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.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories

Symbolic Acts Into Another

My relationship with weight has been yoyo’ish. I was always overweight growing up. Some years it was more than others. As my height was shooting up, my weight would adjust to be within the normal ranges for a while and after a few months I would pound em on.

When I turned 17 I started going to the gym and within a 12 month period I was down to 92kg. I started playing soccer again, so along with soccer training and gym training my weight went down to 82kg. That is the lightest I have ever been. I felt great and I looked great, however according to the BMI index I was still overweight for my 6 foot height.

Then I broke my leg.

I didn’t know I broke it at the time. I remember going into a slight tackle with my goal keeper and the other teams striker. Our legs collided and I remember the pain as I hit the ground. However I saw that the ref hadn’t blown the whistle as yet and I got up to kick the ball out. As I stood on my left foot to kick the ball out with my right, I collapsed again.

I called to the sideline to replace me. The game was only 12 minutes old. I limped off to the change room, had a shower and got changed. I then tried to walk the best I could to the stands to watch the rest of the game, having a few smokes and a few beers during the game, along with an ice pack on my knee.

After the game was over, I limped back to the van I was driving along with a few other players that I had to take home. Eventually I got home myself and went to bed. During the night, I felt the leg getting sorer and more painful, however at no stage did I think it was a broken leg.

Morning came and my brother called me to get ready for work. At the time I was doing concreting with him. I told him I cant as my leg was hurting me. My brother looked disappointed and he thought I was faking it to have a day off. My bro is 10 years older than me and during my teen years, he was my bank roll, no questions asked.

Eventually the whole family left for work and I was alone at home. Being awake, the pain got worse and i started to get dizzy from the pain. I needed to go to the toilet but I couldn’t. As I stood up, the pain got super intense and I sat back down again. I needed to call someone, however the phone was about 10 metres away. It was agony, however it was only the beginning.

My godfather eventually came over, however it was by pure accident. He was coming over to see my parents and he ended up being my hospital driver, plus he went back home to get his fathers’ crutches for me.

So I finally get to the hospital and check in. Then I am in the waiting room. After 2 hours I get called for X-Rays. Then I am back in the waiting room. Another hour goes by and a doctor calls me in.

Then I wait another hour as the Doctor attends to 6 different patients in 6 different rooms. Eventually he tells me that nothing is broken as shown on the X-Ray and that it could be a ligament tear. I tell the Doctor that I want to see a specialist, so he gives me a referral with a booking in six weeks. I said no chance, the booking has to be today. This pain is too intense. So I was the last one in the afternoon to see the specialist who resided across the road from the hospital.

He took one look at the X-Ray and told me that my leg is broken. He called the hospital and organised for me to get it put in a plaster cast. The cast started at my ankle and went all the way up to my thigh. Thank god I insisted on seeing the specialist right away. Imagine I waited six weeks to see him. My broken leg would have started to heal incorrectly.

For three months I was out of action.

All I had was my Winfield Blues, my acoustic guitar, Coca Cola, more caffeine from coffees, a notepad to write songs and my music.

I was overdosing on Dream Theater’s “Images and Words” and “Awake”, Blind Guardian’s “Somewhere Far Beyond”, Tad Morose’s “Sender of Thoughts”, Fates Warnings “Inside Out” and “Parallels”, Morgana Lefay’s “Sanctified” and Queensryche’s “Empire” and “Promised Land”. On top of all that was Blue Murder’s “Nothin But Trouble” (I was replaying “Cry For Love” and “We All Fall Down” constantly) and the new super heavy John Corabi Motley Crue album.

When all you have is a lot of time to recuperate, you start to be very productive. The downside is that you also have a lot of time to think. Being injured sucks. It’s all mental. For the first week, I was thinking of what I could have done different to avoid the tackle. Then I was thinking it was meant to be. Then I lost so much leg muscle that the plaster cast got so loose, that I had to go back to hospital to get a new one put on.

Through it all there was music and “Subhuman Race” from Skid Row just hit the streets.

“Into Another” is as Rush as Skid Row could get. Sebastian Bach is a huge fan of Rush, however the song is written by the heart and soul of Skid Row, Rachel Bolan and Dave Sabo.

It’s 7/4 in the verses and then it moves to a 4/4 timing in the chorus.

Searching for circles end
Hoping the wounds will mend
Should this scar, then it was meant to be

The song hit me from the start. I felt like I was that person who was going through the healing process, something that I have never gone through before and I had to do this all on my own. For 4 minutes and 2 seconds all of my problems didn’t exist.

The my cousin brought over “Symbolic” from Death.

I don’t mean to dwell
But I can’t help myself
When I feel the vibe
And taste a memory
Of a time in a life
When years seemed to stand still

I felt like I was back in 1984, going to the beach, catching waves and overdosing on heavy metal. An innocent time that is forever etched in my memory.

When did it begin?
The change to come was undetectable
The open wounds expose the importance of
Our innocence
A high that can never be bought or sold

And then I am older. Where did the years go? What happened to the innocent dreams?

Do you remember when
Things seemed so eternal?
Heroes were so real…
Their magic frozen in time

Thanks Chuck Schuldiner. Rest In Peace. You are the real hero forever frozen in time.

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