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

The World According to Nikki Sixx

“When you spend nine months working on an album, all the work that goes into it and recording it, mixing it, mastering it, then you release it and it falls on deaf ears.”

“I’d rather work on two songs under that plan (exploring the idea of placing their songs in films, or signing sponsorships deals through integrated marketing with other types of companies that want to use their song specifically to reach tens of millions of people) than do eleven songs that only reach 100,000 people.”

Nikki Sixx from Motley Crue said the above in a recent interview.

The album format is dead and buried. People just don’t have the time to sit down and play an album from start to finish over and over again anymore, especially when there is so much other content out there to consume.

So what is this telling us. It all depends on which side of the argument you sit.

The record labels and the RIAA will say that this is what happens when people pirate/copyright infringe. They will call for stronger copyright enforcement.

Sociologist would say that sales of recorded music have declined due to the rise of other desirables, like apps and gaming in general. Look at the sales of the “Halo” games series by Microsoft. “Halo 4” made $220 million in 24 hours. Overall, the whole series has grossed over $3.4 billion. Have any rock bands reached that many people?

“Angry Birds” caused an app sensation in 2009, “Candy Crush” caused a bigger credit card sensation in 2013 due to its innovative in-app purchase system. What about the recent free game “Fluffy Bird”? It was free and it got downloaded 50 million times. Then the creator just pulled it.

Fans of music will still listen to music, however music now has to play on a crowded field compared to the Eighties. We had music on terrestrial radio, LP’s, CD’s and Cassettes. The profit margins on these items were huge for the record labels.

In 2014, we have music on LP’s, CD’s, on iTunes, on streaming sites, on Amazon, on terrestrial radio, on internet radio, on YouTube, on various other downloading sites, both legal and illegal. The profit margins vary from high to low on the various ways we consume music.

In addition, we also have television on Free to Air, Pay TV, Internet TV. We have movies on streaming sites, at the cinemas, on pay TV channels, on DVD’s, on BluRays, on various other downloading sites, both legal and illegal. We have Games on PC’s, Consoles and Apps. We have books electronically and on paper. We have Facebook and Twitter to connect. More time is spent on these sites than listening to actual music.

Fans of Motley will say this is a product of the times. It’s a singles market. Daft Punk released an album, however it turned out that it was the song “Get Lucky” that people actually wanted. The single format works well for pop music.

However, metal and rock fans are still stuck in the album ideology.

Dream Theater released an album without a decent single and after six weeks, it’s US sale run was over. However, they are happy to do that every two years. They know that their livelihood is touring.

Protest The Hero organised distribution deals with other labels for “Volition”, however it was all for nothing, as the 8000+ hard core fans already had a digital version of the album via the Indiegogo Campaign. It’s just a shame that the perks still haven’t arrived, almost 5 months after the release date.

Other fans will say, that Motley Crue should release something worth buying and that they will buy it. Motley Crue released “Sex” in 2012. Since I am on the Motley Crue email list, it was offered as a free download for 24 hours when it first came out. I went and downloaded it. It is classic Crue and a great song to add to the set list.

James Michael from Sixx A.M. also released a single called “Learn To Hate You” in November, 2012. It only has 116,034 views on James Michael’s YouTube channel, while Motley Crue’s “Seek” has 108,038 views on their Motley Crue Vevo Channel and 449,397 views on a user channel called Lachi James.

So from reading Nikki’s views on new music, I believe now that the release of “Sex” from Motley Crue and “Learn To Hate You” from James Michael was an experiment in how can an artist release a song and reach millions of people.

How many people would have acted quickly enough to download the song as a freebie within the 24 hour window?

How many people from a certain city would have purchased the song via iTunes after hearing Motley Crue perform it on the Kiss tour while they were in that city?

How many people would have downloaded the song illegally?

How many people viewed a YouTube post of the song?

How many people streamed and shared the song?

If a band wants to monetize and have reach, they need to create and keep on creating. They need to release everything on YouTube and Spotify and iTunes all on the same day. It is better for the band to control the YouTube releases than allowing others to monetize their content.

So what is happening with Sixx A.M.?

The new album has been talked up a fair bit by Nikki via his Facebook posts. New music for them has been in the pipeline for a while. So is it because Sixx A.M is classed as a new band, radio will play them. Terrestrial radio is dead. That format is dead. The opportunities are all on line now.

I consider Nikki Sixx a musician. A musician by definition is someone who creates music. And that is what musicians do when they are hungry. It is all about the music and only the music. But, once they reach the top and start focusing on the trappings, the music part starts to fade away as the focus moves to keeping what they have attained.

Musicians took risks and stood for something. They made money, they blew money, they did drugs, they made money again. Rock stars did it their way. That is why we flocked to them. That is why we became fans. They represented an attitude, a sense of freedom that connected with us.

As a fan of Motley Crue, I am disappointed that there decision to make new music is because on money and reach. The people that want new Motley Crue music will get it. So why don’t they service those fans.

And the Final Tour. Serious. They just finished touring. Kid Rock did a tour with $20 concert tickets. His risk paid off. All his shows sold out and those $20 ticket fans got converted into Kid Rock fans. Digital sales increased. Merchandise sales increased. Streams increased. Kid Rock went on that tour without a guarantee that he will be paid. He played the game without a safety net.

However, no one is keen to follow in his lead. Everyone wants that contract from Live Nation, the cash up front, the guarantee. The artist, along with their managers, agents, enablers, handlers, the pet dog and whoever else is attached to the entourage, want the money first and to leave the onus of recouping to the promoter.

Come on Crue. Put all of your issues aside and record a decent amount of music and get it out there.

http://ultimateclassicrock.com/motley-crue-no-final-album/

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Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Piracy

Deja-Vu. 2011 vs. 2013 with Dream Theater and Trivium – Random Thoughts on their new songs

It’s like déjà vu again. In 2011, I was listening to new songs from Trivium and Dream Theater. Trivium had just unleashed In Waves as its promotional single for the In Waves album and Dream Theater had unleashed On The Backs of Angels as its promotional single for the A Dramatic Turn of Events album.

I remember listening to both songs back then and taking into account both of the band’s position in the musical landscape. Dream Theater to me, had the most to prove, as this music would be their first without founder Mike Portnoy.

In my opinion In Waves is a stronger song than On The Backs of Angels. The song wins all the time. I was listening to Images and Words yesterday and the reason why that album is awesome 21 years after its release is the songs. Learning To Live, Metropolis and Take The Time are progressive as hell, but man, I can physically hum the whole songs to anyone including the progressive interludes.

Images and Words is Dream Theater. That album represented what Dream Theater are all about and it set in motion everything that was to come. This new album is self-titled, therefore it should represent what Dream Theater is all about.

Anyway I digress, going back to my 2011 experiences. In relation to the albums, both of them had a six week U.S sale run (physical sales) and then disappeared. Will history repeat itself? I think so.

Dream Theater – A Dramatic Turn Of Events
Week 1 – ending 21 Sept 2011 – 35,750 units sold
Week 2 – ending 28 Sept 2011 – 8,030 units sold
Week 3 – ending 05 Oct 2011 – 4,430 units sold
Week 4 – ending 12 Oct 2011 – 3,120 units sold
Week 5 – ending 19 Oct 2011 – 2,600 units sold

Trivium – In Waves
Week 1 – ending 17 Aug 2011 – 20,640 units sold
Week 2 – ending 24 Aug 2011 – 6,700 units sold
Week 4 – ending 07 Sept 2011 – 2,890 units sold
Week 5 – ending 14 Sept 2011 – 2,890 units sold

Artists are so scared if an album under performs these days. WHY? The album sales figures quoted above is not the metric to judge success on. Dream Theater have hardly sold any music in South America, however they play to their biggest crowds there. I wonder how that came to be?

As Nicko McBrain said in Flight 666 The Movie, Iron Maiden hasn’t sold an album in Costa Rica, however they are playing a stadium show that is sold out with 30,000 people attending. Put it down to piracy, file sharing, Bit Torrent or copyright infringement. The bottom line is this, if what you create is great, expect it to be shared.

Before the Internet, before YouTube, before streaming services like Spotify, fans had to own the music to hear it. That is no longer the case. The history of recorded music is at our fingertips. Fans are participating in this new arena, while artists and labels are still banging their heads against the wall judging success by album sales.

Even Mike Portnoy asked fans to buy The Winery Dogs as a show of support to the label and to show to them that this project is viable. Why does he care about sales? Look at all his posts, show after show. He is blown away at the reaction they are getting. Isn’t that the validation he should be seeking?

So here we are in 2013. We have Trivium’s new song Brave This Storm and Dream Theater’s The Enemy Within.

So what is the verdict.

I can’t say that The Enemy Within is anything special. Some bits remind me of Scenes from a Memory, but really, I could see this song fitting on A Dramatic Turn of Events. It is not a great leap forward in musical terms. Let’s hope that the other songs make the “definite statement.”

Hopefully what we heard was their “Commercial” piece for the album, in the same way that Forsaken was seen as the “Commercial” piece in Systematic Chaos. If this new album turns out to just be ADToE part 2, then yeah I’ll be pretty disappointed, and everyone will know what a pivotal role Portnoy played in the band and how directionless they are without him.

On the other hand, I was very cautious as to how the Trivium and David Draiman collaboration would work. From hearing Brave This Storm, I would say they are on a definite winner. The song is heavy, it is a progression from what they started with In Waves, it is all math in the verses and it is very melodic. Let’s hope that the other Trivium songs are not Brave This Storm 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and so on.

For some reason this got me thinking about a song from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers called Rebels which is the lead off track on his 1985, Southern Accents album.

With one foot in the grave
One foot on the pedal
I was born a rebel

Are musicians/artists rebels in 2013? It seems that they all want to be winners. Seen any posts from a musician recently about what they think, what they feel, what they are going to do and it doesn’t relate to selling music. Our heroes are even beholden to the Corporations.

Randy Blythe is one artist that shows his humanity. He uses his photographs and puts stories around them, which always relate to a personal part of his life. We are all human. We win and we lose. Blythe focuses on his work, not the sales pitch.

There is new news every day, so if Dream Theater and Trivium want their story to survive, they need to keep it alive by making news every day

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

Karnivool – Progress is Derivative and what Does Different Mean These Days?

I follow Tesseract on Spotify and I was going through a playlist that Tesseract put up. When I heard the new album Altered State, I immediately made a comparison to an Australian band called Karnivool. So I am going through the songs on the playlist and I come across Karnivool. They are on the list. It is a form of validation, that my senses are correct. It makes you feel good that you are in tune with the artists that you like. So I go onto YouTube and do a search on Karnivool and I find two new songs posted,  “We Are” and “The Refusal” from the album called “Asymmetry” that is due out on 19 July.  14 songs in total.

The songs are different.  Different in the way that the two new songs are not in the same theme as the preceding album.

How?

In the same way that Sound Awake is different to Themata, if these two songs set the general theme for Asymmetry then I would say all three albums have their own individual unique theme while still holding on to some bits of the bands character, which is pretty good coming from the one band.  They are still playing to their core audience and improving, growing and experimenting. That is all we can ask for in the artists that we like.

Definitely interested in hearing more of the new album now. I remember first listening to Sound Awake and I was like these guys have changed, but the more I paid attention to it the more I thought it wasn’t in a bad way, just unique, I think I’ll be having the same feeling when listening to this album, and I reckon for a band to do that is pretty cool.

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