Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Copyright, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

Be Influenced. It’s Okay.

Screw all the heirs of dead artists and their lawyers who believe that the music their ancestors created was so original and free from influence. Here is a quick list that I compiled off the top of my head from some large songs and all the artists they borrowed from or got influenced from had successful careers without a plagiarism court case.

Metallica – Fade to Black (1984)
A fan made music video on YouTube has 32,538,942 views, while a fan posted mp3 has 44,032,321 views. In other words it’s a monster of a song. But where did this monster come from.

The intro is influenced by the intro in Pink Floyd – “Goodbye Blue Sky” from 1979. The start of the outro when James is singing is influenced by the intro from Black Sabbath – “A National Acrobat” from 1973. And the song still sounds original.

Poison – Unskinny Bop (1991)
The song has over 7 million streams on Spotify.

The guitar riff is influenced by the intro guitar riff in Billy Squier – “Powerhouse” from 1986. The bass lines are very similar to the bass line from 45 seconds onwards in Great White – “Mista Bone” from 1989. Then again, that running bass line is pretty common in most songs. You hear it in “Disturb The Priest” from Black Gillian’s album “Born Again”. And the song still sounds original.

Gotye – Somebody I Used To Know (2011)
Gotye’s “Somebody I Used To Know” has close to 400 million streams on Spotify. It’s popular and catchy and it borrowed heavily from other songs. The music and vocal melodies are from the verse riff in Billy Squier – “Reach For The Sky” from 1984 and the verse riff from The Police – “King Of Pain” from 1983. And the Gotye song still sounds original.

Motley Crue – SEX (2012)
Motley Crue’s “SEX” borrowed its main riff from “Evie” (1974) by Stevie Wright (which has 1,037,491 streams on Spotify). “Evie” is also similar to “Mississippi Woman” by Mountain (almost 23,000,000 streams on Spotify), which is also similar to “Sweeter Than Honey” by Jefferson Starship (1975) and “Train” by 3 Doors Down borrows from all of them.

And all of the songs still sound unique and original, regardless of the obvious influences.

Bullet For My Valentine – “Waking The Demon” (2008)
“Waking The Demon” borrowed its main intro riff from the intro/verse riff in Slayer’s “Spirit In Black” released in 1990 on the “Seasons In the Abyss” album.

On Bullets Vevo account, “Waking The Demon” has 48 million views, while “Spirit In Black” has 96,000 views on a fan YouTube account and 462,000 views on another fan YouTube account. Be influenced and make it better.

One Song To Inspire Them All
That goes to Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”. For a band that used the music of other artists to build a career, they ended up creating a definitive song that a lot of other bands would use as a template to build their career on.

  •  Kingdom Come – “Get In On” verse riff is similar to Led Zeppelin – Kashmir.
  • Megadeth – “In My Darkest Hour” verse riff is similar to Led Zeppelin – Kashmir.
  • Whitesnake – “Judgement Day” verse riff similar to Led Zeppelin – Kashmir.
  • Coheed and Cambria – “Welcome Home” verse riff similar to Led Zeppelin Kashmir.

A live version of Kashmir on the Led Zeppelin YouTube account has 28 million views and an mp3 on a fan YouTube account has 19 million views.

And yet all of the above mentioned songs still sound unique. If you delve into the origins of each song, you will see some influences or borrowing from other songs and the cycle just keeps on going. So here’s a big “up yours” to the all of those people who scream plagiarism in music.

Click the link to listen to the Progress Is Derivative 1 playlist.

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A to Z of Making It, Music

The New Artist Lesson

I have come across some good music lately, however the bands/artists that created the music are still languishing at the bottom of the music pile.  So what can bands like Burnside, Tesseract, The Night Flight Orchestra, Polution and Vaudeville do differently to get their brand and music out there.

IS THERE A MARKET FOR YOUR MUSIC?

The common misconception that most bands/artists have is that their music will succeed. The cold hard truth is that no one knows what music will succeed.  That is why A&R people, have a bad strike ratio.  They can find talent, however that doesn’t mean that the talent they find will succeed in the music business.

New bands need to test the market.  You need to see what kind of response you get back.  Find ways to measure the longevity of your song.  Did fans spread it on social media? Did a torrent go up on The Pirate Bay? Does it have seeders? Does it have leachers? Are people streaming it? Are people purchasing it? Are people listening to it on YouTube?

If the song is setting the world on fire, repeat the whole process again with a new song as there is a market there for you.

If the song is not setting the world on fire, take a step back, re-evaluate, create a better song and repeat all of the above as there is no market there for you at the moment.

Burnside created a brilliant album in Evolution that consisted of 13 songs and released them all at once. They relied on an old business model that doesn’t work anymore. They needed to test the market, so that they could see if there is a market for their music.  They should have released a song and measured it’s reach first. If you have an audience of less than 10,000, you should not be spending time creating a 13 song album.  

The Night Flight Orchestra wrote a song called West Ruth Avenue, that in my mind rivalled Gotye’s Somebody That I Used To Know.  Somebody That I Used To Know found a market, West Ruth Avenue didn’t.  (Yes, I know that The Night Flight Orchestra is a side project, however it is one album that should have found a bigger audience).

TesserAct in my view released a great album in Altered State.  Century Media streamed the album on their YouTube page and it had over 90,000 hits.  The album comes out and it moves over 4000 units in the U.S.  Is this a good thing or a bad thing? The label tested the market with the pre-release stream on YouTube. I think both artists where expecting a better turn out in sales, however this is the wrong view point to have. Fans can now stream their music.

SUPPLY vs. DEMAND

I hope that the bands I have mentioned are not focusing on the payment side of things. Remember Spotify, Pandora, iTunes are all services that you use to get your music out there.  Don’t solely rely on these services as a source of revenue.  It’s a diversified music game. You need to have other strategies for that.  However, before you get to this stage, you need to ensure that a market exists.

Remember that you are a seller and a supplier.  It’s simple economics. Supply vs Demand. At the moment, the recorded music world is over supplied. There is so much music out there, however not all of the music that is released has a demand waiting for it. Demand equals buyers. Buyers equal fans. The artists should be satisfying the needs of the fans.

BUILDING PLACES OF WORSHIP FOR YOUR FANS

It is the fans that will promote you.  No one cares about the music that radio pushes. No one cares about the music that the press and mainstream media pushes.  No one cares about the music if you scream until your black and blue about how great your song is. 

People care and pay attention, when they see fan blogs created in your name (like the John Petrucci forums, the Mike Portnoy forums, the Dream Theater forums and so on).  You need to ensure that you build a cathedral so that your fans can worship your music and spread it.

In the end, you need to have great music marketed to people that will like it and buy it.  Otherwise you will remain in your local suburban market.

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