“When you spend nine months working on an album, all the work that goes into it and recording it, mixing it, mastering it, then you release it and it falls on deaf ears.”
“I’d rather work on two songs under that plan (exploring the idea of placing their songs in films, or signing sponsorships deals through integrated marketing with other types of companies that want to use their song specifically to reach tens of millions of people) than do eleven songs that only reach 100,000 people.”
Nikki Sixx from Motley Crue said the above in a recent interview.
The album format is dead and buried. People just don’t have the time to sit down and play an album from start to finish over and over again anymore, especially when there is so much other content out there to consume.
So what is this telling us. It all depends on which side of the argument you sit.
The record labels and the RIAA will say that this is what happens when people pirate/copyright infringe. They will call for stronger copyright enforcement.
Sociologist would say that sales of recorded music have declined due to the rise of other desirables, like apps and gaming in general. Look at the sales of the “Halo” games series by Microsoft. “Halo 4” made $220 million in 24 hours. Overall, the whole series has grossed over $3.4 billion. Have any rock bands reached that many people?
“Angry Birds” caused an app sensation in 2009, “Candy Crush” caused a bigger credit card sensation in 2013 due to its innovative in-app purchase system. What about the recent free game “Fluffy Bird”? It was free and it got downloaded 50 million times. Then the creator just pulled it.
Fans of music will still listen to music, however music now has to play on a crowded field compared to the Eighties. We had music on terrestrial radio, LP’s, CD’s and Cassettes. The profit margins on these items were huge for the record labels.
In 2014, we have music on LP’s, CD’s, on iTunes, on streaming sites, on Amazon, on terrestrial radio, on internet radio, on YouTube, on various other downloading sites, both legal and illegal. The profit margins vary from high to low on the various ways we consume music.
In addition, we also have television on Free to Air, Pay TV, Internet TV. We have movies on streaming sites, at the cinemas, on pay TV channels, on DVD’s, on BluRays, on various other downloading sites, both legal and illegal. We have Games on PC’s, Consoles and Apps. We have books electronically and on paper. We have Facebook and Twitter to connect. More time is spent on these sites than listening to actual music.
Fans of Motley will say this is a product of the times. It’s a singles market. Daft Punk released an album, however it turned out that it was the song “Get Lucky” that people actually wanted. The single format works well for pop music.
However, metal and rock fans are still stuck in the album ideology.
Dream Theater released an album without a decent single and after six weeks, it’s US sale run was over. However, they are happy to do that every two years. They know that their livelihood is touring.
Protest The Hero organised distribution deals with other labels for “Volition”, however it was all for nothing, as the 8000+ hard core fans already had a digital version of the album via the Indiegogo Campaign. It’s just a shame that the perks still haven’t arrived, almost 5 months after the release date.
Other fans will say, that Motley Crue should release something worth buying and that they will buy it. Motley Crue released “Sex” in 2012. Since I am on the Motley Crue email list, it was offered as a free download for 24 hours when it first came out. I went and downloaded it. It is classic Crue and a great song to add to the set list.
James Michael from Sixx A.M. also released a single called “Learn To Hate You” in November, 2012. It only has 116,034 views on James Michael’s YouTube channel, while Motley Crue’s “Seek” has 108,038 views on their Motley Crue Vevo Channel and 449,397 views on a user channel called Lachi James.
So from reading Nikki’s views on new music, I believe now that the release of “Sex” from Motley Crue and “Learn To Hate You” from James Michael was an experiment in how can an artist release a song and reach millions of people.
How many people would have acted quickly enough to download the song as a freebie within the 24 hour window?
How many people from a certain city would have purchased the song via iTunes after hearing Motley Crue perform it on the Kiss tour while they were in that city?
How many people would have downloaded the song illegally?
How many people viewed a YouTube post of the song?
How many people streamed and shared the song?
If a band wants to monetize and have reach, they need to create and keep on creating. They need to release everything on YouTube and Spotify and iTunes all on the same day. It is better for the band to control the YouTube releases than allowing others to monetize their content.
So what is happening with Sixx A.M.?
The new album has been talked up a fair bit by Nikki via his Facebook posts. New music for them has been in the pipeline for a while. So is it because Sixx A.M is classed as a new band, radio will play them. Terrestrial radio is dead. That format is dead. The opportunities are all on line now.
I consider Nikki Sixx a musician. A musician by definition is someone who creates music. And that is what musicians do when they are hungry. It is all about the music and only the music. But, once they reach the top and start focusing on the trappings, the music part starts to fade away as the focus moves to keeping what they have attained.
Musicians took risks and stood for something. They made money, they blew money, they did drugs, they made money again. Rock stars did it their way. That is why we flocked to them. That is why we became fans. They represented an attitude, a sense of freedom that connected with us.
As a fan of Motley Crue, I am disappointed that there decision to make new music is because on money and reach. The people that want new Motley Crue music will get it. So why don’t they service those fans.
And the Final Tour. Serious. They just finished touring. Kid Rock did a tour with $20 concert tickets. His risk paid off. All his shows sold out and those $20 ticket fans got converted into Kid Rock fans. Digital sales increased. Merchandise sales increased. Streams increased. Kid Rock went on that tour without a guarantee that he will be paid. He played the game without a safety net.
However, no one is keen to follow in his lead. Everyone wants that contract from Live Nation, the cash up front, the guarantee. The artist, along with their managers, agents, enablers, handlers, the pet dog and whoever else is attached to the entourage, want the money first and to leave the onus of recouping to the promoter.
Come on Crue. Put all of your issues aside and record a decent amount of music and get it out there.