A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories

Music Business Rules Found In Songs

On Motley Crue’s 2008 song ‘Welcome To The Machine’ they provided a few general rules about the recording business and the machine that is the music business.

Rule Number 1: “Sign on the x to sell your soul”.

Yep, if you want a major record deal, prepare to sell out. Major labels want hit acts. Hit acts need to play to a formula. The labels are not interested in the Mumford and Sons or Kings Of Leon outliers. They want the acts that will sing the songs written by a committee.

Rule Number 2: “It’s so automatic, Hocking broken plastic, Royalties you’ll never know”.

Yep, the good old measure of success. Record sales. Still used by the labels as a barometer of success in 2014. And the labels still employ creative accounting when it comes to royalty payments. Dollars for the label, pennies for the artist.

Rule Number 3: “Give your ass like a whore, Once you take a hit, You need more more more”.

Once an artist tastes success, they will go back to the same restaurant over and over again. Because we all want to be loved.

Rule Number 4: “Welcome to the machine, Once it sucks you in you’ll never leave, Grind you up spit you out, After all you’re just a piece of meat”.

You can make a memorial wall as big as the Great Wall Of China that has the name of artists who the recording business used and discarded.

Rule Number 5: “Sell out to the rats, Make em rich make em fat”.

Record label executives earn a lot more than the artists that actually make them that money. Is this the way it should be?

On Motley Crue’s 1999 song ‘Fake’ they seem to provide a few more general rules about the recording business.

Rule Number 6 (supporting Rule Number 1 and 2): “Sold my soul while you sold records, I have been your slave forever.”

Yep, when you sign away your copyrights to the record label and then they lobby hard to have those copyrights extended 70 years after your death. It sure sounds like a slave forever.

Rule Number 7 (supporting Rule Number 5): “What are you fat cats doing anyway?, Take our money and flush it down the drain.”

Yep, fat cats fly private and make the Forbes Rich List.

Ugly Kid Joe asked “Mr Recordman” if he knew who they were or if he gave a damn about them or if he was purely there for the dough. Based on their career trajectory, the answer was obvious. Mr Recordman didn’t give a damn about them once they stopped being “commercially viable”

Rule Number 8 – Mr Recordman doesn’t know who you are. Look at the band “Winger”. When Reb Beach called the label after the Beavis and Butthead episode hit TV screens, the label claimed they never knew a band called Winger.

Rule Number 9 comes from Disturbed and their song “Sons Of Plunder”.

Rule Number 9: “You say you’ve found yourself a new sound, one hundred more all have the same sound”

Yep, like the thousand of hard rock bands that came out in the late nineties. Yep, like all the alternative/grunge bands that came out towards the end. Yep, like all the metalcore bands that are out right now and all of them claim to be different, yet they all sound the same.

The song Chainsaw Charlie from WASP is littered with music business rules. The first three lines, “Will you gamble your life?, Sign right here on the dotted line, It’s the one you’ve waited for all of your life” fall into Rule Number 1. Then the lyrics of “And tomorrow when I’m gone, Will they whore my image on?” brings us to Rule Number 10.

Rule Number 10: The record label will forever whore your image on after they have dropped you or after you have departed this Earth. There is a lot of money to make in death.

Rule Number 11: “We’ll sell your flesh by the pound you’ll go, A whore of wrath just like me, We’ll sell ya wholesale, we’ll sell your soul, Strap on your six string and feed our machine.”

This is relevant today when even the image of the artist is owned by the record label in 360 degree contracts.

Rule Number 12: “Welcome to the morgue boy, Where the music comes to die”

Songs written by a committee. It’s soulless, however it sells.

Rule Number 13: “Ah, trust me boy, I won’t steer you wrong, If you trust me son, You won’t last very long”

Remember the advice by Ugly Kid Joe in Mr Recordman.

Rule Number 14: “The new morgue’s our factory, to grease our lies, Our machine is hungry, it needs your life”

The definition of the recording business.

Rule Number 15: “I’m the tin man, I’ve never had a heart, I’m the tin man, But I’ll make you a star”

The Record Label CEO. All promises and that tin heart doesn’t care if those promises are broken.

Savatage is another band that covers the music business in a bit of detail. Rules 16 to 18 are from the song “Jesus Saves”.

Rule Number 16: “You know Jesus he started changing, Things got really strange, He saw his tee shirts everywhere, He started missing shows, The band came down to blows, But Jesus he just didn’t care.”

Yep, it’s a tough gig keeping a band together, especially when a band member becomes the idol that the fans latch onto.

Rule Number 17: “Things got out of hand, And so he quit the band, Still the critics they would rave”

The uncontrollable egos get in the way of a great band.

Rule Number 18: “Her Him cut through the night, On those late night radio waves”

Eventually, we get old and we become “classic rock”. There is no way around out. Embrace it and play to your core audiences.

The final two rules are from the song “When The Crowds Are Gone” from Savatage.

Rule Number 19: “I don’t know where the years have gone, Memories can only last so long, Like faded photographs, forgotten songs”

Rule Number 20: “The story’s over, When the crowds are gone.”

Pretty self-explanatory.

If you’re looking to embark on a career in the game of music, then use the above as a blueprint to get you going.

Standard
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.

Standard