A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Distribution

Last year a couple of big corporation plays happened.

The Amazon/Hachette war was not about books. It was about a power play between Corporations. One Corporation has the distribution and the reach, while the other has the content. Somewhere in between are the writers who are paid sweet f.a while Hachette and Amazon rake in millions.

The YouTube/Independent Label war was not about music. It was about a power play between a new cultural gatekeeper and a union of labels that want to play the music game. As with the Amazon/Hachette war, one corporation has the distribution and the reach, while the other has the content. While the major labels got favourable licensing deals because they bring in most of the traffic, the independents got a pittance. Somewhere in between are the artists and the songwriters who are again paid sweet f.a while YouTube and the major labels rake in millions.

What does this tell us about the world?

It tells us that DISTRIBUTION IS KING. It was never content. Content has to go to where people can buy it, see it or hear it and distribution puts it there. However distribution as usual is controlled by corporations. The record labels used to control it and now the techies control it. Copyright infringement was never the issue for the record labels. Their real issue was that their control of the distribution chain was diminished or made obsolete by the internet.

As a by-product, creators may gain fame from the sales of their works however the money remains with the distributor. How do you think the major labels became major labels in the first place? It was due to distribution. Apple promotes itself as a manufacturer and a software maker however underneath all the front end marketing they make their money as a distributor.

So with different corporations controlling the distribution chain what does the mean for us?

The same as it always has. Corporations are not our friends as they are all about the bottom line and with the Internet every store is next door to each other and only a mouse click away. With so much competition only a select few survives.

Napster decimated the record stores. While ignorant media outlets trump up a small vinyl increase, YouTube and Spotify are increasing their power exponentially. That’s right, we have people celebrating the old vinyl format and overpaying while the digital distributors aren’t even paying attention as they grow bigger and bigger.

YouTube is the place we check out to try/sample everything. Google is the place we go to for search. Facebook is our digital home, showing the world what such great and happy lives we lead while under the surface it’s actually hard and depressing. Amazon is where we go and buy everything. Apple is still in front for the smartphone wars even though the Samsung products offer way more features. There is a war between various streaming services going on right now. Expect one to survive and at the moment Spotify is in the lead for music and Netflix for movies.

Is this good for us?

All we have done is replace one cultural gatekeeper with another. But the problem with this replacement is that we are also giving a large part of lives to these new cultural gatekeepers. Google has our search histories in waiting and target ads based on that. Amazon gives us recommendations based on our purchase and view history. Facebook has our private history and so on. We threw away our privacy like it was a piece of trash. We gave it away for free.

Are we really moving into a George Orwell Big Brother world?

We threw our hats in the rings with the techies because they stood for something once. But the truth is money corrupts everything. And our politicians are not going to stand up against the corporations because politics is all about money.

The ignorant still focus on the decline of CD’s and now MP3’s while trumping up the return of VINYL. The wannabe trash all end up on reality TV shows believing that it is a stepping stone to a career in the entertainment business. In all of this, the artists and the writers keep on getting hurt while the powerful fight over their creations. They are just pawns in their game.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a trustworthy shopfront that is reliable with their deliveries, however I don’t like a shopfront that can control everything. And that is the problem in the digital world. No one is looking out for the consumers, us. We believe that the techies have our best interests because so many of the things we do are free, like Facebook and Google and YouTube. However they are not looking out for us and the politicians we vote in are not looking out for us either as they are in bed with whoever contributes to their campaigns. And the big IT companies have no competitors at the moment.

We used to join together under artists however they are all now part of the corporate machine with so many deals crossing over it makes the mechanics of the brain look simple.

Why do you think Dodge and Motley Crue are in bed with each other?

Dodge has realised that Motley Crue fans will be more inclined to purchase high performing cars so the partnership will allow Dodge to distribute more vehicles so that they can make money.

So don’t believe everything you read. Distribution is the reason why corporations become monopolies and the truth is this; the corporation that controls the distribution chain wins.

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

Customers And Creators. Fans And Artists. They are the ones that matter.

Village Roadshow is grasping at straws in their fight against piracy. Still failing to understand why it is a phenomenon and how it can be competed against. And the spokesperson for all of the propaganda and misinformation is Village Roadshow senior executive Graham Burke.

He has gone after Google because he believes that Google is deliberately misinforming the public in their arguments on copyright breaches and on-line piracy.

You see Mr Burke reckons that Australia needs stronger anti-piracy legislation in conjunction with expensive legally available products because he has reports that this kind of approach works in other countries. He also believes that a three-strikes policy will stop people from stealing. Yep, the CEO of Village Roadshow still refers to copyright infringement as THEFT. If copyright infringement is theft, then prosecute the thieves under theft laws.

Why go after them under Copyright laws?

Mr Burke points to the music business to debunk the theory that online piracy is primarily an availability and pricing problem.

Yes, Spotify and streaming services are all over the world and music piracy still exists. There is no doubt about that.

That is because people still want to download music for free, so where is the legal service that allows users to download mp3’s for free. Of course there isn’t a proper licensed one, so people turn to illegal downloading.

A free ad-supported service that allows users to download or trade in mp3’s will bring billions of dollars into the recording industry. Hell, the recording industry and the movie industry claim that pirated sites make millions upon millions from advertisements. So why don’t they along with iTunes, Spotify or a new player like Arena offer the same service.

Instead, we get Governments introducing new policies to “CRACKDOWN” on Copyright Infringement. And of course, these laws are all being collaborated in secret between certain interest groups.

As misleading as Graham Burke is, he has found an ally in Attorney-General George Brandis who benefited greatly from Village Roadshow in campaign contributions. In Australia, we pay the second highest honesty tax.

Yep, the powerful Retail Lobby groups pushed for a tax around $290 per household to offset the $AU1.86 billion in losses they incur from customer “deviant behaviour”. Let’s look at the deviant behaviour of Australians;

– Creating a fake US iTunes account to access and pay for content not available in Australia

– Using an IP Address to access content at a fairer price due to GeoBlocking.

– Illegally downloading TV shows, music and books from the internet for free, for personal consumption.

– Online shopping from other parts of the world because it is cheaper.

But the above behaviours are deemed “acceptable” by the people because hey, every news outlet reports that Australia has the highest rate of piracy. However, large organisations with a lot of cash, disagree with this. Instead of focusing on their models they focus on legislation. They need a tailored approach to their problem. If you have movie piracy, then it is your fault. If you have music piracy, then it is your fault.

Make your movie available as soon as it hits the cinema’s to download. Hell, most houses now have a home cinema.

But as long as people like Graham Burke exist and there are many of them, the industries will moan and complain. Once he finished with Google, he moved on to iiNet and accused them of “scaremongering”.

iiNet says that a graduated response is the wrong path to take in the piracy debate.

Village Roadshow wants to be judge, jury and executioner. There is no due process here whatsoever.

As we have seen with all of the takedown requests sent to Google, the Rights Holders are the main entities that are censoring the internet.

George Brandis has also labelled Australia the worst offender in the world when it comes to piracy.

So what we have here is a company called Foxtel (owned by News Corp) who has Game of Thrones locked up behind a paywall, claiming that over 500,000 Australians “legally watched each episode of the fourth and most recent season of Game of Thrones, but as many watched it illegally through online file-sharing.”

Then you have Choice, a consumer rights group that puts the blame at Foxtel’s ‘‘outdated business model’’ for the spike in GoT piracy.

So who is to blame.

500,000 illegally downloaded each episode according to Foxtel.

So why don’t Foxtel monetise those people by offering a service that benefits all. $10 to watch 10 episodes of Game Of Thrones, whenever you want. That is a cool $5 million.

Because in the end, all of these organisations in the middle, make their money from two groups.

CUSTOMERS and CREATORS.

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

What I Am Over Reading …..

Metallica’s New Album

Seriously it has been six years since Death Magnetic was released. For the last six months, the band has been working on songs. They have mentioned in press interviews that they have thousands of riffs stockpiled. The hype means nothing in 2014. Do people want a full Metallica album every six or seven years? I know what I would prefer, more quality frequent releases.

In relation to new music, “The Lords Of Summer” is the only new offering, while “Beyond Magnetic” broke the cobwebs on some old Death Magnetic demos. And the less said about “Lulu” the better.

However the Metallica live show sells out.

Led Zeppelin ReIssues

Seriously. How many times can someone own the original three albums or the songs contained within those albums.

Rockstars becoming owners of ,insert business venture here>

The fans want you to write music and play for them. Instead we get our heroes become owners in football clubs, technology start ups and so forth.

Piracy

Seriously. Is this still an issue in 2014?

YouTube and Spotify more or less have everything that a person would want. However the labels along with the RIAA still use piracy as a means to get more laws written. In Australia, our Attorney General is talking up a three strikes policy as a means to combat piracy even though evidence from all over the world has shown that these policies have done nothing to stop copyright infringement.

It’s because the people have no respect for copyright law anymore and the corporations that abuse it. Music survived for centuries upon centuries because there was no copyright. Artists copied each other. Music and melodies got passed on from family members to family members via copying each other.

Google Needs To Do More

People like U2 manager Paul McGuinness or the RIAA or the MPAA or the various bots they employ to issue takedowns need to get a life because Google is not to blame for copyright infringement. Google is not to blame for the THEFT of music. I believe the latest comment from McGuinness is that “Google is the greatest theft enabler on the internet”.

Seriously McGuinness should look up what THEFT means because as far as I know, U2 still has their music on iTunes. No one has stolen the mp3 that exists there. However if millions of copies of that same mp3 exist all over the internet, is that Google’s fault.

Streaming Doesn’t Pay

It does pay. If you are not getting any of the pie speak to the label or the organisation that is getting the pie. But according to Paul McGuinness again, bands should gate their releases like the good old days.

Sales

Seriously,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 artists reach is just too hard to fathom for them.

Are people listening to the album? That is the question. Instead of focusing on Soundscan numbers, what is happening on the live front?

Press Releases for new albums

People can see through the hype and bullshit. In other words, we don’t care about what the bands say about “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 it is great 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.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy

Record Label Innovation V3.0 – The Ultimate in Vanity, Exploiting Their Supremacy

Wow, another busy week is over and record label innovation is in full swing again.

Over at TorrentFreak there is a story from Ireland about the Record Labels asking the Court to force an Internet Service provider to disconnect music pirates. Alleged music pirates that are identified by the Record Labels via the IP address. Alleged music pirates who have no rights to due process.

James Hetfield barked “Halls of justice painted green, money talking”, and how true is that. The Record Labels are cashed up and they will go back to the Courts over and over again just to get a judgement in their favour. Justice is based on who can pay the most and the ones that pay the most, twist the argument to suit themselves.

There is also a story of Comcast in the US sending out over 600,000 notices to its customers. The actual customer that owns the IP address linked to Copyright Infringement may not be the actual file sharer, however this small obstacle does not matter to the RIAA who spends a lot of time gathering solid evidence (yeah, right) on copyright infringers. Again, alledged copyright infringers who have no rights to due process.

Power Wolves Beset Your Door
Hear Them Stalking

The Copyright Alert system is just that, power-hungry and cashed up wolves, stalking for a way to get the internet under their control.

Soon You’ll Please Their Appetite
They Devour

The Copyright Alert system is a shakedown. Within 2 years, it will be dubbed a failure by the RIAA and then they will push for another SOPA style law. And that is when the “hammer of justice crushes you, overpower.”

Principle Management (U2’s Management Company) has lost money for the fourth year in a row, so when Chairman Paul McGuiness gets a chance, he is quick to blame Google for his losses. Talk about sense of entitlement. Google has no reason to care if Principle Management is not making money. Did Principle Management care when Google was not making money in it’s early days, while Principle raked it in?

The Ultimate in Vanity
Exploiting Their Supremacy

The large players in the Record Label’s are exactly that. Vain people, exploiting their supremacy.

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

Entertainment Industries Innovation V2.0

Yesterday I posted about how the music industry innovates. If you caught the drift of the post, it was full of sarcasm around their “innovation” practices.

Seriously the music industry thought it was wise to spend money on an anti-piracy app. Paul McGuiness thought it was time to complain again about Google not doing enough to protect his 1990’s income stream and finally a copyright troll called “Rightscorp” is looking to shakedown people that they identify via IP addresses, even though judges across the world have stated that the IP address doesn’t show who the actual infringer is.

So continuing on with yesterdays innovation theme, what goodies do we have in store today.

First off, the Hollywood Reporter has an article about Voltage Pictures shaking down people that are sharing the “Dallas Buyers Club” movie. For those that don’t know, Voltage Pictures made the headlines 4 years ago for “pioneering” a new breed of copyright troll lawsuits around “mass swarms” of torrent users. However the question needs to be asked, IS piracy really hurting the movie? Wikipedia states that the movie cost $5 million to make. In the US it has grossed over $22 million. Now what Voltage Pictures should be doing is making the movie available to the whole world on the day of it’s release.

For example;

Portugal had a cinematic release date of January 16, 2014. Colombia had a cinematic release date of January 24, 2014. The Czech Republic, Netherlands, Singapore and Thailand had a cinematic release date of January 23, 2014. France had a cinematic release date of January 29, 2014 and Italy had a cinematic release date of January 30, 2014. In 2014, Geographical gated releases are stupid. The movie came out in the US in November, 2013. It came out on DVD in the US know in February, 2014. Once the movie is out in a country, it is out to the whole world.

Anyone heard of David Braben. He is known as “The Godfather of Gaming” and at one stage he was a very vocal piracy critic. However he now has a very different view on the issue;

“Piracy, while frustrating, can contribute to game evangelism.”

“It can also help you reach new territories. For example, we are huge in China now. In the old days of silver discs, it would have been impossible to break the whole country. We would have needed an office in every province but through piracy, our games are circulating and fans are now seeking us out.

“Piracy goes hand in hand with sales.”

“If a game is pirated a lot it will be bought a lot. People want a connected experience, so with pirated games we still have a route in to get them to upgrade to real version. And even if someone’s version is pirated, they might evangelise and their mates will buy the real thing.”

As the Techdirt post points out, Braden acknowledges that the piracy of his games is irritating. Every creator and artist can relate to that. However, instead of fighting them, he is putting strategies in place to turn those pirates into customers. His latest project, Frontier: First Encounters, the latest iteration in the “Elite” series was funded via Kickstarter. The initial goal was to raise £1.25m. In the end it raised over £1.5m, however the important part of this, is that once the mainstream media started to report on it, the project got another £700,000+ from investors. And that is what fan funding is all about.

It’s not about the money raised, it is about the marketability of the product. Are people interested in what you have to offer. Protest The Hero fan funded “Volition” and then they got label interest for the physical distribution of the album, along with merchandise interest for the tour.

So while Voltage Pictures are spending their money mobilising their legal teams to capture pirates and make them pay up, David Braden and his company are turning those pirates into loyal customers who are paying up because they want to participate in what Braden has to offer.

Going back to the anti-piracy app launched by the music business, I still can’t believe they actually spent money on that rubbish, especially when you have the company behind the BitTorrent client pushing the boundaries in relation to DIY distribution.

The BitTorrent Bundle has been around for a while and it has been used by various artists and creators to promote their works. Basically it is showing itself as another great distribution product, which gives any creator another way to connect with fans of their content and something to be used in conjunction with Netflix, iTunes, Spotify and YouTube.

This is how the entertainment industries fail. They fail to think with a different mindset. Everything is so locked up with profit margins and sales, they fail to see the many opportunities on offer to their creators. While the executive boards of the entertainment industries focus on profits in return they are exercising a poor duty of care to their creators, who are the ones that actually make money for them.

No one wakes up in the morning and thinks to themselves, “I want to hear some music from Universal artists” or “I want to watch a movie from Fox Studios” or “I want to read a book from Titan Books” or “I want to watch a TV show from HBO”.

We wake up with the mindset of “I want to hear Lynch Mob” or “I want to watch Star Wars” or “I want to read “Darth Bane: Path To Destruction” or “I want to watch “Game Of Thrones”.

In Australia, there has been outrage about how HBO signed an exclusive only deal with our only PAY TV provider FOXTEL for “Game Of Thrones”. Basically, if an Australia resident doesn’t have the stupid and expensive PAY TV contract in place, they cannot watch “Game of Thrones”.

So of course, Australians download it. Illegally.

However if you dig deep into HBO’s exclusive rights deal with FOXTEL, you will see that HBO really doesn’t care about “Game Of Thrones” being locked up behind a paywall. The reason why HBO doesn’t care is that they make a shit load on the DVD/BluRay sales in Australia. The profit margins from a DVD and a BluRay sale are exactly what HBO wants.

So while the entertainment business are trying to teach the consumers that piracy is bad, the technologists (like BitTorrent) are innovating even further and are providing creators even more options to distribute their product and connect with fans.

As David Braden stated; “It (piracy) can also help you reach new territories.” and “It can lead to an increase in sales.”

And that is what HBO is very aware of. They have seen the results, especially in Australia. PIRACY of “Game of Thrones” has led to huge sales of the DVD/Blu-ray releases of each series.

Finally, while the recording industry screams piracy, one of their own executives is accused of using major label money to fund an extravagant lifestyle. While the recording industry ignores innovative ideas like “BitTorrent Bundles”, the ones that do embrace them are seeing their products reach millions of users. For the record the most downloaded torrent for 2013, was a legal one.

The sad thing in all of this is the artist/creator. They are the ones that actually create the content that the people want. When they get into bed with a record label, it rarely ends well for them as the record label is only interested in profits RIGHT NOW.

They don’t care about the exposure that other distribution channels can offer them, which could lead to increased sales in the long term.

http://www.indiewire.com/article/bittorrent-sets-the-record-straight-about-piracy-wants-to-partner-with-filmmakers

http://variety.com/2014/digital/news/bittorrent-looks-to-spruce-up-its-image-with-hollywood-1201086470/

http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/box-seat/game-of-thrones-finale-sparks-viewer-frenzy-20130611-2o1bw.html

http://www.tonedeaf.com.au/news/international-news/383823/former-major-label-executive-accused-of-embezzling-1-million.htm

http://nypost.com/2014/02/04/former-warner-music-exec-allegedy-embezzled-over-1m/

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Copyright, Music, My Stories

This Is How The Out Of Touch Music Business Innovates

The Music Business launches an Anti-Piracy App to educate young people on piracy while at the same time copyright infringement of music is declining each year due to decent legal options.

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. So maybe the game will show players how much an artist REALLY gets for a song.

However, if the recording industries want to be treated seriously, what about the income from live shows, merchandise deals, licensing, video games, YouTube, Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Pledge and the many other ways an artist can make money these days.

Then you have Paul McGuiness who wants Google to do more to protect the old business models of the recording industry. This is what Paul McGuiness had to say;

What needs to be done is simple, take the sites down and keep them down. If the pirates can manage to replace their sites instantly with legions of bots, Google, with their brilliant algorithm engineers can counter it.

Umm, can someone tell Paul McGuiness that Google is only a search engine. It is not their job to police the internet for the entertainment industries.

We need the technology giants like Google to do the things that labels, the publishers, the artists, the writers repeatedly ask them to do. They need to show corporate and social responsibility. Take down the illegal sites, keep them down and clear the way for the legal digital distributers like iTunes, Spotify, Deezer, the new Jimmy Iovine Beats service, which promises to be a very serious competitor. Those services now exist, it is no longer acceptable to say that the music industry is not available, not making its wares available online.

People have been downloading since the Napster days. So it’s pretty clear to the recording industry people that their customers want to download an albums worth of music, they want to do it for free, they want it DRM free and they want to do it anonymously. So why isn’t the recording industry offering this service to their customers.

They claim illegal pirate sites make money from the advertisements. So why can’t the recording industry offer the same service, via the BitTorrent protocol and make money from the Advertisements.

We’re all aware in this room that subscription is now replacing downloading — legal or illegal — but we do need those mega corporations to make a genuine effort to cooperate and feed the industry that has been so good to them.

Corporations exists to offer a service to their customers. They do not exist to prop up dated business models based on high profit margin CD’s.

Finally you have a company called Rightscorp who is accumulating Copyrights

I’ve posted previously about the whole shambles around Copyright and how their extended copyright terms are purely there to protect the interest of the Corporations that have paid the creator a sum to control their copyright or the Corporations that have paid the record label (who is the current holder of the Copyright) to control the record label right. 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.

While the two labels deal with music, Rightscorp Inc, is otherwise known as a COPYRIGHT TROLL. Rightscorp claims that they have a “patent pending digital loss prevention technology” that focuses on the infringement of digital content such as music, movies, software, and games and ensures that owners and creators are rightfully paid for their IP.

The Wall Street Journal article also mentions that the following;

Rightscorp implements existing laws to solve copyright infringements by collecting payments from illegal file sharing activities via notifications sent through Internet Service Providers (ISPs). The Company’s technology identifies copyright infringers, who are offered a reasonable settlement option when compared to the legal liability defined in the Digital Millennium Copyrights Act (DMCA).

It is very interesting reading the above paragraph, especially when the Justice system in the U.S is waking up and realising that an IP address does not identify who the actual copyright infringer is.

While the music business innovates in their own litigious way, the so called “pirates” are innovating in a very different way by making it even easier for fans of music to download and even stream music.

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

Chaos + Disruption = The Music Business

It’s a chaotic and disruptive time in the music business and with chaos comes opportunity.

On one side you have COPYRIGHT. And that can be broken down into a lot of other little chaotic categories like infringement, the length of copyright terms, copyright monopolies, the lack of works entering the public domain and so on.

The public domain is culture. Keith Richards once said, ‘you can’t copyright the blues.’

Culture is built and expanded by sharing stories and building on the works of others. Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and all of the sixties greats like Hendrix, Clapton and Beck used this concept. They built off the blues.

However copyright law and its real purpose got hijacked by corporations and everything changed. Instead of culture being built up in the works that the public creates and shares, the public is now faced with copyright corporations locking away works that should be in the public domain by now. These works that should be in the public domain do not benefit the original creators in any way, however they are beneficial for the few copyright monopoly gatekeepers.

For culture to thrive once again, it is important to respect the public domain.

Then on another side of the music business you have the RIAA who continually push lies out into the world, so that technology companies can do something to protect crap business models. Did you know that the global music industry sent it’s 100 million takedown notice to Google, to remove search links to certain sites. It looks like the RIAA doesn’t get it.

So if a person types in “free mp3” in Google Search what should Google return?

Sites that have free mp3’s or sites that the RIAA want Google to point to when that term is typed in. Maybe when that person types in free mp3, they want a free mp3 and have no interest in paying.

Then you have the ISP’s on another side that are caught up in the middle of all this as they offer the service that provides internet access to users. According to the RIAA and the record labels, the ISP’s allow “copyright infringement” to happen, therefore, they need to do something about it to help out the music industry. In Australia, this is heavily disputed, however in other parts of the world gradual response schemes are in place.

Then you have the technology companies trying to offer low cost services to fans of music. However, low cost to a fan means high costs to the RIAA and the record labels in licensing fees. This is before the new service is even allowed to trade. If the new service starts to trade without licensing in place, expect them to be litigated into submission.

Have you noticed that artists have not been mentioned anywhere as yet. That is how far the music business has come, where the actual music is only a small part of it, however it should be the major part of it. For the business to thrive, you need great music.

I was looking back to some of the releases in 2013 that I liked. Two of my favourites are “Protest The Hero” and “Coheed and Cambria”.

“Protest The Hero” and “Coheed and Cambria” are working to the “Keep your fan base close” mantra. Both of the bands moved from major labels into a DIY independent mindset, realising that their fans are king.

Exceptional fan service is the key driving force behind a bands success. I expect “Coheed and Cambria” will get a lot more fans purchasing the next super deluxe package for the new album because they did such a great job with “The Afterman” releases.

“Protest The Hero” on the other hand have fallen into the fan funded conundrum where the perks always arrive later than expected for international fans. I live in Australia and I am still waiting for the perks to arrive. The band have been clear with their information, advising that it will take 6 to 8 weeks.

It’s good old business 101, “treat your customers right and they’ll stay with you forever”.

Then you have bands like Five Finger Death Punch, Avenged Sevenfold, Dream Theater, Stone Sour, Killswitch Engage, Trivium, Volbeat, Alter Bridge and TesserAct that have label deals.

Should those bands go independent like Protest The Hero or Coheed and Cambria. It all depends on a person’s definition of success and hard work. Going independent means that you need to build a team around you like any business start-up.

What are the benefits of going independent?

The lesson is simple. Selling your artistic freedom and independence as a “success” strategy can bring lucrative rewards. But it’s not always the best move for your career, as you are also selling off important data to the record label. The record label doesn’t want to know your fans or connect with them. They want you to do it, so that the label can make money of that relationship and then pay you a percentage of it.

Coheed and Cambria moved over 100,000 units of their deluxe “Afterman” editions. At $60 (I think it was $68, however I will use $60 for the example) an edition, that comes to $6 million in revenue. If the band was on the label model, what percentage would the band see from that $6 million.

The music market/business is filled with acts trying to make it. It is going to take a huge effort to stand out amongst the rest. Music is a lifer game. It is a slow and steady approach that builds careers.

Artists should be looking at development. With each song release, artists should never be afraid to try things out. Even try out new technologies that make it very easy for their fans to interact with them and their music. In a company, this is called research and development. Investing in your career is never a mistake.

The artists have the power to make the record labels redundant, purely to be used as a distribution arm if needed, however with the rise of streaming technologies, even this arm can be in danger of disappearing. Bands like Coheed and Cambria, Protest The Hero and Digital Summer have seen the recorded business side of things and have decided, hey we can do it better. That’s what great businesses are made of.

So in all of this chaos, who will rise and who will fall? Time will tell, however if you compare music to technology, you will see only a select few rise to the top. Smartphones and tablets is all Apple and Samsung. Amazon has online shopping cornered. Google is the king of search. Spotify will win the streaming war. Facebook rules social media. iTunes rules the mp3 and app market. Will the same fate happen in the music business?

2019 Crystal ball predictions;

Coheed and Cambria – will get bigger and bigger. Their style is unique, so expect them to keep to that style, sort of like how AC/DC releases music in the same style or Iron Maiden.

Protest The Hero – proved to themselves that they still matter. Will get bigger and more crazier. The future of progressive metal.

Machine Head – will still be bigger then what they are. Robb Flynn understands the internet and understands the change that is coming. He will make sure that Machine Head rides the wave all the way to the shoreline, while Adam Duce circles in the undercurrent, ready to litigate the band into submission.

TesseracT – will become the next Pink Floyd.

Digital Summer – are one of the hardest working rock bands around like Twisted Sister and Dream Theater. They will get bigger as they are lifers.

Avenged Sevenfold – will become the new Metallica.

Five Finger Death Punch – I have a feeling that they will break up after one more album.

Shinedown – will be bigger than what Aerosmith ever was.

Volbeat – will remain relevant in their niche genre.

Metallica – will still be relevant in the same way the Seventies act remained relevant.

Dream Theater – will still tour and do a lot of side projects, however they will be replaced by TesseracT and Protest The Hero.

Black Veil Brides – will take over the void left by Motley Crue and Guns N Roses.

Trivium – will deliver an astounding progressive technical metal album.

Killswitch Engage – will remain relevant in their niche genre.

Alter Bridge – The world needs Led Zeppelin to continue. Expect Alter Bridge to fill this void. They have one of the best vocalists of the modern era in Myles Kennedy. Marc Tremonti is a prolific writer. Call his Creed project, “The Yardbirds” and Alter Bridge as “Led Zeppelin.”

Bullet For My Valentine – will deliver their own version of “Master Of Puppets” and “The Blackening”.

Lets see how it pans out.

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