, the works became part of the public domain for future generations to build on and use. Like how the 60’s musicians took all the Blues classics from the 30’s that had terms which expire in the 50s and the “British Invasion” was born.
Corporations started to rise because of these monopolies and what we have now is a copyright standard so far removed from what copyright was meant to be. For over a century the record label has built up a history of owning songs it shouldn’t be owning.
“Why would a label be insisting on keeping a property that has stopped selling, that they don’t have any plans to re-promote except when the artist dies?” Todd Rundgren
“Of all the creative work produced by humans anywhere, a tiny fraction has continuing commercial value. For that tiny fraction, the copyright is a crucially important legal device” Lawrence Lessig
The songwriters and the actual artists will never be properly compensated because of poor record keeping from the record labels and the publishing organisations, but these same organisations blame the technology companies for not doing enough to seek out the songwriters.
But the labels licensed their catalogues to the techies, so wouldn’t they have the information as to who wrote what. Especially for the lesser artists.
There is a scene in the “Uncensored” video with Vince Neil cruising down the Sunset Strip in a limo with a spa pool and he’s talking about the name of the next album, called “Girls, Girls, Girls”.
On May 15, 1987, “Girls Girls Girls” comes out and the world was treated to two video clips. The “Censored” clip and the “Uncensored” one. MTV had a ball with it.
And the clip is misleading. While it looks like the guys are having fun, attending strip clubs and dropping bills into knickers, Nikki Sixx was in the spiralling grip of a heroin addiction, Mick Mars was blacking out from alcoholism, Tommy Lee was coking it up, screwing anything that moved and somehow managed to get married and still screw anything that moved, while Vince Neil was still on probation from his car crash homicide and pretending to be sober. In other words, life in the Crue was chaos with a capital MC.
The best track on the album is the opener, Nikki’s religious sermon to the street life of L.A. “Wild Side” is perfect, from the riffs, the drum groove, the vocal melodies and of course, the lyrics.
Kneel down ya sinners to streetwise religion Greed has been crowned the new king
From a commercial perspective, “Girls” was competing against “Slippery When Wet” from Bon Jovi, “The Final Countdown” from Europe and Whitesnake’s 1987 self-titled album for listeners attention. “Look What the Cat Dragged In” from Poison was also rising. But it not only competed, it went toe to toe with all of those releases and Motley came out on top in the live box office. Hell, even Whitesnake was opening up for them.
And who can forget the words from management, that if the band went to Europe to tour, they will come home in body bags. “Girls” would be the end of the Motley band as we knew it. A snapshot of how a band can take alcohol and drugs to the limits.
Artists always had a lot of songs in the bank. Sometimes they didn’t even release their best song. They always withheld some for the next album and the album after. And they kept on writing.
Majority of artists are intrinsically motivated. The joy of creating a new song is what motivates them. If the song gets public acceptance, and it brings in money, great. As long as they are still motivated by the joy of creating a new song, they will be fine. As soon as they are motivated by the need to match or better the popularity of the “hit” song, then they are in trouble.
Social media is there to give you instant feedback. After the show is over, people are commenting. After a song is released, people are commenting. It gives you the ability to connect and know your fans, to interact with them and to get a feel for what they like and want from you.
Remember music is forever, and it needs people to like it. Be creative and never stop.
It takes artists a while, but they eventually realise how much their copyrights are worth. Nikki Sixx on Twitter said that the best industry lesson he learned was that Motley Crue didn’t really need a record label after the first two albums. And this antipathy towards labels ended up with Motley Crue getting their rights to the Masters back in 1998 from Elektra.
And then you have instances where artists need to sell their songwriting credits because of bad business decisions. K.K. Downing, founded Judas Priest. He left the band in 2011 due to issues with the other members and he purchased a golf course, which went into administration. As part of bankruptcy, Downing sold the rights to 136 songs he co-wrote. According to the article, these songs generate $340K to $400K in royalty payments annually back in 2018. Those numbers are only growing and the Copyright holders, (the Labels and The Publishers) are making their money back tenfold.
On the other side, is the graphic artists who normally get paid a flat fee for their services to create/design an album cover. At the time of designing the cover, no one really knows the impact the album might have on culture. So is the graphic artist to get paid extra when the album they designed the cover for broke through and sold millions. Case in point, Jethro Tull and the iconic “Aqualung” cover.
In the 70’s a young artist was hired by Chrysalis for $1,500 via a handshake deal to create three paintings to his style and content for Jethro Tull’s new album. The album went on to become Jethro Tull’s best-selling album, with over 7 million copies sold and so many anniversary editions issued. And apart from the great music, the album cover has become iconic, being re-issued on cassettes, CD’s, T-shirts and what not. And the artist who painted it, well, the label contends it was a “work for hire” agreement. And with no written contract, the label can say anything, so Chrysalis (now Warner Brothers) said the copyright for the paintings belonged to them. Fancy that. A label claiming to own the artistic rights to art.
When it comes to artists and copyright law, it’s very messy, especially for famous works as the companies don’t want to lose the rights to valuable works. So the corporations always try to extend Copyright terms.
As much as I like using Spotify, once they reach critical mass, the prices will go up. But it’s easier said than done, as there is a lot of competition in streaming these days. And one of the key role of our governments is to make sure monopolies don’t exist, but every time they pass a piece of legislation, they more or less give rise to monopolies. Copyright monopoly anyone.
And back in 2018, my Netflix subscription went up and it went up again last year, while the shows I watched they keep cancelling like “Altered Carbon” or “Sense8”. But like all technology companies, once you reach critical mass, the price goes up. Maybe it’s time to reassess my financial commitments to these organizations.
Cinderella’s “Long Cold Winter” had its 30th Anniversary on May 21, 1988. It’s was good then and it’s still good today, a timeless album.
And on May 23, 1979, Kiss released “Dynasty”. It was my first Kiss album on LP and of course, due to having so little product to listen to, it became a favourite. However, my brothers friends who had the earlier Kiss albums hated this album.
On May 24, 1988, Van Halen released “OU812”. The piece d’resistance is “Mine All Mine”. It wasn’t just competing with the singles from this album for attention, it was competing with “Jump”, “Panama”, “Dreams”, “Summer Nights” and “Why Can’t This be Love” for attention. Because in the MTV era, songs had some legs.
And everything these bands represent is opposite to what is popular on the charts today. Today it’s all about the beat and it doesn’t feel personal which is opposite of what music should be.
Playing in a band is tough. Everyone wants to do it, but the long road to make some money and no safety net scared a lot of people off. And the ones who stuck it out, are still sticking it out.
Some broke through, some got signed and released music on a label and some still play the bar/club scene. These days, artists can record and release their music themselves, while holding down a full time job that pays.
Music is a lifers game. Because it’s alienating. When you write music, you are normally alone, surrounded by feelings. When you are on the road, you end up alone in a hotel room and for some artists they never come home alive. It’s hard to even speak about depression today, especially when you are surrounded by social media and it’s “everybody’s a winner” message.
So while society might base itself around the winners on social media, the truth is we all lose, each and every one of us at some point in time.
Did anyone hear about the copyright infringement suit between The Script and James Arthur.
Back in 2018, James Arthur’s “Say You Won’t Let Go” released in 2016 had 846 million streams on Spotify and on YouTube it had over 600 million views.
Meanwhile “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” from The Script, released in 2008, doesn’t even rate a mention in the Top 10 streamed songs for The Script and even their biggest song, “Hall of Fame” released in 2012 is sitting at 419 million streams on Spotify. On YouTube, “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” has 172 million views.
G, D, Em and C is the chord progression under question. The Script are adamant that the way they use the Chord progression with the vocal melody is unique and original and they are the first ones EVER to do it. Go to a Christian church and a lot of the songs they sing there use this chord progression. Pick up any album from any era and this chord progression will be there.
The songs do sound similar, but any song which uses this chord progression will sound similar. Of course it’s no surprise that the attorney’s representing “The Script” are the same ones Marvin Gaye’s heirs used for “Blurred Lines”. According to The Script’s legal team, at stake is $20 million dollars.
The reason why music became such a large commercial force is because songs sounded similar. In the book “Hitmakers” by Derek Thompson, it mentions how our tastes in music are based on something we’ve heard before with some slight variation.
How many times have we stumbled upon a new song that we like, listen to it constantly on repeat while we try to figure out what other song it sounds like?
But we live in a world that if someone is winning, someone must be losing. So in this case, James Arthur is winning and The Script are losing, because he is winning with a song that sounds similar to their song and their song sounds similar to another song and that other song sounds similar to another song and so on.
8 Years Ago (2014)
Remember the days of purchasing an album based on a heavily marketed opening track and to find out that the album had 1 great song and 2 to 3 maybe 4 decent songs. And the rest were there as pure filler.
After being burnt so many times on purchases like these, did the labels or artist need any more evidence as to why people took to cherry picking when the mp3 became available. And with streaming, we have taken it up a notch.
The big songs just keep getting bigger and the album cuts are forgotten. A lot of music listeners wouldn’t even be able to name the album that had “Don’t Stop Believin’”.
Yep the labels are at it again. Using money that should be paid to their artists to buy shares in another technology company.
This time around Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment have each bought $3 million in shares in Shazam Entertainment on top of the stake they own in Spotify.
The record labels still scream that there is no money in the recording business because of piracy. Yet, Universal Music has also purchased shares in Beats Music and when the Apple billion dollar purchase is complete of Beats, it will be even richer.
Yet, a recent IFPI report shows that the labels invested $4.5 billion in artist and repertoire. If there is no money in the recording business,then why would the record labels spend so much money on artist and repertoire.
Because artists are the lifeblood of the music industry. And it is artists that make the labels money. No one buys an album because Elektra released it.
The labels have purchasing power because of the artists.
The labels have status because of the artists.
The artists have made the label executives more wealthy than the best-selling artists.
So if the record labels own shares in Spotify and Shazam, does that mean by default, the artists also own those shares. The answer should be YES.
Every corporation in power, when faced with the inevitabilities of competition, have a nasty habit of pushing backwards. They assume that by killing off any competition before it gets some momentum, they have done enough to protect their business models. They assume that if they lobby or bribe hard enough and get even more draconian laws passed, it will give them more power to prevent any further problems down the line.
But change is eternal. It is progress and it cannot be stopped. Try as the corporations will, change always happen.
The recording industry built an empire decades ago based on the control of the media and the distribution chains. Teenage kids from 1999 built a better system.
And the system allows for the transitioning of power and control back to the audience and the actual creators. But the artists want to apply the old charging system to the new system.
It should be the norm that in 2014, if a person still buys a physical CD or LP of the artists, that same person should be able to download that whole album via a download site that the artist controls. Coheed and Cambria did this with “The Afterman” releases. Amazon offers it via the AutoRip option however not all artists opt in.
It should be the norm that in 2014, if a person wants to download an MP3 rip of an album for free, they should be able to do it. If Pirate sites make so much money from advertisements, then why don’t the record labels provide the same service that they pirate sites provide and even reward those uploaders for continuing to spread culture instead of locking it up. These people would never have purchased physical anyway.
Music is cultural. It was always possible to identify people’s musical tastes by the clothes they wore and the style of their hair. Our musical identity was a source of pride.
The definition of a casual music fan twenty to thirty years ago meant having a high music IQ and typically purchasing a seven inch single on a weekly basis. The definition of a casual music fan today means having a lower music IQ about who was involved in the song’s creation and focusing all on the song.
Nobody owes a musician a living and what is valuable is subjective.
From the beginning of time, musicians always made money from public performances.
Copyright at its basic level ensures that people receive compensation for a valuable good that they spend time and energy to create. This creates an incentive to put more time and energy into producing new work. Longer Copyright terms do not benefit the original creator in any way whatsoever.
People start to create for the sake of creation rather than money.
Whether people want to admit it or not, every song that is written relies on some sort of connection to past works.
Piracy has never been the problem. The RIAA just found it convenient to blame Piracy. It was all a smokescreen to fool the politicians into action so that they can get control back over the distribution/gatekeeper monopoly they had.
Recording revenues never recovered because it turns out that most people just want the best songs and not all of the songs.
There is a big difference between getting paid a “living wage” and earning one. Just because a musician creates a song or records an album, it doesn’t mean that you need to get paid a living wage. You need an audience that believes that you have provided a service to them by releasing your music.
Music is something people choose to do free and money is a by-product of doing music. A wage is something your employer pays you for doing your part in bringing him profit. If you want a wage for playing music and you are not a superstar act, then you need to put in your 40 hours a week. Be a music teacher, gig every day.
Being paid is good, but being known is better.
You could say wrong time, wrong place.
I am always into bands that can take the AC/DC style of rock n roll and spruce it up with their own twists without sounding too much of a copycat. Junkyard was such a band that did it really well with their debut album released in 1989.
A lot of people believe that the Guns N Roses comparison is the reason why Geffen Records became interested. To put it into context, Guns N Roses didn’t really take over the world until 1988 and by then, Junkyard already had a record deal in place with Geffen records.
The excellent Tom Werman was on hand to produce the debut album that came out in 1989. The engineer was Duane Baron who was also no slouch in the producer chair either.
While others complain about Werman’s work ethic or input, the Junkyard team had nothing but praise. However, another candidate that was considered was Matt Wallace, who did the initial demos that Geffen financed before they gave the go ahead for the full album to be recorded. Matt Wallace was a more eclectic producer, being involved with artists like “The Replacements”, “John Hiatt” and “Faith No More”.
They wrote and recorded material for a third album with the working title “103,000 People Can’t Be Wrong” (which was a reference to the first week sales of album number 2) but the record never got made for various reasons.
The band wanted to produce it themselves so Geffen gave them an ultimatum.
Record it with a real producer, however they will give no marketing support or touring support.
Or they would release the band from their deal and allow the band to shop the record to other labels.
But no other label would come forth to support them as all of the labels had moved on to find the next Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden or Alice In Chains.
It’s there Eighth album.
How many bands out there had their biggest album on their 8th release?
Just to put it into context. Metallica’s 8th album was “St Anger”. Motley Crue’s 8th album was “New Tattoo”. Aerosmith’s 8th album was “Done With Mirrors”. Black Sabbath’s 8th album was “Never Say Die”. Ozzy’s 8th album was “Down To Earth”. Bon Jovi’s 8th album was “Bounce”.
When I heard the “Fireworks” album from Bonfire I got the impression that they were superstars already. The album to me is a definitive piece of hard rock, melodic rock, heavy metal and euro metal all merged into one cohesive package.
I had a friend who had a friend who had a friend that made me a copy of the album on cassette. I had no idea who was in the band, who wrote the songs, who produced it and on what label it was on.
What I did know was the music. And the music was great.
In the end, Bonfire was one of the thousands of bands that signed contracts stacked against them and of course they got ripped off.
The “Breaking the Chains” clip was all over MTV but no one was buying the album of the same name.
The band was doing an arena tour with Blue Oyster Cult and the label still wanted to drop them.
“Tooth and Nail” was Dokken’s last shot. The band recorded it and then they went back to their day jobs. Mick Brown and George Lynch went back to driving trucks while Don Dokken went back to buying, fixing and selling cars.
Then the album blew up.
Put aside the band politics and the legendary Lynch/Dokken wars. Just pay attention to the songs, especially the backs to the wall attitude that you can hear emanating from the speakers.
From birth we are taught to follow instructions, comply, obey and to avoid taking risks. The majority likes it this way, like the parental system, the schooling system, the corporate system, the law and enforcement system and overall, the Government. But sometimes, a change happens.
The youth of the world have decided they will not wait anymore for adults to solve problems, so they have taken to the streets to demonstrate against guns and climate change.
Imagine when these kids get a chance to vote and a chance to enter politics.
“We’ve got the right to choose it, there’s no way we’ll lose it” is from “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister. It’s Dee’s take on society and it comes with an action. Critics blasted the song because it doesn’t define who the “it” is. But that’s the beautiful part of the song. The “It” can be anyone who seeks to control you and take away your freedom.
But to take a stand isn’t easy. Artists are too afraid to stand up for something.
But hang on a second, that’s what being an artist is all about. However the pushback is so ferocious, especially in a social media world, artists just don’t go there. Some do. Stand your ground.
There is a lot of music out there to digest. The enemy to global stardom is not illegal downloading, it’s obscurity.
Artists are not just battling for listeners attention from the artists who have new music, they are battling for listeners attention from the history of music. And even though the odds are really stacked against artists from making a living from music, people are still out there creating and releasing. Creativity is at an all-time high.
Which is a good thing, because the recording industry and the copyright monopoly tried their best to convince everyone that creativity would die due to illegal downloading all in their push for government intervention to protect their profits.
Seriously, what kind of life is it, when a person has power to make or break a career. That’s exactly what the recording business came to be. A business with gatekeepers who could crush dreams or make dreams. Like “Chainsaw Charlie” in “The Crimson Idol”. Or like “Mr Recordman”.
White Lion were given a million dollars to record “Mane Attraction”. It came out and it didn’t set the world on fire. Vito and Mike couldn’t even get in touch with their A&R rep.
When the band broke up, no one from the label called them or even tried to make contact with them. It’s like they never existed.
MTV took the artists from the pages of the magazines and brought them into our lounge rooms. And it was free. The reason why blank VHS cassettes sold like crazy was due to music and movies. People dubbed/taped their favourite clips from TV or via VHS to VHS.
If you are working for a corporation, you are building someone else’s dream. The corporation is benefiting from your hard work and the hard work of the rest. Artists have made the record labels into monoliths because they signed away their copyrights for a record deal.
And the internet was meant to level the playing field. Instead it’s made the labels even more powerful as they use the works of artists to negotiate large licensing deals.
The labels and the movie studios tried to kill it via the courts, but YouTube survived. And it’s got everything.
I wanted to listen to Badlands “Voodoo Highway” album recently. It’s not on Spotify, however YouTube has it. Unlicensed.
I wanted to listen to Don Dokken’s “Up From The Ashes” album recently. Spotify didn’t have it, but YouTube did have it. Again unlicensed.
YouTube was seen as the enemy to TV stations and to the Music Industry. Now it is their greatest ally, only if they know how to use its potential. Expect to see the various YouTube networks become bigger than the movie studios in the future. Because they realise that it’s not all about the blockbuster effect. Releasing content more frequently is king.
To create you need to have lived, loved and experienced highs and lows.
David Coverdale is all about the love. He built a career spanning 40+ years because he wrote his experiences into his songs. People always connect with that.
And at the height of his MTV fame, he disbanded Whitesnake.
Then when his contemporaries delivered grungier sounding albums, Coverdale came back and delivered two blues rock albums with “Restless Heart” and “Into The Light”.
He ignored every passing fad and fancy and still managed to assemble a cast of musicians to produce some of the most enduring hit records/songs of the Eighties era. Some might say that he glammed it up in the mid-Eighties. I say he adapted or else he would be dead.
It’s 1992 and the only words on people’s lips are Metallica, Guns N Roses, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Grunge, Seattle, Vince Neil leaving/fired from Motley Crue and Mr Big.
And then you have this rock band from Scotland called GUN releasing a straight-ahead hard rock album that had roots in the Seventies era than the dying Eighties era.
“Gallus” was a defiant record. Serving as Gun’s second album, they let the music do the talking. But when Rock ‘N’ Roll history is written by the commercial winners, Gun will be relegated to a mere footnote. But their presence at a time when everyone was selling out to become mainstream darlings was a welcomed relief.
“Steal Your Fire”
It’s got this “AC/DC” meets “The Cult” attitude in the verse and chorus, while the Pre-Chorus has this INXS vibe. It’s a blend of rock’n’roll that is so distant from the LA Glam Rock scene however I love that Dokken “It’s Not Love” vibe after the solo section.
“Money To Burn”
Check out the “When The Levee Breaks” groove in this song. Progress is derivative is the catch cry.
The tone of the vocals just resonate. It’s got that powerful “Jeff Martin/Tea Party” kind of tone vocally and the music is very melodic, like Def Leppard.
Bit Torrent is a tool. How people decide to use the tool depends on them. The Bit Torrent protocol was designed to move large amounts of data. So, companies like Facebook and Twitter use Bit Torrent to send updates to its employees. Then you have other people who use it to download torrents.
And illegal downloading is a pretty big reason why bands are going to South America, even when the number of albums sold in the continent don’t equate to the fans who attend the shows.
Who would have thought that a bill of “Bring Me The Horizon” and “Of Mice & Men” would gross about $70,000 per show. Play 20 of those shows and you have a $1.5 million tour.
Or, who would have thought that a bill of “The Used”, “Taking Back Sunday”, “Tonight Alive” and “Sleepwave” would also gross about $70,000 per show. See above, do 20 shows and you have a $1.5 million tour.
Even the mighty “Manowar” still gross $60,000 per show.
It all adds up.
It’s hard work being an artist however if you are in the game because you love it, it makes it easier. If you are in the game to bitch and moan about piracy, then get out of it and join the bankers or the techies.
Metallica resorted to a professional coach to get it together again. So did Aerosmith.
Bon Jovi and Megadeth resorted to group therapy. For Bon Jovi it was a way to keep the band together after “New Jersey” and for Megadeth it was a way to keep a stable line-up together.
And other bands declined to use any coaches.
Motley Crue imploded at the peak of their powers with the firing of Vince Neil and then sued each other in the courts. Van Halen ousted David Lee Roth and they kept bad mouthing each other. Then they booted Sammy Hagar and the feud turned ugly with both sides airing their dirty laundry.
Sebastian Bach and Skid Row are still at loggerheads. Matt Kramer left Saigon Kick because he felt ripped off.
Machine Head and Adam Duce are in the courts because Adam Duce felt ripped off. Dave Lombardo is spitting venom at Slayer and their management team because he feels ripped off.
And Rock and Roll was supposed to be fun.
The ugly truth is that the biggest obstacle standing between musicians and a career in music is the simple fact that we cannot get along.
Bands that claim that their song writing is a democracy are lying. There is always one that will be the boss.
GUN are way underrated and way under-appreciated, it’s almost criminal.
Coming in to 1994, GUN needed to make a statement. After a well-received debut album in “Taking On The World”, the follow-up “Gallus” didn’t set the world on fire in relation to sales and back in 1992, sales was the barometer of success.
“Swagger” was released in 1994 and to great success.
How could that be?
Because the band didn’t fit the conventions of the now defunct hard rock and glam rock movement. The band also didn’t fit the conventions of the Seattle sound.
They fitted the conventions of a rock band. It is that simple. It is that pure. And it was a rocked up version of an R&B Funk hit from 1986 by Cameo that connected.
Who would have thought that a cover of an R&B/Funk song from 1986 would prove to be so popular. When Korn covered it, they more or less copied this version.
The first 3 albums, “Taking On The World”, “Gallus” and “Swagger” are the career albums. No shredding or weird time signatures. Just an honest, arse kicking album with gutsy vocals and prominent guitars.
However, the line-up changes kept on coming. In this case, guitarist Rob Dickson left before the release of “Swagger” to join Bruce Dickinson’s solo band. Drummer Scott Shields also left before the release of “Swagger” with Mark Kerr brother of Jim Kerr from Simple Minds replacing Shields on drums. Music is a relationship business and GUN benefited from a lot of relationships.
The mighty Guitar is still in the forefront of all the main hard rock and metal music. Regardless of what music style came and regardless what technological new medium came to kill it off, (like the Eighties midi craze), the mighty guitar has fought its way back time and time again.
It is an integral part of culture, both past and present. Think of Jimi Hendrix burning one or Pete Townsend smashing one or Randy Rhoads playing that immortal polka dot guitar or Eddie Van Halen’s Frankenstein guitar.
Think of all of the album covers that featured a guitar.
But in 2014, the number 1 hits around the world belonged to “The Monster” by Eminem/Rihanna, “Timber” by Pitbull/Keisha and “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. Not a lot of guitar in those songs and if there is guitar, it is in the background, relegated to a support act.
So what happened to that riff that connects. The one that we want to play air guitar to.
Rock and Metal bands are churning out songs. Good songs. Great choruses. But no definitive riff. We hum the melodies, we tap the groove, but we don’t do the der, der, derr on the riff like “Smoke On The Water” from Deep Purple.
Avenged Sevenfold came close with the “Hail To The King” album. Pissed off a lot of people in the process. They called them copycats. But they had the balls to create a classic rock album.
And Classic Rock albums are created from influences.
For “Record Store Day” in 2014, I paid $30AUS for the “Killers and Kings” single from Machine Head.
Online I could purchase the single for $15US from the Nuclear Blast store. Since the single came in four different covers, I selected the three other covers that I didn’t have and added them to my cart.
The total was now sitting at $45US. Then I registered my account and since I am in Australia I was charged $29US for postage and handling. The total of my purchase was now sitting at $74US. Once I paid it via PayPal, the final payment figure from me was $82.21 in Australian dollars.
That equates to about $27AUS for each single.
Now if the Independent Record Store was selling it for $30AUS, then that would mean that the actual independent record store would be making $3 per item. Maybe a bit more.
Hell if that is the mark up for each limited edition item they were selling and let’s just say that one record store sold 200 items, that would mean that the pure profit for the record store would be $600 for that day.
So is the “Record Store Day” there to benefit/save the independent record store or are the labels using the whole “save the record store” in their promo as a way to sell over priced items.
I sort of did a history post called “2009: This week (April 1 to April 6) – 5 years ago”.
I just went back and looked at some events that happened in the music business.
Record Labels: The 360 deals that the labels had artists sign had a lot of headlines as the labels found a new way to get more money from the artists. In this case, the 360 deals take income from touring and merchandise for almost nothing in return.
As a guitar player it was that C#m7(add9) chord that i always return to.
It is basically a C#5 power chord played on the 4th fret on the A string. Add the ninth note (the D#) and then let the open B and E strings resonate. It is a beautiful sounding chord. When you tab it out, it looks like this.
——0– ——0– ——8– ——6– ——4– ———
The first time I heard a power chord with the added 9th was in “Message In A Bottle” and then again in “Every Breath You Take” by The Police.
Both songs have Sting as the songwriter, however the real credit goes to Andy Summers. He was the one that took a keyboard line or a bass line and made it rock.
Then I heard that chord again in 1992. From bands I had no idea about. One band was Dream Theater and the mighty John Petrucci used it in “Take The Time”.
The other band was Saigon Kick and their very underrated guitarist/founder/main songwriter/producer/record label owner/studio owner and general music business lifer, Jason Bieler also employed the same sounding chord in the song “Love Is On The Way”.
And that chord has been in my arsenal ever since. If I need to play a C#m chord in a song, this is the one i play.
The other chord is this G#m9(#5) that I heard in “Jet City Woman” by Queensryche and again in “Another Day” by Dream Theater.
——0– ——0– ——3– ——4– ——X– ——4–
Hearing “Love Is On The Way” again today, brought back all of those memories.
And that is what music is all about. A soundtrack to our lives. Memories from different times that somehow connect with one another. That is what the C#m7(add9) chord achieved.
THEN Bands/Artists needed to be busy to make it or stay relevant.
NOW Bands/Artists still need to be busy to make it or stay relevant. Just check out George Lynch and the amount of releases since 2008. Or Mark Tremonti or Myles Kennedy and their involvement in various projects.
At the time, Avenged Sevenfold was out on the road promoting the “Hail To The King” album, working on the “Deathbat” game and an anniversary re-issue for “Waking The Fallen”.
THEN The challenge was getting your music heard
NOW The challenge is still about getting heard.
THEN No one toured South and Central America.
NOW Touring dollars are in South and Central America. If you are an established band and are not touring South/Central America, then you are leaving money on the table.
THEN Platinum selling bands/artists were told that they owed the label millions.
Van Halen comes to mind here during the Van Halen II era. “We went platinum. We toured for a year, we came back, and Warner Bros. told us that we owed them $2 million,” said drummer Alex Van Halen.
“And on top of that, we owed them another record,” added guitarist Eddie Van Halen.
“It was the end of the year. We had three weeks to deliver another record…then boom, we went straight out on tour again. The first record took about a week, seven days to do. The second record took about three weeks.”
NOW Platinum selling bands/artists are still told that they owe the label millions.
THEN Bands/Artists covered songs as a career choice and made them unique. They made those cover songs their own. Van Halen did it with “You Really Got Me” and again with “You’re No Good”, which Linda Ronstadt also covered.
NOW Bands/Artists do cover songs as a tribute to their influence.
THEN The Record Labels didn’t know what would succeed or what would fail.
Metallica’s “Kill Em All” was independently financed.
Motely Crue’s “Too Fast For Love” was independently financed.
NOW The Record Labels still don’t know what would succeed or what would fail.
Five Finger Death Punch is a big seller in the world of metal and hard rock and they couldn’t get a deal at the start so they self-financed their debut and issued it on a small subsidiary label.
THEN Music was a risk business.
NOW Music is still a risk business.
THEN Labels invested in a lot of projects because they didn’t know what would connect.
NOW Labels invest in fewer projects and blame piracy because they still don’t know what will connect.
THEN Recording was expensive.
NOW Recording is cheap.
THEN Distribution was expensive and controlled by gatekeepers.
NOW Distribution is cheap.
THEN Marketing was all about radio and record shops.
NOW It is about Spotify, YouTube, social media and virality.
THEN Labels had executive boards/owners that were music fans.
NOW Labels have executive boards that are actual business executives.
The rise of the internet, has given rise to sites like UltimateGuitar.com and Songsterr, which has full transcriptions of songs from artists.
The beauty of it all is that the transcriptions are free and made by musicians who are fans of the band. Some of the more complex progressive stuff is also out there and massive kudos to the guys and gals who sat down to transcribe Dream Theater, Periphery, Sikth, Animals As Leaders and Protest The Hero because they love the bands and not because they get paid to do it.
On the flip side you still have Hal Leonard selling Note For Note books for $50 to $70 plus dollars in Australia. And they wonder why no one is buying. Let’s blame piracy. Why not, everyone else does.
Of course, there was a time when the Music Publishers Association freaked out about PowerTab and went all nuclear on the software and tried to kill the user transcription sites.
Ahead Of The Game: YouTube dominates music streaming UNOFFICIALLY.
Behind The Eight Ball: Apple’s got no streaming solution. iTunes Radio is no match for Pandora so Apple/Cook making a billion dollar deal with Beats Music (which was losing money) so that they could have a streaming solution. And Trent Reznor (who was an investor in Beats) cashed in with the Beats sale to Apple by making way more money than he ever made in music.
Ahead Of The Game Independent bands that come up with creative ways to engage their fans. “The Airborne Toxic Event” a few years back released a series of stripped-down, single-shot videos for every song on their album. Check out their Spotify and YouTube numbers today. A lot of the established rock bands do not have those numbers. The lesson here is that the artists in today’s world have way more opportunities to reach out to their fans and share content with them. It’s a lifer game.
Behind The Eight Ball Artists talking about CD sales. Or research that focuses on innovation hurting sales of music. Hell, lets bring back Eight Track Tapes and Cassettes while we are at it.
If you are an artist, you need to keep on creating so that you can stay ahead of the game. If you are a label, you need to be finding talent and innovating to stay ahead of the game. Otherwise, you will be behind the eight ball and blaming everyone else for your shortcomings.
And that’s a wrap for another week of DoH history.
All ideas or If you use the words “intellectual property” for the Copyright maximalists, have an influence from something that came before. We learn to write music by learning the music from others. We learn to write stories by reading the stories of others.
It’s probably why people shouldn’t get all emotional over ideas/intellectual property.
People like familiarity.
Derek Thompson in his book “Hit Makers” mentioned how people are drawn to music that might be new, yet familiar enough to be recognizable.
In other words, that new song we all like has enough variation in it to make it not a carbon copy of its source influence.
And people still like to claim that their song is so original and free from influence and when people have that fixed mindset, well, the courts are busy and the lawyers are making money.
Check out my recent Google alerts on the word Copyright.
A lot of delusional people who believe that their works are so original and free from influence.
All of our ideas have already been stolen. Because there is no such thing as the genius loner. It’s a myth. We are all social people and our creativity is fuelled by our social environments. Every single day, we take in our surroundings, we set meaningful and important goals and we are always thinking of solutions to problems.
A neuroscientist and a psychologist broke down creativity into three main buckets;
Bending means you take a previous work and re-model it in some way. “The Walking Dead” and “Night Of The Living Dead”.
Blending means merging previous works together so you have multiple melodies and re-cutting it to suit what you want to write. Jimmy Page was great at doing this with Led Zeppelin’s music. Metallica did that with “Sanitarium”.
Breaking is taking a short and important musical idea otherwise known as a musical fragment and building on it. Think of my post on “One Riff To Rule Them All”, which covers the A pedal point riff used in songs like “Two Minutes To Midnight”.
The differences between humans and computers is how we store information and how we retrieve information. For the computer, the riff stored on the hard drive will sound exactly the same three years later, however that same riff stored in our head would be different.
Our brain breaks it down, blends it and bends it with other information. This massive mash up of ideas in our brains is our creativity. And when we play that riff three years later, it has a different feel, different phrasing or something else. Some of them stink and sometimes we create something that breaks through into society.
A funny thing started to happen when streaming became the main source of income for the labels.
Live albums started to come out.
You see, streaming services like new content. And since bands like to take their time or need to make time to record new original music, they filled the void for new content by releasing live albums.
Suddenly getting new product out yearly instead of every two to three years became the norm. But it still didn’t solve the problem of people not buying albums.
Whitesnake is a band which keeps firing out live recordings year after year. “Made In Japan”, “Made In England”, “Bad To The Bone 84”, “Castle Donnington 90”, “Live In The Heart Of The City” and “The Purple Tour” have been released as stand-alone albums over the last 10 years.
And David Coverdale knows the value of his super fans.
Each week, the sites that enable copyrights to be infringed innovate at a rapid rate to stay ahead of the curve. They are competing against each other for people to use them to illegally access entertainment.
Read the post to see how these sites innovate. Instead of shutting em down, the labels and movie studios should be employing these people.
I played Nostradamus and looked into my crystal glass full of whiskey in the jar-o to make some predictions.
ON A DOWN SLOPE
The band leader, Chris Daughtry messed up big time chasing the crowds of “Train” and “Imagine Dragons”.
He is a hard rocker from day dot and rock gave him his legion of fans. For the ill-fated and recent “Baptized” album, he committed career suicide, throwing his lot with the hit songwriters.
The songs are good, however they are not Daughtry songs. It would have been better for him as an artist to have given those songs to other artists that are more electronic pop rock minded. That way he would have been the songwriter, the way Bryan Adams gave songs away to other artists that wouldn’t suit the Adams sound back in the 80’s.
We can see through the hype and we hate it.
So much hype was around Dream Theater’s self titled release and it disappeared from the conversation within six weeks.
Megadeth’s brand new album “Super Collider” was being outsold by the Black album.
THE ALBUM FORMAT
Making money is hard. Just because a band releases an album, it doesn’t mean that people would pay for it or would want it.
And when we are inundated with product we tune out, however, it turns out we have time for Metallica’s “Black” album. At this point in time it was still moving two to three thousand units a week and it was expected to pass 16 million by May 2014.
GOING GOING – ALMOST GONE
Classic Rock bands have another 10 years left.
ON THE UP – STORYTELLING
That is why TV shows are the most downloaded torrents of all time. Tell a good story and the world will be at your door step.
Read the financial reports on Universal Music Group.
Spotify has propped up their bottom line and that bottom line will get better each year for Universal. And they keep spreading the bull shit that they are out there fighting for the artists. The good guys.
Frontiers has become a major player in the classic rock, melodic rock and hard rock scene. They kept the flag of melodic rock flying high since 1996, when all of the other major labels abandoned the style and put their monies into grunge first and then industrial rock/metal and then nu-metal.
And their business model is all about locking up copyrights for a long time.
They have realised it’s not about sales anymore, and while steaming numbers and revenue are still tiny, in the long term the labels will be able to reap the benefits.
Because streaming is a regular recurring revenue business. And these Copyrights are valuable?
Let’s put it this way, if Metallica is on Spotify, then the rates paid back to the COPYRIGHT HOLDERS (which in this case is Metallica as they do own their Copyright) must be good, because Lars Ulrich and their manager Cliff Burnstein would not allow Metallica to enter a business arrangement that is not in their favour.
And back in 2014, Tool or AC/DC or Def Leppard were not on Spotify. They all are now.
The real truth is that there is much more music out there than there has ever been, so the issues that are present to artist and labels is how do they get people’s attention directed towards that new music.
Personally, I don’t even know anybody who pirates music anymore. There is no reason to pirate and legitimate customers/fans would always turn to legal alternatives.
Add “Recording Sales Revenue” plus “Streaming Revenue” plus “YouTube Ad Revenue” plus “Ticket Revenue” plus “Merchandise Revenue” plus “Corporate Deals Revenue” plus “Sponsorship Revenue” plus “Publishing Revenue” plus “Licensing Revenue” and then decide if you are winning or not.
Again, if you are not seeing a lot of revenue, then you need to be speaking to your label, because if you have numbers in all of the above Revenue streams then something is a-miss contractually.
You know the drill. A new technology comes out and eventually it will start to get some traction. Then the word will spread about and more people would flock to it. It’s new, it’s cool, it’s hip and its innovative. Then when it is at its peak, the people who testified for the new tech, will abandon it, looking for something new and better.
MySpace, Facebook, Twitter are three such platforms that came, peaked and right now are suffering an identity crisis.
MySpace is finished.
Facebook got traction because it connected people in a way that MySpace couldn’t. Now, all of these connected people need to deal with the marketing of products, advertisers, like requests, fake friend requests and spam.
Twitter is well, Twitter. With so many people tweeting or having their tweets connected to their Facebook Posts or their blog posts, everything is getting lost in the mix. When a big news item hits, Twitter is the platform to go to, because people who are directly involved in these big events are the ones that are tweeting.
Spotify has been around for a while now and in the last 3 years it set up base in a number of large music markets like Australia, Canada and of course the US.
The people tried it. Some have stuck to it. Some have abandoned it. The ones that speak out against it have never used it.
Spotify however needs a game changer. Sort of like how the move to APPS changed the iTunes store. And it’s all about the FREE. Fans of music showed the world that they want FREE music to listen to. And don’t say that FREE doesn’t work. How the hell did Free To Air TV exist and grow over the last 60 years.
I am all over the shop when it comes to music. I still purchase product from the bands I like and I stream as well.
And the funny thing is that I don’t use iTunes anymore.
Who would have thought that day would have come?
And that is what Spotify needs to think about it. Once the newness has rubbed off, what’s next. Consolidation. How can you consolidate when the modern paradigm is DISRUPTION?
I wrote this in 2014 and since then Spotify has innovated a lot to keep people interested. Putting their lot in with PODCASTS and it looks like they will be moving to Audio Books as well based on a recent survey I undertook with them.
It’s all about stopping copyright infringement. It’s all about shaking down internet users. It’s all about a ridiculous and “out of touch with reality” penalty system. For example, if a user downloads one song, the RIAA have argued that the copyright holders are out of pocket between $20 to $10,000. Seriously.
When discussions are had on Copyright, it’s all about the enforcement. It’s all about creating a monopoly. The ones that sit on the innovation fence are shouted down to from the ones that control/hold the Copyrights.
The thing is, people have been “copyright infringers” since day dot. Anyone that remembers cassette tapes, will tell you how they used to copy songs from recordings onto a cassette tape. James Hetfield used to copy Lars Ulrich’s record collection onto cassettes.
We used to copy songs from the radio onto cassettes. We used to copy movies from TV onto VHS cassettes. Then we got even more creative and hooked up two videos at once to make copies of the latest releases. With the advent of the CD and blank discs, we started making mixed CD’s. When Napster exploded, people flocked to it. Because we had been copyright infringing forever.
It is easy to lay the blame on others. However it is the record labels that need to take responsibility. They still don’t get it. People want FREE music. Spotify provides a service that is free, however it is still seen as restrictive and people still go to other torrent sites to download content. YouTube also provides a service that is free.
And then the recording industry claims that these sites make so much money from running ads on their site. If that is the case, then why isn’t the recording industry offering the same service and making that same money.
They don’t want to, because that would mean they would have spent dollars in Information Technology. And they don’t want to do that.
And most artists have never made a living from royalties. The record labels always have.
Well I hope you enjoyed another wrap up of Destroyerofharmony history?
When artists write lyrics that reflect society and our politics back at us, people get upset. When I think about the past, people who made real change persisted even when others tried their best to silence them.
Artists once formed the chorus of dissent to social ills and corruption. It’s probably a reason why we got so many songs that still stand the test of time today.
Artists told the record label heads what to do, not the other way around.
Machine Head’s new album at the time “Catharsis” was causing division amongst their American fan base. Europe, Asia and Australia didn’t really care about its Anti-Trump stance. Fans of any artist come from different sides of the political debate. It’s expected. No one can agree on everything. If people did, everyone would wear the same outfit. The world would be pretty bland if people all agreed. Wouldn’t it.
It never would occur to me to stop listening to an artist because of a stance they have on an topic.
Artists are not the enemy. They are mirrors, reflecting the world back to us. What we choose to do with the reflection is a different story.
Copying of music has always been there. We used to listen to the radio and record songs from it. We used to record video clips from TV music stations. We would make a copy of an LP from a friend or a family member. We would even re-copy a copied album. The music industry grew because of copying.
So if we used the buzzword of the modern era, piracy was rampant back in the 80’s. Most of my music collection during that period was made up of music copied onto blank cassettes.
You know that peak year of sales for the recording business in 1998. Well there is research out there which suggests it was due to two reasons. One reason was people replacing their vinyl collections with CD’s and the other reason is the people who had music copied on blank cassettes in the 80’s had enough disposable income to buy those albums on CD.
If I didn’t borrow and copy (which the labels call stealing and piracy), I probably never would have become the fan of music I am. As my Dad would always say, “I probably would have had four houses paid off, instead I have a tonne of grey concert T-Shirts, ticket stubs and a wall to wall record collection.” I wouldn’t have it any other way, because the memories are the stories I tell.
Six months after the album release date, Bon Scott would be dead. Mutt Lange is on board to produce at the strong insistence of their U.S record label and it was the start of the holy trinity of albums. Malcolm was less than pleased because it meant older brother George, was no longer involved.
“Highway To Hell” is a rite of passage. It might have been about touring, however timeless songs have lyrics that can be interpreted in many different ways. Plus the riff to kick it off is iconic. Credit Malcolm.
Livin’ easy, Livin’ free
Pink Floyd – The Wall
“The Wall” is Roger Waters lasting legacy. But the best song on the album to me is “Comfortably Numb” written by Gilmour and Waters. Credit producer Bob Ezrin for persisting to get Gilmour’s music on the record. However, it was “Another Brick In The Wall Part 2” that was all over the radio.
Check out “Goodbye Blue Sky” as well, which served as the inspiration for “Fade To Black” from Metallica.
And that outro solo in “Comfortably Numb”. Perfection.
Judas Priest – Hell Bent for Leather/Killing Machine
The first time I heard “Delivering The Goods” was via Skid Row’s “B-Side Ourselves” EP. I enjoyed the Skid’s live take on it, so I went seeking for the album in the second hand record stores. I actually own both copies, the “Killing Machine” version and the “Hell Bent For Leather” version.
Or the iconic riff in “Hell Bent For Leather” which is so derivative that many other bands had a similar riff before and after this song, like the opening riff in “2 Minutes To Midnight”. They even used it again for “Running Wild”.
In relation to guitar playing, Glenn Tipton always kept an eye and ear out for what was hot in guitar circles and he would go away, master these new styles and incorporate those influences and styles into his guitar playing. In this case, he breaks out a tapping lick which was obviously influenced by EVH. On albums from the mid 80’s, Tipton would start to incorporate sweep picking courtesy of Yngwie Malmsteen’s influence.
“The Green Manalishi (With The Two Pronged Crown)” is a great cover of a Fleetwood Mac song, which is written by their original and largely forgotten guitarist Peter Green (RIP), and it works pretty cool in the hands of Judas Priest.
Journey – Evolution
It has “Lovin, Touchin’ Squeezin’” but it’s not my favourite. The three listed songs are for various reasons.
“Lovin’ You Is Easy” has upbeat music and it’s always good to hear Schon rocking out.
“Do You Recall” has melodies which appear in Jovi songs.
“Lady Luck” grooves, taking its cues from Led Zeppelin.
The Police – Reggatta de Blanc
The Police didn’t really write a perfect album from start to finish, but they could write classic tracks.
The intro to “Message In A Bottle” hooks me. And it’s guitarist Andy Summers who saves the day with his add9 chord voicings over a simple bass groove.
Whitesnake – Lovehunter
I didn’t hear this album until very late in the 90’s. During this time I was buying so many second hand LP’s from record fairs and second hand book shops, I can’t even place a memory as to when I purchased it. But I do know I was always a sucker for the 3 for $5 bins.
Press play to hear “Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues” which is written by David Coverdale and the underrated Bernie Marsden.
It all started with the blues. Rock was built on the bones of the 30/40’s blues artists. Metal was also built on the bones of those same artists, along with the defiance and rebellion of rock music. Without the blues, the music I listen to, would not be possible.
KISS – Dynasty
One of the first albums I owned from Kiss and I played it to death, so it’s no surprise I have a few songs from it on my list.
“I Was Made for Loving You” was the obvious single, but it was still an unexpected hit, written by Paul Stanley, Vini Poncia and Desmond Child. Stanley also performs bass duties on this one.
“Sure Know Something” is a mixture between melodic rock, disco and new wave. In the end, it’s still Kiss. The bass groove is unique and the lead guitar break from Stanley is worth the listen.
“Dirty Livin’” is an excellent track. It could have been on a Steely Dan album or a Doobie Brothers record. Instead it’s on a Kiss record and it rocks. Peter Criss sings, it and he co-wrote it with Stan Penridge and Vini Poncia. It’s actually the only track that Peter Criss drums on. Anton Fig played drums on all of the other songs.
“Magic Touch” is solely written by Paul Stanley, which comes loaded with a melodic riff and a pop melody. Still to this day it’s a favourite, purely for its sense of melody.
“Hard Times” is from Ace Frehley and its another Kiss rocker.
The record labels just kept getting my attention like trying to get the Courts to set a precedent in which the Internet Service Providers act as the Police to monitor music pirates based on the labels say so.
And my favourite was Principle Management (U2’s Management Company) losing money for the fourth year in a row, so its Chairman Paul McGuiness was quick to blame Google for his losses. Talk about sense of entitlement.
With Jake E Lee excommunicated from the Osbourne camp no one was sure what he would do next. But in 1988, Badlands formed.
The original Badlands line up was Ray Gillen on vocals, Eric Singer on drums, Greg Chaisson on bass and of course Jake E Lee on guitar. And we will never be able to see the band that cut the self-titled debut album reunite. Ray Gillen has passed and Eric Singer said in an interview on the “Daves on Tour” website that his memories of Badlands aren’t good ones.
Eric Singer auditioned for Ozzy back in 1985 and he didn’t get the gig. Greg Chaisson also auditioned for Ozzy around the same period and he also didn’t get the gig. Both of them lost out to Randy Castillo and Phil Soussan. The outcome for both Singer and Chaisson was that they got to meet Jake E Lee and have a jam with him.
Eric Singer also did a stint in Black Sabbath during the Glenn Hughes/Ray Gillen era. Music is a relationship business and it was these relationships, albeit small ones once upon a time, that ended up getting together to create one hell of a debut album.
In an interview with Kerrang from May 1989, this is what Ray Gillen had to say on the bands beginnings;
“I was particularly keen on the project because I had to pick myself up off the floor after my involvement with the Blue Murder project had gone sour. I was basically asked to leave the band due to outside record company pressure. John Kalodner, one of the top people at Geffen Records, simply said that I couldn’t sing!”
Wearing their Seventies classic rock influences on their sleeves and very cleverly merging the minor key riff remnants of the mid-Eighties heavy metal sound, Badlands hit the target. Each song was unique.
The standout song on the debut is “High Wire”. It cemented Jake’s reputation. You can’t keep a super star down and what a great way to open the album.
Seriously, how good is that opening riff?
The beauty of the song is the simplicity. It is a simple A to C, A to D riff, the cornerstone to all classic blues/classic rock songs.
“Winter’s Call” is the most Zeppelinesque song on the album, especially in the verses, combining Middle Eastern drones with Celtic modes. It is also one of the oldest songs on the album, as the song’s roots go back to 1983.
“Streets Cry Freedom” is the next gem and a great way to close off side one. When vinyl was king, albums got sequenced by having a great opening track and a great closing track. The comparisons to Led Zeppelin, Humble Pie and Bad Company are prevalent in this song. The song’s verses are a typical 12 bars blues. Instead of playing it in the standard way, Jake E Lee shows his guitar smarts by arpeggiating the verses.
“Seasons” is the gem on the second side. It reminds me a lot of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”.
This was 1989 and MTV ruled. Bands needed a hit to get recognition. So while “Dreams In The Dark” did the video rounds, as the record label decided it had the most “hit” potential, songs like “Winters Call”, “Seasons” and “Streets Cry Freedom” slipped under the radar.
The self titled album is brilliant. While other artists went with the one hit single per album and the rest as filler, Badlands delivered an album strong from start to finish.
So how did a TV show, based on a niche Zombie comic, explode into the mainstream and into people’s consciousness.
In order to understand the answer you need to go back to the beginning. And the beginning for “The Walking Dead” goes back to 1968 and a movie called “Night Of The Living Dead”.
“The Walking Dead” is a classic case of building on works already in the public domain as well as building on existing copyrighted works by creating derivative works.
First the whole Zombie genre owes a large debt to George A. Romero’s classic “Night Of The Living Dead”. Many of the accepted Zombie formulas started here. Something that is quite common to us in 2014, was all brand new to audiences in 1968.
Due to a late name change from “Night Of The Flesh Eaters” to “Night Of The Living Dead”, the distributor forgot to include a copyright symbol on the release and due to this omission, the movie entered the Public Domain on its actual release date. That meant that anyone could do derivative works and also build on the existing story.
The whole opening scene from “The Walking Dead” of Rick Grimes waking up in the hospital alone, is a combination of what has come before.
In “The Day of The Triffids, the main character awakes to a silent hospital to find that his town has been overrun with blinded people.
In “28 Days Later”, a bicycle courier awakens from a coma to find the hospital and the city, completely deserted and overrun by people infected by the rage virus.
In “The Walking Dead”, Rick Grimes wakes from a coma in the hospital to find his town overrun with walking corpses, referred to as ‘walkers’.
Romero did miss out on a hefty payday due to the copyright bungle with “Night of The Living Dead”, but Romero’s story ends well. The film’s popularity OPENED UP MORE OPPORTUNITIES. Romero continued to create movies and the fame that his Public Domain movie gave him, opened up other offers around comics and novels.
In the end, the lack of copyright around one movie, grew and helped define the zombie genre in the same way that the lack of copyright around earlier blues and folk standards helped define the classic rock genre. So next time someone tells you they need stronger copyrights or longer copyrights, point them to the “Night Of The Living Dead” example.
I got a 8GB USB stick of music given to me recently by a musician friend who told me that I need to check out the bands on the stick. When I was growing up we used to these kinds of trades on cassettes. Back then we had an hours or hour and a half worth of music. Today 8 gigs worth of music is about 270 songs at 320kbps. Yep, that is how it is done today.
Some of the bands on that key are still favourites today like Degreed and Riverside.
In between solo albums, Henley was busy with the Eagles, Geffen contract issues, Copyright issues against Record Labels, termination rights on songs and the Eagles again.
Henley knows his rights.
While people criticise musicians who turn into business people, it was inevitable that musicians would end up taking the business path.
The great record label rip off/exploitation made them seek this path. It is just unfortunate that a lot of the musicians that didn’t achieve world-wide domination still don’t realise their rights on their songs. Not a lot of hard rock and heavy metal artists are serving notice to their record label to reclaim songs they had written 35 years ago.
While I don’t agree on everything Henley does, like sending a cease and desist letter to an independent band or trying to get a remix law taken off the radar, the bottom line is this, he is a musician that looks out for his own interests. And that is why we loved our heroes.
The problem with writing about 80’s music is those who remember it, care about it and those who don’t remember it or did not grow up in it, don’t really care about it. Well not all people. There are some.
But for those of us who lived it, the artists inhabit a special place inside us, where our memories are triggered by the melodies and distortion. Play a Top 100 Rock list from the 80’s and you’ll be surprised how many songs you can sing along to.
The Music Business launches an Anti-Piracy Game App to educate young people on piracy while at the same time copyright infringement of music is declining each year due to decent and well-priced legal alternatives.
The game allows players to select an aspiring artist from a list of hopefuls, compose tracks from a roster of song-writers, producers and studio technicians and balance the books by keeping an eye on how radio play, streaming and piracy impact on profits. But the game doesn’t show the players how much an artist REALLY gets for a song and how much the labels keep for themselves.
In the metal and rock sphere, two record labels come to mind, where I feel that their intentions are motivated by having a copyright monopoly on certain songs.
One is Frontiers and the other is Rock Candy. Frontiers are getting a lot of the Eighties greats to create forgeries of their hits, while Rock Candy is buying up albums from the Eighties and re-releasing them with expanded packaging, so that all these forgeries and new versions of the Eighties albums fall under a new copyright term.
I wrote back in 2014 that “In This Moment” would regret signing with Atlantic Records.
Remember “Bush”. After three successful releases on a smaller label, “Bush” signed a big dollar deal with Atlantic for their fourth release and in return they had their least successful album. And the label wasn’t happy. So with no mainstream success and a lack of label support, “Bush” called it quits.
“Winger” was signed by Atlantic and they had success with them and Atlantic reaped in millions from the first two “Winger” albums while the band was classed as still in debt. After “Winger” delivered their best album “Down Incognito”, “Beavis and Butthead” also happened, and after the dui lynched a Winger loving family in one of their episodes, Atlantic Records suddenly developed amnesia and claimed that they had never heard of “Winger”.
“Collective Soul” already had a demo version of their massive hit “Shine” doing the rounds on radio for about six months before Atlantic picked them up and re-released the same demo album under the Atlantic brand. What an artist and development program at Atlantic. While the band kept selling, Atlantic loved them. Then when the sales started to decline (although still great numbers compared to other bands), the label started to lose interest and after 7 years of making Atlantic wealthy, once their contract ended, it wasn’t renewed.
“Pride” from White Lion broke out and Atlantic pushed them to write more hit singles for the next record. This pressure to create “hit songs” caused a conflicted Vito Bratta even more conflict and when that attempt at “hit songs” failed to provide an increase in sales for “Big Game”, the label just stopped caring. As a last resort, they gave them a lot of money for the “Mane Attraction” album but the band took their time and they were out of the music scene for 12 months recording that album. And Atlantic had already moved on. The album was released with no marketing budget and within 5 months, the band was over. No one from the label even called them.
“Twisted Sister” had a huge local following, however US labels just kept on rejecting them. Eventually, they went looking for a deal in Europe and after a false start with Secret Records, they ended up getting signed to Atlantic Europe. So of course, Atlantic US came knocking, signed them (even though they ignored and rejected them for ten years prior to that), made a huge amount of money of the “Stay Hungry” album and then dropped them three years later.
“Zebra” had a huge local following before they got signed with Atlantic Records. Then the “Zebra” debut album became one of the fastest selling releases on the Atlantic roster. Three years later, Atlantic dropped the band, however they kept an option open on Randy Jackson. So Jackson finished the “China Rain” record in 1990 and Atlantic Records decided not to release it but they wouldn’t allow him to take the masters and release it with a different label.
“Badlands” was signed by Atlantic. The self-titled debut came out and it achieved cult like status among the jaded metal community. “Voodoo Highway” came next however Atlantic was not impressed as the label wanted hit songs for MTV and they wanted those songs written to a strict radio formula. Ray Gillen apparently had songs that suited what the label was looking for. Those frustrations came to a head when Jake E. Lee accused Ray Gillen of going behind his back. In the end, Atlantic broke the band up and then dropped them when they went chasing the grunge dollars. And there albums will never see the light of day on digital services or re-releases because of Ray Gillen infecting the daughter of an Atlantic Exec with HIV.
Dave Mustaine will never have to spend another dollar on marketing. I have a Google Alert set up for Dave Mustaine, and man, what can I say, the web is a flux with Dave Mustaine news. Because he likes to express his opinions. And people either hate him or love him.
In an interview on the FasterLouder website, Mustaine is asked questions, around the then recent album “Super Collider” and how it is seen as a failure. Mustaine responded by saying it debuted at No 6 on the Billboard charts, so he wouldn’t call that a failure.
It’s important to note that the charts do not have the same meaning and influence as they once did. When someone comes up with a chart that combines sales, streaming counts, YouTube views along with the conversation occurring on social media, only then can we call the charts sensible.
And the album “Super Collider” is a failure.
In the end, we are mainly interested in what is great and it is better to release great more frequently instead of an album every 2 years that has a couple of great tracks.
“When you spend nine months working on an album, all the work that goes into it and recording it, mixing it, mastering it, then you release it and it falls on deaf ears.”
“I’d rather work on two songs under that plan (exploring the idea of placing their songs in films, or signing sponsorships deals through integrated marketing with other types of companies that want to use their song specifically to reach tens of millions of people) than do eleven songs that only reach 100,000 people.”
Nikki Sixx from Motley Crue said the above in an interview on the Classic Rock website back in 2014. The link to the story is in the original blog post.
The record labels and the RIAA will say that artists would stop recording less because people pirate/copyright infringe. They will call for stronger copyright enforcement.
Sociologist would say that sales of recorded music have declined due to the rise of other desirables, like apps and gaming in general. Look at the sales of the “Halo” games series by Microsoft. “Halo 4” made $220 million in 24 hours. Overall, the whole series has grossed over $3.4 billion.
Have any rock bands reached that many people or made $220 million in sales in one day?
And artists are still creating and still releasing and still breaking through. Just not the big artists from yesteryear.
Critics will say, that Motley Crue should release something worth buying and that they will buy it.
Musicians took risks and stood for something. They made money, they blew money, some did drugs, and they made money again. Basically rock stars did it their way. There was no safety net. That is why we flocked to them. That is why we became fans. They represented an attitude, a sense of freedom that connected with us.
David Z, Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington passed away. Ivan Moody was in a dark place at the time.
So many people make money from artists, and some make way more than the artists. The vicious cycles that artists are on from labels and management is borderline negligence.
The show must go on but there is no show when there is no artist.
The Jungle Giants is a band that plays a form of pop rock with dance/techno elements. I’m not a huge fan but in 2017 they were an unsigned artists that racked up over 50 million streams on Spotify. Those stats are impressive and a lot more than artists who actually have label deals.
It’s hard work controlling your own destiny. But you have the freedom to decide what path to take.
And Album number 4 just came out.
When is inspiration/influence just that and when is inspiration/influence copying?
It is possible to borrow without “stealing”. When ideas appear in ones mind, quite often they are unconsciously inspired by a piece of music the artist has heard.
And it’s perfectly okay and very common to take an existing idea and turn it into something new.
According to manager Barry McKay, Steve Harris stole an idea. I don’t know how you can steal an idea, but hey it happens.
Corporations and Unions run this country. The Courts have been compromised by money. The mainstream media is all about half-truths and likes. No one reports with any substance or an opinion anymore as they had served whoever paid them the most.
Game Of Thrones was the most pirated show in the world, with Australia leading the way.
Unless we pay $300 plus for a PAY TV subscription, we couldn’t watch it.
Nine years later nothing much has changed. We’re still a mess. We can’t get our population vaccinated and we have a leader who just looks for the photo opportunity and has best friends who run QANON sites.
I’m an Amazon Prime Video subscriber and due to a deal they have with another PAY TV provider in this country, I couldn’t watch Bosch S7 on Amazon.
So I downloaded it.
Imagine that. I’m a paying legal subscriber and I couldn’t watch a show that the service created on their platform.
Why did guitarists like Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson, Alex Skolnick, John Petrucci and Paul Gilbert rise above all the other shredders of the era that came on the scene between 1984 and 1994?
Guitarists like Tony MacAlpine, Greg Howe and Vinnie Moore are all great guitarists, however they are still relatively unknowns outside of their guitar instrumental niche market.
Someone like Vinnie Moore played with Alice Cooper and is holding down the fort with UFO. He’s been there since 2003, 18 years. Michael Schenker only did 11, his first stint between 1973 and 78 was only 5 years.
Perseverance is a massive skill. Especially when it comes to life as a musician in an internet era with information overload each day.
And success happens when you contemplate giving up.
Dream Theater almost called it a day, between 1988 and 1991, when months rolled by and no suitable singer appeared.
Quiet Riot during the Randy Rhoads years, couldn’t get a U.S deal. After Randy left to join Ozzy, Kevin Dubrow persevered under his own surname, only to resurrect the Quiet Riot brand after the death of Randy Rhoads and turn it into a Number 1 act.
George Lynch auditioned for Ozzy’s band on two occasions, losing out to Randy Rhoads once and then to Jake E. Lee. One of his earlier bands “The Boyz” had a showcase gig organised for Gene Simmons to attend. Van Halen opened the show and the rest is history. Gene even said to Lynch, to consider changing his name as he will never make it.
Ronnie James Dio spent 18 years paying his dues before finding success with Rainbow in 1976.
How many musicians starting out today, would put in 18 years of service to music?
Don’t chase trends because what is here today will be gone tomorrow.
Of course it’s more difficult going your own way, however that is the future. If you are successful you will get label interest and a deal that suits you, because without an artist, there is no profit from music for the labels.
The major labels want radio hits so they find artists that are easy to sell and easily expendable.
“The Heat” with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy was one of the funniest movies I had seen that year.
I provided my thoughts on the Metallica “Death Magnetic” DVD which included footage on the making of the album. It came with the Coffin Edition of the album.
James Hetfield still rules. As much as the documentary tried to paint Lars as this hands on kind of guy, if James didn’t agree or say yes, the musical idea wouldn’t be part of the song. Bob Rock once said that the problem with “St Anger” was that the main songwriter wasn’t there mentally. You can see that he is back for “Death Magnetic”.
And they went on a two year victory lap touring behind the album. They released DVD’s from shows, for the French and Latin America markets. They released live EP’s for certain markets. In Australia we got the “Six Feet Down Under” EP’s part 1 and 2.
When that died down, they orchestrated the “Big 4” shows and the “Orion” festival. They played the summer festivals around the world.
Then they celebrated their 30 years anniversary with a week of shows in San Francisco. When that died down they released the “Beyond Magnetic” EP, which had 4 songs that didn’t make the final cut. Then they released “Quebec Magnetic” and at that point in time they were doing the “Through The Never”movie.
So did anyone remember the debacle of “Lulu”?
It was old news, history. It’s like it never existed.
What a difference two years make?
“The House of Gold and Bones” by Stone Sour was becoming a favorite so I posted my review here and a review of a song “The Uncanny Valley” here.
At the time I was reading about how artists deserve to be paid for their creations because they put their blood, sweat and tears into those works.
Based on RIAA certifications (total album units certified by the RIAA) Iron Maiden has 6.5 million sales in the US.
Megadeth and Tesla are also sitting at the same certification amount across their catalogue.
Who do you reckon has the biggest audience when it comes to playing live from the 3 bands?
Which tells me that Iron Maiden must be the most heavily pirated band there is. Their sales of recorded music compared to their sales of concert tickets and merchandise just don’t correlate. They get the same attendance as Metallica would get, yet the difference in certified album units between the bands is huge.
Metallica is at 63 million certified units.
While Megadeth and Tesla do play live, the crowds they get compared to Maiden are very different but they have the same amount of certified album sales.
So sales of recorded music does not correlate to massive concert attendances.
David Lee Roth, Muse and Dokken are sitting at 3.5M certified units but Muse plays gigs to 15,000 people and are headliners for certain European summer festivals.
Dokken even at their height didn’t play venues that big nor did David Lee Roth as a solo artist.
Like with Maiden, the sales of certified units don’t correlate with the concert attendances.
Since the sales don’t correlate to the increased demand for concert tickets, is it illegal downloading or the access to music via streaming driving the growth?
Last Tuesday, January 13, I took the family to watch Australia’s game vs Oman at the Asian Cup. To do anything family related is a hit on the budget.
The tickets cost me in total $171.50 which is broken down by $98 ($49 per adult) and $73.50 ($24.50 for a child).
Apparel at the game cost me $140 for 2 kids T Shirts and 1 female T-shirt.
The parking at the venue cost me $25.00.
Mt Franklin Water cost me $33.60 for 7 bottles at $4.80 each.
Coke Zero cost me $5.60 for a can.
Hot Chips cost me $30 for 5 little round boxes sold at $6 each.
A Chicko Roll costed $5.50.
A Stadium Hot Dog costed $6.20.
A pack of Kettle Chips costed $6.00.
A pack of Honey Soy Chips costed $5.50.
All up the whole day with the tickets came up to about $430.
10 days prior on January 3rd, I also took the family to watch a local A-League football game between Sydney FC and Newcastle Jets. Tickets for that event cost me $61.33 for the family. Parking was at zero cost (on the street with a 20 minute walk) and food/drink costs me $50 in total.
So in total I have spent about $540 on football/soccer related events for the month of January so far. To add to that expense, when I purchased the tickets for Australia’s group match against Oman, I also purchased tickets for the Semi Final and the Final. So those events are coming up on the horizon and thanks to some dumb and arrogant decisions from coach Ange Postecoglou, Australia didn’t finish top of their group, so instead of “hopefully” watching a semi final match with Australia playing, they now end up on the other side of the draw and play at different stadiums.
January is also the month when we gear up for the start of school, plus the registrations for all the winter sports (and gear purchases). So from a family point of view, the costs are adding up, plus we are coming off the Christmas craziness of credit card debt that we still need to contend with.
However, the recording industry and entitled artists are so out of touch that they don’t understand that society in general feels a lot of pain when it comes to money.
We also have a lot of other outlets when it comes to entertainment and events. The more that the recording industry bitches about piracy and lobbies so that ISP’s send copyright notices and track our online behaviour, the more the fans of music just give their money elsewhere.
Normally this time each year, I am purchasing tickets to Soundwave Side shows. That has been the norm every year for the last 5 years. I don’t go to a festival because I see it as a waste of time and a real uncomfortable experience to watch only a few bands that I might like.
However, this year, I don’t really like any of the bands that much to go and watch them. So that money that I used for the music industry is instead going to football.
One last thing about all of the arguments about free music and competing with free.
Water is a natural product and it ends up coming out of our sinks for next to no cost at all. However, the water companies like Mt Franklin have found a way to make us pay a premium for bottled water.
One day an artists with a progressive thinking record label will find their own unique way to make the same happen for music.