movies, My Stories

What Is The Point In The Long Night

Spoilers Ahead.

One thing about great script writers is the details. They focus on the details and they get it right.

Have you watched a Tarantino movie missing in details?

Of course not.

And when the GoT writers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, had source material to work with via the published books, they had details. Once they went past the books, they had a story outline from George RR Martin and they needed to fill in the details themselves. And they are lost in this department.

And I can’t shake the feeling that the writers have been watching too many big budget comic book movies like Avengers for story details.

They’ve built up Bran’s character to be like Dr Strange, but the acting is very different. A Stark in both stories saves the day. The aliens/undead threat in both stories is severe, but not as severe as the human political threat and back stabbing.

Which brings me to the point of Jon Snow?

Sure there will be people interested in the romantic ideal of Jon sitting on the Iron Throne especially when they fleshed out his ancestry. But it was all about the Wall, The Night King and Winterfell. A lot of people couldn’t care less about him and the Iron Throne. That’s not his story. Seriously would anyone want him on the Throne?

He makes bad decisions and stupid mistakes and has to rely on other people to save him. His whole mission was to fight the whitewalkers and in the end he didn’t even get to fight any of them. He just struggled riding a dragon for the whole episode. That’s it. And somehow he miraculously survived liquid nitrogen being sprayed around him from a re-animated dragon.

Details are important.

I am sure many asked how did Arya get past all of those White Walkers, and Twitter has a section devoted to how she sneaked up to Jon Snow in earlier episodes without being heard. But this time around, there are White Walkers around, and the Dead, who she was hiding from a few scenes ago in the library.

A long build-up of 8 years for the Night King threat and there isn’t really nothing after “The Long Night” that makes me feel the need to watch “Game of Thrones” again. “The Two Towers” left you with a need to watch “The Return Of The King”. “Empire Strikes Back” left you with a need to watch “Return Of The Jedi”. “The Last Jedi” doesn’t leave me with a need to see anything else after it and this is the same feeling. It feels like an end, not as a cliff hanger.

It did have some good stuff. The hallways and rooms of Winterfell became like a horror labyrinth with the dead following and chasing. The fire storm around the night king and he didn’t burn, points to a Targaryen blood line. I was laughing so hard when the dead “sacrificed themselves” on the fire to form a bridge so the other dead can walk over it. Who would have thought, the dead can commit suicide in order to aid the other dead to succeed.

But from the very first episode, the whole “winter is coming” and the “white walker” threat was an important story and it all finished within one episode, which I am okay with, but really, what was the point apart from a mere distraction and a way to reduce the numbers of people alive. All they needed was a Thanos moment and a click of some fingers to do it.

And all of those Whitewalkers created from human babies didn’t even fight anyone, WTF.

But it is a sickness that I will watch the remaining episodes and of course the next Star Wars movie, titled, “The Rise Of Skywalker”. Till next time.

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

Recording Industry Dumb and Dumber – The Sequel

So the Recording Industry in Australia is welcoming new anti-piracy legislation. High fives all around for site blocking laws. Add to those Recording Industry high fives, Movie industry high fives and any other legacy content owner.

The question I have is this;

  • With site blocking now becoming law, what does the Recording Industry believe would happen to their businesses profits?
  • Would people suddenly return to buying CD’s?
  • Would people suddenly buy an expensive Foxtel subscription to watch ten episodes of “Game of Thrones”?
  • Would people who normally don’t go to the movies, suddenly start going to the movies?
  • Would people suddenly go out and buy books, or e-books?

Site blocking laws are designed to stop people from accessing websites that film, TV and music companies say are hosting their content without permission. Surely, our government officials would have looked at the U.K before deciding if site-blocking was the right way forward.

In the UK, The Pirate Bay has been blocked since 2012 however people have found ways to get around that block. Even though site blocking laws exist in the U.K, sales of music are still declining. However, if the industry puts more emphasis into their streaming business, then some different results could appear. Lucky for the U.K, they have a lot of popular artists right now and these artists are really pushing the streaming side of their music.

So in return the U.K have more people streaming more music than ever before. By 2019, streaming is expected to account for 49 per cent of music revenue in the U.K, compared to 22 per cent in 2014.

Digital music downloading (both legal and illegal) is a thing of the past. It’s history. Why would we want to pay for an mp3, when the history of music is at our fingertips with streaming and we, the fans, like it.

It’s easy and uncomplicated.

So since streaming is king, can someone tell me why we need the Entertainment Industries going to the courts to block websites based on their own evidence?

I think the catch-cry put out by the government is “the laws will protect the viability and success of creative industries while restricting the profitability of sites that facilitate piracy.”

Yep, Mr Government, as long as you and your financiers know what that means, it’s okay, we believe the shit you say.

I would be interested to see the model they used to show how the laws would protect the creative industries especially since Australia is a huge market for DVD and Blu-ray sales.

How can the entertainment industries explain the HUGE profits they get from DVD/Blu-ray sales in Australia?

Let’s use Game Of Thrones.

The TV show is hidden behind an expensive Pay-tv paywall in Australia. The actual subscriber numbers for that Pay-tv provider are lower than the sale numbers of the DVD/Blu-ray season releases.

Where did all of these extra fans come from?

The content owners need to be talking about lowering their licensing fees so that the monthly streaming plans are cheaper and that all content is available in the one place.

I have a Netflix subscription and a Spotify subscription.

The content industries should be pushing more people to these services. In return, the money pie will get bigger. It’s simply economics. These industries cannot pretend anymore that the old business models are coming back.

Let’s use Game of Thrones for another example.

If HBO wants to stamp out piracy, ensure that the show is available to everyone globally from the one HBO source.

Not from a reseller.

HBO makes, it, so they should sell it, to the people who want to watch it, when they want to watch it. I cannot for the life of me understand why people need to pay another company who paid HBO a fee to re-broadcast it. It’s a business model that is doomed.

Why do you think Netflix started to make their own TV shows?

Hell, why do you think HBO started their own TV shows? Remember, HBO was once a Home Box Office re-broadcaster.

Because re-broadcasting is not a viable business models. Same deal for music streaming services.

Expect Spotify to start to sign bands and really shake up the streaming world.

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

Just Another Day In The World

Game Of Thrones

It looks like Piracy does pay. The sales of DVD/BluRay box sets for Season 4 of “Game Of Thrones” are going crazy. Season 3 also experienced the same craziness.

Led Zeppelin

Meanwhile, an album from 40 years ago is back on the charts. Led Zeppelin, who was so late to the streaming party, is now fighting for a spot on top of the charts due to their fans streaming their music.

Sales

So the recording industries response to piracy is to have a global release day on Friday. Hello, its 2015. Every day is a good day to release new music because music when done right doesn’t need a blockbuster opening day. Last week, 36 Crazyfists released their album “Time and Trauma” with first week sales of 3,500.

Yeah, high fives all round. Let’s blame piracy.

Meanwhile, ageing rockers AC/DC moved another 8,000 units as they move closer to 500,000 sales. However, sales of 500,000 does not mean that the record is popular amongst their fans. Does anyone know if it’s continually getting played? It’s not on Spotify so we can’t use any data from there.

Meanwhile, the “Rock Or Bust” clip has over 7 million views on YouTube, while “Play Ball” has over 6 million views. However, if you compare those YouTube views to Slipknot’s “The Devil and I” 26 million plus views, it’s easy to see what fans of rock and metal are listening too.

But hang on a second, the media outlets give ink to the fact that AC/DC has almost sold 500,000 copies of their album, while Slipknot is closer to the 300,000 mark. Further evidence today, that sales don’t equate to the actual popularity of the album. Listening data does.

Sales are old school and they are not coming back. In Norway, piracy is non-existent however revenues from recorded music haven’t increased. Goes to show that people never really wanted to own music, they just wanted access to it.

American Sniper

However if an entertainment product is done right, people will still spend their money. “American Sniper” is a perfect example of that. The movie is all over the piracy sites, and it is also approaching the $500 million mark on Box Office Returns. Compare that to the “The Expendables 3” which bombed big time. One movie hit the mark with the audiences while the other didn’t.

So when something does well, piracy is not mentioned at all as maybe a possible reason for its success, while when something does not do well, piracy is always blamed.

Performing Live

For musicians, piracy is exposure. Machine Head grossed $33,000 for one show in front of 850 Head Cases. If they play 100 shows with the same return, that would mean, they would have grossed $3.3 million. It sure sounds like a decent take home.

On a larger scale, Slash Feat. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators grossed $316,696 for a show in Dublin.

Music is all about people listening and if we listen and we like it, we will spend our dollars.

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

If Game Of Thrones Was A Rock Band

Game Of Thrones is on everyone’s lips these days. In Australia, it is also one of the TV shows that a lot of Australian’s download via peer-to-peer networks. With such a high piracy rate of people obtaining their content for free, you wouldn’t expect people to spend a decent amount of money to travel large distances and queue outside a Game of Thrones exhibition in Sydney.

But that is exactly what happened. Even though the exhibition is for free, the fans of the show spent their hard-earned dollars to get to the venue and then spend their time waiting to get in.

On opening day, people waited for six hours to get in. See what happens when a TV show is available to all even though it is meant to be locked up behind paywalls. You get people queuing up for days on end just to see the Iron Throne. This is the world we live in today, where a TV show based on a cult novel is bigger than a rock star. It used to be that people queued in lines like this for their favourite act.

And in this case the term groupie involves everyone. Teenagers to the elderly and moms and dads and their obsession for the series is all at different levels. And super fans paid above $500 in travel related expenses to be at the exhibition. It’s like when your favourite band comes to town and you fork out your cash for Meet and Greets and VIP passes.

No one could have predicted that George R.R. Martin would have created a cultural phenomenon. However as good as the stories are from Martin, it is the visual aspect from the TV show that is overseen by the show runners that is causing the cultural impact. Plus the casting of Sean Bean in Season 1 as Eddard Stark was a master stroke.

And as much as the Corporations moan and complain about piracy taking away from the artists or the creators, what piracy is showing is that people from all over the world can access and be involved with a cultural phenomenon. Piracy leads to greater opportunities.

If Game Of Thrones was a rock band and the band had those levels of piracy, expect their shows to sell out in minutes.

If Game Of Thrones was a rock band and the band is doing a free show like the GOT exhibition then expect pandemonium to ensure.

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

What can artists learn from The Pirate Bay?

As most tech savvy people are aware, The Pirate Bay turned 10 years old a few days ago. In all of this, the Pirate Bay has stood strong against the pressure put on it by the MPAA and the RIAA and their sister organisations throughout the world. Much larger organisations have tried to stand up against these bodies and have failed. The fact that the Pirate Bay is still alive is something to respect.

So what can artists learn from The Pirate Bay?

The Pirate Bay spread via word of mouth. It didn’t embark on a scorched earth marketing policy. For an artist there is no better marketing strategy than word of mouth. That is how virality works.

Metallica – built their fan base via word of mouth on the strength of their album releases and live shows. It wasn’t until 1992 that Metallica decided to form a fan club.

Heartist – built their fan base all on line via fan to fan connections. This was all done without even playing a show. It was a total online strategy.

Volbeat – built their fan base via the strength of their material. A song that they released back in 2008 got traction in 2012, which in turn started to bring attention to their 2011 album release. Success comes later in today’s world. In some cases much later.

Galactic Cowboys – Back in the late eighties, Geffen Records signed a band called Galactic Cowboys. I have three of their albums that I picked up in the bargain basement bin. Geffen just kept on pushing the band onto the public with a pretty high profile marketing campaign, however the public just didn’t take to them.

Mutiny Within – I remember the Roadrunner marketing campaign for the band Mutiny Within. The campaign had the band linked to Killswitch Engage and Dream Theater. Instantly this is putting a pre-conceived ideal into the mind of the listener and in my opinion, didn’t do the band any favours. One of the flyers that I saw, had phrasing like “Mutiny Within is the twisted child of Killswitch Engage and Dream Theater.” The public decided that the band was not worthy of that title and the band was dropped from their label deal.

Artists (especially major artists) should seriously consider using The Pirate Bay to market the release of their next batch of songs. There is still a demand for free mp3’s. At the moment iTunes cannot service that demand as the iTunes platform needs to be paid. So what options do the artists have to provide their fan base with free mp3’s.
1. Use their own website and collect geographical information and email addresses. Get to know their fans and survey their fans.

2. Team up with Bit Torrent

3. Team up with The Pirate Bay

4. Team up with a crowd funding platform, where the perks involve t-shirts and so forth, with a free Digital Download of said music.
The Game Of Thrones creators have recently said that the piracy of the show has contributed to the cultural buzz of the show and that it is better than winning an Emmy. The creators have also said that they have seen a high increase in DVD sales. I always bring people’s attention back to the Southern and Central Americas’. Sales of recorded music is not high in countries that fall in the Southern and Central America zones, however bands have had great success in touring these areas.

The recent IFPI report shows Brazil as a market set to surge. Go to http://www.ifpi.org/content One of the comments on the report is a WTF moment. It’s on page 24 and it states the following;
“The launch of iTunes showed that Brazilians are prepared to pay for music. We thought consumers were so used to piracy that they would never buy music again. But this has been proved wrong. Moreover, a new generation of consumers can now have their first music experiences in the legal environment.”

To put the above comment into perspective, iTunes was launched in Brazil at the end of 2011. Seriously this is a terrible business model from the record labels. While they screamed piracy in Brazil and then had a real draconian Copyright law passed that can take down sites on the say so of the entertainment groups, the actual consumers, the music fans, could not download a legal mp3 in the country. Instead of trying to get licensing arrangements in place to launch iTunes earlier in Brazil, the Record Labels spent millions fighting piracy in the courts. Instead of trying to get licensing arrangements in place to launch iTunes earlier in Brazil, the Record Labels spent millions lobbying politicians to vote for SOPA and PIPA.

The Pirate Bay is easy to use. It has an ecosystem built around Trusted and VIP uploaders to Helpers and Moderators that delete hundreds of ‘spam’ accounts and fake uploads every day which in turn keeps the site running smoothly and its users happy. This ensures that the content is exactly what it is described to be. The ranking system of uploaders (which is a skull in different colours like the Karate belt system) allows any novice downloader to form a bond with a certain uploader.

As an artist, you need to have a unique reference point, something that is easy to find. Having a generic band name is not a unique reference point. If you Google names like Bon Jovi, Van Halen, Motley Crue or Metallica you know you get back searches that are related to the band name you Google’d. Google a band name like Today I Caught The Plague or Burnside. Then Google the same names with the term band attached to it. Any artist starting off needs to make it is easy as possible for people to find them online.

There is always room for improvement. The Pirate Bay keeps on evolving as technology evolves. Now it is simply an indexing site, that services the needs of its users, the same way Google service the needs of its users. It is always re-creating itself with the rise of new technologies.

All artists need to be doing the same thing. The web presence of any artist needs to be maintained, updated and recreated. It needs to adopt to changing technologies, to offer as many features as it can to its fans.

Why do so many Dream Theater, Bon Jovi, Metallica, Motley Crue or Five Finger Death Punch fans spend so much time on Forums that have no connection to the main web site of the band. Bands should be fostering these kinds of interactions on their main website. They should even be contributing to it, the same way they contribute to their Facebook and Twitter accounts. At least you know on the band forums, the real fans are there to interact and respond.

The Pirate Bay’s user base is growing because the users are prepared to share and people are prepared to download. This alone should inform the legacy gatekeepers that the fans of music are no longer sheep. The Pirate Bay showed the RIAA and the MPAA that their rules and prices suck and that service is a problem (remember iTunes launched in Brazil in 2011). The old model of basing success on record sales is gone. The old model of going to the record store and planning what albums you were going to buy in the months to come is over.

Artists need to service their fans. Make it hard for a fan to get your music, and they will go elsewhere. Trivium is a great example. They recently had a very complex (also brilliant) smart phone strategy that once you completed all the steps needed, the fan got to hear a sample of a new song. I can tell you that as a fan engagement tool, this attempt failed miserably. It was too hard for fans. So what do Trivium do next. They offer the full song for streaming via their website and as a free download. Now it is easy as hell. To paraphrase the Eagles, keep it easy…

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Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity

What is going on in Australia?

I’m trying to figure it out. 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. The Labor Party has knifed themselves into oblivion, deciding in house what the people of the country desire, by throwing out people elected Prime Ministers on two occasions.

Game Of Thrones is the most pirated show in the world, with Australia leading the way. Why? Unless you pay $300 to $500 to Foxtel/Austar to have a PAY TV subscription, you can’t really watch it.

Everyone is talking about the opportunities that the Internet has given people. An artist puts up their music on Spotify and YouTube. They talk about it, post about it and tweet about it. They think the people are paying attention. They are delusional. The Web is all about sell. They are competing with billions of sellers for the attention of millions of payers. The math don’t add up. As for those people who think they have a career making money from Google Ad’s, they are also delusional.

Everyone starts off with a dream to do something that matters, however, as they grow up, we all fall into the trap of being too busy trying to be rich. There is a change coming. As much as we have celebrated the fall of the old gatekeepers like the Record Labels, the Publishers and the Movie Studio’s, new gatekeepers are starting to rise. Facebook, Google, Amazon, iTunes, Netflix, Spotify, Reddit, YouTube, Twitter. All of them are gaining power. Will they be tempted enough to turn to the dark side the way Anakin Skywalker did.

A term that is always banded about, is that the youth are inheriting the earth. They are so computer literate, that they are going to build a new world that will level the old world.

What kind of new world will emerge? One that is embedded with social media, where a person’s status is assessed on the number of friends they have and where they check in from.

One thing is certain, the Global Financial Crisis showed how skewed our ideals have become, and a new discontent has risen from it.

As the lyrics from Do Me A Favor, (Stone Sour) say, I am the anti-everything man, a scab on the lips of the lord.

It is the information age. So much information is out there, we don’t know who to believe and who to trust. Everyone is pushing their own agenda, hence the reason why we are lashing out. We are sick of all the corruption that goes on behind closed doors.

Another lyric from Do Me A Favor is the ignoring your history is killing your past line. It looks like no one is learning from the past. Have we learned anything from the GFC. Hell no, that is old news. We are back chasing the pot of gold.

In the House of Gold and Bones story arc, the character of Alan, is this snake like person, that creates a sense of negativity and distrust to the main character. Transpose Alan with any corporation or money hungry backstabbing friend and you can see why this country needs a reset.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Derivative Works, Music, Stupidity

Why do creators still follow the old way?

I just listened to the new Megadeth album.  Apart from the opener, Kingmaker and the cover, Cold Sweat from Thin Lizzy, I don’t really like it.  For me to say that, is a big thing.  If anything, you can call me a Mustaine Fanboy. I still cop flack for liking Risk.

The idea of the album has evolved since Megadeth released Killing Is My Business in 1985.  In this day and age, the fans want more.  Our time is valuable.  TV shows like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead can take us away from listening to music.  Gaming can also limit our time.  We live in a world of choice.  If something is not good enough, we just move on.  It could be another band, a movie, a TV show, a game, a book, a magazine, a holiday and so on.

I still purchased the physical CD of Super Collider, so that I can have it as part of my Megadeth collection, however I cannot recommend it.  I wish I could.  What disappoint’s me is that Chris Broderick is still utilised purely for his lead breaks.  Is that all he is capable off?  I don’t think so, however that is how it remains in Megadeth.  Dave Mustaine is the riff meister.  He is the songwriter, however in this case, I believe that the songwriter of the band has gone missing.  It’s not a bad album and it’s not a good album.

Going back to the meaning of the post.  Why did Megadeth and Dave Mustaine follow the old way?  He could have recorded and released more frequently and still toured behind Gigantour?

For example, he could have recorded and released Kingmaker one month and then released Cold Sweat from Thin Lizzy the next month.  During that two month period, the band could have fine tuned the other songs, written better ones or just kept them as the same, if the initial songs connected with the fans.

There is no need to follow the “spend six months creating and recording an album”, release it, watch it fade away from the minds of people’s within weeks and then go on tour of the world and hope that the tour will rekindle sales.

Don’t get me wrong, the above format still works for great albums.  Five Finger Death Punch released American Capitalist in October 2011, and it is still selling.  They got five singles out of it.  The fans spread it via social media.  They have a new album coming out in July and then another album scheduled for either a November 2013 or February 2014 release.  I really liked how Coheed and Cambria did the same thing with The Afterman releases and Stone Sour did the same with House of Gold and Bones.  The bands need to be here today, everyday.  If you are gone tomorrow, in this day and age, its game over.

Megadeth in this case didn’t have enough material for a great album, and that is all we have time for these days.  I still love the band, I will still purchase tickets to Gigantour if they bring it to Australia and I will be hoping that Megadeth return to writing great songs.

Keeping with the creators following the old way theme, there is an interview doing the rounds at Loudwire, with Shinedown singer Brent Smith.  Basically, back in April, Shinedown allowed their Facebook fans to vote on which songs the band should cover.  So after the results came in, the band went away and filmed themselves playing the cover songs.  They have no plans to sell the songs. All they want to do is release the video’s of them performing the cover songs on YouTube, so that they releasing content each week. However, they cannot release the songs due to licensing issues.

The licensing part of music, is the old way of thinking.  This the way it works in two sentences.  The creators write the songs and then sell the songs for a fee to a publisher.  The publisher then licences the songs to advertising, TV shows and collects monies for them.  In my view, Publishers should be all shot and buried.

If anything, Shinedown will bring more attention to the original versions of the songs they cover.  I know that I am keen to hear them do Nothing Else Matters from Metallica.

Shinedown is trying to do things the new way, releasing content more frequently.  Amaryllis came out in March, 2012.  It’s still in the minds of the public.  As at last week, it was sitting at 410,000 sold in the U.S. alone.  Now they are going to be involved with the Carnival of Madness Tour.  In between they also released the Warner Sound’s Live Room Sessions EP  and Brent Smith has been very vocal about getting fans to speak up and stand up for rock music via social media and the hashtag (#theriseofrockandroll).  They also have the covers YouTube clips up their sleeve.  

The game is changing every day. The old wayers’ need to get in bed with the new wayers’ and start thinking differently.  It’s not all about the initial pay-day on release day.  It’s about staying in the minds of the public and the fans.

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