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

The Same Piracy Issues That Affect Metal Bands Affect Other Genres As Well

I’m over the “whole rock is dead” stories, the “copyright infringement is stealing” stories or “because of the internet/piracy no new artists will come out and be as big as the artists that came before them” stories.

First, let’s look at artists that are not in the metal/rock arena that have faced the same struggles/issues as metal/rock artists.

“The Script” is a pop rock band from Ireland. Their first album came out in 2008, when internet piracy on music was at extreme highs. It had Platinum certifications in Europe, Ireland, UK and Australia.

The second album “Science and Faith” came out in 2010 and it also had Platinum certifications in Ireland, UK and Australia.

Album number three, titled “3” came out in 2012 and it had Platinum certifications in Ireland and the UK, with Gold certifications in Australia and Philippines.

The fourth album “No Sound Without Silence” released in 2014 has Platinum certifications for UK and New Zealand with a Gold certification for Australia.

So the albums haven’t sold millions upon millions. They have no RIAA certifications for sales in the U.S, however their singles have;

Their main song, “Hall Of Fame”, released in August 2012, was certified 2x Platinum in June 2013. Their new song “Superheroes” was certified Gold in March 2015. The song “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” released in 2008, was certified Platinum is May 2013. The song “Nothing” released in January 2011 was certified Gold in December 2011. The song “Breakeven” released in March 2009 was certified 2x Platinum in May 2011. The song “For The First Time” released in January 2011 was certified Platinum in July 2013.

The statistics to me are saying that the songs are more important than the whole album package. And guess what, it’s always been that way, even in the heyday of the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties.

To continue, they also played the “O2 Arena” in London on March 13 and 14.

They sold 32,404 tickets from the 35,167 tickets available. A ticket for the concert was either $US52.57 or $US41.07. The total gross earnings of these two shows for the promoter SJM Concerts was $1,670,320US.

You see the same issues that affect metal and rock musicians, affect The Script. However that didn’t stop them from making a lot of money for their record label from recorded music and to have gross concert sales of over a million dollars.

Florida Georgia Line is a country duo that formed in 2010. In 2012, “Here’s to the Good Times” came out. The album has sold over 2 million copies in the U.S for a double Platinum certification. In 2014, “Anything Goes” came out. That album has sold over 715,000 copies in the US and it already has a Gold certification.

But the interesting part is the song certifications.

The song “Cruise” released in April 2012 was certified 9x Platinum in January 2015. The song “This Is How We Roll” released in December 2012, was certified 3 x Platinum in February 2015. The song “Round Here” released in December 2012, was certified 2 x Platinum in June 2015. The song “Dirt” released in July 2014, was certified 2 x Platinum in April 2015. The song “Get Your Shine On” released in December 2012, was certified 2 x Platinum in September 2014. The song “Here’s To The Good Times” released in December 2012, was certified 2 x Platinum in July 2014. The song “Stay” released in December 2014, was certified Platinum in March 2015.

The songs “Sippin’ On Fire”, “Sun Daze” and “Anything Goes” all released with the album in October 2014, were certified Gold by June 2015, January 2015 and December 2014 respectively.

Like “The Script”, the statistics to me are saying that the songs are more important than the whole album package. It’s always been that way, even in the heyday of the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties.

To continue, they played the Florida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on May 29, 2015. They sold 18,135 tickets from the 19,239 tickets available. A ticket for the concert was either $59.75 or $25. The total gross earnings of the show for the promoter Live Nation was $693,231

You see the same issues that affect metal and rock musicians, affect Florida Georgia Line. However that didn’t stop them from making a lot of money for their record label from recorded music and to have gross concert sales of over a million dollars.

Meanwhile, Halestorm played a sold out show in Anaheim, California on June 5, 2015. 1704 tickets got sold. A ticket costed $25. Halestorm have no certifications however they are consistent sellers for their label. They have a niche audience and haven’t crossed over yet.

A lot of sales in the Eighties for metal and rock acts were driving because all of the artists crossed over into the Mainstream during that time.

Now, metal and rock acts are back in their niches. This time around a certain elitism is also attached to these niches. It’s not the internet’s fault, or P2P piracy’s fault.

One of the biggest critics of P2P downloading is Scott Ian from Anthrax. Well, lucky for Scott Ian and Anthrax, they keep on getting put on tours as openers.

Let’s look at some Boxscore returns from Volbeat’s recent run of live shows in the U.S;

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Rapid City, S.D. April 25, 2015
GROSS: $127,645
TIX SALES: 3,236 / 5,000

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
Spokane Arena Spokane, Wash. April 27, 2015
GROSS: $97,806
TIX SALES: 2,500 / 5,000

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
Adams Center Missoula, Mont. April 28, 2015
GROSS: $92,407
TIX SALES: 2,355 / 5,000

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
WaMu Theater Seattle, Wash. April 29, 2015
TIX SALES: 3,256 / 5,000

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot Brandt Centre Regina, Saskatchewan May 6, 2015
TIX SALES: 2,824 / 5,000

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot, Three Days Grace, In This Moment
Alliant Energy Center Madison, Wis. May 10, 2015
TIX SALES: 2,947 / 5,000

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
General Motors Centre Oshawa, Ontario May 12, 2015
TIX SALES: 2,023 / 2,776

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
TD Place Arena Ottawa, Ontario May 13, 2015
TIX SALES: 1,763 / 5,000

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
Cepsum Montreal, Quebec May 15, 2015
TIX SALES: 1,946 / 5,000

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
Dow Event Center Arena Saginaw, Mich. May 18, 2015
TIX SALES: 2,224 / 5,000

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
Ford Center Evansville, Ind. May 19, 2015
TIX SALES: 1,832 / 3,500

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
Aragon Ballroom Chicago, Ill. May 20, 2015
TIX SALES: 2,229 / 4,745

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
Tyson Events Center Sioux City, Iowa May 22, 2015
TIX SALES: 1,973 / 5,000

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
Verizon Theatre Grand Prairie, Texas May 27, 2015
TIX SALES: 1,827 / 3,697

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
Bayou Music Center Houston, Texas May 28, 2015
TIX SALES: 2,012 / 3,304

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
Pop’s Sauget, Ill. May 31, 2015
TIX SALES: 1,802 / 3,500

The truth is, any metal band in 2015 is in a niche market.

Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy

P.S.T (Piracy, Streaming and Touring)

All the talk in the media from the old gatekeepers is that piracy is bad for the artists or that Spotify’s free music-tier is bad for artists.

So can someone tell me how Motley Crue is playing in Abu Dhabi?

If we lived in the world of the old gatekeepers, the record labels would be in control and Motley Crue would have sold hundreds of thousands of albums (on a consistent basis) in the UAE before it was even considered to tour there.

However, in the internet age, it is a much different world.

Motley Crue suddenly has an audience in the UAE.

Is this audience courtesy of piracy or legit sales or legit streams?

There is a strong indication that Motley Crue’s UAE audience is due to piracy.

Do you know the Middle East is a huge region when it comes to illegal P2P downloading?

The following statement found in the book “Introduction to Private Security” by John Dempsey sums it up perfectly;

In Europe, Middle East, and Australia, P2P traffic consumes anywhere between 49 percent and 89 percent of all Internet traffic in the day. At night, it can spike up to an astonishing 95 percent.

You can do some further reading on countries where P2P piracy is very high at the following link.

Even though it is from 2011, the data tells us a few things.

Eastern/Central Europe, South America, Asia, Australia and the Middle East have high rates of P2P piracy as regions.

When you break it up to countries, China, Colombia, India, Russia, Malaysia, Turkey, Taiwan, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Italy lead the way.

So let’s look at some of the recent tours bands have undertaken.

Metallica in 2011 did the “2011 Vacation Tour” that focused on Europe, South America, Asia and for the first time ever, they took in India.

In 2012, Metallica undertook the “European Black Album Tour” that focused solely on Europe.

In 2013, Metallica undertook the “Summer Tour 2013” which took in again Asia, Europe, South America along with North America.

In 2014, Metallica did the “Metallica by Request” tour which again took in Europe and South America.

Is it coincidence or shrewd planning that Metallica has taken in those markets. Hell, India is known as a nation of P2P downloaders, however it hasn’t stopped Metallica or Iron Maiden touring there.

Iron Maiden’s “The Final Frontier” tour (2010/11)  took in Eastern Europe, along with Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, South Korea, Japan, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Puerto Rico.

The “Maiden England World Tour” (2013), took in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Chile and Eastern Europe again.

The “Somewhere Back In Time” tour  (2008/09) took in (apart from the North American and European markets) India, Australia, Japan, Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Puerto Rico. Then on the second leg it took in Dubai (UAE), New Zealand, India (again), Mexico (again), Costa Rica (again), Venezuela, Colombia (again), Ecuador, Brazil (again), Chile (again), Peru, Argentina (again).

The Bon Jovi “Because We Can” tour from 2013 took in Brazil, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, Mexico, Japan, Australia, China, Malaysia, Singapore, China (again), Abu Dhabi (UAE) and Israel.

This was on top of the normal European and North American markets.

The “Bon Jovi Live” tour set to kick off in September 2015, takes in China, Malaysia, Singapore, Macau, Abu Dhabi (UAE) and Israel.

Five Finger Death Punch haven’t been around as long as Metallica, Iron Maiden or Bon Jovi, however it still hasn’t stopped them from hitting Japan, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand on their recent “Wrong Side Of Heaven” tour.

Avenged Sevenfold’s “Far and Middle East Tour” from 2012, took in Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia and UAE.

Their “Hail To The King” from 2014 took in Brazil, Australia, Mexico, Chile and Argentina on top of the normal European and North American markets.

Their “Asian Tour 2015” will cover China, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Indonesia and Hong Kong.

Again the question must be asked, is it coincidence or shrewd planning. Streaming services can tell the bands which countries or even cities are streaming their songs and at what rates. Other firms out there like Music Metrics can tell bands, which countries or even cities are illegally downloading their music.

All of this data, once in the hands of a person that knows what to do with it, is a marketers dream.

Articles always point out that “pirates” are the biggest spenders and after seeing large bands hit markets with high piracy rates and still sell out shows, I would agree with that assertion.

Piracy, Streaming and Touring go hand in hand.

Copyright, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity

Sony and Stupidity Go Hand In Hand

I am pretty sure that everyone knows about “The Interview” by know.

Regardless of how good or bad or average the movie is, “The Interview” is famous and successful.

It was used as blackmail against theaters, if they showed the movie, another September 11 was threatened. So it got pulled.

Everyone weighed in on the debate from bloggers to journalists to politicians. So many ideals came into the conversation like free speech, the right to make a black humour/comedy movie in the current day, politics between democracy and communism, censorship, the freedom of the internet and capitalism.

Eventually Sony got the balls to release the movie. It was made available in select theaters plus on many Video On Demand outlets. For the first time ever in the major studio’s history, you could see a movie in theaters or watch it online legally at the same time.

This alone is a big step forward for the movie industry and I am 100% certain that in 50 years from now, journalists and bloggers will be writing about how Sony led the way for a new business model and saved the movie industry.

Future historians always like to re-write history to suit a certain point of view. Look no further than Russia at the moment. Vladimir Putin has asked and then taken charge himself to have history books re-written with bullshit so that he and his ancestors look favourable and more important than they really where.

This story is about stupidity and Sony is at the forefront.

So “The Interview” is released on multi-platforms at the same time. Online box office came in at $15m and Theater Box Office came it at $3m. The movie was projected to make $18 to $20 million in its opening week so with all the bullshit that has gone on behind the scenes, it still met it’s opening week target. This hybrid model has shown that a film’s success and money earning capacity should not be tied in to a THEATER.

However the studios are greedy.

If I go to a movie with my family, I need to purchase five tickets at $15 a piece. That comes to $75AUS for a movie. However, if that movie is available for me to get on a video on demand service, then I am charged once and my whole family can watch it. That is why the studios resist and still use the old way of releasing a movie, which is cinemas first, then DVD/BluRay sales, VOD licensing, Cable licensing and Free To Air licensing.

And of course the real test of stupidity is that SONY released the movie online only in the U.S.

Yep, they used geo-restrictions (something that has been pissing off a lot of Australians for a longtime) to keep the movie release in the U.S only. So according to Sony, if you lived outside the U.S and wanted to watch the movie legally, “tough luck”. So what do people normally do when confronted by situations like this.

They turn to P2P.

It looks like stupidity is affecting profits more than piracy to me.

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

Educate Yourself

It’s the same old debate. An artist puts their “heart and soul” or their “blood, sweat and tears” into a body of work only to see it end up on p2p sites, on YouTube unlicensed or just plainly ignored.

First thing first.

No artist is guaranteed to make any money from recorded music. This was the rule of thumb 50 years ago and it still is now. Once upon a time the record labels invested in an artist only after the artist invested in themselves and got a decent following/buzz happening. Today, the artists are investing in themselves and the record labels are sitting in the wings, watching and waiting for what they think is the sure bet.

So what you have is a lot of artists on independent labels or their own labels self-funding their recordings and press, without recognition. And they don’t like it. The thought that maybe they are just not good enough doesn’t even come into their thought process. Sort of like the stars of the past complaining that piracy killed the recording business. My answer to all of that was, no, piracy didn’t kill the recording business. The recording business like all great empires committed its own downfall. Since the price offered by record labels didn’t correspond with the value that consumers have for the music, the record labels were seen as an irrelevant part of the music industry. The adoption of the Internet and newer technologies lowered the value of music and consumers were willing to pay even less for music or in a lot of cases nothing at all.

Which leads me to Spotify.

On the one hand, we have Spotify users who are happy with the service and on the other hand we have content creators who are complaining about it.

And the story that has been doing the rounds for a while is that Spotify rips off artists.

NO, P2P rips off artists.

Take away Spotify or YouTube and then what does the artist have?

If they think that sales of recorded music would start to happen again, then they are mistaken. Napster got shut down and sales of recorded music still continued to decline. Spotify by the way pays more to the artist than YouTube does however it’s funny how people trump up high YouTube counts as a marketing coup, while a high Spotify stream count is seen as “I had a billion plays on Spotify and I only made X amount of dollars”.

Spotify pays, while P2P does not pay at all.

Sure, sales still continue, but for how long. Each year the sale numbers show a decline. Each year the numbers show an increase in streaming revenue. MP3 sellers are dying. In Australia, BigPond music is gone and iTunes is bleeding around the world. In some European markets, monies earned from streaming have overtaken monies earned from mp3 sales.

And yes the labels in the U.S do own a share of Spotify, however that income comes from the 30% that Spotify keeps from the artist royalty payments. It’s not a bad deal at all if you are a record label. They get a percentage cut of the 30% cut that Spotify gets and when Spotify pays them the other 70% as royalty payments, it looks like they more or less keep that as well. All this power that the record labels have amassed is due to the artists. The artists created the works and sold their copyrights for next to nothing, because at the time they sign a contract, no one has any idea how big a song could be.  The great rip off record label freight train just keeps on rolling on.

The truth is all artists need to be informed. Don’t take the spoon fed information as gospel. Do your own research. You’re responsible for educating yourself, all the info is online. There is no excuses these days.

And if you put the content behind a paywall, well just look at the newspapers to see how that turned out.

Streaming is here to stay.

Revenues will go up if the pot is increased however every artist needs to be aware that the barrier to entry is so low that artists today are competing with many more competitors plus they are also competing with the complete history of recorded music.

And we the fans are overwhelmed that we do the only thing we know, which is tune out and listen to the classics that we grew up with.

A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music, Piracy, Unsung Heroes

The Piracy Debate… Goes On and On and On and On.. But The Hard Work For An Artist Never Goes Away

BitTorrent is a tool. How people decide to use the tool depends on them. Technology has a history of people/society shaping the technology. The BitTorrent protocol was designed to move large amounts of data. So of course, companies like Facebook and Twitter use BitTorrent to send updates to its employees. Then you have other people who use it to download torrents.

To use an analogy, knives are used in the kitchen to great effect. However people also use knives in illegal ways. Should we ban knives because they are also used illegally. According to Robert Steele, one of the bosses at the copyright troll Rightscorp outfit we should.

This is what Robert Steele said;

“BitTorrent’s architecture and features are designed for one reason only – to assist people in avoiding legitimate law enforcement efforts when they illegally consume other people’s intellectual property.”

As TorrentFreak points out, people who use BitTorrent are easy to track down, which is in fact something that Rightscorp is basing its entire business model on.

So why is it that so many people in the industry are so against Pirates.

Studies of Industry Professionals show that the “Sales and Distribution” sector are the ones saying that they’d been most affected by piracy because it is those middlemen who sit behind the scenes, have the largest vested interest in stopping piracy as they don¹t have many other reasons for doing what they do.

Artists just want to create. Money is a byproduct of those creations. All the rest of the enablers are trying to make money of the creation.

P2P research even shows that Piracy helps push the overall industry forward and that downloaders actually spend more on music than non downloaders.

There is a reason why bands are going to South America, even when the number of albums sold in the continent dont equate to the fans who attend shows. Look at all the DVD’s coming out from bands. Dream Theater, Rush, Iron Maiden and Megadeth are four bands that come to mind that have all released DVD’s of concerts in South America. Metallica have covered Mexico.

I was also going through some Billboard BoxScore figures from last week and based on recorded sales, the concert grosses don’t really equate. So in the same way that the RIAA correlates an illegal download to a lost sale, I will say that each fan that buys a ticket to a live show has also illegally downloaded at least ten full albums. (I am being conservative).

Who would have thought that a bill of “Bring Me The Horizon” and “Of Mice & Men” would gross about $70,000 per show. Play 20 of those shows and you have a $1.5 million tour.

Who would have thought that a bill of “The Used”, “Taking Back Sunday”,”Tonight Alive” and “Sleepwave” would also gross about $70,000 per show. See above, do 10 shows and you have a $700,000 gross tour.

Even the mighty “Manowar” still gross $60,000.

A bill of “Asking Alexandria”, “August Burns Red”, “We Came As Romans”, “Crown the Empire” and “Born of Osiris” grosses about $50,000 per show. The albums sales combined from all of the artists wouldn’t even pass 50,000 in the U.S.

“Falling In Reverse” and “Escape The Fate” gross about $30,000 per show.

While a bill that featured “In This Moment”, “Butcher Babies”, “Devour The Day” and “All Hail The Yeti” gross about $19,000 per show which was the same as a bill featuring “Animals As Leaders”, “After the Burial”, “Navene-K” and “Chon” gross about $19,000 per show. Not bad for a progressive djent band.

“Sevendust” are doing a run of shows and they are grossing at least $13,000 per shows Since the start of April 2014 to July 2014, they will play about 54 shows. Do the math on that one. It comes to about $700K in gross.

Indiegogo champions “Protest the Hero” played a small venue and grossed $4,000 per show. If they do a 50 date run like Sevendust, then do the math. It all adds up.

It’s hard work being an artist however if you are in the game because you love it, it makes it easier. If you are in the game to bitch and moan about piracy, then get out of it and join the bankers or the techies.

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

The Lies Of The Beautiful Record Labels And The RIAA

During the recorded music industries heyday, there was this widespread idea, sort of like an unwritten law, that we (the fans of music) could purchase music and own it, the same way we purchased and owned the toaster and any other commodity.

Of course when it comes to music, that was never the case. What the music fans actually purchased was a non-transferable license to listen to the music under very specific and strict conditions. Nothing else was transferred to us with our expensive $30 purchase of a CD, other than the right to enjoy the music in private, over and over again.

So what do we have now. We have sales of music falling. Actually they have been falling for some time. The RIAA and the record labels are attributing this to piracy alone, linking the decline of sales with the increase of P2P file sharing usage.

So for the RIAA and the Record Labels, plus some misguided artists, it is simple, these two events correlate, so it implies that one is causing the other to move.

The thought that fans of music have changed the way they consume music doesn’t compute for the Majors and their association.

The arrival of iTunes and the chance to cherry pick what we want rather than complete albums is a pretty good indication that revenue streams would reduce. Instead of spending money on an expensive shiny piece of plastic for two songs, we could now just download those two songs.

The arrival of YouTube and streaming services have also put a dent into the traditional sales model. Of course, piracy does play its part, however with the increase in people attending concerts and festivals, one needs to ask the question, did piracy assist in this?

Watch the Iron Maiden doco, Flight 666. Nicko McBrian talks about not selling an album in Costa Rica, however they have sold out the local sports stadium. Twisted Sister haven’t released any new music, however in Europe they have a massive fan base that includes both old and young. Did piracy cause this?

The arrival of many platforms that allow DIY bands to release has caused a flood of new music to enter the music business. Competition is now at an all-time high.

What about the price of music? Normally if demand for a certain product drops, the prices for that product fall as well, to reflect the lower demand. It is simple economics. So what do the record labels do? They maintain the high prices so that they can maximise profits. So the recording industry is holding on to high price points and they blame piracy in the meantime for the decline in sales.

So if people are purchasing less music or illegally downloading content, how is this effecting the income of artists? Do artists still have an incentive to create music.

For starters, the majority of artists do not get into music to be millionaires. They get in to music because it satisfies a basic human need to be creative.

In relation to less incentive, this doesn’t seem to be the case. There is so much music hitting the market that no one has enough time to hear it all. In addition, if the artists is doing the live circuit, incomes in this arena are increasing. Some artists that don’t sell a lot sure get a lot of people into their shows.