A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit, Unsung Heroes

Music Business Brewtality

Put all the myths aside and lets not carry the delusion on any longer.

The music scene is brutal.

Anyone heard the song “Chainsaw Charlie (Murders In The New Morgue)” from WASP.

For those that have heard the song you would know what I mean. For those that haven’t heard the song, Charlie is the President of show biz who feeds on the pop stardom dreams in wannabe artists by promising to make them a star. After those artists make Charlie millions, their careers are chopped up by Charlie and his Chainsaw and discarded to the morgue just for someone younger to take their place.

In other words the junkyard of broken rock n roll dreams is piled high with the souls of artists who didn’t meet the commercial milestones that the record labels were after.

And when an artist sees that all they are worth is just an income generating machine, they start to change. Some can’t handle it and they may end up dead. Others deliver albums that polarized their fan base. Others just play the game and keep on delivering the same album over and over again. And then there are others that deliver more ground breaking work.

We all know that in the pre-Internet era, signing with a label was the only choice an artist had if they wanted to have a career in the music industry and of course, like all great monopolies the labels exploited that power and position. And I use the “career” word loosely, because we should all know by now that the monies earned by 1% of the artists prop up the whole business which in turn means that a lot of artists never really had musical careers. Sure they rode on a wave and had some cash thrown at them, however once the wave crashed down, so did their so called careers.

But the internet was supposed to level the playing field and in a way it did, however what didn’t change was the need for artists to still require a record label to be heard above the noise. Of course there are a lot of artists that are DIY artists and are quite happy to be so. However they are competing with a shitload of other artists that are DIY and Label artists.

From October last year you had Sixx:A.M, Exodus, Slipknot, Sanctuary, Texas Hippie Coalition, Scar Symmetry, Devin Townsend, Sister Sin, At The Gates, Black Veil Brides, Cavalera Conspiracy, Machine Head, Pink Floyd, Foo Fighters, In This Moment, Nickelback, AC/DC, Angels And Airwaves, Smashing Pumpkins, Marilyn Manson, Papa Roach, Periphery, Blind Guardian, Lynch Mob, Alpha Tiger, Sweet and Lynch, Serious Black, Eclipse, Harem Scarem, Level 10, Crazy Lixx, Rated X, Allen/Lande, Vega, Dalton plus a plethora of re-issues, best offs and live releases. All of these releases are on labels.

Then you go onto Bandcamp and you start to see hundreds more being self-released.

Just in one day, February 4, 2015 there were over 40 new metal releases. Now think about all of the new music hitting the net in this fashion and that was just for the metal tag on bandcamp. So with so much new music out there, how can fans find an artist and if they do, how much time will these fans invest in the artist before new music from another artist comes their way.

And that is why the music business is brutal.

Brutality Number 1:

We all know about record label mistreatment and greed. Seen this study recently about streaming monies and how they are actually distributed from the streaming platform. Click on the link and find out who is keeping the majority of the money. Trust me there are no surprises there however the take away of the study is that it was commissioned by a Record Label association and they state that it is perfectly okay for the labels to keep the majority of the streaming money because of the costs they incur to record and  upload the actual music.

Brutality Number 2:

But the real brutality in the music business is finding and then keeping an audience and once that audience is found, it needs to be replenished year after year as original fans drop out, so new ones need to come on board.

The biggest killer of the Eighties bands like Dokken, Kingdom Come, Anthrax, Skid Row, Yngwie Malmsteen and many others that had platinum albums is that their fan base didn’t get replenished as quickly as it was dissipating.

Seen interviews recently of some of the above artists. They are confused and wondering what the hell happened to those million plus fans who purchased some of their Eighties LP’s. They assumed that just because they sold a million records they had a million fans. They cant compute that people might have purchased their record, listened to it once and then never played it again. They cant compute that people might have purchased their record, listened to it once and then hocked it to a second hand store. And seriously how accurate are those stats anyway.

Soundscan metrics came in around 1991 and at least these metrics are based on sales from shops. But the fact that a large part of my metal and rock collection is from second-hand shops, well those sales don’t even rate a mention as an official sale/fan. Dokken and Malmsteen are two artists that came into my life in this fashion. Hell, Twisted Sister, Metallica, Blind Guardian, WASP and Megadeth came to me via dubbed copies of their albums on cassettes. So how does that compute as a sale/fan.

How much money do you think I have invested in those bands afterwards in merch, ticket sales and recorded music purchases? Trust me a lot.

So that is why the music business is BRUTAL towards the artists as the artists who create the music are clueless and the labels are more so, because FANS don’t just come from sales of recorded music.

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

Apple

In order to lead you need to stay ahead of the game. In order to stay ahead you need to innovate/create.

Apple is one such company that is at the crossroads. The iTunes store is seeing a decrease in MP3 sales. Their first foray into streaming, iTunes radio never really took off.

The move into the streaming market dominated by Spotify and YouTube with the Beats acquisition is still at the starting gate and the birth of new products since the death of Steve Jobs has stagnated , however the iWatch is being hyped up by critics and bloggers as a savior.

But what people are failing to see is what Apple is doing behind the scenes. The acquisition of smaller companies into the Apple network forms a picture of a large corporation gearing up to control more of our daily lives.

Let’s not kid ourselves here. IT companies are billion dollar industries because of the data they harvest from us, the people. It is that data that provides a dashboard on how to market a product and to whom. And Apple are gearing up for a mammoth shake on the data front.

They have purchased Semetric, the U.K company behind Musicmetric. For those that don’t know, Musicmetric is a web service that analyses data on the internet around sales of music, P2P downloads, YouTube views, streams, social networks and sells that data to record labels, artists and others.

I saw Musicmetric as a great tool and it’s most valuable asset is that it looks at BitTorrent (p2P) downloads (both legal and illegal). It could tell an artist which countries and cities are illegally downloading their music.

To me, these are fans that can be monetised via live performances, provided the artist has the means to get there. For newer acts it tells them where their music is popular even though they don’t see that popularity translate into sales because in the end a fan base is a fan base. It has been proven that at some time down the line these fans will commit financially to the artist.

Which is a shame because I cant see how Musicmetric will stick around as a standalone service anymore.

Apple has gained a key in-house tool that it can use to track  sales and streams within iTunes alongside social networking stats. But the reason why Musicmetric worked is that it also included Spotify and YouTube activity into its dashboard, however the chances of those two entities remaining with Musicmetric (now that it is owned by Apple) seem to be slim.

Another interesting piece I came across is Apple’s latest patent, which states that it will allow people to legally share music and videos with friends as long as those users have a license. As the Torrentfreak article points out;

While “legalized P2P sharing” may sound appealing, in theory it’s actually quite restrictive. The idea introduces a new layer of content protection which means that the files in question can only be played on “trusted client software.” This means that transferring files between devices is only possible if these support Apple’s licensing scheme. That’s actually a step backwards from the DRM-free music that’s sold in most stores today.

Interesting.

So what we have is a company that has purchased a data analytics company that tracks illegal P2P sharing activity as part of its dashboard and they have just been given a patent to legalize P2P sharing amongst its users provided they have a license.

But seriously, Napster came out close to 16 years ago. Yes, 16 is the number. That is close to 6000 days ago and the recording industries have done nothing to give the fans of music anything that remotely resembles Napster. Meanwhile, technology companies have done all of the innovating.

To me this is another attempt at control and restriction and that is a bad thing.

These new tools will most probably be packaged in with their Beats music service and if my reading between the lines is correct, Beats Music will also be a P2p protocol sharing service provided the user has a license which will probably come automatically with the purchase of an Apple product.

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

Music Lives Because Of Sharing and Copying

We all want to first and foremost SHARE something. If you go to Facebook, people are sharing their day and their lives. Go to any internet page and you will see people sharing photos, writings, music, opinions, stories, etc. And all the things that we share are all free. We do it for free.

However, the recording industry will say that artists cannot survive without being paid. What the recording industry is saying is that the recording industry cannot survive if they are not getting paid. Artists NEED to create. And there are artists who WANT to make money from those creations. And a few of them actually CAN make money from their creations.

As always, there are lots of bands created every day. Only a few survive. Only a few of them make enough money to live. And only a very little few of them make a lot of money. That has always been the same. We know of Motley Crue, but how many bands were there in L.A at the time? How many of them have we never heard of? We know of Metallica, but how many bands were there in San Francisco at the time? How many of them have we never heard of? We know of Accept and Bonfire from Germany, but how many bands were there in Germany at the time? How many of them have we never heard of? Get my point.

The difference now is that musicians can reach many more people and they don’t need a whole industry for that, and the industry is frightened about it.

Music will always exist along with people’s need to share it. The fact that we have music alive today is because it was shared and copied from day dot.

Music is about beauty and beauty has no real set price. For super fans, that beauty could be worth thousands of dollars in music, merch and concert purchases. For others, the beauty could be worth a few dollars and for others that beauty could be worth just the enjoyment.

If we listen to a song and we like it, we will listen to more songs. We could purchase a CD, we could download an album, we could purchase a ticket to a show or a T-shirt. Hell, we could even fan fund the next recording. That is how the fans build social communities around their favourite acts. They chat about them to another person. Then they share the music that they love. And once upon a time, there was no law forbidding this. Information was exchanged freely. However when the entertainment industry kept on growing, and when they kept on getting the governments to pass laws to give the industry a monopoly, that is when the repression began.

I bet no one has heard about Paulo Coelho. He is one of the best-selling authors and a few years back he decided to create “The Pirate Coelho”, an non-official fan page that allows people to download the full texts of his books in different languages. And guess what happened. He started selling more books now than ever. Guess you need to balls to try something that is unknown.

In bands, this is a difficult card to play because band members very rarely see eye to eye, so as soon as something goes astray there will be one band member that will start throwing the blame at another band member.

 

 

 

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

Are People Listening And Sharing Your Album?

I still can’t listen to the new Evergrey album on Spotify in Australia. I went to the AFM Records Facebook page and I saw they have a post that states “Listen to the new Evergrey album on Spotify and add it to your favorites!” So I went on to Spotify and like the day before only “King Of Errors” is available for streaming. I then saw on the AFM post that they had a Spotify Embed link, so I clicked on that and the whole album came up on a webpage. I clicked on the other songs on the webpage and in my Spotify player I got the message “This track is currently not available in Australia.”

And I was like, WTF. It’s like 2014. What the hell is AFM Records thinking withholding the album from Spotify? And what the hell are they thinking of doing a gated released based on which countries/zones?

This is silly. Evergrey is not known as a huge seller of recorded music in Australia. All of the CD’s that I have purchased from them I have done so as Imports. So whoever is the brains at AFM should return the brain they have and get a new model that is fitted for 2014 and beyond as they are leaving money on the table by not making the album available on Spotify, while YouTube who pays less has it.

Also the norm is that when I purchase an album from Amazon, it comes with an AutoRip feature that allows me to download an mp3 version of the album. Sixx A.M’s “Modern Vintage” had that feature, Godsmacks “1000hp” had that feature however Evergrey’s new album is not even part of that agreement either. AFM Records is out of touch with the modern world. Their answer to Spotify is to charge consumers more to have access to music.

Sales are irrelevant. It is an old metric and no way a guarantee of success. Seriously ask any artist what they would prefer. To be number 1 on an irrelevant chart or to be number 1 on Spotify or YouTube. Consumers of music have moved over to the access model. So why not service those fans as well as the fans that want to buy the album.

The only important thing today is how many people LISTENED to the album.

It is a different train of thought and the usual media outlets don’t publicise it. Think I am wrong, go on any Blabbermouth post about a band and there is always a paragraph or two about first week sales and what the album charted. Seriously, who cares. The future is that artists will get paid for every play of their track for all time. The money is in play. The more people who are subscribing and listening, the more each play is worth.

And the future is also in sharing. It doesn’t matter how many people download albums (legally or illegally). What does matter is how many people shared them via social media or word of mouth. Every artist thrives on their audience talking about their material. That is how they keep their audience and how they replenish it. I have talked to anyone who listens about how good “Hymns For The Broken” is and every time the people I told went to hear the new album they said the same thing. “King Of Errors” is great but why isn’t the album up on Spotify”

The old mainstream hype does little. New albums are hyped and are instantly forgotten. Like “13” from Black Sabbath or the self-titled “Dream Theater” album. However, if you go on Spotify, you will see that people are listening to these albums. The play counts are rising. In Australia, even Stone Sours “Looking Glass” got a stream increase thanks to Slipknot.

And U2 did do a $100 million deal with Apple (which seems to have inspired Lars Ulrich immensely). As Lars said in a recent Billboard music and branding discussion, he doesn’t care if the endeavor was a success or not. The way I read that is “as long as the band gets a cool hundred million who cares if the music is shit.” Metallica has earned their success and the truth is successful artists make more money than ever before. It’s just that these artists want to make the same as the techies and bankers do and in their quest to line their pockets they forget about creating quality art. And they forget that in 2014 and beyond it is all about the plays and the shares. Get 3 million plays a week for one song on a consistent basis and watch the money come in (provided you have a fair recording contract in place).

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Music

Innovation V6.0 – While Spotify Innovates, The Governments And The Entertainment Industries Legislate

Van Morrison once said that “Music is spiritual. The music business is not”. How true that comment is.

Spotify recently announced the acquisition of “The Echo Nest” , a music intelligence company that will give Spotify and its users a better music discovery platform. As is the norm these days, it is technologists leading the way for the music business and in general the entertainment business at large.

When Spotify offered free mobile access, they had more sign ups in one month than the whole year prior. Spotify knows it’s all about domination. The history of the internet has shown us that. Pandora is unrivalled in the radio streaming stakes. Apples iTunes Radio is non-existent.

Labels are rolling it in from streaming services and they are not passing those extras on to the artists. That is not Spotify or Pandora’s fault. That is the labels fault. Again, if Spotify is that bad for the artist, then artists like Metallica and Motley Crue that actually own their own copyrights wouldn’t participate. But they did.

While Spotify innovates, the entertainment industries legislate, still focused on censorship and take downs.

Over at Italy, their communications watchdog has given itself a “Judge Dredd” like power. They are basically censoring websites based on a copyright infringement claim from a copyright holder and without any real judicial due process for the website involved.

Just recently, the Public Prosecutor from Italy has decided to go all “Wild West Sheriff Style” on the Internet by ordering Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) to censor dozens of websites, because he said that the websites are places that contain infringing materials. In this case, no copyright holder made any claim against these websites. Yep, it sure sounds like innovation to me.

This is how bad copyright has gotten. People believe that COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT OF MUSIC is the same thing as PROPERTY, an actual physical tangible product. And because of this viewpoint, sites that infringe on people’s copyrights are treated the same as sites that deal in stolen merchandise. When a copy is made of a song and shared, it is not theft. It is copyright infringement and it needs to be treated as such.

In recent years, studies have shown over and over again that people who share movies and music illegally are the ones that end up spending more on legal entertainment. The research is now even recognized by the “Industry Trust For IP Awareness” which is a body that includes all of the major Hollywood Studios as its members, along with the major labels in music.

The latest anti-piracy message from the IP Awareness Industry Trust is a positive one. Instead of labelling all of their customers as pirates and criminals, they are now saying that they understand people like movies and that they appreciate that people are sharing and spending money on movies. This time around they are pushing a slogan of “Moments Worth Paying For” instead of the Big Brother “You Can Click But Can’t Hide”.

Neil Gaiman is one of those people who actually is open-minded when it comes to piracy. There is a video doing the rounds from a while back (on Reddit) where Gaiman talks about piracy;

“You’re not losing sales by getting stuff out there. When I do a big talk now on these kinds of subjects and people ask “What about the sales you are losing by having stuff floating out there?” I started asking the audience to raise their hands for one question — Do you have a favourite author? And they say yes and I say good. What I want is for everybody who discovered their favourite author by being lent a book put up your hand. Then anybody who discovered their favourite author by walking into a book story and buying a book. And it’s probably about 5-10%, if that, of the people who discovered their favourite author who is the person they buy everything of and they buy the hardbacks. And they treasure the fact they’ve got this author. Very few of them bought the book. They were lent it. They were given it. They did not pay for it. That’s how they found their favourite author. And that’s really all this is; it’s people lending books.”

Let’s rephrase those questions in terms of music. Even musicians out there should ask themselves the same question.

Do they have a favourite artist?

How did they discover their favourite artist? Was it by buying their music or was it by someone sharing the music with them or was it by someone lending them a CD, a mix tape, an LP or an iPod full of mp3’s or by someone talking up the artist.

How many people discovered their favourite artist by walking into a record shop and buying a CD without even hearing it? Or in today’s world, how many people discovered their favourite artist by going onto Spotify and listening to music of someone they haven’t heard about.

Gaiman gets it. He is a realist. Hey, look over in Japan. They actually have a rental policy in place for fans of music. People hire/lend the CD, take it home, rip it and then return it for another. Personally, Spotify is a better alternative, however rights holders don’t allow it to exist at this point in time.

Finally, the great land down under, Australia is in the news again. Of course as a country founded by convicts, we have a proud history of seeing higher copyright infringement rates thanks to the lack of legitimate and affordable options.

So we don’t have Netflix and because of that we have resorted to using VPNs to mask our location and subscribe to Netflix anyway.

Of course, the free to air TV stations, the pay TV station Foxtel (who is owned by News Corp) and Quickflix along with the News Corp owned “The Australian” news outlet are labelling these paying users of Netflix as “PIRATES”. Yep that’s right. We are paying for a service that is affordable (something that Quickflix doesn’t know anything about) by masking our IP address so that we can access it and we are still labelled as pirates.

So there you have it, another wonderful week has come and gone, that shows that the Entertainment Industries still don’t get it and technologist and open-minded creators do get it.

http://www.dmwmedia.com/news/2014/03/06/spotify-acquires-the-echo-nest

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140305/10000226442/italys-public-prosecutor-orders-isps-to-block-dozens-pirate-websites-just-because-he-said-so.shtml

http://torrentfreak.com/pirates-movie-industrys-valuable-customers-140304/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Torrentfreak+%28Torrentfreak%29

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140303/11511026409/australian-broadcasters-netflix-competitors-pout-because-netflix-hasnt-banned-vpn-users-yet.shtml

http://comicsalliance.com/neil-gaiman-piracy-lending-books/

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140303/11511026409/australian-broadcasters-netflix-competitors-pout-because-netflix-hasnt-banned-vpn-users-yet.shtml

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

A Metal Heads Guide To The Key Of Music Success

The technology of today allows for convenient costless copying and transportation of large chunks of data across the internet. Before the rise of streaming, people were still given a raw deal when it came to digital music and forced to overpay. In Australia, an iTunes song costs between $1.69 and $2.69. This price remained the same, even when our dollar was stronger than the US dollar.

Then the ACCC, our competition watchdog launched an inquiry into these geo-blocking price restrictions. Apple went in front of the commission and stated that they didn’t set the price for music in Australia and that the price was set by the Record Labels. It was found by the Commission that there should be no reason why Australians should pay more for software and music. However, nothing has changed in relation to the prices.

When music is offered in a convenient and low-cost legal alternative, the rate of piracy drops because most people do want to support artists and the various research out there points out that is the case.

For example, let’s look at TesseracT, the band. They released a great album in “Altered State”. It didn’t sell huge amounts in the U.S, so based on the record label success model, the album is a fizzer. However, the band knows that touring is where they make their money. And that is what they are doing. Musicmetric data showed (before it went behind a pay wall) that TesseracT’s music was downloaded the most in North America via peer-to-peer Torrent networks. So guess which area’s TesseracT have toured?

Yep, North America. They are touring there again from March and April 2014. The previously toured North America between September and October 2013. Coincidence. Maybe.

In relation to Spotify, they have a combined album stream count of 1,705,734. What this means, is that if you tally up all of the album songs shown in their popular list you will get to that number.

Go on YouTube and you see that the “Nocturne” (OFFICIAL VIDEO) by Century Media Records has 302,002 views. My favourite track from “Singularity” on the Century Media Records channel has 260,817 views compared to the 130,835 on Spotify. These numbers matter. Especially for a band that plays to a niche market.

What about the band Volbeat? They fall on all sides of the equation. They are one of the most streamed metal bands out there, plus they are downloaded a lot via peer-to-peer networks and in addition to all of this, they are still selling albums in the U.S. Their “Outlaw Gentlemen And Shady Ladies” album was released on 5 April 2013 and as at 29 January 2014, it is still selling in the U.S.

Yep, that’s right, in an era were physical sales of recorded music are non-existent, Volbeat has been selling consistently for 42 weeks straight. Prior to the release of “Outlaw Gentlemen And Shady Ladies”, their previous album “Beyond Heaven, Above Hell” was still selling up to and past the release date of the new album.

From a record label point of view, this is pure gold. They have a band that can consistently sell albums and Volbeat has been doing that each week for the last three years in the very competitive US market.

That is why they are hitting the U.S market again for the third time, this time with “Trivium” and the best DIY independent band out there in “Digital Summer”.

Look at their song “Still Counting” on Spotify. It has 21,193,159 streams. On the YouTube channel of Tomas Grafström “Still Counting” has 11,725,300 views.

My favourite song “Fallen” has 12,392,089 streams. On the VolbeatVEVO channel, “Fallen” has 4,583,706 views.

“Cape Of Our Hero” from the new album has 5,838,326 streams. On YouTube, “Cape Of Our Hero” has 2,999,070 views on the VolbeatVEVO channel.

Another band that is doing great numbers both in actual sales, streams and peer-to-peer downloads is Skillet. The album “Rise” was released on June 25, 2013 and at this point in time, 31 weeks after that, it is still selling. That is what the labels want, bands that can sell week in and week out. What does the band want? They want people to listen to their music.

To compare to the current mainstream rock band, none of these bands come close to Imagine Dragons. “Night Visions” came out on September 4, 2012. 73 weeks later, the album is still moving physical albums. At this point in time the album has sold over 1.8 million copies in the US. The main songs are high on Spotify’s streaming chart. They are also very high on the peer-to-peer download lists.

Seriously their Spotify numbers are insane. “Radioactive” is at 172 million streams compared to 128 million views on YouTube. “Demons” is at 73 million streams compared to 50 million views on YouTube. My favourite “It’s Time” is at 75 million streams compared to 59 million streams on YouTube.

Music is now a game of data. The key to any artist is not how many albums or songs are sold. The key is this;

ARE PEOPLE LISTENING TO YOUR MUSIC?
ARE PEOPLE SHARING YOUR MUSIC?
ARE PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT YOUR MUSIC?
ARE PEOPLE DOWNLOADING YOUR MUSIC?
WHERE ARE THESE PEOPLE LOCATED?
MUSIC IS A RELATIONSHIP BUSINESS. DO YOU HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH THESE PEOPLE?

If you answered YES to the first question, move on to the next question. If you haven’t answered YES to the first question, take a step back and start writing more music.

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Music, My Stories, Treating Fans Like Shit

The Challenge To Believe

The challenge for today’s record labels is to undo everything that they have created or has happened over the last 50 years. The record labels arose as a way to get music out of its city venue limitations and into the greater world.

Once upon a time, many many many (to borrow from Commandant Lassard from Police Academy) wonderful record labels existed. However in time these record labels formed into mega corporations with the emphasis on lower costs and high profit margins. Smaller labels got taken over by medium sized labels and in time, medium sized labels got taken over by large sized labels. Throughout the Eighties and Nineties, the labels employed people that figured out how to engineer processes and machines to drive productivity and profit.

The labels ruled the kingdom unchallenged until another corporation called social disruption reared its head.

It started with a technology called Napster and society showed the powerful record labels what they think of their high prices.

Today social disruption is real and growing and the mega labels don’t like it. It means that they have to step down from their thrones, and create real social human relationships. It means that the artists who used to be locked away and surrounded by enablers need to build personal relationships with their fans.

The ones that are failing to do it have already fallen by the wayside. The ones that achieved success during the gatekeeper controlled era of the record label are dabbling in it and then there are the ones who are just good at it.

Let’s see what the record labels are doing;

First lets get one thing out of the way. The record labels still serve a purpose. Most of the music I purchase or stream are from bands on a record label. However, they have dished out so much bad will in the last 20 years, it’s hard to be supportive.

In the last 10 years, the record labels have constantly stated that the “biggest threat” they face is continued copyright infringement. They point to research that shows how it is destroying businesses, employments and other sectors. They get people in the press and they get elected politicians on their side who believe those claims. Because, hey, big copyright monopoly companies said that copyright infringement is a threat so it must be a threat.

Did you know that Vivendi (owner of Universal Music) commissioned 23 reports and only 5 of those reports mentioned copyright infringement as a potential risk. Guess which reports got released to the public. Universal is also known as a robotic copyright enforcer. Go to Google and see their transparency report.

Did you know that Sony (Sony Music and Sony Pictures) commissioned 15 reports and only 2 of those reports mentioned copyright infringement as a potential risk. Did you know that in their recent annual report the company listed copyright infringement as a major risk to their business, however 13 reports out of 15 disagree.

The record labels seem to forget that humans need to belong. That is why we connect with family, artists, sporting teams/individuals, movies, books and the community. When we belong to something, we believe that our existence is enhanced because we belong to a certain group.

Growing up the Eighties I believed in music/artists, sports and the law. Over the last 20 years, music has done its best to disgrace itself. First off the $30 price tag for a CD. Then the Record Labels killed off the whole hard rock genre even though fans of that genre still existed. The artists that I believed in all imploded forced out of the music business by the gatekeepers.

Metallica went alternative and then went against their sharing nature when they took Napster to court.

Motley Crue went sideways when they released Vince Neil and then released a great album with John Corabi that no one heard and then when they got Vince back they went sideways again with “Generation Swine”. Then Tommy Lee left and “New Tattoo” was a bland affair. It took “The Dirt” and a couple of interesting home movies starring Tommy Lee and Vince Neil that set them back up again.

The sports team that I supported had to merge with another sporting team to become the West Tigers (I was a Tigers fan). It is now a hybrid team. Soccer (football) in Australia kept on declining in a white wash of corruption and ethnic teams.

Then after I had kids and they started to show sporting potential, I find out that the representative teams pick the best players of the parents who have the capacity to pay the $1500 to $2000 fee.

The law has shown that it was never about the law but about the people who had the capacity to pay. Copyright infringers get punishments more severe than murderers and drug dealers.

Who should I believe in now? Who should my children believe in?

Music still plays an important part of my life. The ideals of artists who have sadly departed like Randy Rhoads and Dimebag Darrell still inspire and still matter.

The viewpoints of current artists like Robb Flynn, Dee Snider, Nikki Sixx, Randy Blythe, Bob Daisley, Dave Mustaine and many others still matter.

Technology is another enterprise that I believe in. The sharing of culture and the expansion of the public domain is another area that I believe in.

And I’m finding out that others also believe the same as me.

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