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

Guess What: Not A Lot Has Changed

“In 1981, there was a crackdown after the big payola scandal of the late 70s. Right at the beginning of the 80s, the record companies were being safe. They were not handing out advances. They would advance your recording budget, but that was it.”
Brian Forsythe – Kix

So what has changed in 2015.

The record labels are still being safe and with recording costs so low, the recording budget is even lower.

Yeah, of course, we all know that the record labels had a massive boom that started with “Thriller” in 1984 and that allowed them to take more risks. And for some reason it looks like musicians and the labels are only looking at the boom when they compare now vs then. Typical revisionist history.

“None of us knew what we were doing. We were just so excited to have a record deal. There are writer’s royalties, and the mechanical royalties that go to the band. The record company gets paid back through the mechanical until the bill (advancement) is paid off. Donnie was the main songwriter, so he was still getting his (writers) money. By the time we got to “Blow My Fuse” – our biggest selling record – we were two million dollars in debt.” 
Brian Forsythe – Kix

Even in the era of information, with everything is at our fingertips, artists are still unaware of their entitlements. And when they do find out, it is the crux of every argument. Especially between band members because every band has a person that just writes better songs than the others at certain points of time, or in some cases always. Kix’s bass player Donnie Purdell, was another Nikki Sixx. He was crucial to Kix.

It should act as no surprise to anyone that bands in the Seventies, Eighties or Nineties, ended up with such large debts to the label. That is the label creative accounting machine at its best. And the shameful part of it all is that current musicians still look at the past to gauge what success means in 2015.

“Go pull up the sales for 1985, 1986 for heavy metal bands. I guarantee you it’s ten times what it is now. That doesn’t mean there’s ten times less fans — in fact, I think there’s more heavy metal fans now than possibly there ever was. But the bottom line is the numbers show that metal bands are not selling what they did back in the day, and that’s because of Internet piracy. I don’t wanna get on that subject, because it always turns into a depressing, negative subject, but it is a fact. So the answer to the question, ‘Would that record sell more in 1985?’ I would say the answer would be yes.”
Shawn Drover – Act of Defiance

Shawn Drover, wishes it was 1985 and 1986 because for some reason, he believes that he will have more money in his pocket and if his new band “Act Of Defiance” sold a million copies of an album, they would be mega rich and popular. Brian Forsythe from Kix, lived that period and ended up with a $2 million debt, even though they had albums that sold in excess of a million.

And guess what venues they are playing right now?

Clubs and theaters.

Dokken albums achieved Platinum awards and the band today plays clubs and theaters. Stryper and Ratt albums achieved Platinum awards and the bands today play clubs and theaters.

A sale of a record never equaled a fan. It’s the usual comparison between;

  • a person that purchased a record, heard it once and hated it
    vs
  • a person that purchased a record, heard it, loved it and listened to it every day
    vs
  • a person that purchased a record, heard the popular songs and then moved on to whatever else was popular

So why do artists still see sales as important today?

Metal and rock artists still sell. There is no doubt about that. Especially the ones that connect with audiences. But sales is not the only stat that artists should be basing their careers on.

With all of the streaming services out there, the most important stat is how many listens an artist is getting and in which cities they are getting those listens.

The second most important stat is how many illegal P2P downloads an artist is getting and in which cities they are getting these illegal downloads. These listeners/downloaders need to be monetized in different ways.

Otherwise if you are an artist and you are waiting for profits to come in from recorded music sales, then you need to change your business model.

“I’ve never seen a check. Donnie probably still gets writer’s royalty checks. The rest of the money is going back to the record company. Donnie was such a better songwriter. For every 20 songs he would write, I would write one. We were working on his songs all the time and we never even had time to write our own stuff. Back in the early days I may have gotten a couple checks. The biggest one was maybe $350. One time I remember getting one for $1.99. I could count the amount of checks I’ve received on one hand.”
Brian Forsythe – Kix

Remember all of the stories that have come out over the last five years from artists complaining about their low royalty payouts from streaming services. Guess that in 30 years nothing much has really changed. For the small amount of 1% artists that have broken through to mega status, it’s all good.

For the rest, it is still the same story.

“The standard stat given is that 90% of major label deals “fail.” That does not mean they are not profitable for the label. The way RIAA accounting works, the labels can make out like a bandit on many of those record deals, while the artist gets hung out to dry.”
Mike Masnick, Techdirt

Nothing has changed on that front, even with the rise of the internet, Napster, P2P illegal downloading and so forth. The 90% stat was relevant even in the golden years of recorded music sales and it is still relevant now.

“We never expected to get rich, but we certainly didn’t expect to be millions of dollars in debt.”
Jared Leto – Thirty Seconds To Mars

No artist expects to get rich. The need to create is the calling card. However, when they start making money and they see the recording executives living it up while the actual creators are not, then money becomes an important conversation point.

The recording industry has always been known for its creative accounting.

Remember when Tom Petty declared himself bankrupt to get out of a recording contract because he had no money to show after two very successful albums in the seventies.

It all goes against what Gene Simmons said about rock music in general being murdered due to internet piracy. It’s a very narrow-minded and hostile view to have to all of the change that has happened in music. It also mimics, the view that the record labels have held.

A hostile one.

However as Tim Westergren, the Chief Strategy Officer – Pandora (until last year) states;

“I think we’re moving out of an era where the music industry is looking for enemies and into one where it’s now looking for allies.”

The record labels have been dragged kicking and screaming into cassettes, mp3’s and then streaming. Guess what happened. It increased their bottom line on all occassions. Guess that not much has changed in the era of change when it comes to record label abuses.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Everyone Is Trying To Twist The Narrative To Their Own Advantage.

So Desmond Child is telling the world that Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and himself had to split a total of $110 in 2012 for the 6.5 million streams of Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” on Pandora during a three-month span in 2012. Pandora’s published rate is about .0013 cents per stream. So doing the math, that means that “Livin On A Prayer” actually earned $8,450 for that three-month spell on Pandora. If that is true, that means that the songwriters are getting about 1.3% of the monies paid to the record labels.

Daniel Ek claims that Spotify will pay $6 million to Taylor Swift from worldwide streams. Swift’s label, claims that is a lie and that they received less than $500,000 for the streams. However what the label is forgetting to say is that the amount is for US streams only.

And Spotify argues that it is competing with free/piracy, while the artists side argue about Spotify not paying enough. They are two different arguments that have no correlation with each other whatsoever. When are people going to realise that Spotify doesn’t sell music, it provides access to it. And consumers like it, otherwise Spotify wouldn’t be starting to overtake iTunes in some markets.

Rob Zombie once upon a time hated copyright infringement and now he reckons it makes him more creative as he doesn’t have to write songs that fit a sales metric.

Lars Ulrich is now reserved and diplomatic in his responses to music piracy or copyright infringement. Maybe it is because he knows that if it wasn’t for music piracy, Metallica wouldn’t be playing sold out shows in China or the Middle East and some South East Asian countries.

Scott Ian wanted the people who downloaded the “Worship Music” album to be disconnected from the internet, even though they could have been fans who ended up purchasing a concert ticket and an over-priced T-shirt.

Gene Simmons famously said that downloaders/fans should be sued and also have their houses taken from them. He said that rock is dead because of piracy. Yngwie Malmsteen, Paul Stanley, Joe Perry and others agreed with him. Many others didn’t.

Internet Radio station Sirius XM is going to lose its case over pre-1972 sound recordings by the band The Turtles. The shameful part here is that the recording industry fought hard against making pre-1972 recordings fought hard against this. The hypocrisy here is huge. While the recording industry has fought so hard against making pre-1972 sound recordings subject to federal copyright laws, now they suddenly want aspects of federal copyright law (like public performance rights which did not exist under previous laws) to apply to those very same works. If Congress made it so those works were under federal copyright, there wouldn’t be an issue and all these works would be treated identically. But the truth is that the RIAA wants to keep these works out of federal copyright law to use them as a weapon against internet innovation.

Sony is re-evaluating it’s support for free streaming, however as a part owner of Spotify, I find it hard to believe that they will pull their catalogue from the free-tier.

Everyone is trying to twist the narrative to their own advantage.

Everybody has an angle.

And what about the musicians.

The hardest challenge facing musicians is getting people to listen to their new music and then getting them to stick around once the album because those big marketing awareness campaigns are goneski. It’s proven that they don’t work if the music is shit and the narrative is shit.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Record Store Day

For “Record Store Day” I paid $30AUS for the “Killers and Kings” single from Machine Head.

Online I can purchase the single for $15US from the Nuclear Blast store.

So I selected the three other covers that I didn’t have and added them to my cart. The total was now sitting at $45US. Then I registered my account and since I am in Australia I was charged $29US for postage and handling. The total of my purchase was now sitting at $74US. Once I paid it via PayPal, the final payment figure from me was $82.21 in Australian dollars.

That equates to about $27AUS for each single.

Now if the Independent Record Store was selling it for $30AUS, then that would mean that the actual independent record store would be making $3 per item.

Hell if that is the mark up for each limited edition item they were selling and let’s just say that one record store sold 200 items, that would mean that the pure profit for the record store would be $600 for that day.

So is the “Record Store Day” there to benefit/save the independent record store?

And to put a spanner in the math, the actual royalty paid back to the band is a percentage on the wholesale price. And the wholesale price is about 50% to 80% lower than the retail price.

Let’s use the Machine Head example.

If the wholesale price of each single would be between $3 to $7.50 and if the royalty rate is a generous 20%. That would mean for each single sold the band would get between 60c to $1.50 royalty cut, to split between 4 people, plus a manager and a legal team.

So what happens when there is an advance upfront payment.

The band takes the money upfront, forsaking (in a lot of cases) any claims on royalties and the risk resides with the label on recouping that advance payment with the single release, the album release and other types of releases.

Either way, Record Store Day is not there to save the record stores. It is there to replace the revenue lost by the record labels due to the declining CD sales. It has nothing to do with keeping the record store open or trying to save the mum and dad independent record store.

It is pure label greed.

Sort of like how the record labels are going after Pandora again. This time around they are suing the internet radio service for not paying to use sound recordings made prior to 1972. But hang on second neither does terrestrial radio.

So what we have is the following scenario;

– Record company lawyers are filing cases against Pandora in state courts. This will enrich them.
– It will do nothing to put money in the hands of the artists.
– What will happen is that Pandora will more or less stop playing these pre-1972 recordings instead of paying another license fee that federal law says you don’t have to pay.
– If the legal bills mount up for Pandora they will go out of business and the 60% royalty rates that Pandora paid will disappear from the record label and publishing companies bottom lines.
– It would do nothing to bring in more money.
– It still doesn’t solve the industry’s biggest problem which is to find a new business model that replaces the revenue lost from the decline of CD sales.

It is pure label greed. To use a phrase that they use in relation to piracy, “IT IS THEFT, PLAIN AND SIMPLE”.

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Music

Innovation V6.0 – While Spotify Innovates, The Governments And The Entertainment Industries Legislate

Van Morrison once said that “Music is spiritual. The music business is not”. How true that comment is.

Spotify recently announced the acquisition of “The Echo Nest” , a music intelligence company that will give Spotify and its users a better music discovery platform. As is the norm these days, it is technologists leading the way for the music business and in general the entertainment business at large.

When Spotify offered free mobile access, they had more sign ups in one month than the whole year prior. Spotify knows it’s all about domination. The history of the internet has shown us that. Pandora is unrivalled in the radio streaming stakes. Apples iTunes Radio is non-existent.

Labels are rolling it in from streaming services and they are not passing those extras on to the artists. That is not Spotify or Pandora’s fault. That is the labels fault. Again, if Spotify is that bad for the artist, then artists like Metallica and Motley Crue that actually own their own copyrights wouldn’t participate. But they did.

While Spotify innovates, the entertainment industries legislate, still focused on censorship and take downs.

Over at Italy, their communications watchdog has given itself a “Judge Dredd” like power. They are basically censoring websites based on a copyright infringement claim from a copyright holder and without any real judicial due process for the website involved.

Just recently, the Public Prosecutor from Italy has decided to go all “Wild West Sheriff Style” on the Internet by ordering Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) to censor dozens of websites, because he said that the websites are places that contain infringing materials. In this case, no copyright holder made any claim against these websites. Yep, it sure sounds like innovation to me.

This is how bad copyright has gotten. People believe that COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT OF MUSIC is the same thing as PROPERTY, an actual physical tangible product. And because of this viewpoint, sites that infringe on people’s copyrights are treated the same as sites that deal in stolen merchandise. When a copy is made of a song and shared, it is not theft. It is copyright infringement and it needs to be treated as such.

In recent years, studies have shown over and over again that people who share movies and music illegally are the ones that end up spending more on legal entertainment. The research is now even recognized by the “Industry Trust For IP Awareness” which is a body that includes all of the major Hollywood Studios as its members, along with the major labels in music.

The latest anti-piracy message from the IP Awareness Industry Trust is a positive one. Instead of labelling all of their customers as pirates and criminals, they are now saying that they understand people like movies and that they appreciate that people are sharing and spending money on movies. This time around they are pushing a slogan of “Moments Worth Paying For” instead of the Big Brother “You Can Click But Can’t Hide”.

Neil Gaiman is one of those people who actually is open-minded when it comes to piracy. There is a video doing the rounds from a while back (on Reddit) where Gaiman talks about piracy;

“You’re not losing sales by getting stuff out there. When I do a big talk now on these kinds of subjects and people ask “What about the sales you are losing by having stuff floating out there?” I started asking the audience to raise their hands for one question — Do you have a favourite author? And they say yes and I say good. What I want is for everybody who discovered their favourite author by being lent a book put up your hand. Then anybody who discovered their favourite author by walking into a book story and buying a book. And it’s probably about 5-10%, if that, of the people who discovered their favourite author who is the person they buy everything of and they buy the hardbacks. And they treasure the fact they’ve got this author. Very few of them bought the book. They were lent it. They were given it. They did not pay for it. That’s how they found their favourite author. And that’s really all this is; it’s people lending books.”

Let’s rephrase those questions in terms of music. Even musicians out there should ask themselves the same question.

Do they have a favourite artist?

How did they discover their favourite artist? Was it by buying their music or was it by someone sharing the music with them or was it by someone lending them a CD, a mix tape, an LP or an iPod full of mp3’s or by someone talking up the artist.

How many people discovered their favourite artist by walking into a record shop and buying a CD without even hearing it? Or in today’s world, how many people discovered their favourite artist by going onto Spotify and listening to music of someone they haven’t heard about.

Gaiman gets it. He is a realist. Hey, look over in Japan. They actually have a rental policy in place for fans of music. People hire/lend the CD, take it home, rip it and then return it for another. Personally, Spotify is a better alternative, however rights holders don’t allow it to exist at this point in time.

Finally, the great land down under, Australia is in the news again. Of course as a country founded by convicts, we have a proud history of seeing higher copyright infringement rates thanks to the lack of legitimate and affordable options.

So we don’t have Netflix and because of that we have resorted to using VPNs to mask our location and subscribe to Netflix anyway.

Of course, the free to air TV stations, the pay TV station Foxtel (who is owned by News Corp) and Quickflix along with the News Corp owned “The Australian” news outlet are labelling these paying users of Netflix as “PIRATES”. Yep that’s right. We are paying for a service that is affordable (something that Quickflix doesn’t know anything about) by masking our IP address so that we can access it and we are still labelled as pirates.

So there you have it, another wonderful week has come and gone, that shows that the Entertainment Industries still don’t get it and technologist and open-minded creators do get it.

http://www.dmwmedia.com/news/2014/03/06/spotify-acquires-the-echo-nest

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140305/10000226442/italys-public-prosecutor-orders-isps-to-block-dozens-pirate-websites-just-because-he-said-so.shtml

http://torrentfreak.com/pirates-movie-industrys-valuable-customers-140304/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Torrentfreak+%28Torrentfreak%29

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140303/11511026409/australian-broadcasters-netflix-competitors-pout-because-netflix-hasnt-banned-vpn-users-yet.shtml

http://comicsalliance.com/neil-gaiman-piracy-lending-books/

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140303/11511026409/australian-broadcasters-netflix-competitors-pout-because-netflix-hasnt-banned-vpn-users-yet.shtml

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Uncategorized

Where Is The Loyalty Program in the Music Business?

Why is that bands have no idea who their fans are? They are clueless.

Today, we live in a world of loyalty schemes. If you shop at any major retailer there is a pretty good chance that you have signed up to their loyalty scheme and after you spend a certain amount of dollars with them, you get a discount or some other reward for your next purchase. Some of the loyalty schemes (especially around gaming) invite the most loyal and regular customers into the store for a two-hour huge sales event that is especially designed for these types of customers.

So why isn’t this happening in the music business.

Let’s start with the live business.

Why is that the regular customers of the artists are not courted and rewarded. These are the people who purchase the super deluxe packaging. These are the people who purchase meet and greets on a regular basis.

For some reason these people cannot be given discount tickets to the shows or given an extra ticket to bring a friend who might not otherwise choose to attend.

A regular customer/fan is much more valuable than an inactive one.

However artists are clueless to these people as they have always relied on the labels to promote them and bring fans in. In addition, the recorded business has always relied on the transactions to take place between intermediaries.

Therefore, the data sits with these sellers. No wonder the recording business is in a state of flux.

Let’s use Dream Theater and Avenged Sevenfold as an example (solely because they had Super Deluxe packs selling for over $100).

For example, iTunes and Amazon would have the data on the fans that purchased their new album, along with a history of other purchases.

I would assume that Roadrunner would have the data on the fans that purchased the Super Deluxe packages from Dream Theater and Warner Bros would have the data on the fans that purchased the Treasure box from Avenged Sevenfold.

Live Nation or Ticketmaster/Ticketec would have the data on the fans that purchased tickets to the live shows.

Spotify and Pandora have the data on which fans streamed the new album and which fans continually stream Dream Theater And Avenged Sevenfold songs.

Musicmetrics put out reports that show various internet behaviours of fans for a lot of bands especially around BitTorrents.

Soundscan shows the units moved in relation to sales.

YouTube has view count metrics.

Now, imagine if Dream Theater or Avenged Sevenfold had the above information. Would they know what to do with it? Imagine if they had all that information and they see a trend of certain fans appearing as buyers of music and tickets. Those same fans are constantly streaming their songs. Those same fans are always appearing on Facebook and Twitter. Those same fans are buying merchandise from the bands own web store.

It is those fans that need to be rewarded. They are a bands best asset.

A lot of the independent bands are collating stats like these. Protest The Hero recently rewarded fans that got other fans to contribute to their funding campaign with additional perks and free passes into live concerts.

Why can’t the label backed bands reward their loyal customers? Everything is full price when it comes to music.

In relation to the live show, once upon a time everyone could attend as ticket prices where low. Then society started changing and suddenly a new market started to appear that charged a higher fee for a Section A pass and less for a Section B. So of course, a battle started for the best seats.

Then people who didn’t generally like rock music wanted to say that they went to the next Rolling Stones concert or the next Kiss show or the next Bon Jovi show and claim that they had front row seats.

Then Section A passes started to be tiered, with names like Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze. Each tier came with a ridiculous price tag.

The hard-core fans started to dig even deeper.

To prove my point, I have a banker friend who has seen Bon Jovi once and paid $1200 for the Platinum ticket a few years back.

I have a work colleague who has seen Bon Jovi over 40 times in various parts of the world. She even planned her US trip to take in cities that Bon Jovi was playing at and got tickets to all of the shows along with meet and greets.

I have seen Bon Jovi on two occasions and I am taking my family to see the band in 10 days’ time in Sydney. That makes it 3 for me.

So the banker friend has outlayed $1200 for a Platinum ticket. He is not going to watch the current show because he has seen Bon Jovi once and it was cool to say that he has seen Bon Jovi in his lifetime.

The crazed work colleague has outlayed over $20,000 on Bon Jovi tickets, purchasing various meet and greets around the world. That same work colleague purchased Bronze tickets for the upcoming Sydney show. She is back again.

Me personally, I have outlayed close to $1400 on tickets to three concerts. The current Sydney tickets cost me $1100 for 4.

So has the band rewarded my work colleague. She is one of many fans that are super loyal to the band and yet they still have to queue up online and fight for premium tickets, only to find out that only a small amount got allocated to the selling agency and the rest are given to the secondary market. Where is the bands loyalty to these kind of fans?

In general where is the loyalty at all.

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Music, My Stories, Copyright, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit, Piracy

The Prophetic Writings of Dave Mustaine

Throughout my life, bands like Megadeth, Metallica and Queensryche, have commented a fair bit on governments, democracy and the corruption that happens.

In the last 10 years, the Entertainment Industries have shown to the world, how corrupt they really are, and how they would do anything to protect obsolete business models. When I started writing this post, the themes that started to appear, reminded me of Megadeth songs.

Dave Mustaine is renowned for his mouth and his witty/snarly lyrical writing. Remember a time when musicians used to lead. Dave Mustaine is one of those musicians.

Seeking Asylum

There is a current role reversal happening in our lives today. Once upon a time in a galaxy far far away, political dissidents would actually SEEK asylum in Democratic Free countries like the US, UK, Australia and Canada. Now people are looking for asylum in other countries to get AWAY from the Democratic Free countries. How the times have changed?

It reminds me of the lyrics to The World Needs A Hero (from the album The World Needs A Hero, released in 2001).

An Iron Fist quietly sits inside the Velvet Glove
Take control, untouchable just like God above
I can’t escape, wrapped in red tape, what will become of me?
If I object, then I defect my country tis of thee

Bradley Manning, detained in red tape and military courts. What will become of him? He didn’t kill anyone? He didn’t terrorise anyone? He didn’t bomb any public infrastructure? So why is he imprisoned? All he did was to embarrass a government.

Ed Snowden, leaked information about the NSA spying on US Citizens and now he is treated as a criminal, seeking asylum in countries that will not hand him over to the US. Remember the time when Communist defectors seeked asylum in the US. This is what corrupted democracy leads too? All Snowden did was to embarrass a government.

Copyright Levy

Most of Europe has a Copyright Levy imposed on the purchase of storage media, smartphones, tablets and any other connected devices.  In my view, since there is such a levy on digital products, whether devices or storage media, then non-commercial infringement should be permitted. The copyright monopolies shouldn’t get to have it both ways – either they need to go after alleged “pirates”, or they can tax the items “pirates” use. Makes you wonder why organisations like HADOPI (in France) were formed, since the public had already paid for the content without even wanting to?

Sort of like the song Dread and The Fugitive Mind (from the album The World Needs A Hero, released in 2001).

What’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine too
If you shake my hand better count your fingers

Nothing else can sum up the Entertainment lobby groups and the Copyright Cartels better than the above two lines from Dave Mustaine.

ENFORCEMENT

Speaking of enforcement, Hadopi in France, has been a total waste of time and money. It was created as a gradual response system to piracy. Basically three warnings and then no internet. The aim of Hadopi was to push people to legal paid services.

“While illicit file sharing has dropped, legal paid services have not benefited as was hoped.”

The entertainment industry focus should be trying to figure out ways to make more money however the entertainment industries believe that getting rid of piracy will lead to more money. All it will do is push piracy further into a darknet.

Sort of like the lyrics in Symphony Of Destruction (from the album Countdown To Extinction, released in 1992).

You take a mortal man
And put him in control
Watch him become a god
Watch people’s heads a roll

Let’s change them up to suit;

You take the RIAA
And put them in control
Watch them become gods
Watch people’s heads a roll

BLOCKADES

All over the world, blockades of websites is becoming common. The site they are all after is The Pirate Bay. The labels claim that the infamous torrent site facilitates copyright infringement. In countries like the UK and Ireland the courts agreed and ISP’s are forced to implement the block. Of course, users can easily bypass any blockade by using one of the many available Pirate Bay proxy sites. It’s that old whac-a-mole game. The Recording Associations around the world are spending monies in costly legal avenues and lobbying/bribery, instead of innovating.

Reminds me of the song New World Order  (originally recorded for the Youthanasia album of 1994 and released on the Th1rt3en album in 2011).

Monitoring all wages
New world order comes in stages
Your currency is obsolete
Feel the agony of defeat

Power resides in the ones that can purchase legal solutions to assist in their bad business models. The currency of fairness and justice is obsolete, against the power of money. We are all slaves to it. The whole blockade of websites is due to money, not piracy.

THE ART OF WAR VIA THE ARM OF THE LAW

The Entertainment industries like the RIAA seem to think that by using the arm of the law to extract money by force or to threaten people by force is a satisfactory response for copyright infringements. Remember people, copyright infringement is a civil matter not a criminal matter. However when power resides with the ones that control government, anything is possible.

Reminds me of the song Endgame (from the album Endgame, released in 2009).

The Ex-President signed a secret bill that can land a legal US Citizen in jail
And the Patriot Act stripped away our Constitutional Rights

All rights removed, you’re punished, captured and enslaved
Believe me when I say, This is the Endgame

Admins of websites have been found guilty for facilitating copyright infringement, have been given sentences harsher then murderers and drug dealers. These admins didn’t kill anyone, however if you take a penny from the wealthy, you have committed a grievous crime that needs to be punished severely.

INNOVATION STIFLING

Spotify has been far more successful in tackling piracy than any law. So what does the RIAA do? They want to charge more for the licensing fees. I am waiting for the punch line to come from the RIAA that this increase is needed to protect the artists that create the content. When it comes to money people just become dumb and those people are in charge of companies that make dumb decisions.

Sort of like the song, Millennium Of The Blind (from the album Th1rt3en, released in 2011)

All your money’s ours to bankroll corrupt wars
You can’t see what you’re fighting for
Trust your leaders as they send you out to die
The true face of evil can’t be seen without eyes

You can tweak the above to read;

All the money’s ours to bankroll shakedown wars
You can’t see what we are legislating for
Trust in the RIAA as they protect what you create
Through bribery and corruption so that politicians legislate

JUDGES SET MARKET PRICES

A 3 judge panel has set prices on the rates that internet services like Pandora need to pay, so that they can play music on line and the RIAA claims it is a free market.

Reminds me of the song Bite The Hand That Feeds (from the album Endgame, released in 2009).

They ball-gagged Lady Justice
And blindfolded her so she can’t see

They took everything and anything
As long as it once belonged to me

When the Courts have Judges that used to work for the Copyright Monopolies, the verdict is always the same. Good for business, bad for the people.

POLITICIANS PUSH CORPORATE PROPAGANDA

When are politicians going to stand for the people again. Instead we have the people that we voted in, pushing the agendas of corporations. A good example is the new RIAA stooge Marsha Blackburn. Enough said.

All of this reminds me of Peace Sells (from the album Peace Sells But Who’s Buying, released in 1986) and We The People (from the album Th1rt3en, released in 2011).

What do you mean “I couldn’t be President of the United States of America?”
Tell me something, it’s still “We The People” right

Nope, it is not we the people anymore and it hasn’t been for a long time. It is We With The Money.

Violate your rights, no more equality
Surrender freedom, your social security

When our politicians started to want to earn the same as Wall Street bankers, the writing was on the wall for equality and justice. Looking at all of the headings in this post, it makes me feel like I am living in a dictatorship. All of this is happening in Democracy. Peace Sells people, and the Copyright Cartels have purchased it all up.

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Music, My Stories

Twenty Years

1993 vs. 2013 – What Has Changed in Twenty Years?

An old teacher of mine showed me a photo of my school year from 1993. There I am in the back row with the long hair, a beard and a stoner look. How things have changed?

Then, my only ambition was to get my driver’s licence, finish high school (to make my parents happy) and to be in a band (to make me happy). Now, ambition is replaced by duty. I have a duty to my family to ensure that I keep my job, I pay the bills and keep all the wheels turning in my family life.

Then, all I wanted to do was party hard. Now, all I want to do is take some R&R. However life is too short to spend it alone. That is why I choose to do everything with my wife and kids. Eventually my kids will start doing their own thing, so while they are young, I am going to enjoy doing as much things with them as possible.

Then, all I wanted to do was write cool music. Now, I still write music. Instead of picking up the guitar and pressing record on the 4 track, I switch on my laptop, open up Guitar Pro and I start writing. I don’t even touch the guitar.

Then, I wrote a song each day (lyrics and basic chords) in a diary. Now, I still do the same. In this case, I write lyrics only and then eventually I get around to writing music to them via the computer.

Then, the way music was consumed was undergoing a transformation. The CD was becoming popular as a delivery system, so people started re-purchasing their vinyl and tape collections on CD. Now, the way music is consumed is undergoing a radical transformation. People buy MP3’s, people stream and people share. The labels still try and push the CD as it makes them the most money, however people are now selecting what they like.

Then, radio was popular. Today, YouTube is popular. Internet radio is making inroads and traditional radio is struggling for listeners.

Then, hard rock music was killed off by the record labels who jumped ship onto the grunge / alternative rock bandwagon. Now, hard rock music is back, stronger than ever. The labels are still jumping ship, this time focusing on the pop market and songs written by committees. Then when an independent artist starts selling big numbers, the labels jump ship again to find other like artists.

Then, MTV was king. Now YouTube is king. The entertainment industry screams piracy and calls for more legislation, while the biggest sharing site, YouTube remains untouched. Why? The RIAA and its labels are now making money from the ad revenue on YouTube, so it is okay.

Then, to discover new music, we needed to rely on a knowledgeable record store operator, gatekeepers, radio and expensive import magazines. Now, we just use Google, YouTube, Bandcamp, Sound Cloud, Spotify, Pandora, iTunes, blogs and many more.

Then, all the hard rock /metal bands started to release live albums, cover albums and B – sides. Metallica released Binge and Purge, Guns N Roses released The Spaghetti Incident, Def Leppard released Retro-Active, Iron Maiden (lost Bruce Dickinson in 1993) released A Real Dead One, A Real Live One and Live in Donnington. Now Metallica are still releasing live albums, via their own bootleg soundboard recordings, Def Leppard are doing a run of dates in Las Vegas, Iron Maiden are still out there touring, with Bruce Dickinson back on vocals and a version of Guns N Roses still exists.

Then, Rage Against The Machine at a Lollapalooza concert used their entire 14-minute set to protest their single “Killing in the Name” being banned from radio. With only guitar feedback for sound, the group appears on stage naked with the letters “PMRC” painted on their chests and electrical duct tape over their mouths. Now, everyone wants to be loved, wants to be liked. No one wants to be hated. No one stands up for what they believe in.

Then, we only had a home phone. Now, we have smart mobile phones. We are connected 24/7.

The biggest change has been the rise of technology. The rock stars of 2013 are the tech heads.

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