Music, Piracy

Bon Jovi – The life cycle of What About Now – From 1 to 76 in six weeks.

The release of What About Now happened with a bang.  Due to record label collusion between Universal (Bon Jovi’s label) and Sony (Justin Timberlake’s and David Bowie’s parent label), the album was released the week before Justin Timberlake’s 20/20 album and because of that it went straight to Number 1, beating off David Bowie.

The second week saw the album slip to Number 7.  The third week saw it drop even more to 34 on the charts.  By the fourth week, it was down to position 50.  On the other hand, the Because We Can tour, was selling out arena’s and stadiums.

Digitally, the album performed even worse.  The iTunes chart had the album debut at 52 on the 12 March 2013, and by the March 15, 2013, it was out of the Top 100 iTunes chart. Three days.  That’s it.

Songs from the album do not even rank in the top 25 of the streaming charts.

The fans have clearly spoken.  The hard-core fans like me purchased the album so that we could have it in our collections.  It’s a collectors thing.  The fans that the band picked up during the Slippery/New Jersey era and the It’s My Life era, prefer to buy tickets to the show.

So where is the album, 6 weeks after its release.  Sitting at position 76.  Bands like Imagine Dragons and Mumford and Sons are still in the top 20 and their albums have been out since mid 2012.  Adele’s 21 (released in January 2011) is still charting and selling more than Bon Jovi’s new album (released in March 2013).

The labels will scream piracy.  However, data clearly shows, that if you release good music, it will sell, and it will be around for a long time.  Release crap music and expect it to be ignored.  Thank god, Bon Jovi delivered some classic albums in the past.

 

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A to Z of Making It, Music

Justin Timberlake Gets It

Article

In a previous post i mentioned that artists don’t want to be here today and gone tomorrow.  You want the music, the band, to remain public, to be in people’s’ minds.

Justin Timberlake gets it.  As much as I don’t agree with the old way of promoting an album, he is already prepping for a new album in November.  It will be almost 5 months from when The 20/20 Experience was released.

He is on Twitter and he invests in a lot of tech start ups.  He is a social media expert.  He dabbles in movies and producing songs for others.

He is the definition of the term, Musicpreneur.

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Music

Sales Numbers for the U.S.

Metal Insider

I was looking at the sales figures in the above link.  A lot of people focus on the sales aspect of everything, so if something is sold a lot of times, they class it as being successful.

So if you look at the sales, you will see a lot of hard rock and metal bands doing low numbers for the week.  One can easily jump to conclusions.  The album is bad, it bombed or the industry favourite, piracy.

However, to me the sale numbers mean nothing.  What is important here, is the length of time the music has been out.

Let’s start with Volbeat.  They have two albums that are selling.  Yippee, you say.  Here’s the thing, Beyond Heaven/Above Hell was released in September 2010.  Yes, 2010.  It has been around for over 2 and a half years.  What does this tell you?  They did it without the mainstream sledgehammer across the head marketing like Bon Jovi and Justin Timberlake.  They did it by creating great music and letting the people spread the word.  The funny thing is, the song that made them popular in the U.S, Still Counting is not even on this album (it is from an earlier album from 2007 called Guitar Gangsters and Cadillac Blood) and was added as a bonus track later on.  Talk about great music waiting to be found.  It was released in 2007 and it wasn’t until 2012, that people really heard Still Counting, appreciated it and starting buying it.

You need to remember, there is so much music released each days, (I checked the new release schedule and i counted over 400 releases on one day).  Multiply that by 52 weeks, and you have a lifetimes worth of music to go through.  We need a filter and what better filter than people spreading the word.  Not by the hundreds, but the by the thousands and in PSY’s case, by the millions.

Volbeat’s new album Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies entered the charts in the top 10.  They had the usual big first week sales and second week drop, however this time around, the audience was waiting for a new release.  Time will tell if this album will have the same longevity.

From hearing it, it’s a good album, but it doesn’t have the defining song, and that is what fans want.  Bon Jovi had Wanted Dead Or Alive on Slippery When Wet, Motley Crue had Kick Start My Heart on Dr Feelgood, Metallica had Enter Sandman on the Black album, Poison had Nothing But A Good Time on Open Up and Say Ahh.. and so on.

In This Moment has been doing business since August 2012.  34 weeks.  Bon Jovi’s What About Now, has more or less stalled.  Justin Timberlake’s is slowly declining as well.  Will they still be selling in 34 weeks time.  For Bon Jovi, i am sure they will not.

Otherwise, is a band that i have been following for over a year now.  Each week, you see them move between 400 and 700 units.  They are touring their arses off, picking up new fans along the way.  The album came out in May 2012.  It will make a year, where it has been selling low numbers.  To me this is a success story.  If they stay at the rate they are, they will be passing 40,000.  What’s 40,000, I hear people saying?  That is a year’s worth of touring.  The music is the entry-level to all the other things in the business.  You don’t make money from selling music.  You make money from the doors that music opens.

Stone Sour have two albums that are selling, House of Gold and Bones Pt 1 and Pt 2.  The concept story is the entry for the multimedia projects to come, like the graphic novels, the motion picture movie and the tour.  It’s not all about sales, it’s about different income streams.

Coheed and Cambria has already walked the path that Stone Sour is walking right now.  They have had their concept albums put into comic form, graphic novel and companion books.  Claudio Sanchez has also signed a deal to develop the Armory Wars story into a motion picture film.

Black Veil Brides is another band, involved in the multimedia aspect, with their concept album, Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones.  

Shinedown is one of the best hard rock bands doing the scene right now.  Amaryllis has been out for over a year now and the band is still moving units.  Why, because people are spreading the word, they are hearing the songs live and are liking them.

For the critics that have called this album a failure, just because it didn’t move the same units as The Sound of Madness is a shallow viewpoint to have without any analysis.  A song like Second Chance comes around once in a decade.  That song alone moved over 2 million mp3’s.  The Shinedown tour is doing decent business at the box office.

The key here is longevity.  You don’t want to be here today and gone tomorrow.  You want the music, the band, to remain public, to be in people’s’ minds.  So many have released albums and have been forgotten.  Does anyone remember that Joe Walsh released a new album last year, or that David Bowie and Bon Jovi released an album in the same week.  They have been forgotten.  The hardcore fans will say otherwise and that is okay they are entitled to their opinions.

Life today is all about information.  We have a tonne of it.  We are connected 24/7.  There is always something coming out that takes the flavor of the minute.  Black Sabbath released God Is Dead, and it was tanking, regardless of what the artists and Loudwire said about it.

Ozzy then releases a statement about his fall back into addiction, trying to drum up press and then Sharon chimes in.  It ain’t working, the song is a dud at nine minutes long.  It’s a four-minute song on a 12 inch extended remix.

I am seeing them in two days at the Allphones Arena in Sydney.  I might eat my words after hearing it live.  No one is talking about them.  The 13 album is already in the rear view mirror and it hasn’t even been officially released.  They are touring Australia and there is no buzz.   

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Persistence and the meaning of Making It

I just came back from a shopping experience with the wife and the kids.  You leave in the morning, happy, all together and as a family.  You come home, angry with each other, yelling at each other and wondering where did it all go wrong.

Does the above sound familiar to any bands out there?  How many rock stars have called the band they are in FAMILY?  Let me tell you.  That is complete B.S.  Bands are not families and never will be.

90% of the bands have one or two people working hard to get the band running.  In most cases, the songwriting is even done by the same one to two people.  All the organising comes from the same people.  For a while, this is cool, however it then comes to a point where it all explodes or implode’s (depending on which side of the line you are on).  Bands are dysfunctional.  Anyone that tells you differently is a liar.

The difference between a band/artist making it or not making it is persistence.  It could be the love of the music that keeps them going or it could be something else.

Now making it, to me has a different meaning to what others have it.  Making it is being able to live off your music/art.  It doesn’t mean that you are rich.  It doesn’t mean that you sell out arena’s.  It doesn’t mean that you are the mainstreams darling.  It means that you have found a niche, and that niche has found you, and you are in this ride together supporting each other.  You deliver music that the niche desires and the niche rewards you with the support that they desire.  You can make payments on loans and keep the lights on.

So if you are in a band (which to me, is a ridiculous idea if you are the main songwriter) and you expect to be famous like Bon Jovi.  Guess what, it aint going to happen.  The entry-level into music these days is zero.  The gatekeeper model of the past has lost its war with the internet.  Distribution was controlled by the Record Labels.  Not anymore.  Marketing before, was to over saturate the mainstream media outlets like radio, TV, magazines and newspapers with the hope that people will buy blind.  The majors still do this.  The Justin Timberlake 20/20 promotion is living proof, where I even saw his posters in a heavy metal section of a record shop.  Yeah, his album moved a million units in its first four weeks, however, will it have longevity, like Def Leppard’s Hysteria, Adele’s 21.

So what does this mean for you.  How do you get from Point A – starting out to Point Z – making it.

Persistence.  You can never reach Point Z if you quit.  You need to be on this road forever.  Once you are clear on that, you can start the journey.  The first part of the journey is building connections.  These connections are not built by promoting a song you have just released, or telling people you are writing this great song and you can’t wait for them to hear it.

Connections are built by life experiences.  Talk about a concert you went too and how did it make you feel.  Others that went to that concert could latch on.   Talk about your life experiences and pretty soon, hundreds of others will connect that have similar experiences.  That is the start.  Build on it.  Leave the music/art promoting out of it to begin with.

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