Music, My Stories

Old Friends

An old friend from the “single days” was having a christening for his second daughter. These days, our lifestyles are so busy and with three kids of my own and a full time job, I just don’t have the time to catch up with everyone.

Actually I made a decision about 15 years ago that I would be “unofficially” breaking connections with the old crew. This means that we just stop calling each other and we just stopped organising to meet up. At the time, I just got married, I was working full time (which involved travelling for 3 hours in total to my place of work and back) and I was trying to give my music career a shot. Basically I was walking a different path to my “single” friends.

Then throughout the years, the “single” friends started to get married and then started to have kids of their own along with me having kids. So the only time that I would meet up with them would be at these functions. As the years went by, the paths we all walked on started to became so radically different that when I was at the christening on the weekend, I really didn’t want to be there.

I had nothing to say to them and they had nothing to say to me. It was the usual “HI” and the usual “SO, WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO”. My answer to that was “HI” and “THE USUAL”. And the lyrics to “Double Talkin Jive” filled my ears as this conversation was happening.

Back in town an’a all new friends
They sayin’ how ya been?
Fucked up and outta place
That’s how I felt back then

So much living has passed between the “single” days and today, that we are now polar opposites. We are like strangers seeing each other. There is no friendship bond anymore for me. In addition, a lot of “Chinese Whispers” have burned my ears in relation to words said behind my back, so I am very careful around them.

Some of the old crew have remained together, hanging out on weekends and all that, however that is due to the women they got as wives being all friends and knowing each other.

So you have one crew that I call the “Wives Crew”. These are the guys that remained together as “friends” because their wives knew each other. Pantera’s “Walk” comes to mind.

Run your mouth when I’m not around
It’s easy to achieve

Then you have the “Fake Crew”. These are the guys that are all fake. I know this because at one of the functions when they got pretty toasted, they spilled the beans about how hard it is to pretend to like the “Wives Crew”, the “Twins Crew” and the “Backstab Crew”.

Your life’s a lie, that you hide

Then you have the “Twins Crew”. This is the two twin brothers crew, who when single were inseparable and now with wives barely know each other. The older twin by 15 minutes was the one doing the christening and is the one that tries that do the right thing. It looks like the younger twin is under lock and key from his wife, which is causing the issues.

Then you have the “Backstab Crew” that involves two couples that will backstab the “Wives Crew” and “Twins Crew” to the “Fake Crew” and then backstab the ““Twins Crew” and “Fake Crew” to the “Wives Crew” and then backstab the “Wives Crew” and “Fake Crew” to the “Twins Crew”.

Hey! Oh, Mr. backstabbing son of a bitch
You’re living in a world that will soon be dying
And I know, everybody knows you try to be like me
But even at your best, as a man you couldn’t equal half of me

You! You’re another shit talking punk to me
You’re living inspiration for what I never wanna be
And I see, you’ve been blinded by what you believe
And now back up and sit down, shut up and act like you need to be

Nothing sums up the “Backstab Crew” better than “The Enemy” from Godsmack. Legend has it that Sully Erna wrote the song about Nikki Sixx.

And then you have my wife and I. “The Separate Path Crew” that don’t care about what all the other Crews do and that upsets those crews even more. We just don’t fit their mould. And with that, let’s finish the post with some Five Finger Death Punch.

YOU WON’T BREAK ME
NO MATTER HOW HARD YOU TRY
YOU CAN’T SHAKE ME DOWN
I’M FUCKING BULLETPROOF

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

What a great idea? Give the fan a choice. Lessons from Dream Theater, Trivium, Shinedown, Protest The Hero, Coheed and Cambria

Does anyone in the music business know what works or doesn’t work when it comes to marketing a band?

For some reason, a lot of the parties involved still believe in a scorched earth marketing policy. That is where the said artist is promoted everywhere and on everything.

Will a corporate deal with a large newspaper or an online news site for an exclusive pre-album release stream help an act’s career in the long run?

Dream Theater went along this route for the “The Enemy Inside” launch, the “Along For The Ride” launch and the pre-album stream.

Three corporate deals that put money in the hands of the record label however what did it do for the band?

If you followed the band, you would have seen the comments on Facebook that when the launches happened, people in other countries couldn’t access the stream and frustration turned to anger. Of course within 24 hours the problem was fixed, however fans waited 24 hours. In the era of the World Wide Web. Geographical restrictions are old school.

In addition the album isn’t really setting the sales department alight. After a six week run, it is more or less obsolete and out of the conversation. Don’t believe, type in “Dream Theater self titled” in Google search and go to the news section.

Do TV and Newspaper ads work at all in 2013?

I rarely watch free to air TV and I rarely read Newspapers. Most of the stuff I do is online. I have an “online” life. So if I visit Loudwire, Noisecreep, Metal Insider or some other music site, I do notice ads on the side for new releases. However not once have I clicked on them or decided to hear a band because of those ads. So in my view, they don’t work.

What about YouTube plays and Spotify stream counts? This is what gets me interested. When I type in a band name into these platforms the first thing I normally play is the track with the most views/streams. These stats will help a band in the long run.

For example, Shinedown’s most streamed song is “Call Me”. The fans decided that is the song they can connect with the most. On YouTube, the fans have used that song as a soundtrack to their own video clips and the numbers are staggering.

It looks like a lot of big decisions in relation to the career of the artists are made on hunches or gut feelings by the record labels. This is ridiculous in 2013.

Labels are in this business to make money. They will be looking at what makes them money.

Trivium is on Roadrunner. Their latest album moved around 50,000 units in the U.S. Is it a dud? The label will probably use that stat and say it is. However, if you look at YouTube, you will see the video clip to “Strife” has 1,093,648 views. This has more than doubled “In Waves” that is sitting at 589,175 views. Hell, it’s even greater that Dream Theater’s “The Enemy Inside” clip which is at 891,939 views. Is the new Trivium album a dud now? Of course not.

Why?

People are listening to it. The numbers are there.

The labels flushed out Protest The Hero. The band then went the fan funding route. That route also gave them access to data. The data is a list of fans. Once an act employs a data model, they will start to get wins on the board. Once a band starts winning, others will gravitate to them.

On YouTube, the Underbite video has 137,339 views. The Clarity video has 163,773 views and the Drumhead Trial video has 250,972 views. For an independent band, those numbers are good.

Coheed and Cambria employed a data model with “The Afterman” releases? They put the focus on the deluxe packages. Those packages proved way too tempting to resist and guess what; thousands upon thousands of Coheed fans signed up to their modlife website and purchased. In the process, Coheed and Cambria made sales and gathered data of their hard core fans. That data list is close to 100,000 people.

With that Super Deluxe purchase, came the VIP Meet and Greet perk. So as long as you purchased a normal concert ticket, you had the VIP pass for meet and greets already and you could purchase another pass for a friend a discounted rate. What a loyalty program.

For example, I purchased “The Afterman” deluxe edition. A VIP pass came with this purchase. Then when Coheed and Cambria announced a Sydney show, I purchased two concert tickets at $66 each. Then I went on line and purchased another VIP pass for $15 for a friend of mine. This entitled us to early entry into the venue for either a special acoustic performance of one of the band members or a meet and greet.

Due to the large number of people that had this perk, it ended up being an acoustic performance. However, if the numbers were low, it would have been a meet and greet. The reason why the Sydney show was a success and the Australian tour in general was because Coheed and Cambria used data to connect with their fans.

Then the band used the data to promote special merchandise releases, Comic-Con appearances, video clip releases and side project releases.

Go on YouTube. Domino The Destitute has 1,295,151 views and Dark Side Of Me has 1,144,730 views.

Then the band promoted “The Afterman” live edition. This edition involved “The Afterman” albums plus a live CD. However, if a fan had purchased “The Afterman” CD’s before and all they want is the live CD, that was also available to them. All they had to do was log in to their account and pick what they wanted.

What a great idea? Give the fan a choice.

Instead we get the normal rubbish from the RIAA and the Record Labels, about how they are losing sales due to digital piracy.

Studies have shown that Peer To Peer traffic is now below 10%. It was 60% eleven years ago.

So 11 years ago, the only choice the fans had was to buy the expensive CD or to share individual tracks. Fans picked the sharing option.

However in 2013, people don’t need to pirate anymore because there is no need to. Whatever the fans want is available for free anyway, on YouTube, Spotify, Pandora, Grooveshark and so on. It has also become easy, which is something the labels have no idea how to do. Cough Cough “DRM” anyone.

Even when artists come out bemoaning piracy they fail to understand the shift that happened in the music industry. The fans decision to pursue single tracks instead of a whole album, changed the profits from a high-margin return to a low margin return for the label.

The Lie That Fuels The Music Industry’s Paranoia
http://www.forbes.com/sites/bobbyowsinski/2013/11/27/the-lie-that-fuels-the-music-industrys-paranoia/

Peer To Peer Traffic is Down
https://www.sandvine.com/pr/2013/11/11/sandvine-report-netflix-and-youtube-account-for-50-of-all-north-american-fixed-network-data.html

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