Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Copyright, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Piracy

Uprising – This Revolution Is Calling For War. The spying on people controversy done in a Rock N Roll way.

As fans of music, we always looked to our heroes and the artists we liked for inspiration. So what would Queensryche say on the current state of the world and the spying on U.S citizens by its own government? The song Speak is from the Operation Mindcrime album, released in 1988.

The rich control the government, the media the law

1988 was a time when hard rock ruled the day, and the bands at the forefront had the whole rock n roll cliché surrounding them. You know the one, party hard, sleep with groupies, trash hotels and eventually get together to perform live and record.

Queensryche on the other hand simmered under the surface, focusing on issues that affected everyone, however at that time in 1988, we were all blind to it.

Revolution Calling led the way with the words;

Got no love for politicians
Or that crazy scene in D.C
It’s just a power mad town

Let’s look at some recent events making the news. Copyright czar, Victoria Espinel, is best known for playing a large role in the SECRET negotiations between Hollywood and the recording industries to punish internet users under a six strikes initiative. She has know taken up a job with one of the groups that used to lobby her office.

Let’s reword the Revolution Calling verse;

Got no love for corruption
As everyone sells their soul in D.C
It’s just a knife in the back town

Later on, Geoff Tate summed up American corruption in Spreading the Disease. In 2013, people actually care, however they should have cared back in 1988.

Religion and sex are power plays,
Manipulate the people for the money they pay.
Selling skin, selling God
The numbers look the same on their credit cards
Politicians say no to drugs
While we pay for wars in South America
Fighting fire with empty words
While the banks get fat and the poor stay poor
And the rich get rich and the cops get paid to look away
As the one percent rules America.

Let’s reword the above lyrics in the following way;

Copyright Infringement is a power play
To shakedown the people and to get them to pay
Lobbying hard, bribing all
As the numbers need to look good on their balance sheets
Politicians say no to piracy
While judges allow copyright trolls to extort
Fighting fire with empty words
While the banks get bailed and the poor stay poor
And the rich get rich and the cops get paid to act for them
As the one percent still rules America

Does anyone remember the shutdown of MegaUpload in January 2012? Yep, the FBI was in charge of the shutdown, based on evidence provided to it by the Hollywood Movie Studios and the MPAA. Talk about cops doing the bidding for the wealthy. Isn’t it funny how Victoria Espinel, now has a job with a lobby group that used to lobby her department!

Another recent event is how a cyber-locker like Hotfile was found to be personally liable for facilitating copyright infringement. In a nutshell a judge in the U.S. Courts, found a business entity that provides a cloud service liable for how users choose to use it. Of course, Hotfile was no saint in this matter, however, what Hotfile did show is that Hollywood still doesn’t get it, when it comes to servicing the people or fans of content.

Finally, Grooveshark has achieved licensing agreements with Sony and EMI. So for years, the record labels pursued them in the courts, while also sending Google millions of takedown requests. A court in Denmark even ordered that the ISP’s block access to Grooveshark. WHY? The site was providing a service to customers by allowing the users to stream and upload music that they can play immediately or add to a playlist. However the record labels wants the music to be licensed, which means that Grooveshark needs to pay a fee. So if you are a user and you have uploaded music that you have purchased legally, why should you need to pay a monthly fee for it to license it.

Makes me think of the excellent Metallica song, Eye of The Beholder from the ..And Justice For All album also released in 1988. It looks like something was afoot around this period, as both Metallica and Queensryche touched on the same subject matter. They even toured together.

Independence limited
Freedom of choice is made for you my friend
Freedom of speech is words that they will bend
Freedom with their exception

The “they” in the song can be the Corporations, the lobby groups, the judges, the government. As Warren Buffett said, the class war is already over and the rich have won. The 1 percent own all the important land and they either own or control the corporations. In the process, they have also purchased the Politicians and the Judges. They also own the big media companies, so they control what news we get. THAT IS WHY they fear the INTERNET. They spend millions on lobbying, so that they get what they want, which is more wealth for them and less for everybody else.

Where is the voice of the people, like the song Vox Populi from 30 Seconds To Mars, that was released on their excellent, This Is War album in 2009.

This is a call to arms
Gather soldiers
Time to go to war
This is a battle song
Brothers and sisters
Time to go to war

And the story ends with the lyrics of Uprising from Muse, that was released on Resistance in 2009. In the same way that Queensryche and Metallica touched on similar themes in 1988, Muse and Thirty Seconds To Mars did the same in 2009.

Rise up and take the power back
It’s time that the fat cats had a heart attack
You know that their time is coming to an end
We have to unify and watch our flag ascend

They will not force us
They will stop degrading us
They will not control us
We will be victorious

Amen.

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

Put Your Efforts Into Twenty Little Derivative Projects Throughout The Year

Music and movies just don’t seem to last anymore. The way movies and music are done these days, they don’t fit the modern paradigm of needing to be in the face of the consumer week after week. TV on the other hand has a longer lifespan because it fits the modern paradigm.

George Lucas once said that the $200 million movie is dead. At the moment there are a lot of blockbusters that cost $100 million to $200 million to make that are flops.

Movies like R.I.P.D (a derivative version of Ghostbusters and Men In Black), Pacific Rim (a derivative version of Godzilla and Transformers), The Lone Ranger (a derivative version of The Lone Ranger TV show, National Treasure and Pirates of The Caribbean), Turbo, After Earth and White House Down.

Remember that progress is derivative. Each movie mentioned above is a derivative version of a previous movie that had come before it. So what went wrong. Remember, that this is Hollywood. Hollywood is well known to play on the stupid idea that they need a $200 million movie. So in order to make a $200 million movie, Hollywood focuses on a lot of formulaic material that the public is pushing back on as we are sick and tired of watching it. Meanwhile, the movies that are doing well are the lower budget films.

The Conjuring cost $20 million to make and so far it has made $140 million. The Heat cost $43 million to make and so far it has made $190 million. Now You See Me cost $75 million to make and so far it has made $233 million.

It’s just bad business sense. If you are in the market to sell a product, a better strategy is to test your luck with ten $20 million movies rather than dumping $200 million into just one movie? The public is speaking up. They want the studios to focus on how to make good movies that doesn’t involve following a formula. They want the studios to find quality content.

So what does the failure of several blockbusters have to do with music.

DO NOT PUT ALL YOUR EFFORTS INTO ONE GIANT PROJECT. Put your efforts into twenty little derivative projects throughout the year.

The years of when artists took a year to make an album and went on a three year victory lap as it sold by the truckloads are over. The ones that still take a year to make an album basically have an album that is dead on arrival. The faithful will buy the album and then the victory lap is over.

There is a massive paradigm shift happening in the way the audience consumes entertainment. The best way to sum up the change in consumerism mindset is to use the good old photo analogy. Once upon a time it used to cost a decent amount of dollars to have a photo done. You needed a camera and batteries. Then you had to buy a 35mm film roll for taking the photos and then once the roll was all used up, you needed to take that roll to a photo lab who then converted the roll into negatives and then printed up the photos for you. You then paid the photo lab money and they gave the prints and the negatives back to you. Then we would buy a photo album to store the photos in so that we can view them in the future over and over again. Some people even purchased slide machines to view their negatives on a wall.

Today we just take a photo on our smartphones. Today, photos cost nothing and are oftentimes shot and then discarded. In most cases, they are saved to a hard drive where they will sit forever or uploaded to a social site like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr or Tumblr.

Music is also uploaded to a social site. YouTube is the unofficial and original streaming service. The record labels execs that are doing everything they can to keep their fat pay checks and thinking about yesterday didn’t see that one coming.

The change in consumer behaviour has led to the traditional photo print shop from disappearing. In music, this has led to the reduction in brick and mortar stores that sell recorded music.

Kodak the biggest player in the photography field has disappeared. They made the mistake of ignoring the changes in technology and assumed that people will remain true to the film roll technology. Hang on a second. Isn’t that the same viewpoint the Record Labels hold.

Once upon a time you could only play your music at home. Once upon a time you could only view your photos at home. Today we can view and take our photos everywhere we go. Today we can expect to have all of our music available to us everywhere we go.

So why are the artists creating content with the old Record Label mindset.

Record more frequently, release frequently. Give the people a reason to listen to your music.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

The Great Gatsby and Iron Man 3 and the Lessons They Can Teach

I watched The Great Gatsby on Saturday with my wife and on Sunday, I took the boys to watch Iron Man 3. So what, you say, who cares. I agree. Who cares? This post isn’t about the movies, nor is it a review of the movies. It is about what we music lovers can learn from the movies.

What can The Great Gatsby teach us music lovers? From the storyline, nothing. However, from looking at the story of it’s creator, we can learn a great lot.

The author Scott Fitzgerald, started planning the novel in 1923. He was coming off the commercial success of his two previous novels, This Side of Paradise and The Beautiful and Damned. The book is released in 1925 and it sells poorly. In 1940, Fitzgerald died, seeing himself as a failure and believing his work is forgotten. At the time of his death, The Great Gatsby had sold only 25,000 copies. Today, The Great Gatsby has sold over 25 million copies worldwide and it still sells 500,000 copies annually.

So let’s just say that you are musical creator, either in a band or as a solo artist. You release an album and start to have some success, generating a buzz around you. You release another album, and the buzz starts getting louder. You spend a long time creating your next masterpiece. You then release what you believe to be your magnum opus and the silence is deafening. The buzz starts to dwindle. It doesn’t sell as well as you expected. It doesn’t sell anywhere near the numbers the marketing firm focus group predicted. You believe that you are failure.

Are you really a failure? Is Scott Fitzgerald really a failure? Fitzgerald died believing he was.

Comparing yourself to the instant hit wannabe’s is wrong. Yes, some people can strike gold on the first dig, others, will need to dig a little longer and in more than one place. Persistence is what builds a career. If you want to be around for a long time, doing what you love, you need to persevere. Luck and timing also play a big part in the grand scheme of things. If you create something great, people will find it. That greatness that you create could be something that is so evolved and so out there, that people just fail to understand it right now. Eventually that audience will find it.

Another point to consider here, is that after the failure of The Great Gatsby to sell the numbers that Fitzgerald wanted, Fitzgerald started to focus on short stories as a means to an income. It is in this format, that he made the most of his monies. So instead of focussing on the big novel (the album), he moved onto short stories (great songs), which meant, that he released more content frequently. So instead of spending two years writing a novel, he wrote more frequently, releasing more frequently, while still focussing on the great novel as well. Fitzgerald went on to release another novel while he was alive, and one more was released after his death. However the monies he made came from short stories.

As a musical creator today, that is what you need to be doing. The album format, is still a good statement, however it needs to have quality all around it. Having four great songs and seven fillers, is unacceptable in today’s world. Also being out of the public eye for such a long time, is a bad idea in today’s world. To be relevant, you need to be releasing quality and the fans need to be spreading the word. They are the ones that steer the ship these days. The fans own you. They are the shareholders that the band needs to please and satisfy.

Moving on, both movies combined have earned $1.5 billion in box office takings. That is $1.2 billion to Iron Man 3 and $300 million to The Great Gatsby.

So what can we rock / metal heads learn from Iron Man 3?

So the character, Iron Man, had two of his own movies, Iron Man 1 and then Iron Man 2. Both movies were hits. He then went on to join the supergroup, The Avengers and had another hit movie. So he is back to his own movie, and scores another hit.

So let’s just say that the Iron Man 1 and 2 movie releases are album releases from an artist. The artist already has two hits under their belt. The artist then goes on to become a part of a super group project (think the Avengers movie). The artist then has another hit, bigger than the other two combined. Said artist returns to their solo career or band and they release album number 3, that also makes a lot of money.

Let’s use Ronnie James Dio as an example. He was in Elf. He was in Rainbow and released two albums (Iron Man 1 and Iron Man 2). He was then asked to join Black Sabbath (Avengers). Think of this project as the SUPERGROUP. Dio then goes solo, and see’s even more success with Holy Diver (Iron Man 3). Going back to the Scott Fitzgerald story, initially, Holy Diver, didn’t set the world on fire in sales on its release (like The Great Gatsby). It almost took a year to obtain Gold Status, and six years to obtain Platinum status. The Heaven and Hell album from Black Sabbath also followed the same time line.

In the end, it is okay as an artist to spread your wings, just ensure, that when you do, it needs to be quality 24/7. Be patient and be great.

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