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

Grammy Awards

It’s a gimmick. From when Jethro Tull won the first metal award at the Grammy’s, the whole awards night and nominations has been a joke when it comes to metal and hard rock music. Hell, even metal heads said “who is Jethro Tull” when his name was announced. Jethro Tull didn’t even turn up to the awards ceremony because their label told them they wouldn’t win.

I am all in for metal music to be recognised, however it’s time to call a spade a spade. The Grammy awards for metal doesn’t recognise anything. It is a dead set joke. The Revolver awards are a step in the right direction however they are not much better as they play up to the ‘PR’ companies who assist in writing their stories. You see, we live in a different world right now where we get to choose what we want to listen to from a plethora of choices. Does anybody really care who wins or is nominated?

Having Metallica win the “Best Metal Performance” in 1990 for “One” and then in 1991 for “Stone Cold Crazy” just added to the Grammy metal jokes.

“One’s” fate was tied with the “…And Justice For All” album and that was meant for the 1989 Grammy ceremony. And seriously, for the 1991 awards, a cover song was the best that was on offer in the metal world for releases released from October 1989 to September 1990. I don’t think so.

Even in 1999, Metallica won again for “Better Than You”. For which song, I hear you say. “Better Than You.” Does anyone know from which album it was on or how the riff goes or the vocal melody? I bet that most people will answer NO.

Fast forward to the 2014 nominations. The nominations are Anthrax – “T.N.T.”, Black Sabbath – “God Is Dead?”, Dream Theater – “The Enemy Inside”, Killswitch Engage – “In Due Time” and Volbeat – “Room 24” featuring King Diamond. Scott Ian has even said that he didn’t know that Anthrax could be nominated for their cover songs.

From an artist point of view a Grammy nomination can be trumpeted as a marketing success in future promotions however it means nothing if the music isn’t great. Even in movies, who cares if a new movie has Oscar nominated actors if the movie is a dud. Same deal with music. Who cares if Megadeth has been nominated for the most Grammy’s without a win? We only care if the music is great?

Yep, Motorhead won a Grammy in 2006, beating out acts like Cradle of Filth, Hatebreed, Killswitch Engage and Slipknot. Can anyone name the track and the album it is on without Googling it. Yep, Judas Priest won an award in 2010 for a live track of Dissident Aggressor. Seriously, a live track. That is the best that was on offer.

If the music is not repeatable and if people are not listening to it, it’s time to go back and write some more songs. To think that the Grammys’ are a reflection of heavy music today is akin to saying what Loudwire rights is gospel. Did anyone read their praising review of the first Red Dragon Cartel gig? It was a shock to the 99.9% of the audience in attendance who blasted the show on Facebook and other social media sites.

NARAS is beholden to the old major label structure. That structure is going through a chaotic time and for some of it is crumbling. So what does NARAS do? They nominate what the labels push and lobby. They get it wrong year after year as their membership is declining. In other words, the current music paradigm looks for people to lead and NARAS has none.

The old paradigm is gone. Entertainment and music are owned by the fans. The days of Producers, Record Label A&R’s and Publishing people voting for who should be nominated and who should win are over. If these people think they are above the audience, then they are in for a rude shock.

Musicmetrics has shown Iron Maiden where their pirate (copyright infringing) fans are and Iron Maiden rewarded them by doing concerts there. However apart from the websites that report critically on these issues, the rest of the media ignores the story, because they are beholden to the labels or to the old newspaper system. So of course, they cannot be trumpeting the virtues of copyright infringement.

What we should be awarding is music that managed to get their message out to people. In 2013 we are inundated with so much information, so we decide to invest time into music that interests us or really connects with us.

So what is important. The bottom line is this.

If a band is at decent “star” level, they will get traction because they have proven themselves. They do not need a Grammy nomination or a Grammy win to trumpet their next album. If Megadeth releases another stiff album, then they can expect to do even lower numbers on their next tour, because in the end ten tracks slapped together means nothing if nobody isn’t interested. Same for Dream Theater.

The plan today is back to selling songs. The record labels wish that is not the case, however that is just denying the inevitable. Music is a hit for a reason. It’s because its good. It’s not because it won a Grammy award or got nominated for a Grammy award.

Otherwise a Grammy nomination is near meaningless. A footnote. It doesn’t service the fans. That’s the music business right now. The fans have the power. They deserve the respect.

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Music Isn’t Just About Record Sales

Change is hard and in the end it is always worthwhile. There is a cliché that goes that after being fired or rejected or dumped one door closes and a million other doors open that will lead to a better place. It is true, however the main part that nobody talks about is how long it’s going to take to get to that better place.

The highs of success and fame are brief. It begins to fade and then what are you going to do next?

Vince Neil

On July 6, 2013, Vince Neil played a solo show in Mexico City. The venue was Jose Cuervo Salon. The capacity of the venue is 1,500. The attendance was 64 people. That’s right, less than 5% of the total venue size. Total Gross sales for the night was $2,286. There was only one ticket price at $35.72. So does anyone really care about Vince Neil outside of Motley Crue? Based on the ticket sales, Mexico sure don’t.

What a hard truth that is? Music is a tough business and this is what happens when you go out every night with Motley Crue and sing out of tune. Also why is he touring. He hasn’t released anything new recently. Also when he does tour, all he does is play Motley Crue songs. No one wants to hear Vince Neil do Motley again. I don’t know why, as there are some great songs in the Vince Neil catalogue that fans would love to hear live.

His debut album “Exposed” celebrated 20 years this year. He should have commemorated that release? It is a great album and there is an audience for it. It might mean he plays smaller venues that fit a couple of hundred. However he needs to sing in tune to get people to come back time and time again.

It is a good thing he is getting into the restaurant business and the Tequila/Wine business.

Classic Rock and Southern Rock Rule in Gilford, New Hampshire

On July 3, 2013, the Gigantour tour hit Gilford, New Hampshire. The venue was Meadowbrook. The capacity of the venue is 6,657. The attendance was 1,308. That’s right, 1,308 people turned up to watch Megadeth, Black Label Society, Device and Hellyeah. Total Gross sales for the night was $49,860. There was three tiers of ticket prices ranging from $42, $33 and $23.75.

My first opinion was that the low attendance is due to the poor recent albums put out by the bands involved. Don’t get me wrong, all of those albums are worthy of a listen, but there is nothing really engaging to go back for seconds.

This show should have been a sell-out. The Gigantour tour has never hit Gilford, New Hampshire before. So it is not a market that has seen the Gigantour tour before. However, if you take just the town of Gilford and its population of 7000, then you see it is a small market and the attendance of 1,308 people is not a bad result. Add to the mix that other rock shows are playing the same venue in the weeks leading up to the Gigantour show and in the weeks after, you start to form a different viewpoint.

With most shows a lot of people come from surrounding towns as well. I know in Australia that Sydney is the place that most bands play, however the audience is derived from places in NSW that are a decent hour or three or five away from Sydney.

On July 9, 2013, Daughtry, 3 Doors Down, Halestorm and Bad Seed Rising also played the Meadowbrook at Gilford, New Hampshire. The attendance was 2,718 in a venue that fits 6,219 (for this shows the capacity was reduced due to the stage size). Total Gross sales for the night was $142,431. There was four tiers of ticket prices ranging from $59.50, $49.50, $39.50 and $29.50.

Again not even half full. Daughtry is a platinum selling major label backed super star. 3 Doors Down are also in the same league, although they haven’t reached the same heights as the early two thousands and Halestorm are Grammy award winners. So what’s gone wrong. Lynyrd Skynyrd and Bad Company is what went wrong.

On July 26, 2013, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Bad Company also played the Meadowbrook at Gilford, New Hampshire. The attendance was 6,671 in a venue that fits 6,671 (that’s right people, classic rock and southern rock sold out the venue). Total Gross sales for the night was $407,641. There was three tiers of ticket prices ranging from $79, $59 and $33.25.

Classic rock and southern rock trumped everyone. Lynyrd Skynyrd released “Last of a Dyin’ Breed” in August 2012 however that album was dead and buried by the July 2013. Bad Company on the other hand haven’t released anything worthwhile for a long time. However when you combine the two acts, put a 40th Anniversary name to the tour and you have people from that era interested. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s first album release and Bad Company’s formation happened 40 years ago. To prove my point, I am going to watch Bon Jovi in Sydney, because I want my kids to experience it.

Classic Rock Rules Part II

On July 19, 2013, Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band played a show in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The venue was the MTS Centre. The capacity of the venue is 8,397. The attendance was 8,397. Total Gross sales for the night was $724,948. There was two tiers of ticket prices ranging from $107.15 and $63.31.

Talk about turning the page. What a comeback from the man with the golden voice? Thank Metallica for their cover of “Turn The Page” in 1998. The Metallica version made Bob Seger cool with the metal community and who can forget the Metallica clip with Ginger Lynn.

Another turning point for Bob Seger’s comeback was 3 Doors Down and heir song “Landing In London” that Bob Seger sang on.

Once “Landing In London” came out in 2005, interest in Bob Seger was renewed. It was followed by a new album in 2006 and a few Greatest Hits / Live packages in between.

Guess what else is happening in the world of Bob Seger? A new album is on its way. Isn’t that like the old guard. He is hot at the moment so let’s release a new album. Why don’t the people that advise Seger release a new song first and see how it resonates with the public before dropping a slab of them.

Classic Rock III

On July 2, 2013, Alice Cooper played a show at South Bend, Indiana. The venue was Morris Performing Arts Center. The capacity of the venue is 2,552. The attendance was 1,662. Total Gross sales for the night was $77,967. There was two tiers of ticket prices ranging from $69.50 and $39.50.

This is Alice Cooper fresh from his run with Marilyn Manson that ended in June. This show was billed as “An Evening With Alice Cooper” and it was his first show in South Bend in 4 years. There is still juice in the tank of a cultural icon.

On July 28, 2013, Ted Nugent and Laura Wilde played a show in Nashville, Tennessee. The venue was the Ryman Auditorium. The capacity of the venue is 2,037. The attendance was 1,254. Total Gross sales for the night was $67,893. There was two tiers of ticket prices ranging from $59.50 and $39.50.

Just like Alice Cooper, Ted was coming off a Classic Rock run with REO Speedwagon and Styx. As with Alice, there is still life left in our favourite gun toting / wildlife hunter.

Wish they would take a leaf out of the Black Star Riders playbook? Their album, “All Hell Breaks Loose” is a great slab of classic rock songs. I was always a fan of Rick Warwick from The Almighty days so it was great to hear him rocking out again with a Phil Lynott swagger this time around, instead of a Brian Johnson swagger.

What Does A Grammy Award or Nomination Mean in 2013?

Halestorm (along with Age Of Days) played a show on June 26, 2013 at Edmonton, Alberta. The venue was the Starlite Room. The capacity of the venue was 700. The attendance was 492 and the total gross sales for the night was $12,778. There was two tiers of ticket prices ranging from $27.61 and $24.76.

Halestorm are still paying their dues. The Grammy win means nothing to today’s music public. The record labels that pay the entry fee are the ones that can compete. It’s got nothing to do with public opinion.

Hell, Dream Theater and Megadeth were nominated for Grammies last year and their current albums can’t move past the 100,000 mark in sales. If the music is great it will sell itself.

Both Dream Theater and Megadeth should look up the Wikipedia entry of “Instant Karma” from John Lennon.
“It ranks as one of the fastest-released songs in pop music history, recorded at London’s Abbey Road Studios the same day it was written, and arriving in stores only ten days later. Lennon remarked to the press, he “wrote it for breakfast, recorded it for lunch, and we’re putting it out for dinner.”

This is what both bands need to be doing. Writing some new material ASAP. Forgot about the next album or the tour coming up and go back into the studio and churn a couple of songs out. Surprise us for Christmas.

Alice In Chains is still powerful

On July 11, 2013, Alice In Chains played a show in London, Ontario, Canada. The venue was Budweiser Gardens. The capacity of the venue is 5,248. The attendance was 4,801. Total Gross sales for the night was $237,558. There was two tiers of ticket prices ranging from $56.57 and $30.90.

I can’t say I am a fan of the new Alice In Chains album. It’s pedestrian. However the fans are there. If they are there because of the old or the new or both, it doesn’t matter. The band is a quarter of a million per show band.

Power Metal Rules In Europe

On April 18, 2013, Helloween, Gamma Ray and Shadowside played a Power Metal feast in Hamburg, Germany. The venue was the Docks. The capacity of the venue is 1,500. The attendance was 1,171. Total Gross sales for the night was $51,299. There was two tiers of ticket prices ranging from $52.52 and $43.33.

You have German bands playing in Germany. Enough said. The thing with power metal bands is that they know the size of their audience. You won’t see them playing venues larger than the above size. Maybe 3000 max. it is a niche and it has a hard core and devoted fan base. They even have power metal outdoor festivals where fans even get dressed up in medieval clothing and enact sword fights and so forth.

This is a good indication of bands still carving out a living in a time where they have no promotion in the large US market. This is a good indication of bands still carving out a living in a time where people download music illegally or stream it legally.

The Black Crowes still do good business

On July 19, 2013, The Black Crowes, Tedeschi Trucks Band and The London Souls played a show in Nashville, Tennesse. The venue was the Woods Amphitheater at Fontanel. The capacity of the venue is 4,056. The attendance was 3,273. Total Gross sales for the night was $215,641. There was two tiers of ticket prices ranging from $115 and $49.50.

I watched The Black Crowes at the Wollongong Entertainment Centre on April 1, 2008. The venue had less than a thousand people in attendance in a venue that has a capacity of around 10,000, so the stage was moved heaps forward to accommodate for the smaller audience.

It was the best show I saw. They jammed, they extended songs and just had fun. Rich Robinson was the sheriff. He was the one they all looked too for when the jam starts and when the jam ends.

That is a sign of a true champion. The night before, they played to a sold out Sydney audience 70 minutes away. They could have chucked a hissy fit at the small turn out for the Wollongong show, however they didn’t. They came out and they rocked.

There is plenty of money available in music and the more people that have access to your recorded music means more fans that could turn into customers.

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