A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

What Do You Do?

It’s possible that your job is to make music. Or your job is something you do to get by in life and your real passion is music.

If that’s what you do, what would it mean to you to write more music and release it frequently?

Where would that put you in a year?

Is that more of a hassle or less of a hassle?

Is the drama worth it or not worth it?

Every person in the workforce asks themselves, how can we do our work better.

If you write music for a living, what would happen if you had the same mindset. How can you write better songs?

And the definition of better is yours to define.

Not the record labels, the manager or the public. It’s your definition. Define it and get cranking.

Music, My Stories

Rambles and Thoughts

I believe that most metal and hard rock fans have relatively wide musical tastes. A lot of times we come across music that doesn’t necessarily form part of our normal listening habits, but we are still happy with it and enjoy it. The saying normally goes; meet a person rooted in metal and you will find other non-metal music that form their listening habits.

But sometimes we come across people who like to waste their time and energy on hating music that is not metal. You know the ones, who keep on saying it’s not heavy enough, you can’t call this metal and so on. And if you look at the comments to YouTube clips and articles, you can see some serious debates between patriotic metal heads with their fixed mindsets and others. One thing is clear, the patriot will never abandon their valued opinion.

When Grunge hit the airwaves I was cold towards it. But going back to the 70’s musical output in the 90’s and then reading the interviews with the Grunge artists, I saw there wasn’t much of a difference when it came to influences. Those same artists/guitarists that Jake E Lee and Randy Rhoads liked Stone Gossard and Jerry Cantrell also liked. Those same artists that James Hetfield liked, well, Jerry Cantrell also liked em.

Everyone changes. We abandoned sending letters in order to send emails. We gave up dial-up internet for broadband. We gave up analog telephones for mobile phones and eventually smart phones. Typewriters went out in favour of computers. Film cameras got replaced by digital cameras. Laptops replaced desktops and tablets are replacing laptops. So for all of life’s other pleasures, people can change and adapt different viewpoints, but for music, people can’t. Then again there is no rulebook when it comes to music. I remember when Dokken splintered and my friend asked me, who will I support, Lynch Mob or Don Dokken. I said to him, why can’t I support both. Same deal with Motley and Vince, Ozzy and Jake.

But the Classic Rock and MTV acts forgot what their dedicated fans wanted. Metallica taking 8 years to make a new album is completely missing the point. In today’s music world, you need to be in the game. Cut a track today and release it the next. The best music that lasts forever isn’t the music with the best promotions and marketing behind them. The music that lasts forever is the music that fans decide should last forever. We know it when we hear it.

And do we still get that kind of music these days?

Are artists stuck in sequel mania, delivering derivative copies of albums they delivered before, which generates cash, satisfies a few but leaves a lot unsatisfied?

When it’s hard to get peoples’ attention, are artists avoiding the albums where they try to grow and experiment with each release?

What’s the last big blockbuster release we’ve had in the metal or rock world?

That’s right it goes back to 1991 and Metallica’s “Black” album. Even in the 90’s, when the labels controlled the market, there was not a metal or rock blockbuster that topped the “Black” album. But then in 2000, when piracy was decimating the recording business (according to the labels and the RIAA), a band called Linkin Park release an album called “Hybrid Theory” and it became a blockbuster. The follow-up “Meteora” released in 2003 is no different. Having lived through the era of Linkin Park so far, I can say each record is a little bit different from the last. On a few occasions, they kept pushing the envelope and delivered something totally different to what they became famous for while their contemporaries repeated the formula. But Linkin Park is still here, not too sure on their contemporaries.

“What I do best is play thrash music. Having labels and management tell us we had to do a follow-up to “A tout le monde” or we had to do a follow-up to “Symphony” or saying we had to write another radio song—you know, if I could do that, I would, but I’m a thrash guitar player, and I got lucky with those songs.”
Dave Mustaine

It’s about vision and freedom. When Shinedown took the hard rock world by storm with “The Sound Of Madness” in 2007 (their 3rd album by the way), it wasn’t on the back of a huge social media campaign, nor was it with a corporate sponsor. All they did was make great music and the fans did the rest. What a great concept. And Brent Smith has the freedom to create what he wants. No one told Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath what to record. They delivered what they wanted to and the label’s only aim was to sell it. What an amazing concept?

Deliver something fantastic, people will pay in mass

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

Just Some Thoughts on Copyright, YouTube and Rock Music

Nikki Sixx and many others want Google to pay more for each YouTube stream so they could bring their payment rates up to the same standard of other streaming providers.

You notice how the people who are now speaking out against YouTube, are the ones who control the rights to their music. It’s because they know exactly what payments they are getting compared to other streaming services. The rest of the artists are clueless and at the whim of the record label creative accounting machine.

In case you were not aware, both Motley Crue and Metallica own their copyrights. Peter Mensch on behalf of Metallica spoke out about YouTube and called it the devil. Nikki Sixx is now calling out YouTube on payment rates.

Anthrax on the other hand are clueless. They kept their new album off Spotify for a few weeks, but it was all over YouTube via fan uploads. As a band, you cannot control what your fans do with your music and how they choose to share it but what you can control is how you release it. Anthrax can’t have the release cycle the way they want it to be (pre-Napster), much the same way any business that has customers, can’t run their business the way they did back in the past. Look at Apple as a perfect example of a business trying to operate like it did when Steve Jobs was alive, while Amazon, Facebook and Google have moved on and surpassed Apple as a leader.

Because the customers are king and they decide what is of value and what isn’t.

Imagine Prince’s post death stats if his music was actually available to be streamed on Spotify. In case you were not aware, every news outlet reported how his sales increased post death. It’s fantastic that his sales have gone through the roof again, as it will benefit his current management team/label. Not him.

And trust me when I say this, the people that will end up controlling Prince’s music will orchestrate a rich licensing deal for his music to be on streaming services. Because it’s all about the greed. Then the lawsuits would come against any artist who has a song that might feel and sound like a Prince song.

If people want to respect Copyright again, then all of Prince’s songs and his catalog of unreleased songs should be part of the Public Domain.

So which way do artists want.

Do they want strong Copyright enforcement forever and a day which leads to censorship and Corporate monopolies and billions of dollars in the hands of executives who created no art and fly in their own private jets, while the actual artists are paid pennies and fly economy?

Do they want the Tidal exclusives and making copyright infringement/piracy relevant again in the process?

Do they want their fans to purchase their music only, have big first week sales and to make copyright infringement/piracy relevant again in the process?

Do they want to make it as easy as possible for fans to access their music forever in any format the fan desires and as easily as possible?

Because in music there is a lot of value in recorded music, regardless if it’s streaming or mp3 purchases or actual vinyl/CD sales.

If you want to look at the value of recorded music and how you can make money when legal alternatives are better than the pirated alternatives, look no further than China. As a music market based on recorded sales, China, had no transactional recorded music business. Piracy was huge. However it is now bringing in some serious dollars. The difference here is that the record labels have built partnerships with the techies and ISP’s, instead of litigating them to death in the courts with stupid troll like suits and take down notices.

They tried a paid model in 2012, it failed. They tried again and again, until they got it exactly right for the CUSTOMER to buy in. Now digital music revenues in China brings in millions of dollars which were not there before at all. This is a good thing, but again, how much of it is going back to the actual artists.