I watched Fast 6 the other day, and the final additional scene had me all pumped up. For those that haven’t seen it, I will not spoil it, however it sets up Fast and Furious 7 very nicely. The final words said in the movie, are the words of the villain, “you don’t know me, but you will……..”
Isn’t that what every musician wants. To be known.
So how does it came to be, that the villains end up known to the world and the ones that do real good are forgotten. Does the world at large know the names of the police officers that captured the Boston Bombers? Does the world know the names of the victims that died in the bombing? The answer is NO, however everyone knows about the Bomber brothers, their family links to Chechnya and so forth. Even Rolling Stone has glorified the bombers with their recent front page issue. By doing this, Rolling Stone has sent social media into meltdown.
David Draiman and Nikki Sixx are two rockers leading the outcry against Rolling Stone. It looks like the Rolling Stone magazine is taking the “you don’t know me (or maybe forgot about me), but you will “mantra to heart. Once upon a time Rolling Stone mattered. Today, Rolling Stone is a dead magazine. They needed to do something shocking like Rammstein did with the Pussy video to bring their name back into the mainstream. You can’t get more shocking than putting a terrorist bomber on the front cover, regardless of what kind of story you are trying to sell. The wounds are too fresh.
Another person looking for publicity is Thom Yorke from Radiohead. He has gone onto a Twitter rampage against Spotify and what they pay artists. For those people that didn’t know about Spotify, they sure know about it right now. Every mainstream news story has picked up the story and run with it. Every blog is talking about it, including this one right now.
Thom Yorke on the other hand, should write great quality music as a solo artist and take control of his own catalogue of music. That way he will know exactly what Spotify pays him, instead of waiting for the statements that the labels give him. It’s funny to look back and read stories about how Thom Yorke and Radiohead was praised for releasing an album under a “pay what you want” model. From this recent outburst, it is clear that Thom wasn’t expecting fans to pay nothing for it, however they did. That is why they never tried that model again.
The big grey area that hangs over Spotify is the lack of transparency over the payments made to the labels, because in order for Spotify to operate in the US, the labels wanted a 50% share in the company.
One thing is clear from all of the above, from controversy, popularity is born.
Ozzy Osbourne’s solo career at the beginning was all about controversy. The dove and bat biting incidents, the tragic death of Randy Rhoads, the drinking and partying which lead to the Alamo incident, the court cases about backward messaging on the song Suicide Solution and the drugs.
Motley Crue built a career from controversy with their sexual innuendos, the pentagram on Shout At The Devil, their partying and drug taking lifestyles which lead to the tragic death of Razzle at the hands of an intoxicated Vince Neil and the death and rebirth of Nikki Sixx.
Even Dream Theater experienced controversy when in a Guitar World interview circa 1994, certain musicians from the grunge / alternative scene blasted John Petrucci for playing with no feeling. Since Petrucci responded gracefully that he likes the music that those bands do, all it did was divert people’s attention to Dream Theater.
Did anyone in the mainstream world know that Black Metal existed? Of course the fans of the style did, however it was just a niche. Then churches started to burn and people started to die. So the Black Metal movement is all over the news.
From the Napster controversy, the people got to know that you can find and download mp3’s of music that you liked, from people that had similar tastes. 13 years later, people are still downloading. From the Napster controversy, the people got to know who the RIAA is and how corrupt they really are. Throughout the years, the RIAA popularity as a corrupt organisation has grown tenfold. From the Napster controversy, everyone got to know Lars Ulrich and Metallica. For better or for worse, Metallica had fully become embedded with mainstream media and pop culture. Press Organisations that never reported on Metallica, suddenly where reporting on Metallica.
Metallica in 2013 is now the biggest metal band there is. Did the Napster controversy hurt Metallica? My answer is No it didn’t. It made them bigger, it spread their name out across all the corners of the world and most importantly it made their music available to everyone.
As an artist, that is your mission statement. Your music needs to be available to everyone. It is not about money right now.