A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Score Card V4.0

Mutiny Within
In 2010, Mutiny Within released their self-titled debut on Roadrunner Records. It didn’t get the traction they hoped for and Roadrunner didn’t get the return on investment. Roadrunner blamed piracy, however, the whole marketing campaign was centered on stating that the band is a cross between Killswitch Engage and Dream Theater. It was a terrible comparison and a terrible marketing campaign.

They had tours booked, but no financial support the label, plus they had to contend with band member departures. Then in 2011, vocalist Chris Clancy left the band due to financial reasons. He had some interesting viewpoints on piracy and recording contracts in general. For some reason, he believed that just because he got a recording contract for album number 1, he was guaranteed to make an income from music. A few weeks after Clancy left, Roadrunner dropped em. 9 months later, the band was on hiatus due to the difficulties of finding a new vocalist.

Then social media came to the rescue. In 2012, they posted some unreleased demo tracks from unreleased album number 2 on YouTube and got a positive response from fans. By the middle of the year, Chris Clancy was sort of back, finishing off vocals on the unfinished tracks.

In January 2013, they released album number 2 in “Synchronicity”. Clancy also set up a project called Industry Embers, an organisation dedicated to spread the word about music piracy. He revealed that music piracy had been the downfall of Mutiny Within, with the debut album only selling around 10,000 copies since released, and the album being shared and pirated at least 100,000 times.

I don’t really subscribe to the theory that 100,000 downloads = 100,000 lost sales. If your music is getting pirated, it means people are interested, but when they choose to pay is really up to them. It could be instant, it could take years. I like Mutiny Within, however I don’t own any of their music. The first album I heard on YouTube, the second album again on YouTube and once I had a Spotify account, on Spotify.

Anyway, the response album number 2 was surprising for the band and one of the Facebook posts mentioned how the band was left speechless. Maybe 20% of the 100,000 people who downloaded the first album illegally, became monetized fans this time around.

Regardless, there is no denying the excellence of “Become”.

Can’t forget what I’ve become

In February 2017, “Origins” came out and “Reasons” is the track that is connecting with me. And to my surprise, guitarist Andy James makes a surprise guest appearance on the song.

All I wanted was a way to survive,
A simple reason to make me feel alive

The album was written by collaborating digitally over two continents and leaving the joining of it all to Clancy who also mixed and mastered the album. Music is a lifers game and the guys in Mutiny Within are in it for real this time.

Evans Blue
By 2013, I was spinning “Graveyard Of Empires” their 2012 release. Then the band went on hiatus, while singer Dan Chandler hooked up with Dan Donegan from Disturbed to create the band Fight Or Flight.

In July, 2013, “A Life By Design” was released and it had the excellent tracks “Leaving” and “First To The Last”. But the album got no traction. It couldn’t rise above the noise. Donegan went back to Disturbed and Chandler returned to Evans Blue and in 2016, we got a brand new Evans Blue album called “Letters From The Dead”. The songs are not as good as their previous releases but Dan Chandler has one hell of a voice and he keeps it sounding fresh. I’m still interested to see what comes next.

Corroded
In 2012, they released “State Of Disgrace” with the excellent “Let Them Hate As Long As They Fear” and “Believe In Me”. But I forgot about them, because the album was not on Spotify.

Then the new song “Fall Of A Nation” came up on my Release Radar playlist. So I was interested, as nothing new had come out since 2012. I went to check out the Spotify account and lo and behold, their previous albums are now available.

They are another band from Sweden that I dig, and musically, if you like Machine Head, Black Sabbath and groove orientated Judas Priest, then you will like Corroded.

Another Lost Year
In 2012, they released their debut album “Better Days”, which to be honest was a pretty good f listen. Then I heard nothing from them via the normal news cycle.

But when I went on Spotify to check em out a few weeks ago, I saw they had been busy.

They released an EP called “The Revolution: Pt. 1 The Other Side” in 2014, another EP called “The Revolution, Pt. 2: It’s a Long Way Home” came out in 2016 and an album called “Alien Architect” was also released in 2016. While the EP’s are hit and miss, “Alien Architect” is a return to form.

Hell Or Highwater
An excellent side project from Atreyu drummer and their melodic vocalist Brandon Saller.

So when Atreyu went on a “Disturbed inspired” break in 2011, Saller decided it was a good time to bring out his side project where he is the main vocalist. In 2011, the excellent hard rock album “Begin Again” was released. I came across it in 2012 and dug it.

“Gimme Love”, “Find The Time To Breathe” and “Rocky Waters Edge” are pretty good rock tunes.

But then I heard nothing from them. Most of the metal news outlets focused on Atreyu getting back together and releasing a new album.

But from writing this post, I now know an EP called “The Other Side” came out in 2013. So off to Spotify I go.

“The Other Side” is a brilliant track, along with

I’ve been feeling like a stone here
All my gathered moss in tow
So I packed up my cases
And headed into the unknown

Heartist
In 2012 they released the excellent EP “Nothing You Didn’t Deserve”. And they went silent, until the album “Feeding Fiction” dropped in 2014. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t as good as the EP. However I am still interested to see what comes next and a recent Facebook post mentions that vocals are complete for the new album.

I Am Giant
2014 gave us “Science And Survival” but it was “The Horrifying Truth” from 2011 that cemented their status, plus it had a re-recording of my favourite song, “City Limits” which first made its debut on the “The City Limits/Neon Sunrise” released in 2010.

In between, they toured, placed their music with corporations, became ambassadors of certain clothing ranges, became X-Factor NZ judges and helped produce other bands.

Fast forward to February 2017 and a new single called “Dead Flower” is doing the rounds on my Spotify release radar, however, it’s with a different singer.

Fates Warning
The addictive “Disconnected” album, released in 2000 is a perfect blend of Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd, Tool and “Images and Words” era Dream Theater with the unique Matheos song crafting underpinning it all.

After a few more albums, the band went on hiatus circa 2005, only to resurface in 2013, with “Darkness In A Different Light”, which had the excellent “One Thousand Fires”.

Then in 2016, “Theories of Flight” came out, with a few more gems in “Seven Stars”, “The Light And Shade Of Things” and “White Flag”. To have a career and a future in music is to keep on creating music. You cannot rest on past successes.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories

The Best Metal and Rock Top 10 for 2013

Well the year is almost over and it is time to look back at the albums that connected and hit the mark for 2013. Anyone who has been a constant visitor to this blog will notice that I have spoken about these albums in previous posts in more detail.

1. Protest The Hero – Volition

Disclaimer; I was one of those fans that contributed to this album, so the competition for the best album of 2013 wasn’t even close. Protest The Hero wins hands down. They delivered an album for the fans. It has everything that a condensed progressive technical metal album should have. Plus it has Chris Adler on drums. In 2011, “Scurrilous” was number seven on my list.

If you want the detailed breakdown, here it is;

This album also shows how the mainstream media is out of touch. Despite all the hype around Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold, Dream Theater, Korn and Black Sabbath, the biggest release of the year belongs to Protest The Hero.

And deservedly so.

They connected with their audience via Indiegogo. They have cut through all the internet noise without the need of major label. In the age of information overload, Protest The Hero relied on their audience and their music to get their message through.

2. Avenged Sevenfold – Hail To The King

Call this album what you will, however no one can take away the fact that it is a damn good listen. Having those nods to the past and building on those influences is what music is all about. In twenty years time, this album will be revered and copied, because that is how music is made.

3. Five Finger Death Punch – The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell Vol 1

Part 1 is a killer classic metal album with arena melodic rock chorus. Watch You Bleed, Lift Me Up, The Wrong Side Of Heaven, Anywhere But Here are all rock sing a longs.

4. Killswitch Engage – Disarm The Descent

Jesse Leach is back and man can he write a catchy chorus. Each song goes through so many vocal emotions, it’s one heck of a roller coaster. The Times Of Grace project brought Jesse back into the metal world. “The Hymn Of A Broken Man” was one great album and it was in my top 10 list for that year.

In 2009, I also had the self titled Killswitch Engage album at number five in my top 10 list.

5. TesserAcT – Altered State

This band is really branching out from the Djent constraints by embracing atmospheric style song writing. The math metal is still there and the vocals bring it all home. I have always said, TesseracT will be seen as the new Pink Floyd by a whole new generation. In 2011, TesseracT came in ninth position with the album “One”. I was pleasently surprised to see this one pop in Robb Flynn’s top 10 list.

6. Trivium – Vengeance Falls

Trivium have always had the balls to make decisions. Working with Dave Draiman is one of them. Seriously i cant see an issue with how the vocal melodies are phrased or delivered by Heafy. I really like this album. The music is top-notch and the songs are of high quality. In 2011, Trivium came in tenth position with the album “In Waves”.

7. Coheed and Cambria – The Afterman – Descension

Another band that is employing data to connect with fans. They have been on the road since January and released two slabs of music within 3 months. This album doesn’t have Domino The Destitute, but it has Sentry The Defiant plus others.

8. Five Finger Death Punch – The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell Vol 2

A Day In My Life. Man that chorus just hooks me in. Put to the side the cliché rhyming from Moody and just focus on the musical melodies and you will be hooked as well. It’s been played on repeat on my iPhone on my way to work and on my way home.

“American Capitalist” was fifth in my 2011 list and “War Is The Answer” was 2nd in 2009, just behind “Black Clouds and Silver Linings” from Dream Theater.

9. Volbeat – Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies

I was a fan of this band before they broke through in the U.S. It was the “Rock The Rebel/Metal The Devil” album from 2007 that made me a fan. I was really looking forward to this release and the band didn’t disappoint. It has all of their trademarks with a dash of country and hillbilly thrown into the mix.

10. Alter Bridge – Fortress

Mark Tremonti is one hell of a guitar player and most importantly a hell of a songwriter. Teaming up with Myles Kennedy has been a godsend. Alter Bridge get better with each album and they rarely fail to disappoint.

Notable Mentions

Audrey Horne – Youngblood

If you don’t know this band, you should. I swear every genre of music and time period associated with music is heard on this album. Give this band the attention they deserve. Their whole catalogue is on Spotify so there is no excuse to not check them out. Any band that is from Norway and with a black metal post deserves to be heard in a hard rock context.

Mutiny Within – Synchronicity

The only thing holding this band back is what their definition of success is and Chris Clancy. He is so hung up on fighting for the old system and how it used to be, he is failing to see opportunities in front of him.

Hearts And Hands – My Own Machine

A great pop metal or pop rock album. Hearts and Hands started off as a side project for Chelsea Grin vocalist Alex Koehler. However since he departed after their 2012 self titled EP, the band has undergone a significant transformation and their sound has shifted away from breakdowns and screams to effected guitars, acoustics and great songs.

Love and Death – Between Here and The Lost

A hundred times better than the new Korn album. They even sound like Korn on some of the songs. Brian Head Welch is a star and this album proves it.

Sound Of Contact – Dimensionaut

Progressive Rock and a voice that sounds very similar to Phil Collins. Plus any album that has a concept attached to it, always gets my attention. Its plot follows an alienated, unnamed human who is tired of humanity and embraces his fate as a traveler of dimensions, time and galaxies. Throughout the story, the dimensionaut constructs his escape from reality, realizing new experiences and encountering love in the process.

Faith Circus – Turn Up The Band

If this band had the same attention as Avenged Sevenfold, critics would come out and comment how each song sounds like a rip off from every successful glam rock and blues rock album made in the Eighties. Music is derivative and Faith Circus deliver. It is a great listen from start to finish. Another band from Norway that deserves your attention.

Final Notable Mentions

Due to my kids overdosing on the music I placed on their iPods certain classic rock albums have come back into my life.

Twisted Sister – You Cant Stop Rock N Roll
Twisted Sister – Stay Hungry
Kiss – Lick It Up
Kiss – Asylum
Kiss – Destroyer
Deep Purple – Machine Head
Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet
Survivor – Eye Of The Tiger
Europe – The Final Countdown

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

2013 Metal and Rock Releases. Are they Derivative, Evolutionary, Original or Clones?

Artists need to think about their music as a product. In the end we (the fans) are all suckers for good products. Give us a good product and we will reciprocate.

So I am listening to the new Protest The Hero album, “Volition”. What a product it is! For the record, I was one of those fans that contributed to the Indiegogo campaign so you can say that my views are biased.

And what about this for a piece of PR? As soon as they were made aware of a few leaks hitting the internet in bad quality, Protest The Hero hastily arranged a download site for their Indiegogo contributors, sent an email to everyone about it with instructions on how to get their unique download pin and away we went, downloading the album.

The best way to fight piracy is to communicate with your fan base. They are your only concern. In relation to people downloading the album some will come to a show and some will download it and hate it.

So what was my immediate thought on the new album?

Original and evolutionary. This is Protest The Hero continuing on from what they have created in the past by adding a few more bells and whistles. The decision to go the fan funded route was just the beginning. During the recording process they lost a drummer and got an even better drummer in Chris Adler. They then got some friends to build some IT support to store all the data of the fans that contributed via Indiegogo.

So to sum up, Protest The Hero were able to record, mix, master and produce an album without having any record label support and without the need of a record label advance that they would have had to pay back AND they are still able to use the record labels to distribute the standard release worldwide.

Going back to the drumming, what a brilliant job from Chris Adler? It’s inspiring in the sense of “I Want To Break Stuff” inspiring. It just feels very metal like.

While Dream Theater and Korn get a lot of ink in the press, it is bands like Protest The Hero, Machine Head and Digital Summer that are stealing the thunder by reaching out to their fans, connecting and doing it the new way. They are cutting out everyone that gets in the way of them and their fans. It is a band to fan connection. It is a fan to band connection.

On a side note, when I listen to new music from bands, I normally place the music in the following categories;

1. Progress is derivative (to others this is the stolen or copied bucket).

2. Evolutionary (this is bands building on their past a little bit each time. It is the iterative approach)

3. Original (this is something that is so divergent or out there that it hasn’t been done before)

4. Maintenance (this is where the band delivers the same album over and over again)

So looking at my top 20 list of music so far from 2013, in which categories do they fall in.

Progress Is Derivative
Avenged Sevenfold with the “Hail To The King” album.

“Lift Me Up” from Five Finger Death Punch and “Kingmaker” from Megadeth also fit into this category.

Evolutionary

This list has quite a few releases in it.

Protest The Hero leads the way with “Volition”. It builds on all of their previous efforts.

“Vengeance Falls” from Trivium is also an evolutionary album, building on the shorter song structure from “In Waves” with better melodies and technical precise riffage.

The concept album from Black Veil Brides falls into the evolutionary bucket for me. While the overall musical themes of the album are still rooted in the previous releases, there was enough growth to show a band evolving.

Mutiny Within hit the evolutionary path with the release of “Synchronicity” which shows the band moving further away from the metalcore stigma that Roadrunner put on them.

30 Seconds To Mars went all world music on “Love Lust Faith Dreams” which is again an evolution of “This Is War.” My wife loves this album.

Audrey Horne released “Youngblood” which is a further evolution from their previous album, moving more into a blues rock/metal vibe.

The next two albums are debut albums and the reason why I saw them as evolutionary is that the evolve from the sounds of Korn and Genesis/Pink Floyd.

Brian Welch’s solo project, Love and Death released the excellent “Between Here and The Lost” which is an evolution of what Korn was doing prior to Head’s departure. If i had to pick between Korn’s new one and Love and Death, my vote goes to Love and Death.

Sound Of Contact released a sci-fi concept album with “Dimensionaut” that captures the eerie spirit of sci-fi soundtracks merged with Pink Floyd/Genesis and Marillion prog.

Original

I see Volbeat as an original band.

With “Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies” they merge country with their metal/rockabilly style. This album could have fitted in the evolutionary bucket as well, however in my opinion there is another of a blend of different music styles to class it as another original release.

I just finished reading a post on the Classic Rock Magazine website with Michael Poulsen, the lead singer from Volbeat. In that interview, he states that artists cant make any more money from record sales and that selling records doesn’t put food on the table anymore.

This is strange coming from a band that shifted 300,000 units in the U.S with their previous album. So if you do the math 300,000 at $10 a CD comes to $3MIL gross earnings on the CD. The current album is sitting at about 130,000 units in the U.S so far. So if Volbeat are not getting any money from the sales of recorded music, they should be speaking to their label about re-negotiating their deal.

TesseracT’s “Altered State” to me is a great piece of work. It isn’t just a bunch of songs put together and called an album. This is an album that needs to be listened from start to finish, with high quality headphones. There is so much happening that each listen is a new experience. It’s original to me.

Maintenance

All of these releases are good releases showcasing what the band does best. In a lot of cases, bands produce their greatest album by doing this and in some cases bands produce a few forgettable albums as well.

Coheed and Cambria – “The Afterman –  Descension”

Dream Theater – “Dream Theater”

Bullet For My Valentine – “Temper Temper”

Stone Sour – “House Of Gold And Bones Part 2”

Alter Bridge – “Fortress”

Killswitch Engage – “Disarm The Descent”

Five Finger Death Punch – “The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell Vol 1”

Pretty Maids – “Motherland”

Buckcherry – “Confessions”

An artist and their music can move up or down in these categories throughout their careers.

The lessons here are that bands don’t have to be ground breaking original to be successful. They just need a well thought out approach that is executed well.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Complacency Kills – Music Is A Battlefield

I am listening to the Avenged Sevenfold discography again today. Yep that is five days in row. What can I say, the new album, “Hail To The King” connected with me. I admit that the connection comes from the similarities of the songs on the new album to the bands that I grew up on.

As I have said many times, progress is derivative. One of the rules on success, is that you need to know how to be a member of the club. This is what Avenged Sevenfold is reaching for here on “Hail To The King.” They want to be a member of the classic rock club.  With 200,000 in U.S sales in two weeks they are well on their way. Spotify streams for the song “Hail To The King” are at 1,884,995 and YouTube plays are at 3,904,022 for the same song. Other songs on the album on Spotify have the following numbers;

Shepherd Of Fire – 495,889 streams
Doing Time – 372,238 streams
This Means War – 394,868 streams
Requiem – 333,633 streams
Crimson Day – 310,412 streams
Heretic – 277,498 streams
Coming Home – 288,336 streams
Planets – no data as yet
Acid Raid – no data as yet 

If you’re not spending money, then you are not investing in your future. That is why a DIY independent band like Digital Summer is still ticking over. All the money they make from music is invested back into the band. To supplement themselves, they hold down normal day jobs.

Don’t focus on the money aspect. Desperation can been seen a mile away and it is a turn off. Just try to be friends. Remember that the system is rigged against you. The deck is stacked against you. There are so many people that want to be in the music business, they are willing to work for free. There is no safety net. There is no fat cat with a cigar as mentioned by Yngwie Malmsteen saying that they will fund the record, they will fund the video, they will fund the tour and that they will promote you. This is what Chris Clancy from Mutiny Within doesn’t get. Piracy is not his enemy. His enemy is the millions of other wannabes that are trying to make it and are doing everything for free. Look at Netflix, their policy is to sign up shows that are pirated heavily.

The only way to make money in the music business is to be in the game a very long time. That way, you will be in a position to renegotiate and make better deals. That is why Metallica are huge and getting bigger. Spotify wanted them on their service and they came knocking with a deal that Metallica couldn’t refuse. That is why Motley Crue are still around and making more money than ever. That is why the battle over Queensryche’s name is huge. Even though the band is more or less over and the new music that is created is below Queensryche quality, the name of the band, and the legacy that comes with it carries a lot of weight in dollars. It is a full blown corporate dispute. That is why Geoff Tate has asked for the trial date to be delayed until January 2014. He is hoping that something can be sorted privately, otherwise if it goes to court and he loses, he loses a lot.

Make sure your music is good enough. If you believe that your music is good enough and you are still stuck in the same situation, then the problem is you. You have to figure out what it is about you that is not working and change it. It could be your look, your personality, your interactions with people or your lack of building proper relationships. I like the band Mutiny Within, however I hate the viewpoints that their singer Chris Clancy puts forward. He has been totally misled by others and focused totally on the money side of things.

Take Hold of the Flame from Queensryche sums it up with the lyric, “We see the line of those who find the world has passed them by / Too late to save a dream that’s gone cold.” Don’t be the one with a chip on your shoulder because of missed opportunities. John Sykes is one such talent that didn’t really get the respect and recognition he deserved outside of the core metal/rock community.

Remember that marketing isn’t the 4P’s model of Product, Price, Place and Promotion anymore. Trying to extend the 4Ps model to a world of social media doesn’t cut it anymore. This is what Roadrunner is doing right now with Dream Theater. Here is the product, here is the price, we are placing it here for sale and we are cross promoting the streams of the new songs with the USA Today website and the Grammy Awards website.

Marketing is a one to many relationship. Spotify, Pandora and YouTube are three tools that fit this ideal of marketing. You see, record labels used to charge bands for marketing back in the Eighties and the bands didn’t complain about the marketing budget. In 2013, bands are now marketed on Spotify, YouTube and Pandora and they are complaining at the royalty rates and advertising rates these services pay. It doesn’t make sense to me. Dream Theater has not officially released the two new songs on Spotify. Avenged Sevenfold released the “Hail To The King” single on Spotify and it had 700,000 streams before the album even came out.

Sales is a one to one relationship. This is what iTunes, Amazon, Google Store, CDBaby and Brick and Mortar stores facilitate. Guess what, “Hail To The King” is out and it has moved 200,000 physical units in two weeks as well.

Notice a difference between the services that are used for marketing and services that are used for sales. Musicians fail to notice the difference, always linking marketing services to sales services and complaining about the lack of compensation from a marketing service, however when the Record Labels robbed them blind with $100,000 marketing bills, they didn’t complain.

You need to have skills, you need to know the rules, you need to know the game. You need to keep adjusting your game. On a battlefield, “Complacency Kills”. To stay on top of the music heap, you need to be on the leading edge. You need to remain motivated to succeed. Remember there is no safety net in music. You need to exceed the status quo in every way. You need to excel everyday 24/7. You need that outside perspective. If you surround yourself with enablers who have a vested interest in you making them as much money as possible, you will not get that perspective.

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

What can artists learn from The Pirate Bay?

As most tech savvy people are aware, The Pirate Bay turned 10 years old a few days ago. In all of this, the Pirate Bay has stood strong against the pressure put on it by the MPAA and the RIAA and their sister organisations throughout the world. Much larger organisations have tried to stand up against these bodies and have failed. The fact that the Pirate Bay is still alive is something to respect.

So what can artists learn from The Pirate Bay?

The Pirate Bay spread via word of mouth. It didn’t embark on a scorched earth marketing policy. For an artist there is no better marketing strategy than word of mouth. That is how virality works.

Metallica – built their fan base via word of mouth on the strength of their album releases and live shows. It wasn’t until 1992 that Metallica decided to form a fan club.

Heartist – built their fan base all on line via fan to fan connections. This was all done without even playing a show. It was a total online strategy.

Volbeat – built their fan base via the strength of their material. A song that they released back in 2008 got traction in 2012, which in turn started to bring attention to their 2011 album release. Success comes later in today’s world. In some cases much later.

Galactic Cowboys – Back in the late eighties, Geffen Records signed a band called Galactic Cowboys. I have three of their albums that I picked up in the bargain basement bin. Geffen just kept on pushing the band onto the public with a pretty high profile marketing campaign, however the public just didn’t take to them.

Mutiny Within – I remember the Roadrunner marketing campaign for the band Mutiny Within. The campaign had the band linked to Killswitch Engage and Dream Theater. Instantly this is putting a pre-conceived ideal into the mind of the listener and in my opinion, didn’t do the band any favours. One of the flyers that I saw, had phrasing like “Mutiny Within is the twisted child of Killswitch Engage and Dream Theater.” The public decided that the band was not worthy of that title and the band was dropped from their label deal.

Artists (especially major artists) should seriously consider using The Pirate Bay to market the release of their next batch of songs. There is still a demand for free mp3’s. At the moment iTunes cannot service that demand as the iTunes platform needs to be paid. So what options do the artists have to provide their fan base with free mp3’s.
1. Use their own website and collect geographical information and email addresses. Get to know their fans and survey their fans.

2. Team up with Bit Torrent

3. Team up with The Pirate Bay

4. Team up with a crowd funding platform, where the perks involve t-shirts and so forth, with a free Digital Download of said music.
The Game Of Thrones creators have recently said that the piracy of the show has contributed to the cultural buzz of the show and that it is better than winning an Emmy. The creators have also said that they have seen a high increase in DVD sales. I always bring people’s attention back to the Southern and Central Americas’. Sales of recorded music is not high in countries that fall in the Southern and Central America zones, however bands have had great success in touring these areas.

The recent IFPI report shows Brazil as a market set to surge. Go to http://www.ifpi.org/content One of the comments on the report is a WTF moment. It’s on page 24 and it states the following;
“The launch of iTunes showed that Brazilians are prepared to pay for music. We thought consumers were so used to piracy that they would never buy music again. But this has been proved wrong. Moreover, a new generation of consumers can now have their first music experiences in the legal environment.”

To put the above comment into perspective, iTunes was launched in Brazil at the end of 2011. Seriously this is a terrible business model from the record labels. While they screamed piracy in Brazil and then had a real draconian Copyright law passed that can take down sites on the say so of the entertainment groups, the actual consumers, the music fans, could not download a legal mp3 in the country. Instead of trying to get licensing arrangements in place to launch iTunes earlier in Brazil, the Record Labels spent millions fighting piracy in the courts. Instead of trying to get licensing arrangements in place to launch iTunes earlier in Brazil, the Record Labels spent millions lobbying politicians to vote for SOPA and PIPA.

The Pirate Bay is easy to use. It has an ecosystem built around Trusted and VIP uploaders to Helpers and Moderators that delete hundreds of ‘spam’ accounts and fake uploads every day which in turn keeps the site running smoothly and its users happy. This ensures that the content is exactly what it is described to be. The ranking system of uploaders (which is a skull in different colours like the Karate belt system) allows any novice downloader to form a bond with a certain uploader.

As an artist, you need to have a unique reference point, something that is easy to find. Having a generic band name is not a unique reference point. If you Google names like Bon Jovi, Van Halen, Motley Crue or Metallica you know you get back searches that are related to the band name you Google’d. Google a band name like Today I Caught The Plague or Burnside. Then Google the same names with the term band attached to it. Any artist starting off needs to make it is easy as possible for people to find them online.

There is always room for improvement. The Pirate Bay keeps on evolving as technology evolves. Now it is simply an indexing site, that services the needs of its users, the same way Google service the needs of its users. It is always re-creating itself with the rise of new technologies.

All artists need to be doing the same thing. The web presence of any artist needs to be maintained, updated and recreated. It needs to adopt to changing technologies, to offer as many features as it can to its fans.

Why do so many Dream Theater, Bon Jovi, Metallica, Motley Crue or Five Finger Death Punch fans spend so much time on Forums that have no connection to the main web site of the band. Bands should be fostering these kinds of interactions on their main website. They should even be contributing to it, the same way they contribute to their Facebook and Twitter accounts. At least you know on the band forums, the real fans are there to interact and respond.

The Pirate Bay’s user base is growing because the users are prepared to share and people are prepared to download. This alone should inform the legacy gatekeepers that the fans of music are no longer sheep. The Pirate Bay showed the RIAA and the MPAA that their rules and prices suck and that service is a problem (remember iTunes launched in Brazil in 2011). The old model of basing success on record sales is gone. The old model of going to the record store and planning what albums you were going to buy in the months to come is over.

Artists need to service their fans. Make it hard for a fan to get your music, and they will go elsewhere. Trivium is a great example. They recently had a very complex (also brilliant) smart phone strategy that once you completed all the steps needed, the fan got to hear a sample of a new song. I can tell you that as a fan engagement tool, this attempt failed miserably. It was too hard for fans. So what do Trivium do next. They offer the full song for streaming via their website and as a free download. Now it is easy as hell. To paraphrase the Eagles, keep it easy…

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

Quality Equals Success and Those Doomsday Scenarios From Misguided Artist

Remember a time when people used to fear Doomsday. Back then Doomsday was the end of the world through some act of nature or nuclear warfare. These days Doomsday has gone all up market.

Doomsday now has a three piece suit and it is a trader on Wall Street. Each week, there is a new poll that states, “Doomsday; 98% risk of 2014 stock market crash”. “Doomsday; Critical Warning as 2013 shocker looms”. This is how far we are gone as a race. Our whole doomsday scenarios now revolve around the loss of money. Our priorities revolve around wealth and the accumulation of it.

I remember back in June 2011, Chris Clancy the vocalist of Mutiny Within, posted on his Facebook page (which was then removed) about the labels not making any money from music sales, so they take from the band’s income and after four years of working almost every day, he had only earned $100 in all of that time. There was also a rant about illegal downloads and how the band was dropped from Roadrunner because they sold less than 10,000 legal sales in the US and that their album had been illegally downloaded more than 60,000 times. It is that same argument you get from ignorant musicians, that their music is stolen because the label didn’t make any money of it.

So what does Doomsday and Chris Clancy from Mutiny Within have in common. Clancy’s priorities revolve around wealth and the accumulation of it. So when he got signed by Roadrunner, he must have thought he made it. The cold hard reality is, if he wanted to be paid millions, he should have gotten into banking. Even then, not all the people that get into banking get to make millions. That is life. Some win, some lose, others just do enough to get by. Making money is not the be all and end all.

Quality = Success

I listened to both albums that Mutiny Within did, the one under the Roadrunner umbrella, and the second one, under their own umbrella. In my view, Heartist and Mutiny Within sound very similar. So why does one band have more traction than the other.

THE BUZZ

Heartist took as much time as they could to build up an online buzz for themselves before they played any shows. So Heartist end up playing their first show and Roadrunner was there along with a few other labels. Mutiny Within didn’t build up an online buzz. They did it the old way, by building up a local scene buzz, which then got the label interested. Heartist went cyber world-wide with their buzz. They did it the new way, connecting with fans and letting the fans spread the word. That is why Heartist are touring everywhere and Mutiny Within are not. That is why the Heartist EP has sold a lot of copies, even while it is still downloaded illegally. Mutiny Within when they got signed only had a buzz in their local market.

DO IT YOURSELF

Heartist did it themselves. They kept on writing and creating, on their own time schedules and own budgets. The first Mutiny Within record was a Roadrunner financed record. Heartist was all DIY.

LETTING THE MUSIC TAKE SHAPE (without thinking it will sell)

All artists and songwriters come from a variety of music backgrounds. If you write and allow those backgrounds to come to the fore, each song will end up being different and unique. Don’t stick to one song formula, just because it could generate a hit. Remember the real hits, the songs that last forever are the outliers, the rule breakers, the game changers.

Stop thinking about the RECORDING INDUSTRY and start thinking about the music

Here is a DOOMSDAY scenario for you: The record industry started to collapse when it lawyered up and went to war against technology, beginning with Napster.

So why are artists still playing to the rules set by the recording industry.

In Sweden, Spotify is the king and the queen. Digital sales (downloads and streaming) accounts for 80 percent of music revenue in the territory and remember Sweden is the original home of The Pirate Bay.

Remember quality equals success.

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A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music

Heartist

I am listening to an EP called Nothing You Didn’t Deserve from the band Heartist. They are signed to Roadrunner. The band members in Heartist all came from older bands and older projects that did the standard grind of playing as many shows as they can. This is how the music business was run once upon a time. It doesn’t work in the current times however people still try and run it this way.

So what do the members of Heartist do? They leave those bands and get together to form Heartist.

They knew how the game is played and decided to not participate this time around. So they wrote as much music as they could before releasing any of it to the public. They sat on their EP for over a year and a half, making sure it got into the right hands at the right time. From being in various projects, they made a lot of friends through shows and networking. They put up demos on YouTube and sent them to various connections that they had been acquainted with.

They developed a strategy. They took as much time as they could to build up a buzz before they played any shows. If they just recorded their songs and released them on line, with no real demand or market to satisfy, it would have been a great waste of time. However, they waited, kept on creating that buzz and in the end the stars aligned and they got lucky.

They played their first show and Roadrunner was there, along with a few other labels. Management was also in attendance. They played one show and then Roadrunner signed them.

Is it a good thing that they are on a major metal label like Roadrunner? In my opinion, no, however it was a goal for the band to be signed by a label. You can say that being on Roadrunner has given them a chance to play with Killswitch Engage and go on tour. Could they have done that themselves? Maybe, however we will never know.

Vocalist Bryce Beckley sounds like Spencer Sotelo from Periphery. Another comparison I can make is to Chris Clancy from Mutiny Within, an ex – Roadrunner signed band. Guitarists Jonathan Gaytan and Tim Koch remind me of Adam Dutkiewicz and Joel Stroetzel from Killswitch Engage. Rounding out the band is Evan Ranallo on bass and Matt Marquez on drums.

For a first off release that is also self-produced, this band has potential plus. It’s heavy and progressive with good melodies/riffs and a certain range of diversity within the songs as well. However they need that one great song to hook me in and I haven’t heard it yet. This is a good thing, as they have done enough to keep me interested, wanting to hear more.

Disconnected is the opening track and it comes very close to making that connection. In an interview, on the http://highwiredaze.com/wordpress/heartist website, Matt Marquez the drummer describe the meaning of Disconnected in the following way;

“This song is about the spirit of a dead man still being stuck here and not being able to move on to the afterlife until he finds out why his life took an unexpected turn for death. He can see and hear people and try to make his presence known, but ultimately he is on his own in finding answers that could bring him closure to finally move on to the afterlife.”

Heart Of Gold also comes close to greatness. Back in the Eighties, metal bands or rock bands always had that one song on the album that was sort of called the CROSSOVER song. One that is rock or metal enough to please the rock fans, and one that could satisfy the large pop audience. This is that type of song for Heartist. It is meant for the charts and it is a good song that deserves to be on the charts. It has more integrity than what the other songs are on there. It has that Linkin Park feel and they recently released a YouTube clip, handmade using over 3000 printed images and stop motion photography.

Tangled is another song that comes close to greatness. As with Disconnected, I am hearing a Periphery connection, especially in the vocal melodies.

Rhinestone has a Dream Theater style intro that hooks me in, however it goes downhill from there and The Answer has an awesome 30 Seconds To Mars style intro, however the Chorus doesn’t take it to the next level.

Where Did We Go Wrong has an unbelievable pre chorus and chorus. The song is about losing a relationship. The kind of relationship where one party is putting all of their effort into making a relationship work and it’s just not working, while the other person is giving up and no one really understands why it is all over when it is over.

Nothing You Didn’t Deserve needed more work to it in my mind. It starts off heavy and melodic and it has some decent sections. The lyrical theme on the other hand is world class. It deals with psychosis. The male character has split personalities that are battling each other. The screaming parts are the darkness and the melodic singing is the light. It is a different twist to the clichéd heartbreak song. He gets cheated on and like all metal songs, it ends in death, so that nobody else can have his love.

Heartist are a product of their time.

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