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.

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Music

American Hustle

I watched “American Hustle” last night. Christian Bale is a dead set rock star. He is the most versatile actor I have seen. He plays American characters better than American characters. He even gained 19.5 kg for the flick and who can forget his ghost/wraith like appearance in “The Machinist” where he lost 27kg.

What a top supporting cast in Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Smart and Robert DeNiro. DeNiro was at his best in his small cameo. He was menacing, especially when he broke out the Arab talk to the fake Mexican sheikh.

Great movie and a lot of funny scenes like when Cooper’s character goes to town on his FBI boss. That is a WTF moment especially afterwards when the boss is confessing to the Prosecutor the events and whole confession gets hijacked by Cooper into setting up the sting that his FBI boss was against. And we never got to hear the end of the ice fishing story.

The other star of the movie is Director, David Russell.

Silver Linings Playbook was a surprise to me. It was funny but real in a way and it kept you interested through the whole thing. Even though it was essentially a romantic comedy, it didn’t really come across like that at all.

American Hustle did the job as well. When looking at both flicks now, I think the key part are the characters in these movies and how all of them are eccentric in a way, none of them could really be seen as normal, there is something about them that makes them all complicated and nuts.

Jennifer Lawrence was the funniest in this flick though, she was a complete nutter but she knew exactly what she was doing. There is the aluminium foil in the “science oven” scene and the Amy Smart toilet confrontation. Add to that the scene when she sells out Christian Bale to the mob, and afterwards convinces him to thank her for it.

Russell is on a hit streak. He has followed up a “The Fighter” with “Silver Linings Playbook” and “American Hustle”. In a world where here today and gone tomorrow is the new paradigm, Russell has stuck around by delivering the hits.

Russell is building a reputation like Tarrentino. He has his own style and own way of making a movie. With his hit ratio, he is able to draw in whatever talent he wants and like Tarrentino he is proving that whatever actor/actress he chooses their stocks go up a notch. Russell’s next flick is “Legacy of Secrecy” will star Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro. The JFK assassination gets another cinematic round. Will it be another hit for Russell.

In “The Fighter” Bale stole the show again as the ice addicted older brother of Wahlberg’s character that just couldn’t shake a drug habit and in the end it cost him his boxing career. It’s got some WTF scenes in that movie as well like how scared he was from his mum and when she went to one of the drug houses, Bale gets freaked out and jumps out of the second story, landing on a couch and walking away with a limp.

Bale is one of those actors that is outputting movies. He first came to my attention in “American Psycho” released in 2000. It was a small budget film that tripled its return. Reign Of Fire and Equilibrium came next in 2002. Reign of Fire had a $50 million budget and it made money, while Equilibrium didn’t make money however it was my favourite. I love the whole dystopian society theme. It cost $20 million and returned around $6 million.

In 2004, “The Machinist” hit the market along with a very thin Christian Bale. It was another small budget movie (costing $5 million and returning $9 million).

From when “Batman Begins” came out in 2005, Bale’s star has risen with each movie. There is a mix of big budget movies and low budget movies. The big budget movies returned profits and some of the low budget movies are hit and miss. In eight years, up until 2013, Bale churned out 15 movies. You see, he gets it. It’s about being in the public eye, however musical artists still don’t get it.

Along with the record labels, they keep releasing an album every two years only to see that album disappear from the conversation after six weeks. Of course some albums hang around longer than that. Volbeat, Five Finger Death Punch, Skillet, Killswitch Engage, Avenged Sevenfold and Shinedown are a few bands that come to mind.

Just because everybody is still doing it the same way, that does not mean an artist can’t break the rules. But the music business is lost in the past, shackled by legacy. Always screaming for laws to get passed to protect their business models. However, the actors get the modern paradigm, even though the studio heads don’t.

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A to Z of Making It, Alternate Reality, Influenced, Music, My Stories

The People Decide

Since 1999, I have kept a diary. However it is not a diary that talks about my day. It is a lyric diary. For everyday since 1999, I have written down lyrics for a daily song.

This is what I wrote on Tuesday, March 30, 2010. I guess nothing has really changed.

VERSE 1
The rock star was once
The king of the concrete jungle
They had the freedom
To write their own rules
These days it’s the Forbes Rich List
That imitate the rock style
They have the freedom
To do as they please

CHORUS
What would we do?
If fame didn’t touch us
Would we stick around
And pay our dues
Not everyone who hangs in
Gets to make it
It’s the people who decide
Who will win and who will lose

The people decide
Who is the best

VERSE 2
The rock star of today
Holds their tongue and bends over
For the fear of hurting
The feelings of people who don’t matter
We have lost sight
Of the fact we are all imperfect
We have lost sight
About what life used to be

REPEAT CHORUS

BRIDGE
The people decide
Who is the best
It’s not the magazines
Or the PR written newspapers
The people decide
Who stands and falls
The people decide
Who will win and lose

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A to Z of Making It, Music

Risk Management

As soon as you look forward to something, there is always something on the horizon that makes you realise how fragile everything in your life is.

Our whole lives are about risk management.  As soon as we are able to make our own choices we start to manage the risk ourselves.  Up until that time it is managed by our parents.

We make life decisions based on our working life.  So what do we do when our employer changes the rules?  What do you we do when our employer makes us work more hours for the same pay?

Should we leave and get a new job elsewhere.  What happens if that new job doesn’t come as quickly as we need it.  Bills need to be paid, a mortgage needs to be paid and the family needs to live.  Sometimes it’s better the devil you know then the devil you don’t know.

In most cases we just stick it out, depressed and unmotivated, because we are beholden to the system.  We are beholden to the pride that we place on ourselves.  We are beholden to the fear of change.  So we choose the safe option of sticking around and being treated like dirt, as our risk management strategy.

If you are not on the bleeding edge of society, you are just part of the fabric of society.  You want to be a rock star, you cant do it working a nine to five job.  You cant do it if you are beholden to your employer.  You cant do it if you are beholden to the family.

The only way you can do it is if you throw all thoughts of risk management out the window.

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