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

Fame Game

“You let them know you are large and in charge. It’s the way you stand, the way you carry yourself. Being a front man is less about your voice than your ability to connect with a crowd. A front man is a salesman. Steve Jobs was a front man. Wozniak was the great songwriter, but he couldn’t sell the thing he created. He needed the cock rocker Jobs to say, “Pay attention to this!” I wasn’t always confident, but confidence is a self-fulfilling prophecy. It starts as false bravado—you’re acting like you’re cool and confident even when you’re not—but if you’re convincing enough, people start to believe it. Then you start to believe it and then it’s the reality.”
Dee Snider on his philosophy on how to connect with an audience

You see, fame ain’t what it used to be. In the past, very few people made it and when they did, we all knew their name, regardless of their style of music. Now, no one even knows who the “stars” are. The odds of breaking through your inner circle are tiny, but people keep trying.

So where does that leave the artists who are trying to sustain a career in an ever-changing marketplace because fame is a game. It’s not always about the music, but more about communication and participation.

Sully Erna is a salesman. He goes on a radio show and Nikki Sixx becomes the topic of his conversation. He generates a ton of interest, a lot of discussion and he played the fame game. But that was weeks ago. The feud is old news again. Forgotten for the time being. The audience moved on to another topic, to another artist.

Remember when music records and singles used to be number one for ages. Well, that doesn’t happen anymore in music and it definitely doesn’t happen when it comes to information. News is an on demand item. The only question is where are we going to get it from. The usual suspects are far from impartial. Look at the Top 20 lists at Loudwire and Noisecreep and Ultimate Classic Rock and you will see that the lists are made up of the bands that had big PR campaigns with the website; not because the albums are worthy of being in the top 20.

Music is not the leader anymore. Information is. And with a million ways to occupy ourselves, artists need to find a different way to make us pay attention. So with everything available, we are drawn to very few.

Like James Hetfield.

The “SoWhat” fan club magazine interviews offer up personal viewpoints and feelings that people can connect with. He doesn’t do side projects because it needs to add to what he is about and not detract from Metallica. However he is now okay with his band mates side projects. He told us that Metallica lost millions doing the Orion Music + More festivals and he offers his insights as to why that might be the case. He gives us his feelings on “Lulu”. Then there is the movie “Through The Never” that cost the band millions. Again more insights or “excuses” as some metal websites called them.

So even though Metallica hasn’t released new music in seven years, Hetfield is constantly out there playing the fame game.

Whether you agree with the viewpoints or not, it’s actually good to listen to artists having a say instead of not saying anything. Even artists like Scott Ian, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley who fail to understand or realise that the record company model is based on stealing everything from the artist, are good at playing the fame game, especially when they have nothing new to offer musically.

Because it is virtually impossible to get mindshare in todays cluttered and chaotic world. We had MTV, Hit Parader, Circus, Rip and Metal Edge magazines and they reached everybody. Today, we get the popular squeezing out the less popular and what we have are people complaining there is no money in music.

And who cares what sales record is broken. Adele is all over the news about her sales figures. Star Wars the same. Michael Jackson and Thriller just passed 30 million.

Does anyone know who many records Black Sabbaths “Paranoid” sold, or Motley Crue’s “Shout At The Devil” or Dream Theater’s “Images and Words” or Bon Jovi’s “Slippery When Wet” or Twisted Sister’s “Stay Hungry” or Journey’s “Escape”.

Hell, even the bands won’t know how many albums they would have sold, as the accounting of it all was dodgy and secretive. But the music has maintained. Dream Theater is still doing victory laps from the success of “Images and Words”. I just forked out $170 for “The Astonishing” pre order of the deluxe edition.

In the end, everything is a game, with winners and losers.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Piracy

Beyond The Horizon – The Future Of Music

Beyond the horizon lies a very different musical and entertainment landscape, one that has been completely reshaped by technology. Back in the Eighties, the goal was to work in the music business for a record label while you dreamed of being a rock star. Fast forward thirty years and the goal is to work in technology. The new rock stars are the tech heads.

The control that the entertainment industries had on entertainment has diminished with the rise of the Internet as a distribution and marketing platform.

Barriers of entry have been lowered. Artists don’t need a middle man to distribute their music. However, artists are in love with the story of fame and wealth. Artists today seek to have what the megastars of the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties had. The reason why we had megastars in the music business is that those acts took risks. Today the majority of acts play it safe. The ones that sit on the fringes are the ones that end up building a career.

The aim of the game is to outlast the competition.

So what will the new landscape look like?

Ownership and Premium Content – Once upon a time we paid money just to hear the music. I just looked at my Amazon purchases for 2013 and I have purchased $750 worth of music so far. I am sure by years ends I will have done close to $1000 of music purchases. There is still a sense of ownership. However the ownership aspect has shifted more to premium products.

Sound – Once upon a time we paid large sums of money for hi-definition sound systems, just so that we can listen to our music in aural bliss in the comfort of our homes. Now we listen to compressed mp3’s on headphones in the car, at work, in the gym or on the running track. The focus is now on expensive hi-def. headphones. I believe it is an expensive fad. The majority of music consumers will still remain on the cheap alternative headphones however the push is on for better alternatives.

Performing Live – Once upon a time we used to wake up early to queue in massive lines so that we can buy an affordable ticket to the rock n roll show. Back then, we could afford to go to a show every month. Now, tickets are so overpriced that we can go to a show maybe twice or three times a year.

Actually this year, I have gone to a few concerts. I have seen Coheed and Cambria ($70 ticket), Bullet For My Valentine ($70 ticket), Periphery ($60 ticket), Black Sabbath ($160 ticket), Motley Crue and Kiss ($200 ticket, in total $800 for the family) so far. In December, I am taking the family to see Bon Jovi ($250 a ticket, in total $1000 for the family). That is $2,160 spent on concert tickets so far.Add to that figure merchandise purchases of $500 and you have a $2560 bill for live entertainment.

The Pirate Bay – While the Entertainment lobby groups are high fiving each other about getting court orders for ISP’s to block access to The Pirate Bay, they are failing to see the New Pirate Bay slowly coming over the horizon. Remember that the initial plan of The Pirate Bay was to create a small BitTorrent tracker for an extended circle of friends. No one predicted what was to come. The Pirate Bay’s aim was always to be copied. It never wanted to be the biggest or the most visited. It wanted to spawn a billion offspring’s.

So if you are an artist starting off today, there is a very good chance that you have downloaded a lot of music via The Pirate Bay. Don’t fight it, use what if offers and exploit it.

What needs to be done now to sustain the system?

Artists hold the key. They are the ones that the system thrives on. They are the ones that can set the rules. We are in the midst of a creative renaissance. It is the Labels, Studios and Networks worst nightmare. They used to be in control. They had the money for production and they had the control on distribution. If artists wanted to play in the game before, the needed to sell out, they needed to kiss butt. Those days are over. The means of production is in the hands of the artist.

Distribution is free. The world television is YouTube.

So what happens when everyone can participate? Only great will win. If an artist is great and they are willing to be in the business for a long time, then they will become an icon. Success and the audience will catch up with their greatness in due time.

Today it’s all about being the king of the individual and creativity. Money comes last.

How do artists transform their businesses to succeed in this new environment?

Repeatability – Music isn’t for the once anymore. iTunes is dead. I have spent over $700 on purchasing music this year so far. I am moving to the streaming option. It is for the many. The fan needs to immediately click on replay once they hear the song. If they don’t, the artist has done it wrong.

The era of taking a year off to make an album is over. The hard-core will buy the album and then it is over. We can listen to everything for free online. We only have time for great. The concept of buying an album and finding out it sucks is over.

Delayed Acknowledgement – An artist needs to keep at it, even though there is no obvious chance of success in sight. It is the lifers who last. This goes against the message of the era, which is that we need to be paid and we need to be paid right now. Volbeat is a perfect example of delayed recognition. The success they had in the USin 2012, is based on a song that was released on their 2008 album. Eventually the audience will catch up with the artist and when it happens the artist needs to be around to capitalise on it. Volbeat released a new album in 2013, and they still had their 2010 album selling decent numbers.

Mindshare – There is just too much content out there looking for attention. That is the nature of the new music business. Piracy hasn’t dented the recording business. The statistics from the record labels are all bogus. The flow of constant new content is the killer of the recorded business model. When there is so much competition, only great will rise to the top. So if the record labels and other misguided artists whine about piracy, they should know that what they released was just not great. The money is now spread across thousands of bands instead of hundreds of bands.

The “rock star myth” was a deliberate creation of the major labels. Wannabe musicians bought it hook, line and sinker. The Record Labels licked their lips at all the talent waiting to be exploited. Generally speaking, every artist puts in over 40+ hours per week just to make it. Once they get some traction, those 40 hours a week goes up to 60 hours a week. Artist need to be prepared to put in the hard work on a consistent basis as music doesn’t last these days because it’s too accessible.

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