Copyright, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity

Graham Burke – A Puppet To The MPAA

In Australia, Channel 10 (one of our free to air channels) is bleeding money and it needs an investor to pay off its debt, otherwise it will cease to operate.

The first problem with channel 10 is that it doesn’t have a large sporting code on its books like Channel 9 and 7.

The second problem is it shows its news at 5pm. Seriously who is home by 5pm to watch. Most people are still at work and don’t get home by 6pm at the earliest. And if some people do finish earlier and they have kids, there is a very high chance they are with their kids at some sport and get home after 6pm. Even singles and couples will be doing something at 5pm.

The third problem is the majority of people don’t really care about its hit show “The Project” but the station believes people do as it’s got no idea how to really track its reach. Data is king these days and Channel 10 has none of its own.

The fourth problem is its own content. You cannot operate a business without your own content as it’s drawcard. Ask Netflix or even HBO.

The last problem and one that all free to air stations have is they all operate under old business models that used to work before.

There are many other problems and according to Village Roadshow boss Graham Burke, a puppet to the MPAA lobby group, piracy is the reason why Channel 10 is going under.

But wait, it gets better.

Burke links the piracy of movies his organization was responsible for back to Channel 10.

So let me get this straight. Movies that leaked on the internet many years before the movies got licensed to Channel 10 is the reason why the station is losing money.

Seriously what the….

Burke believes that an audience exists many years later for movies to be seen on free to air TV with ads.

Umm, no it doesn’t exist.

Did it ever occur to Burke that people have already seen these movies legally or maybe own a copy of the DVD or BluRay?

And Burke is meant to lead the movie business into the new age. By denying the new age exists and trying to get back the old age.

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

Copyright Fakery And Abuses

Fake news is nothing new to the world. It’s been around for a long time.

It’s become a problem now because the people/organisations who invented it, had the tables turned and fake news was/is used against them. That’s right, the media outlets who put fake news out in the world based on PR companies and Ad companies sponsorships, had the tables turned against them. The recent U.S election is a perfect example of how powerful fake news can be.

The recording and movie industries along with their associations/lobby/bribery groups in the RIAA/MPAA have been the largest perpetrators of fake news in the world. When billions of dollars are involved, these industries employ some of the most creative writers in the business to basically creating fictional works of fakery. And people believe it.

Let’s start with a few good ones.

  • Home Taping Is Killing Music And It’s Illegal
  • Copy a CD and get a criminal record
  • Piracy: It’s a crime
  • Piracy kills artists.

In other words, if the consumers of music don’t pay for every instance of music, how can musical artists or movies ever make a living?

These words of wisdom ignore independent research about the power of free music in helping musicians to be discovered in the first instance. The biggest enemy of any artist is NOT BEING DISCOVERED. Once they are discovered, they can then go on and make all kinds of money via the more friendly artist profit outlets in concerts and merchandise. But the RIAA has done such a good job at spreading fake news about Copyright, that many swallow the industry’s words of wisdom whole.

Ed Sheeran is a mega seller in today’s current musical market. I have written about him before on these pages. He began his career without a record label and promoted himself instead.

“Beyond writing the songs, Sheeran also wrote his own rules about how to sell them. Like so many others, he had set off for London as a teenager, singing on street corners and in pubs. But he didn’t knock on record company doors or wait to be discovered. Instead, he began marketing his own stuff, releasing his music himself on websites until — inevitably — a record label came calling. He had already earned half a million from his independent sales, putting the music out himself.”
CBS Article

The labels came knocking after Sheeran had built up a following. And how did Sheeran build up the following?

“It was file sharing. I know that’s a bad thing to say, because I’m part of a music industry that doesn’t like illegal file sharing, but illegal fire sharing was what made me. It was students in England going to university, sharing my songs with each other.”
CBS Article

But the labels and the RIAA want stricter enforcement for piracy and longer prison terms and bigger fines for illegal file sharers.

Because copyright has been hijacked by these Corporate entities for the last 70 years, we have situations that makes the mind boggle. Like how a band in 2017, might not be able to use a song that dates back the mid 1900’s, whose creator is believed to be dead and was passed down for generations orally. Here’s what the Yahoo article has to say on the matter;

“A Gwich’in love song, passed down for generations through oral tradition, has become a copyright roadblock for the Hummingbirds — preventing them from releasing their latest album “One Weekend” in June for months. The song Goodbye Shaanyuu is one of the tracks on the album. It’s a folk song from Fort Yukon, Alaska that dates back to the mid-1900s. But the record company dealing with the band is holding off the official release of the album, says Mumford, until the band solves a copyright issue with the song — which was written by a Gwich’in woman named Annie Cadzow, who is believed to be dead.”

This is the Copyright mess that corporations have created. Even though a corporation could hold the rights to this song, because it makes no money, it is forgotten. And now there is a band that wants to bring it back and they have to go through hell to release. The article further states;

The band has three options:

1) Find Annie Cadzow — or her family members — and get permission to use the song in their album.

2) Find out if Cadzow has died more than 50 years ago, which puts the song into the public domain. Or

3) Just release the song in hopes that no one will come forward and sue, but this is a non-option for the band out of respect for Cadzow and Gwich’in history.

The band is working with researchers in Alaska who are helping track down Cadzow’s only living daughter who’s said to be in her late 80s.

But the bassist for the band Bob Mumford believes that the song known today doesn’t sound nothing like the original song as lyrics were added and melodies got altered. So how does this sit with current copyright law that assumes that all works are so original and if there are any similarities it’s time to sue.

As the article further states;

“Folk music was widely believed to be “national treasure” — or owned by everybody. Until the idea of copyright came along. The practice of exerting copyright is actually pretty easy. The person that transcribes the oral performance, exerts ownership on it. So whoever makes the recording has copyright on it.”

And that person would have a monopoly on their creation for a certain period of time and then that work would become part of the public domain for other people to use and build upon without any restrictions.

And once upon a time it was like that. But then people had money, they purchased sound systems and vinyl records. Recorded music was suddenly monetised. Which led to many artists complaints about record label creative accounting. And it’s still going on.

The Carpenters are taking Universal Music Group and A&M records to court over the monies paid to them from digital sources. As the Variety article states;

“The Carpenters contend that accountants they hired to examine the record label books found multiple errors and that the defendants rejected the claim of royalties. He is seeking compensatory damages of at least $2 million. Among other things, according to the lawsuit, the record labels “improperly classified” revenue from digital downloads of Carpenters’ music as sales of records as opposed to licensing revenue — short-changing them from a higher royalty rate.

The lawsuit also claims that the defendants undercounted digital downloads and that they applied an incorrect base price to the sales of CDs. The lawsuit notes that the lawsuit is similar to litigation involving the recordings of Eminem in which the defendants were several affiliates of UMG. Ultimately, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that digital downloads were a licensing of master recordings rather than a sale of records.”

The labels do what they want to artists who make them millions and then the labels scream loudly to politicians to get laws passed to protect their business models.

So what about songwriters, who write songs for other artists?

As the labels get flush with cash from streaming licensing and royalty fees, they have failed to pass it on to the people who matter. But due to creative fakery of news, the Songwriters lobby group believes that the streaming services are to blame and they should pay more, with the hope that those extra payments are filtered down to the songwriters.

“We should get compensated every time someone streams a song”
David Israelite, CEO of the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA)

But wait a minute, some publishers already have their own deals with the streaming companies to compensate the songwriters, so why is there a need to force streaming companies to pay more. Spotify is barely profitable and in order to please the NMPA, a $20 million settlement was announced recently.

As the NY Times article states;

“Spotify will pay publishers between $16 million and $25 million in royalties that are already owed but unpaid — the exact amount, these people said, is still undetermined — as well as a $5 million penalty. In exchange, the publishers will refrain from filing copyright infringement claims against Spotify. The settlement concerns mechanical licensing rights, which refer to a copyright holder’s control over the ability to reproduce a musical work. The rule goes back to the days of player-piano rolls, but in the digital era mechanical rights have joined the tangle of licensing deals that streaming services need to operate legally.”

You can see what a mess Copyright has become, when mechanical rights that go back to the player piano rolls are still discussed about today. And Spotify is just one streaming services. There are others that will need to do these kind of extortion deals and suddenly the NMPA is loaded up with cash in the hundreds of millions. All because the labels, the publishers and their lobby groups don’t pass on the monies earned to the people who actually create.

“I am thrilled that through this agreement, both independent and major publishers and songwriters will be able to get what is owed to them.”
David M. Israelite

I don’t know about anyone else, but what we have is a world of mega associations/corporations and labels living large off the value that music creates without really compensating those creators. Because as we have seen all around the world, these organisations like to accumulate and live the high life, but they don’t want to pay those monies in full to the people who really earn it.

If you don’t believe me, check out this article, over at Torrentfreak, where the Greek organisation in charge of collecting and paying artists royalties, was found to have serious financial irregularities where their operating expenses outstretched it’s income, creating an 11.3 million Euro deficit, while during the same period, the CEO, GM, PR and Secretary pocketed 5 million Euro’s.

As the Torrentfreak article states;

“By Dec. 31st 2014, the undistributed royalties to members and rights holders amounted to 42.5 million euros, and have still not been awarded to members. The nature of a significant portion of this collected revenue of approximately 36.8 million euros has not been possible to assess, because collection invoices weren’t correlated to specific revenues in AEPI’s IT system.”

So next time you read a piece of news about stronger Copyright’s needed to compensate artists, remember the fakery involved in that piece of news and how people who contribute nothing to culture and music, live a jet setter lifestyle on the backs of the artists.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Unsung Heroes

Piracy Incorporated

The Pirate Bay (TPB) is going to turn 14 years this year.

From its inception, it was a facilitator, spreading the disruption caused by Napster years earlier to even larger audiences. It showed the entertainment industries how they needed to change. But they didn’t change and it took companies like Netflix and Spotify to make this happen. And they did it by using the same technology made famous by The Pirate Bay. But while Netflix realised that money is in producing your own content, Spotify and other streaming providers have not. Licensing content from someone is not a satisfactory business model. Just ask HBO, formerly known as Home Box Office. Their early business model was all licensed content and they lost money year after year, while the movie studios got richer. It wasn’t until HBO went into original content, that they started making some serious cash. As soon as Spotify, Apple, YouTube and Pandora realise that they need to enter the recording business to produce their own content, the music industry will change and disrupt even more.

TPB had to stand strong against the pressure put on it by the MPAA and the RIAA and their sister organisations throughout the world. It has stood firm against government officials (loaded up in lobbyist dollars) trying to prosecute it. It was taken down, raided and it still survives. And it keeps on innovating even when court orders become the new normal, requesting ISP’s to block the web address or domain registries to deny any applications for TPB domains. Even in it’s home country of Sweden, court appeals and cases are still ongoing. Google was even pressured to alter (in my view censor) its search algorithm, so TPB doesn’t come up.

But TPB is still alive. It has become a vessel for people to access content they normally wouldn’t have access too. In the process, it has made the world a better place.

Metal music in general has grown to all corners of the world. Suddenly, every country has a metal scene and the larger metal bands that have the means to tour are suddenly hitting markets they’ve never hit before.

The high rates of software piracy in Eastern Europe caused an IT skills explosion.

Romanian President Traian Basescu, once told Bill Gates that digital pirating helped his nation build a budding software industry.
REUTERS Article on Eastern European Piracy

The high rates of music creation software piracy led to the electronic dance explosion coming out of Europe.

In the process, artists have gained decent followings. However, while bands in the past had followings, it was assumed that every single follower had purchased recorded music and that the band had made money. But that was not the case in the past and it still isn’t today.

I had music recorded on cassette tapes and video tapes to begin with.

  •  If the radio played a song I liked, I recorded it on cassette. I did this by pressing record every time a song started or was about to start and if I dug the tune, I kept the recording going. If I didn’t dig it, I stopped the recording and rewinded the tape to the last song, so I can start again. The rewinding part was easy when the tape was new, but when you started to record after a previously recorded song, you had to rewind to that point in time. The same process was carried out with video tapes. I was explaining this to my kids and they didn’t look amazed at all by my rewinding abilities.
  • I had friends of my brothers who had dubbed music on a cassette from someone else who copied it from someone else who copied it. So on some occasions the music I got was a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy. It sure sounds like mp3 downloading to me.
  • My brothers had one friend who purchased a lot of music, but he wouldn’t let no-one copy it. I remember one time I borrowed the “Fireworks” album from Bonfire and “Blow My Fuse” from Kix from him, without asking or telling him. He reckons I stole it. What kind of thief am I, when I returned the borrowed goods?

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. With social media, it can spread even faster. But you need to be able to follow it up, quickly and with quality.

  • Volbeat got traction in the U.S in 2012 on the backs of a song they released in 2008. This in turn started to bring attention to their previous albums. Success comes later in today’s world. In some cases, much later.
  • This is very different to say, Galactic Cowboys. Back in the late eighties, Geffen Records signed them to a deal and just kept on pushing the band onto the public with a pretty high-profile marketing campaign. The marketing budget was huge, the recording budget was huge, but the public just didn’t take to them. There was no word of mouth. No one spoke about them and when you brought them up in a conversation, it was a “who”. In saying that, I thought the band was innovative and excellent.

The Pirate Bay’s user base is growing and replenishing.

  • For the thousands that stop using the service, another thousand start using the service.
  • For the thousands that stop listening to Metallica, another thousand started listening to Metallica.
  • For the thousands that stop listening to Ratt, another 10 started to listen to em.

You do the math as why certain things get bigger or remain bigger, while other things reduce in scale.

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

Score Card Inc

Three years ago in November, 2013, I posted a score sheet on certain artists/trends and how they are dealing with the music business.

Three years later, how are the artists fairing.

Robb Flynn
He still understands that it is not all about making records. From Nov 2013 to now, Robb Flynn via Machine Head, kept on releasing his Journals both video and written. In April, 2014, “Killers and Kings” came out for Record Store Day and the band went on tour. He started a clothing range called “Killers and Kings” that didn’t really take off. In November, 2014, “Bloodstone and Diamonds” came out and the band embarked on a lengthy “An Evening With” world tour. In June 1, 2016, “Is There Anybody Out There?” came out as a stand-alone single.

His connection with his audience runs deep. People either dig him or detest him or some people will not just forget him in an orange jumpsuit during the Nu-Metal phase of the band’s career.

Protest The Hero
Back in 2013, “Protest The Hero” showed how the record labels are so out of touch with its customers. PTH was dropped because the label told them they have no audience. However, a fan funding campaign showed a pretty impressive hard-core audience that was willing to cough up some serious dollars for the band. Even the band was blown away at the response.

And they did it again between Nov 2015 and April 2016 with “Pacific Myth” an innovative one song per month release over six months via Bandcamp. Fans had the option of two packages, and I selected the one that also had the six video releases. In between, the guys would upload drum videos, cooking videos, song transcriptions and what not.

Nikki Sixx
In 2013, he talked about a farewell tour. Well that tour finally happened and concluded in 2015. The Crue fan base didn’t really need one more world tour however, they wanted to finish up in their own way and the world tour is what we got, with a new song called “All Bad Things”. The movie is still in the works, they have their own pleasure toys, a rumour of The Dirt 2, plus lawsuits from photographers and opening bands to contend with. Seriously, squirting piss at a bunch of guys who paid $1 million to be on the tour would always end up in the courts.

With Sixx A.M. he has released an albums worth of music and the next album is coming in a few weeks. They are on tour with Five Finger Death Punch, he does his Sixx Sense Radio Show and he doesn’t like to wash his hands after going to the toilet.

Coheed and Cambria
By November, 2013, COCA had been touring non-stop on the back of “The Afterman” two album releases that came out within a 4 month window. Add to that Comic Con appearances, plus Sci-Fi conventions and appearances in Comic Shops and you get the idea that this band realises that it is not just about music and money. It is about creativity.

Since then, Claude Sanchez became a dad. He wrote more comics with his wife called “Translucid” in 2014 and in 2015 managed to release another slab of songs called “The Color Before The Sun” and go on a another world tour.

Metallica
Back in 2013, I wrote;

They need to make new music soon. There are only so many times that a band can go on a worldwide victory lap on the same piece of music. They need to be back in the studio.

Well, we are almost one week away from that new music hitting the streets and in the meantime, we have been treated to three tracks.
It’s a welcome relief to hear Metallica doing what they do best and I believe they have enough new music in their archives for another album to drop within two years this time, instead of eight.

And after hearing the album – yes it is available on the pirate sites, I can honestly say that it’s not worth the 8 year wait at all and maybe 4 song EP’s is the best way to go.

Dream Theater
I wrote in November 2013, that they need a great record soon or they will become yesterday’s news. Dream Theater has a knack for popping up with some goodies, like “Images and Words”, “Scenes From A Memory”, “Systematic Chaos” and “A Dramatic Turn Of Events”.

So in January 2016, they dropped the 130 minute “Astonishing” concept album, about a dystopian future society. Concept albums lead to different revenue spin offs like a stage play, comic book stories, video games, animations, TV series, a movie and so forth. But then again, Slayer are doing a graphic comic book series and have never done a concept album.

Stone Sour
I wrote in 2013, that something went south with their career trajectory. Of course, a beast called Slipknot would devour the creative forces of the band. Their take on modern metal is good, but with Slipknot getting more melodic, is there a reason for Stone Sour to exist.

Five Finger Death Punch
They have an audience who purchases and streams their product. Along the way, each album has received certifications for so many units moved. An onstage meltdown, a record label lawsuit and then a change of label has not slowed the band down in any way. If they can remain together, they will remain a powerhouse.

Trivium
Back in November, 2013, their new album “Vengeance Falls” was called a Disturbed covers album. The truth is, if people are talking about you, it is a good thing. And that album gave Trivium a concert classic in “Strife”. Since then, they released “Silence In The Snow” in 2015. They are always looking to reinvent themselves constantly while staying true to heavy metal. Plus Matt Heafy has a pretty cool Top 10 list of albums that changed his life.

1. Metallica – The Black Album (1991)
“A kid lent me The Black Album at school and it changed my life. I had never heard anything like it before, and I started playing guitar all the time.”

2. In Flames – Whoracle (1997)
“That was at the time of Napster, and I was into the classic great metal bands. I was on Napster and I found In Flames. I had never heard melodic death metal before, and it changed my ear on what kind of music I wanted to play.”

3. Queen – A Night At The Opera (1975)
“What I’ve always loved about Queen is that they’ve never released the same thing twice. Everything is drastically different while still sounding like Queen. Every song on A Night At The Opera sounds different to the next one and they all stand up as fantastic.”

4. Iron Maiden – Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son (1988)
“With Iron Maiden it’s hard, because I love so many of their records. They’re all so important. Seventh Son, though, is the one that really got me into Iron Maiden. It’s one of their more epic records; there’s vivid storytelling going on. Getting into Iron Maiden helped me trace the roots of the music that I love. I could see where so many metal, death metal and black metal bands had taken things from.”

5. Ihsahn – Eremita (2012)
“Emperor changed my life, and Ihsahn changed my life again with this album. He spun the idea of black metal on its head by incorporating jazz chords, interesting production and clean singing. That record taught me to never be afraid of making whatever I want to make. We’ve always done that, but this album drove that home for me.”

6. Boston – Boston (1976)
“The vocal production is insane. Everything about this record epitomises the best things of rock ‘n’ roll.”

7. The Beatles – Abbey Road (1969)
“The Beatles blow my mind in the same way that Queen do in that every song and record is so different to the last. Both of those bands have incredible songwriters as well. It’s not like nowadays where you might have one songwriter in a band.”

8. Emperor – Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk (1997)
“This is where Emperor really changed the dynamic of where black metal was going. Black metal was the rebellion to rock and metal, and was supposed to be different. “When there’s a movement like that, a lot of bands come out playing semi-similar music. That record opened up with clean guitar and there’s this classical singing; it has chaotic moments and beautiful moments all in one. Emperor makes such interesting black metal with these big dramatic moments.”

9. Depeche Mode – Violator (1990)
“Listening to Depeche Mode, you can hear that Rammstein is a combination of Depeche Mode and Metallica. Violator is one of the darkest, scariest records I’ve ever heard. It has this different kind of sadness that you feel in the music.”

10. The London Symphony Orchestra – Mozart’s Requiem (1791)
“The gothic artwork of that record is incredible, and this version for me is just the best. Listening to this, you can hear that out of all contemporary music, metal is the closest living relative to classical. It is the most epic moments of music that have always drawn me in, and I feel that with Mozart’s Requiem that is where you’re getting into the blueprint for everything that was to come.”

Shinedown
They have an audience who want to listen to them and so far, no one’s doing hard rock better than them. Their new album “Threat To Survival” has taken its influences from Adele, Imagine Dragons and other pop artists and they still made it rock hard. Daughtry and James Durbin should take note. Along the way, their fans purchased and streamed all the way to certification after certification.

Avenged Sevenfold
Say what you will about the “influences” on “Hail To The King”, doing that album was a bigger risk for Avenged Sevenfold then their new album and it paid off for them.

Fast forward to 2016, and their new album drops early. It is a creative tour de force but to me it’s already in the rear view. All of the good bits in each song are undone by the creativity of trying to push the boundaries.

Piracy
In 2013, I wrote that piracy is not that large of a problem as the majors and the RIAA make it out to be and with revenues in 2016, approaching the pre-Napster era, it’s further proof that piracy does not affect their bottom lines, especially when there are services out there that can compete with piracy.

Evergrey
The pure definition of perseverance with 20 plus years in the music business and still going strong.

By November 2013, the “new” version of the band that delivered “Glorious Collision” had splintered again and lead vocalist/guitarist Tom Englund was not sure on the next step. A reconnection with drummer Jonas Ekdahl and guitarist Henrik Danhage (who departed before “Glorious Collision”) spawned the excellent “Hymns For The Broken” in 2014 and a few months ago, “The Storm Within” builds on the atmospherics created by “Hymns”.

Megadeth
In 2013, Megadeth’s new album “Supercollider” was outsold by Metallica’s self-titled “Black” album. In 2015, Mustaine got his metal chops back and in 2016, “Dystopia” came out. Another Mustaine Resurrection was at hand.

Tremonti/Alter Bridge
Mark Tremonti knows it’s about putting new music out there and consistently. In 2013, we had “Fortress” from Alter Bridge. In 2015, we had “Cauterize” from Tremonti and 2016 has given us, “Dust” from Tremonti and “The Last Hero” from Alter Bridge. In three years, Tremonti has been part of 4 albums while Metallica ……

The Night Flight Orchestra
The best classic rock side project ever from Soilwork and Arch Enemy band members. The first album “Internal Affairs” came out in 2012 and the second “Skyline Whispers” in 2015. Essential listening to any hard rock fans of the 80’s.

Sales
In 2013, I wrote that sales are not the best metric to measure a bands reach and pull in the market. In 2016, listens are more important than sales.

Bullet For My Valentine
By November 2013, people had lost their “Temper Temper” with them, but in 2015, the band found their “Venom” again, which leads us to new music hitting the net in November 2016.

Revolution Saints
In 2013, this band existed in the head of the Frontiers President. In 2015, they released an excellent melodic AOR rock album. So much potential, so many good songs, great musicians and it all went to hell because Castronovo couldn’t keep his 5555t together. Let’s hope that Jack Blades and Doug Aldrich forgive him and they try for another album. This time with the three of them writing.

TesseracT
One of the hardest working progressive bands out there, building their fanbase, city by city. In 2011, they released “One”. In 2013, they released the excellent “Altered State” and in 2015 we got “Polaris”.

Days Of Jupiter
An unsung Swedish melodic groove rock band, that’s a cross between Evergrey and Disturbed. In 2012 they released “Secrets Brought to Life” and in 2015, “Only Ashes Remain” came out.

Sweet and Lynch
Another album would be sweet.

Muse
They play stadiums but they don’t have the same sales figures as the 70’s and 80’s legends. A perfect example of the modern world, in which massive single songs sell concert tickets.

Live
In 2013, I wrote;
Remember the excitement and the buzz of going to the show. It was uncontrollable. Everyone waiting in line to get inside, to watch a band that rules, in an era that music ruled. Today, it is too expensive to take kids to a concert and that is only for a glimpse in the back. This business needs a reset.

Concert ticket prices are still high, especially for the superstar acts. The price gauge happened as an offset to dwindling revenues from recorded sales, however with recorded music revenue now as high as the pre-Napster era, there is no reason for the high concert ticket prices.

Slash
As an artist, he didn’t need to go back to Gunners. He had enough momentum to keep going as a solo artist and with Myles Kennedy, a better front man than Axl Rose. Slash kept on releasing new music consistently, while Duff and Axl complained of piracy and artistically were dead in the water. Money triumphs over creativity and in this case, it’s really sad.

Album
Back in 2013, I wrote how everyone talks about the money that is lost due to piracy as album sales shrink. Back then 20% of the tracks on Spotify have never been played. So what is the point of the album, when people ignore the songs that are not “hits”. When I go to Spotify and I come across an artist I haven’t heard before, I go to their Spotify page and hear the tracks in their top 10 list. Those tracks in most cases are pulled from many different albums.

And if any of those tracks connect with me, I might dig deeper into the album.

Rodrigo Y Gabriela
Created by their love of metal and rock music and when that same genre put up roadblocks to a career in music, they changed tact and went all flamenco acoustic on the world. Talk about paying their dues and taking risks. They moved from Mexico and took a chance in Europe. Over an 8 year Dublin residence, they honed their style and songs, so when their “official” debut album hit in 2006, what seemed like an overnight sensation was 15 years in the making.

There is nothing more difficult in the world then trying to make it as a musician. You need to show up day after day, week after week, year after year. And your brand or movement might just make some small gains. Then it hits a few speed bumps, like Rodrigo and Gabriela’s metal band losing their recording contract in 1997 and suddenly you are back at the start. But they kept on showing up, on the coast of Mexico and playing their acoustic guitars in the bars. Because showing up day after day, is the hardest part of making a difference. If you look at the history of the artists we like and admire, you will see many years in pursuit of their dreams.

It is a work of a lifetime to create an impact and build something of substance. In 2013, they were riding the highs of their 2012 “Area 52” collaboration, which involved re-working their best songs with a full flamenco band. Then in 2014, “9 Dead Alive” dropped and new music is needed ASAP.

Sebastian Bach/Skid Row
They shouldn’t get back together, because no one cares about Skid Row in the way they used too. They might have a large audience in Japan, like Dokken, but the rest of the “Youth Gone Wild” have moved on. Sebastian Bach is actually bigger than Skid Row and releases way better music than Skid Row have done without him. But, what was he thinking when he approved the photo for his memoir’s cover.

The Kindred
From Canada and the healthy progressive scene. They started off as “Today I Caught The Plague” from the ashes of another band called “A Legend Falls”. In 2011 they released the excellent “Lore” and went on tour with one of my favourite bands in Protest The Hero and their “Scurrilous Tour”. Then in 2013, a name change happened to “The Kindred” and the excellent “Life In Lucidity” came out at the start of 2014.

However, PTH needed a drummer for their “Volition” tour and it was no surprise that they tapped Mike Ieradi (who also co-founded the group) to fill the spot. Then in 2015, vocalist David Journeaux departed, with Johnny McArthur as their new vocalist and Kenny Saunders as their new drummer. So now I wait to see what comes next.

Streaming
Back in 2013, I wrote that everyone talks about the money which isn’t filtering down to the artist and how streaming is too entrenched to be replaced. Since then the record labels have grown their revenues on the back of streaming. Artists who negotiate deals with the streaming services like Metallica and Motley Crue have never complained about streaming. Suddenly, luddites Anthrax are not complaining and Scott Ian even mentioned how he believes streaming is the best thing to have happened to the recording industry.

Streaming is the future and those artist who don’t grow with this future will be too busy shrinking.

The Gaslight Anthem
They do the early 80’s Bruce Springsteen better than Bruce Springsteen these days. It was like a supergroup of independent musicians that came together in New Jersey in 2006. Their 2010 album, “American Slang” spawned an unexpected hit with the title track and “45” from their 2012 album “Handwritten” became their biggest hit. Since then, “Get Hurt” came out in 2014 and by July 2015, the band went on an indefinite hiatus.

Since the hiatus, singer Brian Fallon released a solo album called “Painkillers” in March 2016, and on April, 2016, a vinyl EP called “Georgia” was released for Record Store Day 2016 with a limited pressing run of 2,000 copies on 10″ vinyl. Let’s hope that “The Gaslight Anthem” get together for more music over the next three-year period.

Volbeat
Seen as overnight sensations however they are over 25 years in the business. It all started with “Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood” in 2008 and being added to the Metallica “Death Magnetic U.S. Tour”. Then in 2010, “Beyond Hell/Above Heaven” came out and while that was still selling, they released “Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies” in 2013 and they hit every major music market over and over again. Since then, they released “Seal the Deal and Let’s Boogie” and are continuing on their merry ways. For all the newbies, check out their streaming numbers. They are huge compared to other major label metal/rock acts.

Killswitch Engage/Times Of Grace
In 2013, Killswitch Engage released “Disarm the Descent”, their comeback album with Jesse Leach on vocals. And how good is “In Due Time” with brutal verses and an arena rock chorus. Then in February 2015, a new track called “Loyalty” appeared on “Catch The Throne: The Mixtape Volume 2” to promote “Game of Thrones”. They then toured and kept on working on “Incarnate” which finally came out on March 11, 2016. Since then, they toured and are planning on releasing a beer. Meanwhile, “Times of Grace” have five songs completed for a new album to come out, with their last one coming out in 2011.

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

Scott (Stealing) Ian

Piracy, Copyright Infringement, Plagiarism, Website Blocking, Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and on and on it goes.

Why would anyone create music?

The record labels via the RIAA have screamed black and blue that piracy is decimating the business. They fought tooth and nail against every digital service and start-up. Yet year after year, it was digital music that was making a fortune for them, because all digital monies are pure profit. There are no manufacturing costs (like vinyl and CD’s), there are no warehousing and distribution costs and there is no breakage.

Remember Napster. It showed the recording industry what the majority of customers want. Access to cherry pick the song they want and access to listen to whatever they want. 17 years later, you can say that what Napster started has almost become a reality. The only outlier is that people still want to download mp3’s for free.

Which brings me to Scott Ian!

Can someone please explain to him what stealing really means because he is making metal heads look stupid and uninformed?

Downloading a copy of an mp3 is not stealing because the mp3 is still up on the web for streaming, purchase or downloading. If anything, it is copyright infringement.

But the question that he fails to ask is why are fans of Anthrax downloading their music illegally?

Is it because;

  • They download music and have no intention to pay for anything, not even a concert ticket of the said artist?
  • They download music because they have no other way to get it?
  • They download music because they have no other way to get it and they will purchase the CD eventually and even a concert ticket
  • They download music because they don’t want to pay Apple to download it, but they want it on their phone, and have every intention to purchase a concert ticket when Anthrax hits their town?

I can go on and on with different types of viewpoints of fans.

The value of music was originally inflated, because we, the customers had to buy an album worth of songs for the three, maybe five good songs. The hard-core super fans will always purchase, however the rest will do what they want to do, when they want to do.

As a collector, I still pick up CD’s of bands when they are super cheap like $5, years after the album was released and after I’ve streamed the album to death. And they are still in the plastic wrapping which I am sure once I have joined the afterlife, my heirs will commit them to a second-hand store or just toss them. The value of music is different from person to person.

But how many artists can safely say they know who their hard-core fans are.

I bet you there are always fans who purchase deluxe bundles, every time the said artist releases an album.

Is that buyer information getting filtered back to the artist?

It’s these fans, Scott Ian should be caring about. Are they getting any bonus offer, a loyalty card, a discount to a concert or a simple personalised thank you that makes the fan feel special for supporting the artists with every release?

Imagine the fan getting a hand written letter sent to their address that thanks them for purchasing the last four super deluxe bundles of the said band, and here is a bonus mp3 album for you to download plus a special VIP pass for their upcoming concert.

Instead, the fans are made to feel like criminals, for streaming an album instead of buying,  for cherry picking a few songs instead of paying for all of them or for downloading the album illegally.

That’s not the way it’s done anymore.

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Music, My Stories

Yesterday and Today

YESTERDAY
We waited in line to get the newest record or we had to get the record store clerk to order an album in.

TODAY
We go to the Internet, iTunes, Spotify, The Pirate Bay, Amazon, etc.

YESTERDAY
We saved our cash and had to make decisions as to what album we purchased based on the funds available. We tried to maximise our purchases.

TODAY
We go to the Internet, Pandora, Spotify, The Pirate Bay, YouTube and have the history of music at our fingertips.

YESTERDAY
The labels believed that people would always want to buy a CD.

TODAY
CD sales are going down as the medium becomes another niche collector’s item for the hard-core fans.

YESTERDAY
We couldn’t live without music.

TODAY
We still can’t live without music.

YESTERDAY
The record labels would “Support” an artist by giving them a big advance, which the artist could never pay back due to some creative accounting from the record label. Thirty Seconds To Mars sold 3 million albums of “A Beautiful Lie” and they still had a debt of about $1 million to the label. Creative accounting I say.

TODAY
The large record labels gives out a small advance and somehow the artist still can’t repay it back due to creative accounting. The smaller record labels tell you to record your album on your OWN budget and then if they like it, they will give you a small advance to license your copyright of the album to them. If it sticks and crosses over, call the lawyers to re-negotiate otherwise, if the band doesn’t experience “success” like the bands of the MTV era, they will break up and by default, the copyrights remain with the label, which they will then use as a bargaining chip.

YESTERDAY
Music came first, money was a by-product. It was never a focus.

TODAY
It’s all about entitlement and being paid. Just because someone wrote a song and released it, it doesn’t meant they deserve the right to make money from it.

YESTERDAY
We shared our record collection with our friends.

TODAY
We share our listening habits and likes online with strangers

YESTERDAY
We lived as a pack, getting together socially, going to the Club to hear live music and building culture as we went along.

TODAY
We build a monument to ourselves on social media and get together via LIKES.

YESTERDAY
No one told us how great they are.

TODAY
Everyone is promoting themselves and telling everyone who doesn’t care how great they are.

YESTERDAY
Youngsters grew up wanting to make music to satisfy a need to create.

TODAY
Youngsters grow up thinking music is about money.

YESTERDAY
Bon Jovi was a band and the creative element behind the music was Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora.

TODAY
Bon Jovi is known as a solo act and Richie Sambora is being written out of Bon Jovi history. If you don’t believe me, check out all the news recently about a recent Billboard article that talks about “Livin On A Prayer” and the writers are mentioned as Jon Bon Jovi and Desmond Child. But from the interviews I have read, the embryo version of “Prayer” was written by Sambora.

YESTERDAY
There was no overnight success.

TODAY
There is no overnight success.

YESTERDAY
Rock and metal music was a consistent seller.

TODAY
Rock and metal music is still a consistent seller.

YESTERDAY
Artists borrowed from their influences, who borrowed from their influences, who borrowed from their influences and it was okay.

TODAY
Artists borrow from their influences and if they have a “hit”, they get sued for copyright infringement, plagiarism and whatever else the lawyers can think off.

YESTERDAY
RIAA spent a lot of money, taking pirate sites to court and winning default judgement’s but never really getting the cash from those judgement’s.

TODAY
RIAA is still spending a lot of money taking pirate sites to court, winning default judgement’s and then complaining that the three/six strikes policy (that they wanted the ISP’s to implement in the first place) is too expensive to administer.

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

…And Streaming For All

“I judge (the current state of heavy metal) it more by people coming to shows rather than on people buying music. It’s very different to what it was 20 years ago, but the live environment is unchanged, and that’s when you see if you are doing well. The tour that’s coming up is almost sold out already which is great news. It does seem to be a good time for metal.”
KERRY KING – Slayer

Damn right. The live environment is unchanged, however one important fact to add to that is that with more people than ever having access to music, guess what is happening. Shows are selling out quicker than ever.

Suddenly that Metallica fan or Venom fan or Iron Maiden fan that didn’t have the cash to purchase a Slayer album as we did have to choose once upon a time what albums to purchase based on the cash in our pockets, now has Slayer’s whole catalogue in front of them and at their fingertips. And it’s not just Slayer benefiting from this. All of the bands that have deep catalogues are benefiting from this, provided they are still together in some shape and form and roadworthy.

And of course, there is a lot of P2P illegal downloading going on, along with legal streaming options both paid and free.

In Australia, we are labelled a land of pirates, however, in the last year, these pirate fans of music have added 15.7 billion to the live music industry, which is a record for Australia.

Also, if you think that streaming is priced too high, then it is. The average music listener spends on average $22.80 a year on music. Set the yearly streaming fee of $25 and watch the user base grow exponentially. Hard core fans will always pay top dollar, but for music to grow exponentially, it is the casual music fan that needs to be monetized consistently.

What would the artists want, 20 million paying listeners at $100 a year or 100 million paying listeners at $25 a year?

Also if you read the ABC story, China, India, Mexico, Brazil, South Korea, Canada and Spain are markets that bands are consistently monetizing through live performances and they are also markets that spend the least amount of money on legal music options. High rate of P2P leads to high returns at the box office, if you are able to tour there.

Megadeth played China recently, to sold out crowds and even had their set censored. Metallica played China a few years ago to sold out audiences. Bon Jovi booked shows and the Chinese Government cancelled them. Avenged Sevenfold also played a censored set in China. Meanwhile, India, Mexico, Brazil, South Korea and Canada are consistent stops for Metallica, Bon Jovi, Avenged Sevenfold and Iron Maiden.

You see, when more people have access to music, there are rewards in other areas.

Let me talk about some artists for a moment that are not hard rock or metal.

Glass Animals is a four piece UK indie rock band. They have over 100 million streams, generating $700,000 in royalties for the rights holders. But the reason why I am mentioning this band is that their debut album came out in June 2014, and after 64 weeks, it is still selling units and it is still being streamed. It is getting more and more popular as time progresses.

“Without the word-of-mouth excitement that came via the streaming platforms – first Spotify and now apple music – we would never have managed to sustain a campaign that took the band from unknowns to headlining sold out shows.”
Amy Morgan, Manager 

Ed Sheeran (yes I know he is not metal or hard rock) is one of the biggest acts in the world. He has always gone on record about the benefits of Spotify and streaming services in general. He’s winning on the live circuit while those who are complaining about streaming are losing. He is two albums deep in his career and is selling out stadiums and arenas.

“The audience grew as people shared the album and play listed tracks thanks to the platform and support Spotify gave us. Tickets sold to shows sold globally and the world around “Zaba” (their debut album) and Glass Animals began to grow. Without that initial connection between band and audience and the word of mouth excitement that came via the streaming platforms – first Spotify and now Apple Music as well – we would never have managed to sustain a campaign that took the band from unknowns at SXSW 2014 to headlining sold out shows at The Wiltern in LA, T5 in NYC, Shepherds Bush in London and gathering huge crowds at major international festivals all round the world just over 15 months later.”
Emma Greengrass, Caroline International 

Streaming is not the enemy. It is the artists best friend. Read this article on Troy Carter’s (artist manager) views on streaming.

If you don’t click on the link, here it is…

Musicians, it’s time to stop hating streaming services, and here’s why. Troy Carter, one of the world’s most powerful artist managers (John Legend, Meghan Trainor, and previously Lady Gaga) just busted some myths with four reasons streaming is the future of music, not the end.

Streaming Will Earn Artists A Lot With Enough Users – Royalty payouts from streaming might seem small now, but that’s because it’s very new. Eventually as more listeners sign-up, the payouts could match the amount artists made at the height of the $16 CD era.
The Alternative Is Piracy – If music isn’t easily accessible for free with ads or through a subscription, people will just steal it and then artists earn nothing.
Labels Are Hoarding The Royalties – Services like Spotify and Apple Music pay more than 70% of what they earn to the labels, and most of the rest covers expenses of running the apps. The problem is that the labels push artists into exploitative record deals where they only get a tiny share of the royalties, and the labels keep the rest.
The Big Money’s Always Been In Touring And Merchandise – Labels have always screwed artists out of recorded music dollars. Artists should think of streaming as a way to get more famous, and sell more concert tickets and t-shirts.

Basically artists who are mad about streaming should demand better deals from their labels, remember the alternative is getting their work stolen, be patient, and tour. CD sales didn’t get huge overnight either. Once more people realize how amazing it is to be able listen to any song they want, the money will come.

You don’t see Metallica complaining about streaming payouts. They control their music and negotiated with Spotify on their own terms. And as Kerry King from Slayer puts it, Metallica is living on the first five records.

Bands in the Eighties had more freedom. It was just the times. The labels didn’t know how to handle the hard rock and metal bands in the beginning. As far as the labels were concerned the music was too abrasive for radio and crossover appeal, however the albums just kept on selling. The tours kept on selling. So the bands had free reign to do what they want initially.

And each time a band put an album out, it sold.

So the labels continued to stay out of the writing process and the bands produced works that are considered classics or monumental game changers for the genres the bands got classed in.

What we do know is that change is constant in music and the artists that manage to hold it all together end up winning in the long run. But it all starts with the song and giving people access to that song.

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