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

Being A Musician Means ….

I still have the debate with people about the economics of being a musician vs earning money and the debate always ends with me asking the question;

Would a musician prefer to have their song or album shared/copyright infringed on/pirated (use whatever word you want, depending on what side of the debate you are on) 100,000 times or ignored and not shared at all?

The same conversations come up over and over again.

Musicians are either complaining about streaming payouts, copyright infringement/piracy of their music or jumping in with the corporations or the lobby groups looking for stronger copyright laws and enforcement. However, the music business wouldn’t be a business if it wasn’t for the fans. The customer. The consumer.

So what value is there to the consumer?

You see once upon a time, the musician and the consumer met with the RECORD. The record was an attempt by the musician to make something unique and likeable that it could be purchased.

A musician and a listener met with a performance via Radio, a TV spot or some other form of promotion.

This kind of listener might not end up as a consumer of the recorded product however there was always a good chance that this listener might end up at a concert hence making them a consumer in a way. From buying the record or from buying a ticket to the show, all of the exchanges are very one-sided. It is all about money leaving the consumer and going to the musician. The musician believes that the value comes in the music they provide.

With so much competition in the entertainment industry these days, surely obscurity is a much larger threat to a musician than copyright infringement will ever be. The more a musicians’ music spreads, the more true fans they will find that will end up becoming consumers. It doesn’t mean that all of those people will become consumers.

There is tons of music available that I will listen to. I enjoy doing that, however it doesn’t mean I like it enough to become a true fan and invest in the artist. However with Spotify I am investing in them by listening to them. In the past, I could listen to an artist from a taped copy or a mix CD and the artist got nothing from those listens. In the end each consumer has so much money to spend on entertainment products.

I like drinking wine and one thing I have learned from all the drinking I have done is that the price of the wine is not always indicative of the quality. So with all of the discussions about taking away Spotify’s free tier, it doesn’t mean that people will suddenly start to pay for a subscription. Just because music has a price, it doesn’t mean that it is something of quality that needs to be paid for.

There are other similarities between the winemaking business and the music business. Even in the wine making business, there are brilliant wine makers from around the world trying to break through the monopolies that control different markets.

Just like artists starting off, young wine makers invest a lot of time and money in their craft/product without knowing if that investment will pay off. They do it because they love it. The weather could be that severe/extreme that years could go by with so little yield and zero income. And once they produce that wine, it doesn’t mean that they have a consumer base to market it too.

Anyone gone wine tasting. You are physically at the door of the wine maker’s house where they open up bottles of wine and allow you to sample them. That is how wine makers form their tribe. By their cellar doors.

Metallica are kings of the hill because they formed a tribe around the people who heard their music and those fans followed the band everywhere. It didn’t mean that all of those fans purchased their music. And then Lars Ulrich did his best to divorce the band from its fan base with the Napster shenanigans. However the boat already sailed, with a lot of free music from Metallica doing the rounds. All of this copyright infringement established a whole new tribe for Metallica that is still sustaining them to this day. Yep those free loaders from Eastern Europe, the Middle East, South East Asia and Central/South America have become consumers to their sold out shows.

The fans are all a musician has.

Warren Buffet (investor) has an investment rule that rings true here when I think about the current status of some of my favourite artists;

“Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful.”

Tidal is all about greed. Taking away Spotify’s free tier is all about greed. Destroying the public domain by hijacking copyrights true intent is all about greed. The whole music business is about income inequality.

So can anyone blame us when we, the consumers became fearful of greedy people.

I support what is in my opinion the best music. I know other people’s opinions differ from mine. That’s just life.

As a musician I would be happy if my music was downloaded illegally 100,000 times and I am not one of those deluded people that equates those illegal downloads to 100,000 missed sales.

Do the math.

With no downloads a musician has no fans/listeners/future consumers and no cash.

With a 100,000 downloads via cyber lockers or torrents, the musician has possibly 100,000 fans and no cash at this point in time. I know what I would prefer.

There is a reason why Metallica and Iron Maiden have played to large audiences in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, China and South/Central America respectively and it has nothing to do with sales of recorded music.

Fame always came after however MTV made everyone believe that fame comes first.

And musicians in most cases are ignored for long periods of time before they break through.

Five Finger Death Punch is a band that sells a decent amount of recorded music right now and they have been doing those numbers since 2007. However the musicians in the band didn’t just come from out of nowhere. If you look at the individual band members careers before FFDP, you will see musicians who have been ignored. Their previous bands did not set the world on fire, however it was all stepping-stones. And the musicians that have that mindset end up reaching the top. The ones that want only the fame and the money end up in the rear view mirror.

Europe is a band that I have followed since “The Final Countdown” days. I purchased their back catalogue once that album broke through. I purchased John Norum’s solo output and I hold the “Face The Truth” album (with Glenn Hughes doing vocals on quite a few songs) in high regard. I followed Joey Tempest solo albums and with pleasure I took in their comeback from 2004 and onwards.

The first version of the band came together in 1979 and was named Force. Via a song writing contest they got a recording deal in 1982 with a Swedish label. By 1985, they had some songs in a movie that gave me some more traction. Joey Tempest wrote a song for aid in Ethiopia however at this stage the band was still largely ignored. That all changed in 1986 with “The Final Countdown” album. The journey was seven years long. Compare that to some of the ideals today of musicians. They believe that by putting up a video or a song on YouTube, we should all pay attention.

Michael Poulsen from Volbeat was in a death metal band called Dominus from 1991 to 2000. Then he formed Volbeat in 2001. Their first album came out in 2005. For the next seven years they kept on building on their following and it wasn’t until Metallica took them out as an opening band that American success came knocking. By 2012, Volbeat was a big business.

Do the math on the years in between. Poulsen became an overnight success however that success was 21 years in the making and a large part of those years dealt with being ignored.

That is what being a musician is.

Advertisements
Standard
Music, My Stories, Piracy

We Gravitate To What We Believe Is Popular

Artists like Sebastian Bach and Robb Flynn have asked the question, What does a Facebook like mean these days? In the words of Dark Helmet, “Absolutely Nothing”.

Music is a popularity contest. There is no doubt about that, however popularity doesn’t mean Facebook likes. What we do know is that likes are unreliable indicators of a band’s impact. The music business is all about connecting so many different dots to solve the puzzle. This is where we’ve arrived, the data-centric world and these raw statistics leave a lot of artists out. And they don’t like it.

The number one complaint in the music business is that artists can’t make any money. If you want to make money then make music that people want to listen to. Difficult but not impossible.

Revolutions occur in music all the time. Normally those revolutions happened in musical styles. However when it comes to the reporting side of things, well that was all controlled and monopolised by the recording industry.

The Billboard charts reported what was sold and what was played. All the parties involved lied and bribed each other to play certain records or to promote certain albums. This led to an era that if we believed that a song or album was popular we were more likely to buy it. Hell the same parties even controlled MTV.

Now everyone is looking at charts based on what we are listening.

Seen Ratt’s Spotify stats recently. Even though each album from the Eighties moved over a million units, what the fans really wanted was the great songs. And lucky for Ratt, each album had a great or decent song that would be used to market the album.

I want to go back to 1985. Twisted Sister released “Come Out And Play”. The fans of the band purchased it and played it death (maybe except for “Be Cruel To Your School” and “Leader Of The Pack”). However the album was deemed a commercial failure according to the reporting arms of the recording industry.

While the big albums “You Cant Stop Rock N Roll” and “Stay Hungry” are on Spotify, “Come Out And Play” is not available for streaming officially. But that is typical of the industry because Spotify is controlled by corporations and some of those corporations are the record labels. So as is the norm, those record labels think they know best when it comes to music. However on YouTube the whole album is there.

Why is it on YouTube?

Because the fans of the album put the music up. The fans are sharing their love of the album and people are listening to it because while fans have a history of music at their fingertips and can search for any artist they like the biggest playlist on Spotify is “Today’s Top Hits”. On the rock side, there is a rock playlist called “Rock Classics” that has close to 530,000 followers.

So with everything available under the sun, music fans still prefer to listen to what we think everyone else is hearing. Much like how we purchased albums in the Eighties based on what we thought everyone else was buying.

 

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

Piracy, Lost Sales and Profits

I am sure that everyone has come across the “Minecraft” game in some form or way. My exposure to this game was when my kids asked me last year if they are allowed to download the free version of the game, which I agreed. After playing it for months and unable to save their progress, they kept on asking me to download the full version, which cost $6.99AU.

I said NO.

They kept on playing the game and as they did new features kept on getting added to the game that made it better. However they still couldn’t save their progress and they kept on asking me to allow them to download the full version.

Eventually after a stellar week of good behaviour I couldn’t say NO to them and they got the full version at the beginning of the year.

For the uninitiated, Minecraft is one of the biggest games in the world right now. It debuted on Mac and Windows PC in May 2009. By February, 2014, it had sold 15 million copies of the PC version. Also in the same month, Mojang (the makers of Minecraft) had sold more than 21 million copies of Minecraft: Pocket Edition on Android and iOS; more than 12 million copies of the Xbox 360 Edition; and more than 1.5 million copies of the PlayStation 3 Edition — making for a sum very close to the 50 million mark. They have over 100 million registered users.

Just imagine if a streaming service had those numbers. However, the argument would still be the same. Artists are not getting paid. We all know why this is so. Talk to your record label.

And they did all of this with piracy being rampant on the game. However, Minecraft’s developer Notch (Markus Persson) has been on record in saying that worrying about piracy was a waste of time, and it was much more important to focus on giving people a reason to buy.

“Piracy is not theft. If you steal a car, the original is lost. If you copy a game, there are simply more of them in the world. If you just make your game and keep adding to it, the people who copyright infringed would buy it the next week.”

Persson adds features to the game based on conversations he has on Twitter with random people and he fixes bugs based on the Minecraft community voting on the priorities. He is engaging with the users and a majority of those users are people who said that they copied the game initially, but then bought a copy for both themselves and a friend. Or they are people who didn’t ever buy a copy, but had friends who learned about it through them who then went on to buy copies.

There is a clear indicator here for any artist.

Make sure that everyone has access to your music.

I remember a time when I went to Utopia Records and I purchased four CD’s. They were “Subhuman Race” from Skid Row, “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” from Slash’s Snakepit, “Balance” from Van Halen and “Waiting For The Punchline” from Extreme. I hand over my cash and a sale goes onto their chart record.

The fact that “Subhuman Race” and “Waiting For The Punchline” gathered dust on the shelves, while I played the hell out of “Balance” and “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” didn’t even come into the equation. All of those bands got a “SALE” or a “COUNT” from me. The fact that two albums connected with me more than the other didn’t even come into the equation. Probably the reason why SLASH is still such a force to be reckoned with in the music business, while Skid Row and Extreme, not so much.

That is why a lot of the Eighties bands couldn’t understand or get a handle on their decline in popularity. Everything under the sun got blamed, however the real reason was ignored.

WHAT DOES A SALE OF A PIECE OF PLASTIC/VINYL REALLY MEAN?

Everyone saw a sale as a fan number, a unit to add up, however the fact that the real fans listened to the music non stop and due to playing it to death they had to re-purchase the album.

In my music collection, anyone will see that for bands like Motley Crue, Dokken, Megadeth, Van Halen, Ozzy Osbourne, Metallica, Twisted Sister, Bon Jovi, Whitesnake, Stryper, Ratt and many more, that I would have an LP, plus a CD, plus for a select few, remastered releases and remastered releases with bonus tracks. That means that I have re-purchased the bands whole catalogue over 4 times. And I am sure I am not alone in that.

In other words, a sale of an album never reflected what we (the fans of music) did with the albums after we purchased them. The second-hand music market thrived for a reason as music consumers got rid of those albums that gathered dust. However, was this stat shown.

But what about all the tons of money, lawsuits, lobbying, education campaigns, advertising, threats, news reports and the like from the recording industry, all telling people who unauthorized downloading was unquestionably morally wrong and that each download is a lost sale.

The developers of Minecraft (who struck even bigger when they got acquired by Microsoft in 2014) showed that you can compete with free and that you can get people to commit if you focus on the art. Making money was always a byproduct and in the end they made a bunch of it.

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

Music Overload, Fans And Platinum Albums

Back in the past there used to be about a thousand metal and rock releases a year and from those releases only a few got traction and if an artist didn’t get traction or press they were doomed. Now there are thousands upon thousands of metal and rock releases. And they are all online and unless someone that we trust verifies their quality or a track becomes a viral phenomenon, we don’t care and suddenly most people don’t care, and then that album that the artist worked on for two years is gone.

The days of multi-platinum sales are over. Have you seen the latest report on the state of the recording industry?

The sales model is dead. No artist-album released in 2014 has gone platinum in the major U.S market. Sure, bands like Avenged Sevenfold, Five Finger Death Punch and Volbeat are pushing close to the GOLD mark however their albums came out in 2013. And yes Metallica’s self-titled album is pushing closer to 20 million in sales however that was released back in 1991.

The RIAA began certifying American platinum records in 1976. A long time ago and since then 345 albums have received the award.

Think about that for a second and do the math. Even when the record labels controlled the distribution and set the price, only 345 albums achieved platinum status over the last 38 years. 345 albums out of 40,000 plus albums. It comes to about 1%.

And of course, the record labels and the misguided artists will be quick to blame piracy and simply forget about streaming, the outdated albums format, the quality of the music released or the fact that fans of music prefer access over ownership.

Things change.

And one of the big changes is the shift in consumer behaviour. It seems that a lot of people don’t miss owning music. We have put our trust in the internet and the speeds they offer. Sort of like flicking a light switch. We have faith that the lights will switch on.

And bands that are still writing long players. You end up putting them online to be cherry-picked. It doesn’t make sense.

We live in a world where what was a hot news item in the morning is forgotten by days end.

Hell, with everything at our fingertips, we gravitate to the few that break through. We only want the very best all the time and therefore it takes an incredible effort to penetrate our consciousness and stay there. Furthermore, the more successful something is, the more it continues to grow, reinforcing its success. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Digital downloads were once hailed as the saviour, however they only provided a bridge between the CD and streaming. And the whole issue about money. Just because you released a song or an album it doesn’t entitle you to be paid. As the Metal Sucks piece notes,

“Nowhere is it written that rock stars should be well-off — the only reason it worked for the 50-year period between 1950 and 2000 is because of a market inefficiency whereby distribution was completely monopolized by the rights holders.”

And here is where the misguided and out of touch people talk about the cost of production, the years of blood, sweat and tears and the entitlement that all of that deserves our attention and our money.

Rubbish.

And yes, music is hard. Writing a great song is hard. The new Five Finger Death Punch double albums for me have four definitive tracks. “Lift Me Up”, “The Wrong Side Of Heaven”, “A Day In The Life” and “Watch You Bleed”. On the Avenged Sevenfold album, “Shepherd Of Fire”, “Hail To The King” and “Coming Home” are the definitive tracks.

So as we move forward, more than ever, it depends on the hit. And with so many of us listening to music in different places no one knows how to aggregate all of that data. And because of that the onus is on the fans. That’s right, the fans make and promote the hits. Once the fans find you, you need to feed them and that doesn’t mean one song a month or one song a week, or an album every two years.

Standard
Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Unsung Heroes

The Paul Stanley Article

The Article
Paul Stanley reckons that if KISS started today they wouldn’t stand a chance because the music industry as it exists today isn’t even an industry, it’s just shambles.

KISS didn’t really blow up until “ALIVE” came out. So in today’s standards or even the late eighties standards they wouldn’t stand a chance to reach their fourth or fifth album. The thing with Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons is that they base a lot of their decisions on what piracy and peer-to-peer downloading has done to the industry.

Now if you search the RIAA database for the band KISS, you will see that “Destroyer” is 2x Multi-Platinum and that happened in September 2011. Two other KISS albums have been certified 2x Multi-Platinum and they are “Smashes, Thrashes and Hits” and “Alive II”.

They don’t have an official album that has been certified more than 2x Multi-Platinum and piracy has been around since 1999. So even in the heyday of record label control, KISS were not large sellers of recorded music as they would like you to believe. Especially when you compare them to Pink Floyd, Eagles, Bon Jovi, Metallica and Motley Crue. It wasn’t until the KISS Reunion in the late nineties that KISS finally went from playing to 10,000 people to 40,000 people. Credit Doc McGhee with the vision to make that happen.

As for Stanley’s comments on file sharing, it just shows how out of touch he is.

“File sharing is just a fancy way of saying stealing. You can’t share what you don’t own. It’s like me saying, ‘transportation borrowing,’ and I steal your car.”

If a person illegally shares or downloads the song “Lick It Up” what that person has done is infringe on the copyright of the song. The song is still available on iTunes for downloading. The song is still available on Spotify for streaming. The song is still available on YouTube for listening. The song is still available on the “Lick It Up” album that is gathering dust in the record store waiting to be purchased. No one has stolen anything.

Paul Stanley also reckons like Yngwie Malmsteen, Kirk Hammet and Gene Simmons that younger bands don’t have a chance in hell of ever getting that pot of gold.

What about Five Finger Death Punch, Shinedown, In This Moment, Bullet For My Valentine, Skillet, Red, Trivium, Halestorm, Black Veil Brides and many more others that are releasing albums and going from success to success.

What about musicians/bands who have been doing the rounds since the eighties and nineties who have all seen an upswing in recognition and success like Slash with Myles Kennedy, Godsmack, Stryper, Volbeat, In Flames, Machine Head, 10 Years, Coheed and Cambria, Lamb Of God, Avenged Sevenfold and Killswitch Engage.

Now, Ed Sheeran has nothing to do with heavy metal or hard rock music however the work ethic and ideas that he exhibits should be noted. His current tour of Australia has one ticket price at $99. All of his fans will have the chance to sit in the front row.

This in a way takes out the elitist tickets. It makes it affordable for people with rich parents and not rich parents. This is in contrast to say Kiss who sell front row tickets for a premium of around $2000 for some shows. In Ed Sheeran’s case he keeps the front row tickets and gives them out on the day. He and his team try to find fans outside of the venue of fans in the nosebleed seats and give them front row tickets. And what an artist to fan connection he is establishing.

And for hard work, Ed Sheeran is up there. It took two years to sell two million copies of the first album through constant touring and intimate acoustic gigs and now it’s taken 14 weeks for his new album “X” to do the same.

This more or less proves the piracy argument decimating the music business is invalid. People still purchase albums along with streaming and downloading the songs. The great thing about musicians being worldwide right away is that if a song’s not successful in one country like Australia it usually is in another. Different countries have different tastes. You can always have a hit somewhere. But Paul Stanley doesn’t get that. Which is a shame.

I actually finished reading his book Face The Music last week and the impression I got from it was an out of touch and sheltered rock star. Guess his comments sum it up.

And the thing is Kiss’s best song in the last fifteen years has been “Hell Or Hallelujah”. So how about coming up with more songs like that instead of the other garbage that has done the rounds.

Standard
Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity

The Yngwie Malmsteen Article

THE MALMSTEEN ARTICLE

Yngwie Malmsteen released four good albums in “Rising Force” (1984), “Marching Out” (1985), “Trilogy” (1986), “Odyssey” (1988) and two average albums in “Eclipse” (1990) and the big budget “Fire & Ice” (1992) released on the Elektra label which Malmsteen switched too from Polydor and after one album on Elektra he was dropped. All other releases since then have been garbage. And it is this money machine that Malmsteen wants to come back.

Malmsteen reckons that people love heavy metal, rock and roll and guitar players, but since there is no money in the recording business there is nothing new coming out. Malmsteen believes that the new groups starting off are not going to get exposed and the fans are not going to get new music.

Umm,what about Five Finger Death Punch, a band that recorded their debut album on their own budget and then was signed in 2007 when peer-to-peer downloading was at its highest peak. And guess what, they have gone on to achieve way more than what Malmsteen has achieved in relation to sales and recognition and they did all of this competing with free.

Malmsteen’s song “Rising Force” from the Odyssey album is his highest streamed song at 1,086,887 streams. Compare that to Five Finger Death Punch’s “Coming Home” that has 12,498,946 streams.

Guess that Malmsteen hasn’t heard of Shinedown who is another band signed at the height of the piracy epidemic that also went on to platinum sales, high box office returns on the live circuit and good streaming metrics on YouTube and Spotify.  The song “Call Me” has 18,423,889 streams and it wasn’t even a single.

Trivium and Bullet For My Valentine are both bands that have a similar set up. Trivium’s first album came out in 2003 and Bullet For My Valentine’s first album came out in 2005. “Tears Don’t Fall” from Bullet For My Valentine has 25,608,159 streams and “In Waves” from Trivium has 4,995,977 streams.

Volbeat is another band that is going from strength to strength in sales, streams, YouTube views and concert attendances and like Five Finger Death Punch they are another band that got signed when peer-to-peer downloading was at its highest. “Still Counting” has 29,094,090 streams.

Chevelle got a big breakthrough in 2003 which was another year of high piracy and since then have continued to be a proven performer. “The Red” has 5,492,196 streams.

In This Moment arrived in our lives in 2007 and Halestorm in 2009, with both bands going from strength to strength with each release. In This Moment even locked in a major label deal for their fifth album. The song “Whore” from In This Moment has 5,431,527 streams while “I Miss The Misery” from Halestorm has 10,263,136 streams.

There are many others like Killswitch Engage, Coheed and Cambria, Avenged Sevenfold, Alter Bridge and 10 Years that have all grown in popularity during the reign of piracy.

The band Heartist started online. They built their following online. They built a buzz online. They organised to play a gig online. It sold out. The buzz generated attracted record label interest. The buzz generated attracted prospective managers. And after that gig, the band was signed to Roadrunner Records.

Malmsteen also thinks that new bands cannot get on a tour bus or an opening act slot because there is no money machine there to invest in them.

The band Digital Summer is all DIY. They don’t have a label however their history and successes is better than bands that have been on major labels. They are constantly on decent tours. Art Of Dying is another DIY band that got a good label deal with Eleven Seven Music. Protest The Hero had the money machine behind them and then when they got dropped they finally came into some money. There are many other new bands with label support like “Nothing More”, “H.E.A.T”, “Black Veil Brides”, “TesseracT”, “Periphery”, “The Kindred”, “Black Stone Cherry”, “Red” and many more that I just can’t remember right now as I type this.

Malmsteen thinks that the biggest reason for the surge in record sales in Seventies and Eighties bands is because there’s nothing new. The truth is varied and one of the reasons is piracy and streaming services. The self-titled Black album from Metallica is available for free on streaming services, however it still sells on average 2,000 copies a week. Looks like people still want to buy what they like.

So what’s next.

Watch out for Yngwie Malmsteen asking Spotify/Daniel Ek for a pay rise or demanding that Spotify charges more for access because he is the fury.

Watch out for Yngwie Malmsteen campaigning for the return of the telegram and gated releases.

What he should focus on is creating great music again. It is a shame that his mouth gets more press than his actual music these days.

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

“Why Do You Do What You Do?” And Guess What! “Rock Is Not Dead”

Gene Simmons from KISS declared that “Rock is finally dead” which stirred up a lot of debate in the music industry. Dee Snider was one of the first to post a rebuttal. Then came Dave Grohl’s rebuttal and recently it was a diplomatic Slash. Basically everything that he said I more or less agree with.

“The music business itself is not catering to rock ‘n’ roll at all. And if you’re aspiring to be a guitarist or a drummer or a singer in a rock band and trying to make your way up the ladder, the obstacles are much bigger than they were when I first started.”

The music business does cater to rock’n’roll however it is the recording business that doesn’t cater that much to it. The majority of the labels monies are focused on the pop stars singing Max Martin songs.

“The rock ‘n’ roll audience is rabid. It’s huge and just as alive and kicking as it ever was.”

That’s god damn right. The audience for rock music is there. Also with so much rock music coming out right now, that is the evidence right there to prove that rock is very much alive and kicking.

And that is a biggy.

With so much rock music being released every day, how is the rabid rock audience going to find it and hear it. Apply simple supply and demand economics to the equation. When the record labels controlled the distribution, the music that was released and when it was release, the actual supply to the fans was limited even though demand was high. Now with all of those barriers of entry torn down, the supply of new music is constant. And even though demand is still high, our time is limited.

Another big difference is that the way we consume music. It is still a very fragmented marketplace. Think about it for a second.

There are the usual CD sales. Amazon is still a big player in this regard along with the record labels and the unique limited deluxe editions they offer. In addition the brick and mortar stores still exist that cater in sales. Then there is the sales of MP3’s. Apple is the big player here, while Amazon offers AutoRip features on CD’s sold.

Then there is streaming. You have Spotify type streaming and the radio style streaming of Pandora. Terrestrial Radio is still there as well. So as an artist it is a confusing time. Hell, even the cashed up labels are confused as to what needs to be done as they still rely on the nuclear bomb style of marketing to push new acts or new music from established artists.

“If you’re really passionate about the kind of music you wanna do and you’re not looking at it from a dollars and cents point of view, but you just want to create new music and somehow go out there and play live and get it out there, that passion has to be honed in and it has to be real.”

So what is your view of success?

Do you have a short-term view on measuring success or a long-term view? Is success your main motivator for creating music because if it is, there are risks in a short-term view of measuring success and there are risks in having success as your main motivator?

It comes down to the “Golden Circle” idea from Simon Sinek. “How” is in the centre, surrounded by the “Why” which is then surrounded by a larger circle called the “What”.

Apply those principles to a musician. A musician knows that what they do is to write and perform music. A musician knows how to write and perform music but do they know WHY they do it. If a musician’s “WHY” is solely to make money then they need to be reminded that their “WHY” is a “RESULT” of “WHAT” they do.

As Sinek explained, people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. And if you don’t’ know why you do what you do, then how will you ever get someone to buy into it, and be loyal, or want to be a part of what it is that you do.

A perfect example of a simply WHY can be found in Zakk Wylde and Black Label Society. The WHY is to get dressed in your BLS Chapter colours, get together at the show and drink a lot of god damn beers. And guess what. People responded to that WHY in the thousands. They want to let their hair or goatees or beards down and down a few brewskis.

Protest The Hero focused on the WHY on their fan funding campaign for the “Volition” album. They told their fan base that their time with record labels has resulted in the labels telling the band that they have no fan base and that they are not a viable option for a label to support. The fans wanted to show that is not the case. And the best way was for the fans to be a part of what Protest The Hero wanted to do, which was to record an album, promote it and tour on the back of it. The fans didn’t care how they did it because we bought into the WHY they were doing it.

Claude Sanchez’s WHY for Coheed and Cambria is to tell the Amory Wars story and guess what, thousands upon thousands of people bought into it. Comics, Albums, Novels, T-Shirts, Deluxe Packages, Live Shows and Vinyl Re-Issues. You name it, we have supported it.

So ask yourself, why do you want to be  a musician?

Standard