A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

We Have A Payment Problem

The music business has a payment problem.

Streaming payments from record labels and publishers to artists  have the most focus but man, those live promoters ain’t no angels either.

Twisted Sister is going to the courts to get paid their appearance fee for a festival in the States. Non payments or small payments is a systemic issue in music. Lack of transparency around those payments is another issue. Breaking contracts to suit the organization with the cash is common. Getting DIY bands to pay to play is another.

But then again,  promoters also don’t get it easy.

Councils and Venues all around the world have been accused of exorbitant and extortionist fees for events that cripple the live industry. Then you have the unions to deal with. And then you have the ticketing companies putting their fees onto ticket prices and the secondary ticket market is another industry putting more fees and making millions in the process.

And so many of these organizations employees are flying first class or private on the backs of artists.

The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame business model is built on the hard work artists and songwriters put in, yet it’s an exclusive club based on who is cozy with who.

Steve Miller spoke truth in his acceptance speech. Miller took offense to how he and his wife get a ticket to the show and for anyone else (like his band members) it was $10K. Miller had to make his own way there in second class while RRHOF execs fly private. But its songs from artists that give income to all of these organisations.

The RIAA is a lobby group that is funded by the record labels, distributors and publishing companies. Money meant for artists and songwriters gets funneled into this lobby group. The politicians who the RIAA lobbies to write and introduce bills then end up as RIAA employees when they lose office. What a brilliant concept for some?

And it’s the artists that are shafted once again.

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A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Copyright, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit, Unsung Heroes

Death, Money, Consistency and Originality

DEATH

AJ Pero died a few days ago. That iconic drum beat at the start of “We’re Not Gonna Take It” that was him. A.J Pero wasn’t the pretty boy in the band that is for sure. He was the street dog that could groove. Dee Snider might have grabbed all the fame but that doesn’t mean that A.J Pero wasn’t a star. If he didn’t roll, the Twisted machine didn’t rock. And man he was a perfect fit for Adrenaline Mob as well.

Remember that it is tough being in the music business. A.J Pero from what I know didn’t write not one song however he had a career that spanned 40 plus years. It’s because he didn’t get into music for the riches and the fame. He got into music because he loved it and he kept that love going for his whole career. He even died while on tour.

RIP.

And the piece d’resistance A.J. Pero song for me is “The Fire Still Burns” from the “Come Out And Play”.

MONEY

I really enjoyed Revolution Saints and when I looked at the song writing credits, it’s all Alessandro Del Vecchio. There is not ONE Doug Aldrich credit. Maybe the money incentive to do Revolution Saints from Sergio Perufino was too good compared to what Whitesnake had on offer.

Speaking of money, everyone reckons Metallica is losing it. Maybe its true and maybe it’s not. But what I do know is that in every business as soon as you forget about the tasks that bring in the bread and butter, two things begin to happen. Stagnation and bankruptcy. Leave the festivals to the promoters and leave the movies to Hollywood. Metallica’s bread and butter is music and it has been now 7 years since we had any new tunes from them.

Continuing with the money topic, the recording industry wants to rip apart Spotify’s freemium model.

Which is typical?

Instead of working with Spotify to make the premium option super enticing that fans of music feel the need to purchase a subscription, they want to make the premium option the freemium option and place restrictions on the freemium option. What’s even worse, studies are coming out showing that the spending on streaming music is outperforming CD sales. And in countries that adopted streaming much earlier than the U.S and Australia, streaming is even outperforming digital sales.

I had this debate with others. A lot of people would be happy to pay an annual subscription amount to listen to music of their favourite artists, provided that they KNOW that the money would be divided among those artists and not others.

This is typical of the recording business, trying to be paid multiple times for the same product. That is why all of the record labels had class action suits brought against them from artists. The label is applying the same vinyl math to digital music and the artists don’t like it.

CONSISTENCY

Getting people to pay attention just once is not enough. The ones that have a music career have done it over again and again and again. Quiet Riot got me hooked with “Metal Health” and then disappointed the fans with “Condition Critical”. Then they disappointed the fans even more with the one after “Condition Critical”. So guess what happened to them. They started a steep downhill slide.

Meanwhile, Motley Crue hooked people in with “Too Fast For Love” and then blew them away with “Shout At The Devil”.  Then, even though they kept on making albums, they became a video/singles band, with “Smokin In The Boys Room”, “Home Sweet Home”, “Girls, Girls, Girls” and “Wild Side” making decent inroads into our head spaces. There was still enough consistency there, that when “Dr Feelgood” came out, it blew us away.

Metallica was the same. “Kill Em All” was different and energetic however it was a tribute album to the NWOBHM. “Ride The Lightning” kept that energy and started to make it technical. “Master Of Puppets” refined the “Ride The Lightning” format and then “And Justice For All” took it to a whole new progressive technical thrash level. Then the paradigm shift happened and groove was back in with the self-titled “Black” album.

Currently, bands like Five Finger Death Punch, Volbeat, Avenged Sevenfold and Shinedown are showing that they are no one album/hit wonders. Machine Head was a bit inconsistent after “Burn My Eyes”, but since “Through The Ashes of Empires” they have been on song and in the process, Robb Flynn re-established the Machine Head brand.

ORIGINALITY

I am a great believer that original music is a sum of the creator’s influences. That craziness over a stupid Marvin Gaye song and his greedy heirs has reinforced my views.

For the last time YOU CANT COPY A FEEL OF THE SONG.

In other words, all music is derivative. The aim is to make it sound fresh. Look at the biggest albums or biggest songs of any bands career and you will hear similarities to other works.

Metallica’s piece d’resistance album amongst fans is “Master Of Puppets”.

We all know that “Welcome Home” is an amalgamation of songs from an obscure NWOBHM band and Rush. The format/flow of the album is based on “Ride The Lightning”. The songs are also constructed in the same way. Even their biggest selling album led off with a riff that was taken from another obscure skate punk metal band albeit this one being from California instead of England.

“The Unforgiven” had the same chords in the Chorus as the “Fade To Black” verses. “One” had an intro that was taken from “Fade To Black” and “Fade To Black” had an intro taken from “Goodbye Blue Sky” from Pink Floyd. And it goes on and on.

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Copyright, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Living Under The Laws That Corporations Wrote And A Bit Of Metallica For Old Times Sake

“Alice In Wonderland” turned 150 years old recently and it is still in the public imagination.

Hell, it has been in the public domain since 1907 (42 years from when it was originally published) and that still hasn’t stopped the story from making money. By having the work in the public domain it has allowed other people to create derivative versions of the story and the characters. “Alice In Wonderland” is a perfect example of how adaptions of the original story has ensured that the story gets passed on to multiple generations.

So next time you hear of someone calling for longer copyright terms, tell them about “Alice In Wonderland”.  The incentive of a 42 year copyright monopoly was a sufficient motivator for Lewis Carroll (real name Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) to create more works.

Alice In Wonderland Article

Carroll didn’t need a copyright to last 70 to 90 years after his death as an incentive to write stories. Sort of like the heirs of Marvin Gaye. Seriously, what the hell have they contributed to the arts. Copyright was never about being a lifetime pension that carries over to the children or the next of kin. The rule is simply, if the artist passes away, their music falls into the public domain.

As much as I love Hendrix, I don’t agree with his relatives holding a copyright monopoly on his works.

However a lot of people (with a large corporation or corporations attached) stand to profit from long-term copyrights.

Anyone heard of Wu-Tang-Clans single album that has an 88 year copyright caveat. What this means is that the person who paid something like $5 million dollars for has to wait 88 years to hear it. This is what happens when music is turned into something that is not music. The fans that made the group popular are not able to hear it, because greedy people attached to the group want to profit from it.

For those that do read my posts, you will note that I have mentioned a lot of times that fans of artists are not purchasing music anymore. They are purchasing art packaged as a must have for collectors. I always use Machine Head’s “Killers and Kings” Record Store Day single release with four different covers. Yep, I purchased all four singles and guess what, they are still in the shrink-wrap.

So if you need anymore proof that sales of music is all about collectables then look no further than Metallica’s “No Life Til Leather” cassette release for Record Store Day.

You see, releasing music should never be about the new album only. Music was never designed to be about locking yourself away for a year or for months in a studio while you record your new master opus. Music was never designed to be about spending months and months on promotion and marketing. Music was never designed to give rise to large copyright monopolistic corporations. However that is where music has come to.

Because it is these large copyright monopolies that have lobbied hard for internet service providers (ISP’s) around the world to store and then hand out the personal information of their users to these greedy corporations.

All in the name of copyright infringement.

What the large copyright groups have done, via their cashed up lobby groups is bypass legal process. If an internet user has been falsely accused, well, too bad. The burden (and a costly one at that) to prove that you are innocent is on the user, as the way the anti-piracy laws are written, there are basically no consequences for a copyright monopoly business from making false accusations.

I guess this is what it means to live under the laws written by corporations.

 

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Copyright, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity

Sony and Stupidity Go Hand In Hand

I am pretty sure that everyone knows about “The Interview” by know.

Regardless of how good or bad or average the movie is, “The Interview” is famous and successful.

It was used as blackmail against theaters, if they showed the movie, another September 11 was threatened. So it got pulled.

Everyone weighed in on the debate from bloggers to journalists to politicians. So many ideals came into the conversation like free speech, the right to make a black humour/comedy movie in the current day, politics between democracy and communism, censorship, the freedom of the internet and capitalism.

Eventually Sony got the balls to release the movie. It was made available in select theaters plus on many Video On Demand outlets. For the first time ever in the major studio’s history, you could see a movie in theaters or watch it online legally at the same time.

This alone is a big step forward for the movie industry and I am 100% certain that in 50 years from now, journalists and bloggers will be writing about how Sony led the way for a new business model and saved the movie industry.

Future historians always like to re-write history to suit a certain point of view. Look no further than Russia at the moment. Vladimir Putin has asked and then taken charge himself to have history books re-written with bullshit so that he and his ancestors look favourable and more important than they really where.

This story is about stupidity and Sony is at the forefront.

So “The Interview” is released on multi-platforms at the same time. Online box office came in at $15m and Theater Box Office came it at $3m. The movie was projected to make $18 to $20 million in its opening week so with all the bullshit that has gone on behind the scenes, it still met it’s opening week target. This hybrid model has shown that a film’s success and money earning capacity should not be tied in to a THEATER.

However the studios are greedy.

If I go to a movie with my family, I need to purchase five tickets at $15 a piece. That comes to $75AUS for a movie. However, if that movie is available for me to get on a video on demand service, then I am charged once and my whole family can watch it. That is why the studios resist and still use the old way of releasing a movie, which is cinemas first, then DVD/BluRay sales, VOD licensing, Cable licensing and Free To Air licensing.

And of course the real test of stupidity is that SONY released the movie online only in the U.S.

Yep, they used geo-restrictions (something that has been pissing off a lot of Australians for a longtime) to keep the movie release in the U.S only. So according to Sony, if you lived outside the U.S and wanted to watch the movie legally, “tough luck”. So what do people normally do when confronted by situations like this.

They turn to P2P.

It looks like stupidity is affecting profits more than piracy to me.

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