A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Copyright, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit, Unsung Heroes

Death, Money, Consistency and Originality

DEATH

AJ Pero died a few days ago. That iconic drum beat at the start of “We’re Not Gonna Take It” that was him. A.J Pero wasn’t the pretty boy in the band that is for sure. He was the street dog that could groove. Dee Snider might have grabbed all the fame but that doesn’t mean that A.J Pero wasn’t a star. If he didn’t roll, the Twisted machine didn’t rock. And man he was a perfect fit for Adrenaline Mob as well.

Remember that it is tough being in the music business. A.J Pero from what I know didn’t write not one song however he had a career that spanned 40 plus years. It’s because he didn’t get into music for the riches and the fame. He got into music because he loved it and he kept that love going for his whole career. He even died while on tour.

RIP.

And the piece d’resistance A.J. Pero song for me is “The Fire Still Burns” from the “Come Out And Play”.

MONEY

I really enjoyed Revolution Saints and when I looked at the song writing credits, it’s all Alessandro Del Vecchio. There is not ONE Doug Aldrich credit. Maybe the money incentive to do Revolution Saints from Sergio Perufino was too good compared to what Whitesnake had on offer.

Speaking of money, everyone reckons Metallica is losing it. Maybe its true and maybe it’s not. But what I do know is that in every business as soon as you forget about the tasks that bring in the bread and butter, two things begin to happen. Stagnation and bankruptcy. Leave the festivals to the promoters and leave the movies to Hollywood. Metallica’s bread and butter is music and it has been now 7 years since we had any new tunes from them.

Continuing with the money topic, the recording industry wants to rip apart Spotify’s freemium model.

Which is typical?

Instead of working with Spotify to make the premium option super enticing that fans of music feel the need to purchase a subscription, they want to make the premium option the freemium option and place restrictions on the freemium option. What’s even worse, studies are coming out showing that the spending on streaming music is outperforming CD sales. And in countries that adopted streaming much earlier than the U.S and Australia, streaming is even outperforming digital sales.

I had this debate with others. A lot of people would be happy to pay an annual subscription amount to listen to music of their favourite artists, provided that they KNOW that the money would be divided among those artists and not others.

This is typical of the recording business, trying to be paid multiple times for the same product. That is why all of the record labels had class action suits brought against them from artists. The label is applying the same vinyl math to digital music and the artists don’t like it.

CONSISTENCY

Getting people to pay attention just once is not enough. The ones that have a music career have done it over again and again and again. Quiet Riot got me hooked with “Metal Health” and then disappointed the fans with “Condition Critical”. Then they disappointed the fans even more with the one after “Condition Critical”. So guess what happened to them. They started a steep downhill slide.

Meanwhile, Motley Crue hooked people in with “Too Fast For Love” and then blew them away with “Shout At The Devil”.  Then, even though they kept on making albums, they became a video/singles band, with “Smokin In The Boys Room”, “Home Sweet Home”, “Girls, Girls, Girls” and “Wild Side” making decent inroads into our head spaces. There was still enough consistency there, that when “Dr Feelgood” came out, it blew us away.

Metallica was the same. “Kill Em All” was different and energetic however it was a tribute album to the NWOBHM. “Ride The Lightning” kept that energy and started to make it technical. “Master Of Puppets” refined the “Ride The Lightning” format and then “And Justice For All” took it to a whole new progressive technical thrash level. Then the paradigm shift happened and groove was back in with the self-titled “Black” album.

Currently, bands like Five Finger Death Punch, Volbeat, Avenged Sevenfold and Shinedown are showing that they are no one album/hit wonders. Machine Head was a bit inconsistent after “Burn My Eyes”, but since “Through The Ashes of Empires” they have been on song and in the process, Robb Flynn re-established the Machine Head brand.

ORIGINALITY

I am a great believer that original music is a sum of the creator’s influences. That craziness over a stupid Marvin Gaye song and his greedy heirs has reinforced my views.

For the last time YOU CANT COPY A FEEL OF THE SONG.

In other words, all music is derivative. The aim is to make it sound fresh. Look at the biggest albums or biggest songs of any bands career and you will hear similarities to other works.

Metallica’s piece d’resistance album amongst fans is “Master Of Puppets”.

We all know that “Welcome Home” is an amalgamation of songs from an obscure NWOBHM band and Rush. The format/flow of the album is based on “Ride The Lightning”. The songs are also constructed in the same way. Even their biggest selling album led off with a riff that was taken from another obscure skate punk metal band albeit this one being from California instead of England.

“The Unforgiven” had the same chords in the Chorus as the “Fade To Black” verses. “One” had an intro that was taken from “Fade To Black” and “Fade To Black” had an intro taken from “Goodbye Blue Sky” from Pink Floyd. And it goes on and on.

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

What Do Artists Need? Stronger Copyright Laws or Better Business Models

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.

As we all know, Copyright laws have been hijacked by Corporations that at this point in time, copyright is contrary to freedom, and in particular freedom of speech, to a degree where it is illegal to sing “Happy Birthday” at a birthday party.

The “Happy Birthday” song goes all the way back to 1893 and right now it is “protected” by copyright until 2030 because someone decided to retroactively place it back under copyright. If that doesn’t tell everybody that something is very wrong with Copyright then I really don’t know what will.

Because people who really believe in stronger copyright laws believe that if those extra enforcement laws do not exist then musicians will cease to create. Those same people believe that if people are not paid upfront to write an album, then musicians will cease to create.

The maximalist viewpoint doesn’t seem to be supported.

Look at Sweden, the birth place of Spotify and The Pirate Bay. Guess what, the country has a thriving culture around music. Sweden to me is the scene to be at right now. Other policy changes by the Swedish Government around making medical care free has also contributed to this vibrant music scene. And all of this has been achieved with the threat of copyright infringement.

Remember all of the lies that have come out from the entertainment industries.

“Home taping killed music” was a good one. Guess that is why the music business and as a by-product the recording business grew exponentially once cassettes came into the market. I guess that is why no popular music has been made since cassettes came into the market.

The point is that copyright protectionism is purely 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. The thing is the Copyright cartels have had a big win in successfully skewing the argument that file sharing is “theft”.

Remember all of those commercials about stealing that seemed to appear on a legally purchased DVD. The irony. I purchase a DVD and then I get blasted with ads that links copyright infringement to theft. BUT, if file sharing was actually “stealing”, then file-sharers could no doubt be prosecuted under existing theft law.

But they don’t. Because file sharing is not theft of property. It is a violation of copyright. That’s an important difference.

Duplicating a pile of 1’s and 0’s does not deprive anybody of the original content. What all of this copying does is drive down the value of the product. What is the price of a song when the internet is littered with millions of copies of the same song and they are free.

That right there is a market with a customer base in the billions and it needed to be satisfied. And that is where YouTube, Spotify, Pandora and other streaming services come into play. They are there to monetize that market by competing with free through ad-supported business models. Hey, if it is good enough for the free to air TV networks, why can’t it be good enough for music networks.

But this “free market” has a big problem when it runs up against Government protected monopolies.

And the thing is, people do also pay for music. Many studies are actually showing that the biggest consumers of illegal media are also the biggest purchasers of legal media. Ultimately this seems to show that people are more than happy to pay for content they enjoy.

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?

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