If the artist doesn’t get paid from recorded music, well it’s their fault for signing a crap deal or for signing away their rights a long time ago for a big payday. Or they are not big enough to be paid.
And when the tickets to concerts are too expensive it is their fault as well.
Seen all the craziness around Bruce Springsteen and the prices charged for his concerts in the U.S.
For an artist on who has made his living from the heartland, the prices of $4K for a ticket due to Ticketmaster’s “dynamic pricing” algorithm (based on a simple design of high demand vs low supply = price increase on the fly), has left him and his team in damage control.
Even the biggest fanzine dedicated to the boss called “Backstreets” has ceased to exist after 43 years over this. But “The Boss” defended these prices last year. The way Springsteen sees it, someone else (like a scalper or secondary ticket re-seller) was going to sell the tickets at the higher prices, so why can’t it be him and his team that gets the difference between the normal price and the price the fan is willing to pay.
Is there anything wrong with this?
It was going to happen eventually.
Artists have been ripped off for decades so when they have been around the business for a long time, you would expect the artists to do the same as the agencies that ripped them off. Businesses pay taxes when they start out while the established ones pay no taxes. And when those small businesses get big enough and have billions coming through, suddenly they also pay no taxes.
But with the rising costs to put shows on, a lot of smaller to medium artists are cancelling tours because they don’t want to overcharge their fans but they need to overcharge, in order to make some coin. And for the ones who do decide to overcharge, well their fans are not buying the tickets and suddenly the tour or the show is cancelled due to low ticket sales.
The artists and their team (which includes, accountant, lawyer, management and most probably the label if they are on a 360 contract) control it all. The final decision on ticket prices comes back to this team. When Taylor Swift blamed Ticketmaster for her prices, she was trying to save face because she got busted ripping off her fans.
Springsteen had the view that since other agencies have been ripping his fans off for a long time and that’s okay, why isn’t it okay when he The Boss does it.
Ticketing companies then find other ways to get the money from the fans, via booking fees, parking fees and super expensive food and alcohol at the venue. The merchandise companies then find ways to rip off the fans by selling $5 dollar tops at $50, because they have negotiated a set fee with the artist to be the merch supplier to begin with and then they need to split the profits with the artist.
And the artist is central here, however they are just a cog in a massive machine, which likes making money of them.
The labels cannot make money if the artist doesn’t create a song that resonates with people.
Lawyers, accountants and managers cannot make money if the artist is a nobody. They make money if the artist is a somebody.
Promotors, ticketing agencies and merchandise agencies make money from the artists. Streaming services, CD and vinyl making plants and record shops make money because of the artist.
Publishing/licensing companies make money from the artists along with radio stations.
That useless entity known as the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame makes money from the artists.
And most of the people who make money from the artists are flying on their own private jets while most artists need to tour in busses and vans.
And all the artist wants to do is write and play music and if they have an audience to enjoy playing to them. As a by-product of creating music and having an audience, they would expect to be paid fairly.
I like doing these review posts as it gives me the opportunity to read my earlier writing. Some of it is okay, some of it is crap and some of it is good. But the life Reno’s I went through recently put a stop to these weekly posts.
So here is a review of a few months of history.
4 Years Ago (2018)
You can read my review of Redemption’s new album at the time, “Long Night’s Journey Into Day”. Vocals on this album were provided by Tom Englund from Evergrey, while previous efforts had Ray Adler from Fates Warning fronting them.
Being a fan of Redemption before Englund joined, I was always keen to hear a new Redemption record, however I was even more keen to hear it when I knew Englund would be singing.
STANDING FOR SOMETHING
Back in 2018, we had gas poisoning and acid attacks in the UK, Russia meddling in politics (and still meddling via a pointless war in Ukraine) and mother nature taking back her lands via fires, volcanoes, hurricanes/twisters and earthquakes. We have a problem with pollution in the air and plastics in our waters. We have people carrying out mass shootings or driving vehicles into crowds of people. We have wars over religion and poverty/famine in Africa is still happening and as much as big business want to deny it, climate change is real.
And then of course we got lockdowns due to COVID-19.
The past is littered with bands and music in general taking a stand against a problem, a situation, injustice and war. But what about now. What is upsetting musicians enough that they feel compelled to write about it?
Remember, you can’t be liked by everyone.
Take a stand.
LOCK UP THE WOLVES
A ticking clock sounds in the distance.
Suddenly it starts to get more louder as the speed increases.
It’s time for something to happen but what.
Then a syncopated guitar, drum and bass riff kicks in. And there is a pause. It happens again. And another pause.
“Lock Up The Wolves” doesn’t get the notice it should.
“Dr Feelgood” came out on the first of September, 1989. 33 years ago. The album cost me $19.99. I pay just a little bit more than that a month now for my whole family to listen to almost the history of music on Spotify.
The drug overdoses, the death and subsequent return from death for Nikki Sixx, the drugs, the crashed cars, the lawsuits, the drugs again, the imposter, Vince escaping jail, the women, the drugs again times two, the partying, the clashes with the law and the eventual “sobriety”.
“Dr Feelgood” had to be number 1. If the music didn’t do it, the stories would have. Apart from the big songs, the other songs on the album were not mere filler.
“Sticky Sweet” has a wicked solo section, “She Goes Down” has a great bass and drums verse section after the solo section, which ends with the sound of a zipper going down, “Slice Of Your Pie” is so Aerosmith, but it’s the Beatles “She’s So Heavy” outro that hooks me, while “Rattlesnake Shake” has a riff reminiscent to the 60’s blues guitarists that influenced Mick.
“Live After Death” on cassette was my first Maiden. I even high speed dubbed the album, just in case the cassette deck chewed up the original tape. “Powerslave” was released a year before “Life After Death” but it came into my collection a few years after because if you had “Live After Death” you didn’t really need the earlier albums.
The thing with “Powerslave” which makes it great is that it has the power and energy of a live album and the line-up is finally stable. When you don’t have to look for new musicians to fill the void, you can focus on writing great songs as they did with the “Peace Of Mind”, “Powerslave”, “Somewhere In Time”, “Seventh Son of A Seventh Son”.
For an album which is 38 years old, it’s still so relevant today as it was back then. That is the power of music and great song writing.
1979 – Part 3
1979 was a year of transition. While some bands were on their last legs, some were just starting to find their own.
Led Zeppelin were coming to an end while Thin Lizzy was on the ascendancy. The Scorpions had bigger things waiting with “Rock You Like A Hurricane” and “Winds Of Change” while Fleetwood Mac and Bad Company delivered stellar albums that unfortunately got compared to their previous mega gazillion selling albums.
Aerosmith became a shell of the band they were with “Night In The Ruts”, while Motorhead after a few up’s and downs with record label crap, got lumped in with the NWOBHM movement starting off and started their brief commercial rise.
Uli John Roth left Scorpions and created Electric Sun, but in all honesty he should of stayed with Scorpions, while a supergroup of “musicians who all had small record deals” got together and called themselves Survivor. “Eye Of The Tiger” was a few years away, but you get to hear a band allowing their influences to shape their sound.
Basically, all the bands on this list just kept on creating, regardless of their status on the record label commercial tree. Because that’s why people get into music, to create. Not because copyright terms are forever or because some label said I will give you money to create.
Led Zeppelin – In Through the Out Door Scorpions – Lovedrive Thin Lizzy – Black Rose: A Rock Legend Fleetwood Mac – Tusk Bad Company – Desolation Angels Aerosmith – Night in the Ruts Motorhead – On Parole Motorhead – Bomber Motorhead – Overkill Electric Sun – Earthquake Survivor – Survivor Susan – Falling In Love Again
11 CRUE YEARS
“Generation Swine” and “Saints Of Los Angeles” both came out on June 24, 11 years apart.
How fortunes change for a band in a decade?
Before 1997, Motely Crue was riding high after “Dr Feelgood”. They renegotiated their Elektra contract for a lot of money and dropped “Decade Of Decadence” with 3 new studio recordings. Life was good.
Then Vince left or was fired (depending on whose story you believe). Regardless, the Crue got Corabi and delivered a stellar self-titled album in 94. But it didn’t sell the way Elektra wanted it too, and since they were footing the bills, they wanted the blond guy back in. Yep, Elektra Records A&R Reps in 1995, referred to Vince Neil as the blond guy.
The Crue camp remained defiant and went ahead writing songs for an album to be called “Personality #9” with Corabi. But money wins in the end and Corabi was out and Vince was back in.
It’s never been confirmed, but the Chinese whispers were in full voice, and the story doing the rounds mentioned how Corabi’s wage was coming from the other guys. Basically, Elektra paid Nikki, Tommy and Mick. Management took their cut, legal took their cut, Corabi got paid a wage and the rest was shared between the other three based on the band agreement.
“Generation Swine” came out, you heard it was a confused album. During the tour, Tommy Lee and Vince Neil punched on and Tommy leaves, then comes back and leaves again. Nikki gets into a slanging match with Elektra and eventually the contract was terminated and somehow Nikki managed to get the copyrights of the Crue songs back in the hands of the band. They form their own label and away they go.
Randy Castillo comes in, “New Tattoo” comes out, Randy dies, Samantha fills in on drums, Nikki gets it going with Samantha and his marriage goes to pieces while the Crue play theatres and cancel shows all over the world. I know, their Australian tour got canned. And after “New Tattoo”, the Crue went on hiatus.
In between, they got some stories together and a book called “The Dirt” came out. The band got back together for a few select shows and demand was so huge, those few shows turned into a huge world tour which was encapsulated in the “Carnival of Sins” DVD release.
If you want to have a career as an artist, you need to be a lifer, and be ready to ride the journey. It’s not always bright lights and success after success. There are hard times and good times. Doors shut and other doors are opened. And when everyone wrote them off, they came back stronger than ever.
For a band who were just average musicians at best, they built a career 40 plus years long. And that period between 1997 and 2008 could have been the end, but it wasn’t.
I was overdosing on a band called Kingcrow and their new album at the time “The Persistence”.
A FEW MILLION
I came across an interview from Vince Neil in Faces USA 1993. Post Crue departure, Vince was the man, the centre of attention. Here are some sections in italics.
Faces: What surprised you the most about the reception you received upon your departure from Motley Crue?
Vince: How quickly I was accepted. A lot of the labels had faith in me. I had a lot of different labels that were interested. It was a really exciting process, walking in there and talking with the different companies, like the heads of Geffen and Giant and Epic.
All these corporate presidents were like “Come on, come and be with us.”
I sat in with Mo Ostin at Warner Brothers and all these dudes and I felt so much power in the room. When I made the deal, went “Okay, give me the money I want and a Warner Bros jacket with Bugs Bunny on it and I will sign the deal.”
I went with a Warner Brothers basically because they gave me the money I wanted and the security of being on the Warner’s label.
Faces: Can you tell us what the deal was?
Vince: Eighteen million dollars for 5 records.
Think about it. Motley Crue signed a 5 album deal with Elektra worth $35 million and the singer who wasn’t even the main songwriter of the band, then goes and signs a solo deal with Warner Bros for $18 million and 5 albums. And the “Exposed” album is a great slab of hard rock during a time when hard rock albums started to disappear from the record store shelves. But in music, these long term deals very rarely are seen to the end. Two years later in 1995, Vince was no longer accepted, and he had no record deal and no management after “Carved In Stone” disappointed commercially.
The person who signed him, Mo Ostin left Warner Bros in 1994, so it’s safe to say the new team, didn’t really like some of the signings that the old team did.
Even Motley Crue didn’t see the end of their Elektra deal. The people who negotiated the Motley deal in 1992, were no longer at Elektra by 1995 and the new Elektra management team didn’t really care for Motley. All they cared about was the bottom line and Nikki Sixx constantly called out current Elektra boss, Sylvia Rhodes at the groups concerts, even calling her from the stage, so the crowd could tell her to fuck off.
So what’s a few million when bands make the labels multi-millions.
I expressed my disappointment at the SOLO movie, which basically put into images the words that Han Solo said in the original Star Wars movies.
Did we really need $300 million spent on that?
The problem these days is movies have a lot of action scenes and hardly any good dialogue scenes. Meanwhile TV shows are winning the story script war hands down.
And do movies need to cost $300 million plus to make. In my view the higher the cost of the movie, the less story it has. And people are attached to a story.
It’s sad reading stories about how far removed Copyright Law is from what it was intended to be.
Copyright battles are happening everywhere. Most of the news is on how the record labels and movie studios are calling on governments to pass stronger dictatorship style copyright laws which would give these organisations police like powers.
But Copyright was originally designed to help the creator of the art. However, it’s assisting the corporations to make billions of dollars while the creators make a lot less.
Remember the movie, “This Is Spinal Tap”. Well, the movie has made over $400 million in profits, however the co-creators have received $81 from merchandise sales and $98 from record sales. If you think those amounts are pretty low, well the co-creators thought so as well, and off they went to court, for fraudulent accounting and to get the copyright back in the hands of the creators. And lucky for them they got a judge that saw their side, so the case is going to get interesting. Unfortunately for UMG/Vivendi, the co-creators in this case, also found fame with “The Simpsons” and they have a voice in the market as powerful as the corporation.
8 Years Ago (2014)
I was in the middle of our holiday around Eastern Europe and you know what, piracy is king in these countries. CD and DVD shops exist with forgeries. Clothing shops exist with forgeries.
But in all of this piracy, thousands of people turn up to watch artists perform live. Every artist tours Eastern Europe and I am pretty sure that sales of recorded music now and in the past didn’t correlate to the thousands who attended the shows.
PROTEST THE HERO
I got back from Eastern Europe on a Thursday morning and by Friday night I was at the Manning Bar at the Sydney Uni watching Protest The Hero. The ticket for the night was $45 Australian plus booking fee of about $6. Compared to some of the prices I have paid for tickets, this was a good deal.
And that’s a wrap of about a months’ worth of posts from the past.
After battling to make a name for himself on the small Polydor label, Yngwie Malmsteen finally got the big label deal in 1992 with the release of “Fire And Ice” on Elektra. While the album did great business in the Japanese and Eastern/Northern Europe market, it failed in the U.S.
The million plus dollar advance from the label was classed as “unable to be recouped” and he was dropped from Elektra.
One door closes another one opens. A Japanese company called Pony Canyon signed Malmsteen. “The Seventh Sign” came out in 1994, achieving a Platinum certification in Japan, followed by “Magnum Opus” in 1995 which received a Gold Certification in Japan.
“Inspiration” is the ninth studio album by guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen, released on 14 October 1996.
Malmsteen was back to releasing an album a year, in order to remain relevant and in the public conversation during the hostile 90s. If he didn’t do that, obscurity was not too far away. Artists these days whinge about Spotify and how they believe that the service is making them release constant product. It’s not the service, it’s the market. The market demands constant product. It always did.
Yngwie Malmsteen on guitars/bass and Anders Johansson on drums play on every track. The rest is a cast of artists like Jeff Scott Soto, Joe Lynn Turner, Marcel Jacob and various keyboard players.
Carry On Wayward Son
Written by Kerry Livgren.
It shows the reach Kansas had, so that a kid from Sweden would consider the band as an influence.
Jeff Scott Soto is on vocals here and his Talisman buddy, Marcel Jacob is on bass. David Rosenthal is on keyboards. During this same period, Malmsteen also appeared on a Talisman release. A sort of, “scratch my back and I will scratch yours” type of agreement.
Malmsteen makes the song sound like an over-indulgent Malmsteen song with his over the top soloing on any part of the song that doesn’t have vocals.
Pictures of Home
It wouldn’t be an influence album for Malmsteen if there was no Ritchie Blackmore. Malmsteen’s poses and looks are straight from “The Look Of Blackmore”. This is the first of four Blackmore songs. Joe Lynn Turner is on vocals here, who also sang on Malmsteen’s most successful album “Odyssey”. Mats Olausson is on the keys.
The lead breaks are Malmsteen lead breaks full of legato runs and of course, sweep picking. A lot of sweep picking.
Gates of Babylon
From Rainbow and Jeff Scott Soto is on vocals here. His voice and tone is perfect for the song. David Rosenthal plays the keys here.
The song would not be out of place on a Malmsteen album. The riffs are already what Malmsteen plays and as soon as he throws in his sweep picking and fast classical legato lines, it’s basically a Malmsteen song.
From Jimi Hendrix and like his idol, Malmsteen is on lead vocals. I suppose for all the shredding, Malmsteen doesn’t get credit for being a pretty crazy blues player. Vocally, he doesn’t have the swagger of Hendrix.
In the Dead of Night
From the band U.K., the song is written by Eddie Jobson and John Wetton. Mark Boals is on lead vocals here with Jens Johansson on keyboards. And for those who don’t know John Wetton, he’s appeared in King Crimson, Roxy Music, Uriah Heep, Wishbone Ash and Asia.
But the reason why this track is here is due to Allan Holdsworth being the guitarist. Holdsworth was an unknown name to me until Eddie Van Halen started mentioning him in his interviews in the mid 80’s, which led me to seek out his solo recordings.
Ty Tabor also mentioned in an interview (which can be found on the Wikipedia entry of the U.K album) that the self-titled U.K album is in his “5 Essential Guitar Albums” list, stating that he “had never heard anybody think about playing guitar the way that Holdsworth plays on that record.”
Holdsworth never got mainstream attention. Producers and label heads called his music “without direction”, however to guitarists he was like a god.
You can hear the melodic rock side of Malmsteen here with a bit of progressiveness and how songs like “You Don’t Remember” and “Judas” with the keys and guitars playing great riffs that complement each other.
The solo break groove is excellent, however Malmsteen this time is just too much on the speed, and it just doesn’t fit the groove.
Press play on this track first.
From the David Coverdale era of Deep Purple.
This is the third Blackmore track to appear on this.
Would Malmsteen have covered this, knowing that Coverdale wrote the main riff?
Regardless, the song is perfect for soloing and Malmsteen uses that opportunity to do just that. But if I had to pick a cover version, it is the Whitesnake version with Reb Beach soloing. That solo just hits all the right notes.
Jeff Scott Soto is on vocals here with Mats Olausson on keyboards.
On this version, press play to hear the solo that comes in at the 4.20 minute mark. Malmsteen harmonises, its bluesy like “Still Got The Blues” and I like it.
Also stick around for the ending. It’s excellent. Soto really shines here, as he adds in backing vocals that sound like Gospel vocals and while they are happening he is ad libbing his main vocal while Malmsteen is throwing every lick he knows to the Master Tape.
The Sails of Charon
Another guitar player that influenced Malmsteen heavily was Uli Jon Roth, so it’s no surprise that his most classical sounding metal song with the Scorpions is covered.
Mark Boals is on lead vocals here and does a great job on the vocals, however Malmsteen just solo’s way too much here.
Joe Lynn Turner is on vocals here with Jens Johansson on keyboards. I like how Malmsteen included bluesy Deep Purple here and still added his classical licks with bluesy Chuck Berry’isms.
From Rush and Mark Boals sizzles on lead vocals here.
The pace of this song screams energy and I like it. And goddamn it sounds so heavy.
Child in Time
Mark Boals does an excellent job on lead vocals again with David Rosenthal on the keys.
The keys actually take the lead here (i.e. they basically sound like Malmsteen is playing them), carrying the intro and verses. Malmsteen cranks in right when the ohh’s start.
Overall there are six main guitarists that serve as inspiration to Malmsteen. Ritchie Blackmore, Jimi Hendrix, Uli Jon Roth. Alex Lifeson, Kerry Livgren and Alan Holdsworth. Pretty cool inspirations if you ask me.
While the massive North American market still had its back turned to Malmsteen along with the U.K and parts of Western Europe, the Japanese, Scandinavian Countries and Eastern Europe markets kept sustaining him.
If you want to hear two songs from this album, press play on “In The Dead Of Night” and “Mistreated”.
If an artist released an album and it sold a million copies in the U.S, it would be given a Platinum award, but it only reached less than 1% of the U.S population, never mind the world. 99.9% of the population are ignoring the release, yet it is this commercial acceptance that artists try to chase.
Instead of chasing everyone, try to reach someone.
Every label head said Schenker was finished, washed up.
It’s 1991 and a supergroup called Contraband drop their debut album. And it keeps on dropping because it is so bad. The nice advance payment that Schenker got to be involved in the project didn’t do much to enhance or move forward his career. In fact his manager and ex-partner took most of it.
But he stays alive, because he’s a lifer. When you have been in the game for this long, the only thing you know how to do is play. And play he did. He jumped on board the unplugged bandwagon and released an album. He called up Robin McAuley and released another McAuley Schenker studio album.
Then he re-unites with Phil Mogg and they start writing. The songs got the labels interested and the “Walk On Water” album from UFO, released in 1995 surprised everyone. Suddenly Schenker was back on the agenda and he’s getting money thrown at him again. He had a lot of bad people in his life at this point in time, from managers and partners, so it was always going to happen that MSG would return.
I didn’t think it would be that quick. Because a year after “Walk On Water”, “Written In The Sand” is released, the eighth full-length studio album that falls under the MSG brand.
The only thing consistent with all of these MSG albums is the name and Michael Schenker himself. The other members are in a constant flux. For this album, Schenker is joined by Leif Sundin on vocals, Shane Gaalaas on drums, and Barry Sparks on bass. All the music is by Michael Schenker and all lyrics by Leif Sundin.
Ron Nevison is doing all the Producing, Engineering and Mixing.
It’s not on Spotify which irks me, but YouTube has it.
Brave New World
It’s got groove, swing and lot of rock and roll. And the first thing that grabs my attention are the vocals from Leif Sundin. His voice is very melodic, fluid and unique. I would say he’s up there as one of the best singers in MSG.
The lead breaks are impressive, with Schenker even soloing over a harmony solo which acts as a rhythm guitar.
Cry No More
Press play to hear the intro. Its heavy and a lot of acts who went alternative to survive weren’t doing riffs like this during this period. The song could have been on a Deep Purple album and it wouldn’t be out pf place.
It’s a ballad that turns into a rocker. It’s not original, yet it is an easy listen.
Back to Life
No one was writing riffs like this in 1996. Its old school and I like it. Barry Sparks is massive on the bass here as well.
Written in the Sand
This track is essential MSG. It has a sleazy bluesy riff and a lot of melody. And Schenker delivers a tasty guitar-solo in the middle and for the outro.
It wouldn’t be an MSG album without an instrumental. This one has an “Eruption” vibe before moving into a fast blues. Think of “Hot For Teacher” when it picks up.
Love Never Dies
Imagine “Finish What Ya Started” merging with the melodic rock genre. Well this is the outcome. Another close favourite with a killer Schenker lead break.
I Will Be There
Press play to hear the verse riff. Schenker makes it sound technical, yet it rocks so fluidly.
Take Me Through the Night
Its classic heavy metal while the singing is happening and the solo section is barroom blues brawling.
It wouldn’t be out of place on any metal album from the early 80’s.
Down the Drain
The album closer showcases how Schenker decorates in a creative way. You cannot ignore how good it is.
While Schenker’s North American career had stalled, he was still a big draw in Japan and certain European markets. And just like that, the whole “Contraband” affair was forgotten. That is if you heard the album. Which wasn’t easy to do.
I was a fan back in the day and I still enjoy cranking their tunes. They released two official albums that I am aware off, in “Rise” (2008) and “iMerica” in 2010. There was an “Unplugged EP” in 2012 and a Kickstarter project that release new songs to the backers only in 2014.
I hope Anew Revolution make more music. They have fans. We probably won’t make the band millions, but we will listen.
Once upon a time, it used to cost a lot of money to record. Very few acts, got signed and even less acts got a chance to record and get distributed. Getting inside the record label machine was hard, however if an act could penetrate, they could have a long career even if they never had a hit on the charts.
The label did have good intentions to keep you in the business and the label would promote you. All at your cost of course. But the truth is, it was harder to keep a record deal than to get a record deal. Especially if you didn’t sell. And even more so, once MTV came out and you didn’t sell.
Kiss benefited from this business model. They relied on the label putting some money upfront for the recording of the album, for the film clips and for tour support.
Then Napster came, then torrents, the iTunes store and streaming and Gene and Paul just kept on shouting it loud to everyone about how there is no music business, while they toured non-stop and made money from the music business.
In the process they recorded two albums during this period.
Yep, two albums. “Sonic Boom” and “Monster”. But for all of the complaining about streaming they did, the Kiss catalogue was on Spotify Australia. Then half of it was off. Then it was back on after a few weeks off. Madness.
I’m against bands withholding their music from a service that people legitimately pay for.
It’s all about consumption. Funds are tight, but Google and Spotify is not the problem. The artists are getting squeezed by the consumer. The consumer either listens or doesn’t want to listen to your music.
For any artist thinking of withholding their music from a streaming service, don’t do it. Don’t hold back progress. Because if you look at the past, you will see people who said the internet would kill the incentive to make music. Wrong, there’s so much more music than ever before. People said streaming would kill the business. Wrong, revenues are up and streaming is seen as it’s saviour.
Coming into 1984, hard rock and metal bands started popping up everywhere in the mainstream. Magazines moved their reporting from different styles of music to cover only hard rock. The labels even started promoting rock music as different genres. Eventually, the heavy metal section of the record store would be divided to include hard rock, speed metal and extreme metal. In a few more years after that, glam metal and melodic rock would also be listed as categories. But in 1984, regardless of what “genre” a band got labelled with after, we still found the albums in the heavy metal section of the record shop.
Judas Priest still had the world in the palm of their hands with “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin” and then they dropped “Defenders Of The Faith”. “The Sentinel” is my favourite track on the album. I could listen to it over and over again.
The debut album from the “guys from Jersey” is tiny compared to the albums that came after, but it still has some worthy riffs to talk about. So press play on Bon Jovi’s debut.
The fury known as Yngwie Malmsteen dropped his debut album “Rising Force” and neo-classical got an adrenaline shot.
The Fish led era of Marillion dropped “Fugazi”. It was an acquired taste and I enjoyed the music more than the vocals.
When I first heard “Ride The Lightning”, I didn’t even know what kind of music it was. I felt like a chainsaw assaulted my earbuds. It didn’t sound like the hard rock mixes I was used to, as my ears were conditioned to enjoy the Tom Werman, Keith Olsen, Bruce Fairbairn produced albums.
It was original, progressive and it set the track list running template for the future albums which followed.
I didn’t know it then, but Y&T would became one of my favourite bands ever. Their big money Geffen move didn’t happen until the late 80’s and A&M was the wrong label for their classic era. Regardless, Y&T’s is part of my DNA. “In Rock We Trust” I say.
From a copyright point of view, how the hell would David Coverdale do the accounting for the “Slide It In” album. There are the songwriters who would deserve their royalty and then there are the two versions of the album, with different members who would get a performance royalty.
The final Cold Chisel album “Twentieth Century” came out months after they played their final show in December of 83.
And it had three classics in “Saturday Night”, “No Sense” and “Flame Trees”. It’s also hard to believe that “No Second Prize” from Jimmy Barnes solo album that followed this, was submitted and rejected from this album.
I absolutely support that musicians should be paid for their work.
What I don’t get is how the record labels and misguided artists feel entitled to push for stronger copyright enforcement as a way to guarantee an income which is contrary to the foundations of what copyright was designed to do.
The song “Happy Birthday” goes all the way back to 1893 and it was under Copyright protection until 2030 because someone decided to retroactively place it back under copyright. Then there was outrage and then it was part of the public domain.
Copyright protectionism is about protecting old business models. Stronger Copyright has nothing to do about supporting thriving new industries. Stronger Copyright has nothing to do about finding new ways of doing things.
And people do pay for music.
Metallica’s self-titled Black album is still moving on average 2000 units a week. And it is doing this even though millions of copies of the album are available to be downloaded for free. It is doing this even though it is available for streaming on Spotify and YouTube.
Volbeat has been selling records on a weekly basis in the U.S since 2011. They are doing these numbers even though their album/s are available to be downloaded on peer-to-peer networks. They are doing these numbers even though their albums are available for streaming. Same deal with Five Finger Death Punch, Avenged Sevenfold and Skillet. Still selling, regardless of the state of piracy.
So what is it. Do artists need stronger copyright laws or better business models and terms that pay them a fair days pay for a fair days work?
What a great band name, using a police slang term for a motorcyclist crashing and skidding along the road at high speed. Their so called overnight success was 14 plus years in the making that began in different states and different cities, far removed from the Sunset Strip of LA.
Vocalist Gary Jeffries has a huge story to tell. He put in a lot of time playing the bar circuit and his origin story dates back to the Seventies. Eventually he came to L.A in the mid Eighties to audition for QUIET RIOT after original vocalist Kevin DuBrow left. He didn’t get that gig, losing out to Paul Shortino from Rough Cutt.
Start with the debut album. They wanted to call the album “Mood Swing” and once you sink your teeth into it, that is exactly what you will get.
It was produced by Greg Edward who paid his dues as an engineer on big albums like “Scarecrow” from John Cougar Mellencamp and “Like a Rock” from Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band. Virgin Records released the album and it looks like they had no idea how to promote the band or the album in a changing musical landscape.
It was a million dollar blockbuster and the mythology around Motley Crue by 1989 supported and underpinned this blockbuster movie. The drug overdoses, the return from death, the crashed cars, the women, the drugs, the partying, the clashes with the law and the eventual “sobriety”.
It is their first album with Bob Rock, who Nikki found via Ian Astbury from “The Cult”. Remember that music is a relationship business. That is how we are meant to roll. It was recorded in Canada at Little Mountain Studios at the same time that Aerosmith was recording “Pump”. Both of the biggest party bands had committed to a healthy lifestyle, going on jogs together.
The piece de resistance is “Dr Feelgood”. Musically, it is a Mick Mars composition, that he had completely mapped out on his own. He had to take the song to the band a few times before they started to pay attention to it and it was the song that started the ball rolling with Bob Rock, after the band sent him a demo.
Can you imagine Vince Neil singing for a whole day and only having one line of a lyric that was deemed usable?
Yep, that was the standard set by Bob Rock. Of course a million dollar budget didn’t hurt. And didn’t they come a long way from the seven days recording session for “Too Fast For Love”. Album number five left no loose ends.
“Dr Feelgood” set a new standard for hard rock and a lot of the bands like Dokken, Great White, Firehouse, Poison, Ratt and so many others just didn’t take that next step. And of course, shortly after the album was released, Metallica went to Bob Rock and said that they want their own “Dr Feelgood”.
“Today I Caught the Plague” was first. I thought the band name was crap but the debut album “Lore” was a real stand out for 2011. I came across the band by sheer luck when I saw a tour poster from “Protest The Hero” and it had “Today I Caught The Plague” as one of the supports.
While “Lore” was an independent release, “Life In Lucidity” is on Sumerian Records. A label that is perfect for them. Because labels are still the answer to get your name out to the masses. As much as the internet was meant to level the playing field, the labels have more power than ever. So if you want to be on a label, you need to be on a label that specialises and deals with bands that are of similar styles.
The first song I listened to was “Heritage” and I bought the album on iTunes not long after, ordered the CD from Amazon and put it as a favourite on my Spotify playlist.
A very long post covering Zakk’s long career with Ozzy, Pride And Glory, Ozzy again and Black Label Society up to 2014. Check out what I think are essential songs that people should listen to from Mr Berserker Wylde.
And I just kept talking about “Angel Of Mercy”, spreading the gospel on the song from Black Label Society.
Great music must contain emotion. That is why “Angel Of Mercy” connected with me. It hits me emotionally and it makes me feel something. All the great songs do? And because I care for the song, I can’t stop sharing it and talking about it with people who want to listen. And when music is done right, it sells itself.
And that’s a wrap for a month’s worth of DoHistory. Let’s get back to reading blog posts and posting some more content.
You paid your dues from hotel to motel, got ripped off on the pay from the promoter, had some fights and some good times and maybe, just maybe, you might have gotten a recording contract.
Which didn’t guarantee success, but it gave you a chance to play in the field of dreams.
Suddenly, MTV made people believe that if they got a recording contract, success was guaranteed. And the live show became a clone of the recordings, because artists took their time to get the recordings perfect.
Music is cultures greatest invention and the record labels signed artists based on the music more than the commercial potential. With some A&R development, smart marketing, an audience would come and a career is built. But streaming put the public in control. It took away the power of scorched earth marketing tactics from the labels.
Songs that go nuts on streaming happen months before the rest of the mainstream picks up on them. And every so few years something new comes along that becomes mainstream. Classic rock gave birth to prog rock to punk to metal to hair rock to grunge to industrial to nu metal and so forth.
Alice Copper had a string of hit albums in the Seventies. Towards the end of the decade and in the early Eighties his output was of a lesser standard while he dabbled in new wave rock. Then he started to gain some momentum with two underrated hard rock/metal releases in “Constrictor” and “Raise Your Fist and Yell”. But the massive mainstream comeback happened with “Trash”, his Eighteenth studio album. Yep, Alice’s career was eighteen albums deep.
So when it came time to record the follow-up to “Trash”, another star-studded cast was assembled.
A lot of cash was thrown at every body. It was a who’s who of hard rock royalty.
I don’t understand why people go to a rock show or a metal show to film the whole thing on a smart phone.
I have also been known to break out my iPhone and capture some footage or a few photos for posterity. But I’ve never gone back and referred to my amateur filming or photography.
The reasons are simple, those captures can never accurately reflect the concert as I witnessed it.
Once upon a time it was a big thing to go to a concert and talk about it, but these days it’s no big deal.
So is videoing a concert with a phone a violation of an artist’s copyright. Don Henley says it is, however he also said that he doesn’t want the shows posted on YouTube because it spoils it for people who are going to come to a show in the future and that he doesn’t want to see Eagles content out there that sounds horrible.
Some use it as a form of a diary record, to remember or relive that moment when their favourite song came on. Some do it to share the moment and their love for the artist. Some do it because they simple can. A smart phone or an iPad or Tablet, allows us the convenience to do so.
Sweden is a massive exporter of cultural content. Most of the bands I like are from Sweden and one of the biggest Pop songwriters over the last 25 years is also from Sweden.
Isn’t it funny how the home country of Spotify also has one of the most vibrant rock and metal scenes in the world. But wait a second. I am sure I have heard the RIAA and their proponents scream that because music has been devalued, no one will create anymore.
Well it looks like someone forgot to tell the Swedes, a country that has embraced streaming and guess what, their musical scene is flourishing.
I don’t mind my fix of Power Metal. Here is my own 10 second wrap up of a whole genre beginning from the Seventies.
It started with Deep Purple, Rainbow and Iron Maiden. Then Yngwie Malmsteen and Helloween came along. They both increased the tempos and Yngwie Malmsteen exaggerated the classical elements which led to the current Power Metal movement which is just a higher tempo version of the beast that Yngwie Malmsteen and Helloween inspired.
The thing with power metal at the moment is that there are so many acts out on the market that are just not good enough to be there. They think by playing at break neck speeds it makes them good enough.
Kamelot is not one of them. Because Kamelot is not all about higher tempos. There is more variation in their music. Credit Thomas Youngblood, one of the bands original founders.
I’m listening to “Silverthorn”, Kamelot’s tenth studio album and their third concept story.
It’s the song “Veritas” that connected with me. And the connection comes in the form of a band called Savatage, who I am a big fan off, especially the era of Criss Oliva. Because it sounds like something that could have been recorded for a Savatage album.
I can’t say that I like everything that Kamelot has put out, however they have done enough on each album to keep me interested to come back and invest my time to hear each new album. And that is what matters today.
I really enjoyed Daybreak Embrace’s 2010 EP “Tomorrow Awaits”. From that EP “Thirty–Six” is a dead set classic and “Sanctuary” is not that far behind. This is where people should start.
So I was curious as to what new music they had released since then.
I go to Spotify, type in their name and I see that they have new music. The “Mercury” EP was released in 2013. Damn, how did I miss that. The Modern Rock scene in the U.S is a very crowded marketplace. With all the beautiful things that the Internet has brought us, one thing hasn’t changed. It is still difficult for a band to get attention and the odds of success are still very low.
By 1993, everything changed. The Record Labels threw their lots in with the Grunge movement, abandoning the majority of the hard rock and heavy metal bands they had on their roster. But, hard rock and metal releases still kept on coming. The only issue was that they became harder to get in Australia.
And “Sacred Groove” from George Lynch would probably never get booted out of the Top 10 list for that year. It’s an album that has guitar instrumentals with hard rock songs featuring some of the best singers. Slash did something similar with his Solo album a decade later.
The best instrumental track by far on the album is “Tierra Del Fuego”. A six-minute tour de force in Flamenco Hard Rock music.
The best vocal track on the album is “We Don’t Own The World”, that has vocals by Matthew and Gunnar Nelson. But the song is actually written by George Lynch and Don Dokken. Dokken was supposed to sing on the track, however he failed to show up at the studio. So Lynch got the Nelson twins who were in the studio next door recording their ill-fated “Imaginator” album, which got rejected by Geffen and John Kalodner.
“Flesh And Blood” is written by George Lynch and Jeff Pilson and Ray Gillen is on vocals. This is a rare gem as Ray was to pass away that same year. That awesome groove sets it up and Lynch owns that solo.
Glenn Hughes involvement with George Lynch goes back to the Lynch Mob days, when he recorded scratch vocals on the second album, so that new singer Robert Mason could follow. On Lynch’s first proper solo outing, he sings on two songs, “Not Necessary Evil” and “Cry Of The Brave”. Both of the songs have music written by Lynch and lyrics by Hughes. This period of Hughes’s career is the one I like the most. He was everywhere with his own solo project, with George Lynch, with John Norum, with a Blues project and many more.
Back then I asked the question “If we stop using Spotify or Netflix, would we miss them?”
Since then a lot of other players have taken market share in the steaming world.
I am a heavy user of Spotify. For Netflix its hit and miss. Sometimes I could go weeks without using it and on other occasions it’s every day.
At the moment, in 2022, I also have subscriptions to Stan, Amazon, Paramount+ and Disney.
Being missed when you’re gone is a worthy objective for any organisation. It also should be an objective for any artist. If I stopped listening to music in general, I would miss it. If I stopped listening to music from certain artists I would really miss it.
And the ones who will survive are not those looking for short term profits, but those that realize it’s a war of attrition.
Metallica wanted to re-issue their 1982 demo “No Life To Leather”. Dave Mustaine on Twitter, said the talks broke down because Lars wanted song writing credits on two songs that Mustaine wrote every note and word to. So instead of agreeing to share the song writing, Mustaine passed.
Song writing is always an issue with bands.
Van Halen had all the band members listed as songwriters on all of their albums. Suddenly, when the band re-negotiated their publishing deals for their earlier David Lee Roth albums, Michael Anthony was removed as a song writer.
Skid Row’s Dave Sabo and Rachel Bolan said that Sebastian Bach didn’t contribute to the Skid Row debut album as most of the songs were written before Bach joined. Bach countered to say, that the way he sung the songs, and the way he decided to hold certain notes was enough of a contribution to the debut album and he should be listed as a songwriter. Manager Doc McGhee said Bach has no idea how copyright works.
Nikki Sixx said one of the reasons for Vince Neil’s departure from Motley was due to his lack of song writing contributions, which Vince countered to say he had enough co-writes on Motley’s classic 80’s era to counter that.
100% of the time, when an individual writes a song, there will be music, words and melodies written at the same time.
I went in cold on this as well. The first thing that came to mind was “A Perfect Circle”. So I Googled it and of course it is Billy Howerdel’s project. And he sings on it. The album came out in 2008 and the first time I heard it was May, 2014.
“Keep Telling Myself It’s Alright” is the album name and there is no filler here. Check it out.
“Angel Of Mercy” from Black Label Society always gets me to pay attention.
The song appears on the album “Catacombs Of the Black Vatican” from Black Label Society.
And the lead break is pure magic. Just listen.
It builds and builds to the point where you cannot help but be in awe at the feel, the melodic phrasing and the disciplined technique on display.
The song was never a hit on the Billboard Charts and due to its mellow nature it might never get a live appearance, but god damn it, the song is a classic.
Ozzy probably didn’t know it, but in Zakk, he had a guitarist who could do Black Sabbath better than Black Sabbath, do the works of Randy Rhoads justice. (Of course, as a diehard RR fan, no one could do RR better than RR himself) and Zakk could play Jake E Lee better than Jake E Lee. Zakk once called his Ozzy gig the most glorified covers gig ever, where he gets to play some cool shit written by others and he also gets to play his own shit.
The follow-up self-titled Lynch Mob album had Keith Olsen producing. I suppose anything to do with George Lynch, includes a saga with a lead singer.
Dokken was four years dead. In between that time George Lynch and Mick Brown shacked up together with Lynch Mob and remained with Elektra Records. Jeff Pilson went to War and Peace and lead singer Don Dokken got wined and dined by Geffen Records and jumped ship.
The first post Dokken battle between had Lynch scoring some points with the excellent “Wicked Sensation” coming first. However, Don Dokken and John Kalodner were still building their all-star cast for “Up From The Ashes” and even though the album was an exemplary piece of melodic hard rock, it failed commercially. I suppose Don’s $1 million advance sign on fee didn’t help the budget. But it is still a favourite to me.
And the great momentum built up by the Mark 1 version of Lynch Mob was taken back a few steps with the ousting of vocalist Oni Logan. The story goes that Lynch had a problem with the way Logan sounded live. So after letting Logan go, the band had Glenn Hughes come in. He would sing the songs on the demos and then new singer Robert Mason would record em.
Fun fact for the day is that Glen Hughes did co-write a few tunes with Don Dokken for the “Up From The Ashes” album, with “When Love Finds A Fool” making it to the final cut.
But the album failed to match the sales of “Wicked Sensation” even though “Tangled In The Web” was a Top 10 hit.
Lynch Mob went on tour and Lynch was “not feeling it” with Mason and he wanted to get another singer. That singer was Ray Gillen, who at the time wasn’t interested because he had just completed “Voodoo Highway” with Badlands and was keen to push and promote that album.
If only Gillen knew the fall out that would happen between him and Jake a few months later. Glenn Hughes was considered, however he was discriminated against because of his age.
And then George Lynch returned to Dokken for the already written “Dysfunctional” album and even though as a hard core fan, I thoroughly enjoyed it, the truth of the matter is the band was spent. And we can speculate or argue why or just revel in the greatness of what came before.
The recording industry tells us that we need more Copyright for music to thrive and survive. But nursery rhymes survived all this time without the recording industry and copyright.
Say bye-bye to the old and say hello to the new. Here is a list of the new nursery rhymes that my two-year old loves.
“We’re Not Gonna Take It”
Back in the Eighties, the PMRC listed “We’re Not Gonna Take It” as number 7 on their filthy fifteen list. And the reason why it was on the list. Violence. Yep, Tipper Gore and her housewives found the song to be violent while millions upon millions of adolescent teens found it empowering.
“Cum On Feel The Noize”, “Rock and Roll”, “Rock N Roll All Nite”
Songs about letting your hair down.
“Livin On A Prayer” and “Don’t Stop Believin”
Two songs are about never giving up and believing in yourself. And those people are still believing with billion plus streams for these songs.
“Eye Of The Tiger”
The “Rocky III” producers wanted to use “Another One Bites The Dust” however they could not get permission to use the song, so Sylvester Stallone hired Survivor to write an original song instead.
“We Will Rock You”
The boom boom cha. It’s undeniable.
And these songs get passed on via word of mouth. It’s how culture rolls.
Six years had passed since Death Magnetic was released.
Led Zeppelin Reissue’s
Seriously. How many times can someone own the original three albums or the songs contained within those albums.
Seriously. Is this still an issue in 2014?
Streaming Doesn’t Pay
It does pay. If you are not getting any of the pie speak to the label or the organisation that holds your rights.
They are irrelevant. All they do is give the old guard a way to measure something that is irrelevant because the new way to measure an artist’s reach is just too hard to fathom for them.
Are people listening to the album?
Press Releases for new albums
People can see through the hype. We don’t care when bands say “how great this new album is” or “how it is a definitive statement of the band right now”. All we care about is if we like it. If we do like it, we will talk about and we will push it. If it is crap, expect it to disappear.
Because if publicity does increase sales, then bands should be selling by the millions and selling out their shows. But they don’t.
And that’s another wrap of DoH history for a week.
Life always throws curveballs. I have reached the stage in my life where I don’t have the time to do my full time IT job. I wouldn’t have it any other way with all of the family distractions, however my blogging has suffered a fair bit in 2022, from the usual daily posts to a post or two in a week and then back to daily posts and then to one or two a week again. Even reading and commenting on posts has gone a bit slack, but I will get around to reviewing it all.
So here is a two week review of Destroyer Of Harmony History.
4 Years Ago (2018)
Copyright was designed to protect the artist and to enhance culture. It did this, by giving the artist a monopoly on their works, so they could make money from their works and have an incentive to create further works. This monopoly was for a short period with the option to renew. Once the expiry date passed, the works became part of the public domain for future generations to build on and use. Like how the 60’s musicians took all the Blues classics from the 30’s that had terms which expire in the 50s and the “British Invasion” was born.
Corporations started to rise because of these monopolies and what we have now is a copyright standard so far removed from what copyright was meant to be. For over a century the record label has built up a history of owning songs it shouldn’t be owning.
“Why would a label be insisting on keeping a property that has stopped selling, that they don’t have any plans to re-promote except when the artist dies?” Todd Rundgren
“Of all the creative work produced by humans anywhere, a tiny fraction has continuing commercial value. For that tiny fraction, the copyright is a crucially important legal device” Lawrence Lessig
The songwriters and the actual artists will never be properly compensated because of poor record keeping from the record labels and the publishing organisations, but these same organisations blame the technology companies for not doing enough to seek out the songwriters.
But the labels licensed their catalogues to the techies, so wouldn’t they have the information as to who wrote what. Especially for the lesser artists.
There is a scene in the “Uncensored” video with Vince Neil cruising down the Sunset Strip in a limo with a spa pool and he’s talking about the name of the next album, called “Girls, Girls, Girls”.
On May 15, 1987, “Girls Girls Girls” comes out and the world was treated to two video clips. The “Censored” clip and the “Uncensored” one. MTV had a ball with it.
And the clip is misleading. While it looks like the guys are having fun, attending strip clubs and dropping bills into knickers, Nikki Sixx was in the spiralling grip of a heroin addiction, Mick Mars was blacking out from alcoholism, Tommy Lee was coking it up, screwing anything that moved and somehow managed to get married and still screw anything that moved, while Vince Neil was still on probation from his car crash homicide and pretending to be sober. In other words, life in the Crue was chaos with a capital MC.
The best track on the album is the opener, Nikki’s religious sermon to the street life of L.A. “Wild Side” is perfect, from the riffs, the drum groove, the vocal melodies and of course, the lyrics.
Kneel down ya sinners to streetwise religion Greed has been crowned the new king
From a commercial perspective, “Girls” was competing against “Slippery When Wet” from Bon Jovi, “The Final Countdown” from Europe and Whitesnake’s 1987 self-titled album for listeners attention. “Look What the Cat Dragged In” from Poison was also rising. But it not only competed, it went toe to toe with all of those releases and Motley came out on top in the live box office. Hell, even Whitesnake was opening up for them.
And who can forget the words from management, that if the band went to Europe to tour, they will come home in body bags. “Girls” would be the end of the Motley band as we knew it. A snapshot of how a band can take alcohol and drugs to the limits.
Artists always had a lot of songs in the bank. Sometimes they didn’t even release their best song. They always withheld some for the next album and the album after. And they kept on writing.
Majority of artists are intrinsically motivated. The joy of creating a new song is what motivates them. If the song gets public acceptance, and it brings in money, great. As long as they are still motivated by the joy of creating a new song, they will be fine. As soon as they are motivated by the need to match or better the popularity of the “hit” song, then they are in trouble.
Social media is there to give you instant feedback. After the show is over, people are commenting. After a song is released, people are commenting. It gives you the ability to connect and know your fans, to interact with them and to get a feel for what they like and want from you.
Remember music is forever, and it needs people to like it. Be creative and never stop.
It takes artists a while, but they eventually realise how much their copyrights are worth. Nikki Sixx on Twitter said that the best industry lesson he learned was that Motley Crue didn’t really need a record label after the first two albums. And this antipathy towards labels ended up with Motley Crue getting their rights to the Masters back in 1998 from Elektra.
And then you have instances where artists need to sell their songwriting credits because of bad business decisions. K.K. Downing, founded Judas Priest. He left the band in 2011 due to issues with the other members and he purchased a golf course, which went into administration. As part of bankruptcy, Downing sold the rights to 136 songs he co-wrote. According to the article, these songs generate $340K to $400K in royalty payments annually back in 2018. Those numbers are only growing and the Copyright holders, (the Labels and The Publishers) are making their money back tenfold.
On the other side, is the graphic artists who normally get paid a flat fee for their services to create/design an album cover. At the time of designing the cover, no one really knows the impact the album might have on culture. So is the graphic artist to get paid extra when the album they designed the cover for broke through and sold millions. Case in point, Jethro Tull and the iconic “Aqualung” cover.
In the 70’s a young artist was hired by Chrysalis for $1,500 via a handshake deal to create three paintings to his style and content for Jethro Tull’s new album. The album went on to become Jethro Tull’s best-selling album, with over 7 million copies sold and so many anniversary editions issued. And apart from the great music, the album cover has become iconic, being re-issued on cassettes, CD’s, T-shirts and what not. And the artist who painted it, well, the label contends it was a “work for hire” agreement. And with no written contract, the label can say anything, so Chrysalis (now Warner Brothers) said the copyright for the paintings belonged to them. Fancy that. A label claiming to own the artistic rights to art.
When it comes to artists and copyright law, it’s very messy, especially for famous works as the companies don’t want to lose the rights to valuable works. So the corporations always try to extend Copyright terms.
As much as I like using Spotify, once they reach critical mass, the prices will go up. But it’s easier said than done, as there is a lot of competition in streaming these days. And one of the key role of our governments is to make sure monopolies don’t exist, but every time they pass a piece of legislation, they more or less give rise to monopolies. Copyright monopoly anyone.
And back in 2018, my Netflix subscription went up and it went up again last year, while the shows I watched they keep cancelling like “Altered Carbon” or “Sense8”. But like all technology companies, once you reach critical mass, the price goes up. Maybe it’s time to reassess my financial commitments to these organizations.
Cinderella’s “Long Cold Winter” had its 30th Anniversary on May 21, 1988. It’s was good then and it’s still good today, a timeless album.
And on May 23, 1979, Kiss released “Dynasty”. It was my first Kiss album on LP and of course, due to having so little product to listen to, it became a favourite. However, my brothers friends who had the earlier Kiss albums hated this album.
On May 24, 1988, Van Halen released “OU812”. The piece d’resistance is “Mine All Mine”. It wasn’t just competing with the singles from this album for attention, it was competing with “Jump”, “Panama”, “Dreams”, “Summer Nights” and “Why Can’t This be Love” for attention. Because in the MTV era, songs had some legs.
And everything these bands represent is opposite to what is popular on the charts today. Today it’s all about the beat and it doesn’t feel personal which is opposite of what music should be.
Playing in a band is tough. Everyone wants to do it, but the long road to make some money and no safety net scared a lot of people off. And the ones who stuck it out, are still sticking it out.
Some broke through, some got signed and released music on a label and some still play the bar/club scene. These days, artists can record and release their music themselves, while holding down a full time job that pays.
Music is a lifers game. Because it’s alienating. When you write music, you are normally alone, surrounded by feelings. When you are on the road, you end up alone in a hotel room and for some artists they never come home alive. It’s hard to even speak about depression today, especially when you are surrounded by social media and it’s “everybody’s a winner” message.
So while society might base itself around the winners on social media, the truth is we all lose, each and every one of us at some point in time.
Did anyone hear about the copyright infringement suit between The Script and James Arthur.
Back in 2018, James Arthur’s “Say You Won’t Let Go” released in 2016 had 846 million streams on Spotify and on YouTube it had over 600 million views.
Meanwhile “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” from The Script, released in 2008, doesn’t even rate a mention in the Top 10 streamed songs for The Script and even their biggest song, “Hall of Fame” released in 2012 is sitting at 419 million streams on Spotify. On YouTube, “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” has 172 million views.
G, D, Em and C is the chord progression under question. The Script are adamant that the way they use the Chord progression with the vocal melody is unique and original and they are the first ones EVER to do it. Go to a Christian church and a lot of the songs they sing there use this chord progression. Pick up any album from any era and this chord progression will be there.
The songs do sound similar, but any song which uses this chord progression will sound similar. Of course it’s no surprise that the attorney’s representing “The Script” are the same ones Marvin Gaye’s heirs used for “Blurred Lines”. According to The Script’s legal team, at stake is $20 million dollars.
The reason why music became such a large commercial force is because songs sounded similar. In the book “Hitmakers” by Derek Thompson, it mentions how our tastes in music are based on something we’ve heard before with some slight variation.
How many times have we stumbled upon a new song that we like, listen to it constantly on repeat while we try to figure out what other song it sounds like?
But we live in a world that if someone is winning, someone must be losing. So in this case, James Arthur is winning and The Script are losing, because he is winning with a song that sounds similar to their song and their song sounds similar to another song and that other song sounds similar to another song and so on.
8 Years Ago (2014)
Remember the days of purchasing an album based on a heavily marketed opening track and to find out that the album had 1 great song and 2 to 3 maybe 4 decent songs. And the rest were there as pure filler.
After being burnt so many times on purchases like these, did the labels or artist need any more evidence as to why people took to cherry picking when the mp3 became available. And with streaming, we have taken it up a notch.
The big songs just keep getting bigger and the album cuts are forgotten. A lot of music listeners wouldn’t even be able to name the album that had “Don’t Stop Believin’”.
Yep the labels are at it again. Using money that should be paid to their artists to buy shares in another technology company.
This time around Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment have each bought $3 million in shares in Shazam Entertainment on top of the stake they own in Spotify.
The record labels still scream that there is no money in the recording business because of piracy. Yet, Universal Music has also purchased shares in Beats Music and when the Apple billion dollar purchase is complete of Beats, it will be even richer.
Yet, a recent IFPI report shows that the labels invested $4.5 billion in artist and repertoire. If there is no money in the recording business,then why would the record labels spend so much money on artist and repertoire.
Because artists are the lifeblood of the music industry. And it is artists that make the labels money. No one buys an album because Elektra released it.
The labels have purchasing power because of the artists.
The labels have status because of the artists.
The artists have made the label executives more wealthy than the best-selling artists.
So if the record labels own shares in Spotify and Shazam, does that mean by default, the artists also own those shares. The answer should be YES.
Every corporation in power, when faced with the inevitabilities of competition, have a nasty habit of pushing backwards. They assume that by killing off any competition before it gets some momentum, they have done enough to protect their business models. They assume that if they lobby or bribe hard enough and get even more draconian laws passed, it will give them more power to prevent any further problems down the line.
But change is eternal. It is progress and it cannot be stopped. Try as the corporations will, change always happen.
The recording industry built an empire decades ago based on the control of the media and the distribution chains. Teenage kids from 1999 built a better system.
And the system allows for the transitioning of power and control back to the audience and the actual creators. But the artists want to apply the old charging system to the new system.
It should be the norm that in 2014, if a person still buys a physical CD or LP of the artists, that same person should be able to download that whole album via a download site that the artist controls. Coheed and Cambria did this with “The Afterman” releases. Amazon offers it via the AutoRip option however not all artists opt in.
It should be the norm that in 2014, if a person wants to download an MP3 rip of an album for free, they should be able to do it. If Pirate sites make so much money from advertisements, then why don’t the record labels provide the same service that they pirate sites provide and even reward those uploaders for continuing to spread culture instead of locking it up. These people would never have purchased physical anyway.
Music is cultural. It was always possible to identify people’s musical tastes by the clothes they wore and the style of their hair. Our musical identity was a source of pride.
The definition of a casual music fan twenty to thirty years ago meant having a high music IQ and typically purchasing a seven inch single on a weekly basis. The definition of a casual music fan today means having a lower music IQ about who was involved in the song’s creation and focusing all on the song.
Nobody owes a musician a living and what is valuable is subjective.
From the beginning of time, musicians always made money from public performances.
Copyright at its basic level ensures that people receive compensation for a valuable good that they spend time and energy to create. This creates an incentive to put more time and energy into producing new work. Longer Copyright terms do not benefit the original creator in any way whatsoever.
People start to create for the sake of creation rather than money.
Whether people want to admit it or not, every song that is written relies on some sort of connection to past works.
Piracy has never been the problem. The RIAA just found it convenient to blame Piracy. It was all a smokescreen to fool the politicians into action so that they can get control back over the distribution/gatekeeper monopoly they had.
Recording revenues never recovered because it turns out that most people just want the best songs and not all of the songs.
There is a big difference between getting paid a “living wage” and earning one. Just because a musician creates a song or records an album, it doesn’t mean that you need to get paid a living wage. You need an audience that believes that you have provided a service to them by releasing your music.
Music is something people choose to do free and money is a by-product of doing music. A wage is something your employer pays you for doing your part in bringing him profit. If you want a wage for playing music and you are not a superstar act, then you need to put in your 40 hours a week. Be a music teacher, gig every day.
Being paid is good, but being known is better.
You could say wrong time, wrong place.
I am always into bands that can take the AC/DC style of rock n roll and spruce it up with their own twists without sounding too much of a copycat. Junkyard was such a band that did it really well with their debut album released in 1989.
A lot of people believe that the Guns N Roses comparison is the reason why Geffen Records became interested. To put it into context, Guns N Roses didn’t really take over the world until 1988 and by then, Junkyard already had a record deal in place with Geffen records.
The excellent Tom Werman was on hand to produce the debut album that came out in 1989. The engineer was Duane Baron who was also no slouch in the producer chair either.
While others complain about Werman’s work ethic or input, the Junkyard team had nothing but praise. However, another candidate that was considered was Matt Wallace, who did the initial demos that Geffen financed before they gave the go ahead for the full album to be recorded. Matt Wallace was a more eclectic producer, being involved with artists like “The Replacements”, “John Hiatt” and “Faith No More”.
They wrote and recorded material for a third album with the working title “103,000 People Can’t Be Wrong” (which was a reference to the first week sales of album number 2) but the record never got made for various reasons.
The band wanted to produce it themselves so Geffen gave them an ultimatum.
Record it with a real producer, however they will give no marketing support or touring support.
Or they would release the band from their deal and allow the band to shop the record to other labels.
But no other label would come forth to support them as all of the labels had moved on to find the next Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden or Alice In Chains.
It’s there Eighth album.
How many bands out there had their biggest album on their 8th release?
Just to put it into context. Metallica’s 8th album was “St Anger”. Motley Crue’s 8th album was “New Tattoo”. Aerosmith’s 8th album was “Done With Mirrors”. Black Sabbath’s 8th album was “Never Say Die”. Ozzy’s 8th album was “Down To Earth”. Bon Jovi’s 8th album was “Bounce”.
When I heard the “Fireworks” album from Bonfire I got the impression that they were superstars already. The album to me is a definitive piece of hard rock, melodic rock, heavy metal and euro metal all merged into one cohesive package.
I had a friend who had a friend who had a friend that made me a copy of the album on cassette. I had no idea who was in the band, who wrote the songs, who produced it and on what label it was on.
What I did know was the music. And the music was great.
In the end, Bonfire was one of the thousands of bands that signed contracts stacked against them and of course they got ripped off.
The “Breaking the Chains” clip was all over MTV but no one was buying the album of the same name.
The band was doing an arena tour with Blue Oyster Cult and the label still wanted to drop them.
“Tooth and Nail” was Dokken’s last shot. The band recorded it and then they went back to their day jobs. Mick Brown and George Lynch went back to driving trucks while Don Dokken went back to buying, fixing and selling cars.
Then the album blew up.
Put aside the band politics and the legendary Lynch/Dokken wars. Just pay attention to the songs, especially the backs to the wall attitude that you can hear emanating from the speakers.