A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Living In The Creativity Years – Otherwise You Will Be Here Today and Gone Tomorrow

So it has been almost 20 months since MegaUpload was shutdown. All of its servers and assets were also seized by the US Department of Justice on evidence provided to it by the MPAA.

So what did this shutdown prove? In the immortal words of Dark Helmet, “Absolutely Nothing”.

What the entertainment industries fail to understand is that we live in a global economy. I am not an expert on economics, however in order to compete in this global economy, people need to know how to operate computers and use certain pieces of software. It is expected. Piracy is the leveller between the “advanced” economies and the “developing” economies. Big deal, what does this have to do with music.

Sale of albums in South and Central American countries are normally low for metal bands, however, those bands play to tens of thousands of people when they tour there. How can that be if they have no sales in those areas? I always come back to the Iron Maiden “Flight 666: The Movie” that was filmed during the “Caught Somewhere Back In Time” tour. They played some places on this tour like Costa Rica and India where sales of Iron Maiden recorded music has been low, however they still got tens of thousands of people to attend the shows.

We live in a global pop culture world. This global pop culture spreads via the web.

Artists these days need to forget about the record deals and the hits. We are living in the era that is all about creativity. Artists need to be creating all the time and releasing all the time, otherwise they are here today and gone tomorrow. Metal bands have weathered the storm so far, as fans of these genre’s still tend to purchase albums, however the writing is on the wall. Go on Spotify and you will see the streaming counts of certain songs. Only the great songs get streamed over and over again. The rest, will be forgotten.

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

It’s Time That Artists Leave The Old Way Behind and Be Leader’s Once Again

I still don’t agree with the old business model of putting together twelve tracks just to sell them for ten dollars as a package. I would like to see established bands like Machine Head, Dream Theater, Five Finger Death Punch, Shinedown and Trivium lead the way with a new paradigm. Leave the old way behind.

I know that Five Finger Death Punch are about to release a double album and Trivium have a new one coming along as does Dream Theater and Machine Head is not that far away either. All of these new releases are based on the old way. The album still has a place if done right and what that means is that all the tracks have to be of high quality. No one has time for filler these days.

Five Finger Death Punch started the writing process for their new album/s on the Trespass Festival Tour at the start of 2012. They brought out a mobile recording studio with them, to hash out riffs and put bits and pieces together, so when they got into the studio in September 2012, they already had the songs.  This is where they should have been releasing some songs. At the end they had 25 songs written that they are releasing on two CD’s.

Five Finger Death Punch are signed to a label, so of course they will need to release an album, as that is what the labels demand. So keeping that in mind, FFDP should have picked the best 10 songs for a CD release and from September 2012 to July 2013 they should have been releasing a song a month from the other 15 songs they had left. It is a different take on the old way. It is keeping the labels happy as they are still stuck in the past and it is keeping the fans happy as they are living in the future and just want content.

One thing that artists need to be clear on; streaming has won the war. YouTube is the original and unofficial streaming king. That is where the kids go to watch and listen. If artists pull their albums from legal services like Spotify, those same albums will still be available on YouTube to be streamed unlicensed. The fans have spoken. The fans killed off the CD, by embracing new technology. It is time the artists take note.

One more thing that artists need to understand: Spotify gives them 70% of the revenues. The exact same amount as iTunes. The difference is that Spotify pays you over time instead of right now and that is the problem that a lot of artists with the pressure of the label and the manager do not understand. The reason why they don’t understand it, is because the label and the manager all want to be paid RIGHT now.

Go on to Black Sabbath’s Spotify account and check to see which songs are the most streamed from them. It is all the songs written 40 years ago and nothing from the new album. Streaming services do pay.  If the artists have a problem with not getting “paid” by streaming services, they should be checking with the company they sold their rights to. Black Sabbath might scream piracy, however who is collecting the monies from Spotify streams for their back catalogue. The answer: the company that holds the rights is collecting.

I remember a time when musicians used to lead. Now technologists lead, while the artists entourage of money leaches are screaming they are not making any money, while the association who represents the Record Labels (and who claims incorrectly that they represent the artists as well) the RIAA plays Whac-A-Mole with technology. They killed Napster only to get Kazaa and Limewire. They killed Kazaa and Limewire, only to get BitTorrent and The Pirate Bay. They kill one cyber locker like Megaupload and another ten more appear. They send DMCA takedowns to Google and then another 100 new links spring up. Seriously does Google need to be doing all this work, just for providing a service like a search engine.

What artists and the labels do not realise is that Spotify and YouTube has made a dent in people’s downloading habits. Progress doesn’t happen overnight or right now. It takes years and sometimes decades. Invest now for rewards later, however the record labels do not believe in this, the managers do not believe in this and they convince the artists that they sign to not believe in this. So what do they believe in; short term profits.

The answer to success is right there in front of the artist. If an artist wants to make plenty of money in music, they need to be a superstar as no one has time for anything less. Just like there is one Facebook, one Google and one Amazon, the same filtering will happen in music and their respective niches.

Five Finger Death Punch is knocking on that Superstar door for the metal genre. They have competition from Stone Sour, Bullet For My Valentine and Disturbed, however if fan engagement is an indication then Five Finger Death Punch are the new superstars.

Shinedown is already the new superstar for the hard rock genre. Bands like Hinder, Adelitas Way, Alter Bridge, Seether, Halestorm, Three Days Grace, Black Stone Cherry, Saving Abel, Pop Evil, Rev Theory, Breaking Benjamin are the challengers.

Dream Theater is already the superstar for the progressive genre. They are unrivalled and really unchallenged at the moment.

Periphery are the Djent superstars.

TesserAct are the new Pink Floyd superstars.

Machine Head are the new superstars of the thrash genre.

Metallica have surpassed superstar status and have moved into the Legends space.

If you want to survive in the future, you need to live in it. Metallica now understands this, however AC/DC still doesn’t understand it. For some insane reason, AC/DC is holding their music back from Spotify (which is licensed and pays) while it is on Grooveshark and YouTube (which are unlicensed and do not pay).

Spotify might not even win the streaming war. Maybe Google will come up with something better, maybe iTunes Radio will win, or some other new player will come on the scene and blow everyone away. One thing is clear, there will be only one streaming champion. Diehard fans will still pay up front for songs they have never heard, however with so much music coming out at the moment and our time so limited, this is not the business model that artists should base their future on.

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

Creating News Every Day

I was telling people at work the Kim Dotcom story. At first I was surprised that none of them had heard of Kim Dotcom. Then I was even more surprised that none of them had heard of MegaUpload.

So I pointed them to YouTube and I told them to check out the raid on his house. I pointed them to articles on various web sites like Techdirt and Torrent Freak. I even pointed them to his Twitter account. Finally I told them that if it’s not in the prime time news or in the newspaper, that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. T.V stations and the owners of the newspapers are all part of the Entertainment Lobby Groups, so they have no interest in running a story that is going to put the Entertainment Lobby Groups in a bad light.

It then got me thinking. Kim Dotcom has been painted as this money laundering criminal that needed SWAT teams to break down his door and arrest him in the early hours. Then you talk to normal people and they don’t even know who he is and have never heard of him. This just adds further evidence to the already known fact, that the U.S. Government acted on the hearsay of the Entertainment Lobby Groups.

These days, everyone must do their own analysis. Even though most people claim to be educated, they are not. They stick to the one thought, and dig down into the trenches defending that view point. You need to be critical of what you read. Seek differing viewpoints.

One thing I learned from University, is that authors of journals, research pieces and non-fiction books normally have a financial backer who has an interest in the piece. Who is paying the writers? Research funded by the MPAA or RIAA paints a very different picture of piracy and sharing compared to research funded by independent bodies.

In the end we always do what we want to do. We don’t need to get our news from traditional sources anymore. WordPress had a blog post on the Turkish Protests and the Police Brutality around it, from a Turkish resident who was living it. The Turkish media and news outlets had nothing. We are exposed to news 24/7.

The punch line is, if any musician / artist wants to survive the times, they need to be creating news every day.

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