A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Twitter Thoughts

As soon as Dee Snider and his Twisted Sister band mates threw the teacher for a three-pointer in the “I Wanna Rock” video, I was hooked. Yeah, he looked all wrong but his attitude and message stuck with me. So it’s no surprise I follow Dee on Twitter and recently a few tweets got some discussions happening.

“Here’s a challenge for you (and no using the internet for the answer): Can you name all 7 (unsuccessful) albums I’ve done solo or been a part of with a band since I left Twisted Sister in 1987? You can use initials. Bonus points for naming the 1 live album. Good freakin; luck.”

You struggle your whole life to “make it”. And once you “make it”, you need to struggle to “keep it”.

And then “keeping the fame” ends up “breaking up” the band that “made it”. So you go solo but it’s many years later from your “making it” moment. And there are people who still crave your product but not as many as before.

For a very long time, the record labels convinced everyone that the only way to define success is sales. But people might have purchased an album, heard it once and never heard it again. The record label never considered that statistic because the sale has given them a monetary value, something they can count.

But as Dee said further on;

“While I’m proud of all the work I’ve done, YES success is defined by sales. I’m long past “making music for my own head”. Once you’ve had public acceptance of your art, you yearn for it. You want the world to see and hear “your children””.

The truth is, there is no secret formula for keeping the hits coming.

Artists always had a short life span at the top. Most of the 70’s acts would have been dead and forgotten if there was no MTV television in the 80s.

But the biggest obstacle is obscurity.

Someone tweeted back, “Didn’t know you did one, lol” in response to Dee’s post about the seven unsuccessful albums to which Dee re-tweeted with the following comments;

“This is the #1 response to my name the seven albums I’ve done since leaving Twisted in 1987. Which brings us to the age old question: “If someone puts out an album and nobody hears it…did it make a sound?””

Which someone else replied that Dee’s last album, “We Are The Ones” was excellent with the following questions;

“Do you consider it unsuccessful? Is success only defined by album sales or rather by the quality of the product?”

Another person commented that just because it isn’t popular it doesn’t mean it’s not valid and that music touches people in different ways.

And here we are again wondering what success is.

Is it sales?

Is it streams?

Is it video views?

Is it concert ticket sales?

Is it just people interacting with you on social media?

For Dee, he hit the mainstream with Twisted Sister and for a three year period he was on top. Success is defined as that same public acceptance for his other music.

So let’s talk about “Blood and Bullets” from Widowmaker.

Post Twisted Sister, it was deafening silence. From being everywhere, Dee was nowhere. My cousin Mega, who has the TS logo tattooed on his shoulder told me about his Desperado project. It was mentioned in a shorts column of a U.S magazine. That’s it. One of the biggest voices between 1983 and 85 was reduced to a paragraph.

Then there was silence again. We got nothing Dee Snider related in Australia.

I then read a “Blood And Bullets” review in a magazine, three months after the Widowmaker album was out. It was in a Guitar magazine, because of Al Pitrelli’s involvement. Nothing from the mainstream metal rags.

So I went looking for it in the mainstream record stores and I couldn’t find it. I asked at the counter if they could get it and they could get it as an import and charge me $50.

I went to Utopia in Sydney, the home of heavy metal, who only had a few copies of the album and already sold them. They said they would order it in for me and it would cost me $30. It took another 3 months for it to “arrive” in Australia and into my hands. Imagine that. 3 months to arrive.

So six months after the album was released I had it. And I played it non-stop and I still play it and I told everyone I could about it. It’s angry, it’s hopeful, it’s sombre and it’s tongue’n’cheek.

For me, it’s highly influential. It’s got the kind of music I like making, all over the album.

“Reason To Kill”, “Blue For You”, “Calling On You”, “Snot Nosed Kid” and “Emaheevul” straight away stood out for me. “Blood And Bullets” and “Widowmaker” grew on me with every listen. The cover of “Evil” surprised me with its energy and increased tempo while another pop rock cover called “The Lonely Ones” was a sleeper hit waiting to smack me in the face. “Gone Bad”, “You’re A Heartbreaker” and “We Are The Dead” while sounding clichéd on earlier listens grew into unique contributions to the album.

Dee delivered a stellar vocal performance and Al Pitrelli also produced the goods in the guitar department, while Joey Franco and Marc Russell underpinned it all. Of course, Desperado guitarist Bernie Torme co-wrote 7 of the 12 songs on the album, so he deserves a huge 10 out of 10 for his stellar riffage and songwriting.

If you’ve read Dee’s book, “Shut Up and Give Me The Mic” Dee had to buy back the Desperado songs from Elektra who claimed ownership of them due to the label financing the demo song writing sessions and the failed Desperado album release.

But the problem with the album not setting the sales department on fire was not Grunge. It was obscurity. People didn’t know about it because there wasn’t a source of truth anymore.

Even in 1992 going onto 1993, we had a lot of different sources for information. The magazines were struggling to sell like they did in the 80’s, hence the reason why so many of them finished up.

So in order to stay relevant, the magazines only reported what was popular so they could sell. And no one bought all the magazines but in the 80s if you purchased Faces, Hit Parader or Circus or Metal Edge, you more or less had your rock/metal “source of truth” covered.

And MTV was moving into reality TV and out of music, especially music made by the metal community.

And speaking of the metal community, we had fractured into different styles. Once upon a time we liked metal. We listened to metal bands.

Suddenly metal (courtesy of magazines and record label A&R reps) had different genres like Glam, Pop, Thrash, Heavy, Hard, Death, Black, Industrial, Hardcore, Grindcore, Rap and whatever other term someone could think of like Sludge, Weed, Fart, etc.

So those metal bands in the early 80s got relabeled to something else.

And it shits me because the Widowmaker debut album is not on Spotify (well I don’t know about the rest of the world, but it’s not on Spotify Australia) and people who are fans of the band and who pay for Spotify cannot listen to it.

But it’s on YouTube and I don’t do YouTube. But I have a CD mp3 rip of the album on my devices and I listen to it that way.

The thing is, a lot of the albums which are really influential to people are rarely commercially successful.

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

Music Is All About Change

The new music industry is all about change.

Do you think that if you pull your music from Spotify that it is not available on YouTube with ad support (which means income) and with no ad support (which means no income).

The new music industry is about exploring different business models and seeing which one works for you.

Black Veil Brides had a Pre-Order pledge campaign for their new album and the perks on offer just kept on getting sold out. First week U.S sales are anaemic at 29,925 however does that mean that the album is not popular or that it is not a success. Go on YouTube. The BVBArmyVEVO account shows 2,206,786 views for the “Heart Of Fire” video, 1,208,958 for the “Faithless” audio and recently a clip went up for the ballad “Goodbye Agony” and that has already accumulated 464,059 views. Compared to their big song “In The End” with 36,560,728 views, you can see that the fan base is experiencing the band in many different ways. In this case, the band and their team (record labels, managers, accountants, lawyers and publishers) are making money from the Pledge Campaign, YouTube views, streams on other services, physical sales, mp3 sales and radio plays.

Coheed and Cambria had a vinyl remastered re-issue of “In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth” which sold out its first pressing and then they went on a sold out commemoration tour of the album. They are remaining relevant even though their last album came out in February 2013. For them, 2014 was all about touring, vinyl sales, special edition live box sets and merchandise.

Basically new business models from bands are reshaping the way music is marketed and distributed. There are countless new artists emerging and there are countless new ways for fans to listen to those artists.

The music industry of the past consisted of great control. Distribution in those days consisted of record stores. Technology has made way for new opportunities, thus creating new models. The internet has eliminated a lot of past costs within the music industry; this goes for the way music is recorded, the format of music, the marketing, and especially the distribution outlets. New models have taken away the control aspect.

Digital Summer recently asked a Facebook question to their followers about how does everyone find new music. They wanted to know how their fans had heard of them and where they usually hear new music they like? I went through the comments and grouped them into categories.

Radio like Sirius XM Octane, local terrestrial stations, Pandora, Slacker Radio, iHeart, etc got 137 votes for 26%. At this point in time radio is still the best way to get your music out there. However it is the Live show that seals the deal for the band.

Live Shows especially comments around the opening slot that they had on the current Volbeat tour got 121 votes for 23%. It looks like the band really delivers on stage. Also the comments kept on saying that the band members took time out to meet newly converted fans and showed them where they can get free downloads of the band’s music. It’s all about connecting with fans folks.

Word of mouth from fans or band members got 63 votes for 12%. With the internet connecting everyone, I expect this to be more relevant.

YouTube via the algorithm suggestions got 57 votes for 11%. The tech industry is fragmented. When you combine the platforms like YouTube, Spotify, iTunes, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, MySpace, Online publications, other online platforms and Amazon, you get a 37% reach from the Techies.

Spotify via the similar artists feature got 30 votes for 6%

Twitter via the band members following someone and that someone goes on to check the band out got 25 votes for 5%.

iTunes via the Genius or suggestions based on previous purchases got 25 votes for 5%.

Promotions like having cool looking merchandise, flyers, giving away free demo CD’s, having their stickers plastered all over town, endorsement companies, music stores got 16 votes for 3%.

Other Online Platforms like Reverbnation, Soundcloud, Google Play, XBOX Music, Last.fm, Gaming Music Videos got a combined 13 votes which also equates to 2%.

Instagram via the band members liking photos posted by users or following users got 10 votes for 2%. This was a surprise, however the work that the band members have done on this site is astounding. One fan commented that they are a Gemini Syndrome fan and when they posted a photo of Gemini Syndrome on Instagram, one of the Winterstein brothers liked the photo. The soon to be fan, clicked on his account, saw they had a band, checked out the band and then became a fan.

Facebook and MySpace got 10 votes each for 2%. Goes to show that while Facebook is a good tool for connecting with fans once you have them, it is not a good tool for finding new fans.

Online publications like Stereogum, Loudwire, Jango, Revolver, Ultimate-Guitar got 6 votes for 1%. This is another fragmented industry. The online publications offer no substance, no personal opinion. It’s just all thumbs up, pat my back and I will pat yours style of reporting.

The Pirate Bay/Torrents got 4 votes for 1%. Looks like copyright infringement is not such a big issue.

Amazon got 3 votes for 1%. This is how I found out about the band. Their “Counting The Hours” album came up with bands I might like based on my purchases.

So what does tell any new artist trying to build a career in music.

Be ready to change on the whim and be ready to try different ways of promoting, connecting and marketing your music.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories

Is Spotify Suffering From The “Newness Wears Off” Syndrome?

You know the drill. A new technology comes out and eventually it will start to get some traction. Then the word will spread about and everybody flocks to it. It’s new, it’s cool, it’s hip and its innovative. Then when it is at its peak, the people who testified for the new tech, will abandon it, looking for something new and better.

Look at the history of technology innovations and you will see a pattern.

MySpace, Facebook, Twitter are three such platforms that came, peaked and right now are suffering an identity crisis.

MySpace is finished.

Facebook got traction because it connected people in a way that MySpace couldn’t. Now, all of these connected people need to deal with the marketing of products, advertisers, like requests, fake friend requests and spam.

Twitter is well, Twitter. With so many people tweeting or having their tweets connected to their Facebook Posts or their blog posts, everything is getting lost in the mix. When a big news item hits, Twitter is the platform to go to, because people who are directly involved in these big events are the ones that are tweeting.

So what about Spotify. It has been around for a while now and in the last 3 years it set up base in a number of large music markets like Australia, Canada and of course the US.

The people tried it. Some have stuck to it. Some have abandoned it. The ones that speak out against it have never used it.

With the rise of Beats Music, expect the young ones (kids born from 1991 onwards) to go off and explore it. They will give it traction. Then the mainstream will talk about it, trump it up and the young ones will go into something else while the old guard moves in. Like Neil Young who seems to think that people really want large music files taking up large amount of space. Sort of like Facebook. It was the mecca for the youth. Then their parents joined and the youth bailed. No one wants to be friends with their parents on Facebook.

In relation to music, bands on record deals were real slow in adopting Facebook, while the independent bands started using it ASAP. I don’t even have a Facebook account anymore and when I go onto it, it is purely to see what my favourite bands are up to and what people are talking about. In a way it has become like a go to website.

Spotify however needs a game changer. Sort of like how the move to APPS changed the iTunes store. And it’s all about the FREE. Fans of music showed the world that they want FREE music to listen to. And don’t say that FREE doesn’t work. How the hell did Free To Air TV exist and grow over the last 60 years.

Beats Music needs people to vouch for it, promote it. And when people finally get around to using it, it needs to deliver. However, for the kids, YouTube does the job. And that’s the world we live in. One that has all the information that we require at our fingertips and its FREE. Notice the emphasis on FREE again. The public spoke out big time when Napster crashed the party. Our friends testified about it and then we testified about it to others. No one even raised the question of copyright infringement because it was so damn cool.

So what is cool today?

I am all over the shop when it comes to music. I still purchase CD’s from the bands I like. This is more or less done from Amazon and I get the AutoRip feature with it, so then I download the mp3 version of the album to place on my iPhone. I stream music on Spotify. I refer to YouTube. My kids are YouTube fanatics.

And the funny thing is that I don’t use iTunes anymore. Who would have thought that day would have come. And that is what Spotify needs to think about it. Now that the newness has rubbed off, what’s next. Consolidation. How can you consolidate when the modern paradigm is DISRUPTION?

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

It’s Not The Media’s Job To Keep Artists In The Public Eye. The Difference Between The Past and The Present.

By September 1986, Yngwie Malmsteen had released Trilogy. As a solo artist that was his third long player in the same amount of years. In total, if you include the Steeler and Alcatrazz releases, that made it six long players in four years. You see, back in the Eighties, it was all about the music. That was the only way that artists could get traction back then. It was Malmsteen’s job to keep himself in the public eye.

So what has changed in 2013. Nothing really. It still is about the music. This is what every artist should be doing in this day and age. Releasing music and doing it frequently.

A big difference between the Eighties and Now is the label support. Back in the Eighties, a label would front the money for recording and tour support, with a view to recoup those monies through sales of the long players. It was a deal stacked in the record labels favour. Today, the labels are all about the safe bet, so even though the recording costs are at super lows, it is expected that the artists would front this cost.

Continuing with the Malmsteen example, he released “Odyssey” in 1988 with Joe Lynn Turner on vocals. The album became Malmsteen’s most successful album of his career. As soon as he became commercially successful, he fired the singer and started over again.

When shredding and neo-classical went out of fashion in the record label controlled U.S market, Malmsteen still forged a successful career in Europe and Japan during the 1990’s. He remained true to himself and he never sold out to cash in. People might disagree with his comments, I sure do, however when everyone is trying so hard to be liked by all, fans never really get to see the artist beneath the silt.

The world is going through a revolution and it is all about intelligence. That is why when an artist makes a remark, one side of the Internet calls it uneducated. That is why people jumped on Malmsteen’s remarks about piracy.

However it’s not about winning every time. The metal record labels and the artists they sign are still clueless. If the first album is not a success, the label just lets them go. They are playing it safe. What the labels should be doing is allowing the artist they sign to take multiple chances. The artist is not going to take risks if they have only one chance with the Record Label.

That is why all the risk takers in metal music are the outliers, the DIY’ers. Then when they break through, the majors come knocking. Look at the Djent movement. It started in forums and soundboards back in 2004 and just kept on growing. By 2009, most of the labels had a Djent artist on their roster.

Look at Machine Head during 2002 and 2003, financing their own sessions and recording of “Through The Ashes of Empires.” When the album started to get traction, Roadrunner U.S came knocking again.

Look at the TV networks from the Eighties. You had 3 to 4 networks, and they all played it safe. In 2013, you have hundreds of TV channels, all looking for an edge. They are all looking for content, and they are giving cash to talented people to deliver. Netflix is a perfect example of taking risks with innovation and content.

If the record labels want listeners, they need to let artists push the envelope and try some stuff out.

If an artist wants listeners, they need to understand that there is just too much information out there. That is why there are over 4 million songs on Spotify that haven’t even been heard yet. No matter how big a story artists have, they will be pulled under by all the information coming down the cyber pipeline, if their music is not great.

Suddenly the album that the artist worked so hard for is in the rear view mirror, 3 to 4 weeks after it’s been released. The only way that sales and charts matter today, is that it shows all the new product released. That is what the public wants. Something new.

Here today, gone tomorrow. Artists need to create constantly now. That’s the only way you can stay in the public eye, in people’s minds. Robb Flynn is doing this with his journals while the world waits for the album. An artist doesn’t want to be forgotten and the album format unfortunately works against the artist today. Somehow other musicians just don’t know it. They want someone else to do the work for them. They don’t want to try new ways and the new way is to bond with the fans. Robb Flynn gets it.

It’s not the media’s job to keep him in the public eye, it’s HIS!

The number one thing a fan wants is more music by their favourite act.

Dream Theater released an album for a new audience. It is the only thing that John Petrucci talked about. “If someone is hearing the band for the first time” was the catch cry in all the press releases. Forget about the new audience, focus on the old. The old will sell the artist to the new. It’s done through music and connection.

If the artist thinks that they gain traction by hanging with the record label, then they are idiots. They are better off blogging, responding on Facebook, spreading news on Twitter. However, there is a still a misconception that getting your story in the newspaper or in the magazines is a sign of traction. Forget that. When a magazine comes out with a three-month lead time, it’s already old news. The magazine is dead on arrival. No one cares about the stories written by the PR/marketing team of the artist.

The way I see it, if an artist is making an album-length statement, they need to have a story or a concept around it. Otherwise ten tracks strung together is not a concept. If you look at society in general, there is almost no place to buy a CD. The world is moving to streaming. Via mp3’s, people will still download/ cherry pick their favourites and there is nothing that artists can do about it.

Nikki Sixx asked his fans to immerse themselves in the whole album experience. In order for them to do, the album needs to be phenomenal, otherwise the fans will just cherry pick the great and leave the rest to be.

We live in a direct to consumer society. Amazon and Google get it. Some artists get it. What about the rest?

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

Cervello – A Great Band That Is No More. Find Out What They Could Have Done Different.

I just heard Cervello’s debut album (released in 2011) today and I liked it. I wanted to find out more information. So what do you do in 2013 if you want to find out more information.

You go onto Google and type in Cervello. The first link is an Italian progressive band from the Seventies. WTF. This doesn’t look like the modern rock artists that I am hearing. It’s not looking good so far. Clicking on Facebook and Twitter pages, I finally get some information.

Before I get to commenting on the information, I want to point out that their web presence is abysmal. Putting all of their faith in Facebook and Twitter as their only web strategy demonstrates that the online world was just too hard for the band to participate in. In this day and age, your online presence is everything. Even the website wasn’t updated.

I suppose with a Facebook post from February 2, 2013, that states the following, I understand why;

We have some sad news to share… Cervello as a band has ceased working together. We’ve had a blast! It’s been tuff some times, but always fun. We want to thank every single one of you for your support. For the kind words! For rocking out at our gigs! For helping us spread our music!

We would also like to sincerely apologize to everyone that had planned to see us tomorrow. If it was possible, believe me, we would have done the gig.

Much Love
Cervello

Then there was a follow up comment (it was in Swedish, so I used Google to translate it) to the post;

Due to internal problems so this was probably the best solution to end. Sorry to disappoint you, and having to set up a cruel gig tomorrow but I can say that you will see more of me.

That was from vocalist/guitarist and founder, MICHEL BAIONI. He is from Stockholm, Sweden and was originally a drummer. 

The first thing I want to point out is that the album is solid. It is a very good rock album. In 2011, the competition was fierce for listeners attention. Cervello’s self-titled album had to compete with the following releases;

  • Evergrey – Glorious Collision
  • Sixx AM – This Is Gonna Hurt
  • Red – Until We Have Faces
  • Machine Head – Unto The Locust
  • Five Finger Death Punch – American Capitalist
  • Times Of Grace – The Hymn Of A Broken Man
  • Whitesnake – Forevermore
  • Art Of Dying – Vices And Virtues
  • Trivium – In Waves
  • Dream Theater – A Dramatic Turn of Events
  • Ten Second Epic – Better Off
  • Madina Lake – World War III
  • Black Veil Brides – Set The World On Fire
  • Crossfade – We All Bleed
  • TesseracT – One
  • Redlight King – Something For The Pain
  • Egypt Central – White Rabbit
  • Daughtry – Break The Spell
  • Disturbed – The Lost Children
  • Megadeth – Th1rt3en
  • James Durbin – Memories of a Beautiful Disaster
  • Casting Crowns – Come To The Well
  • Stealing Eden – Truth In Tragedy
  • Drought – Untapped
  • In Flames – Sounds Of A Playground Fading
  • Plan Three – The Signal Part 1 (EP)
  • Seether – Holding Onto Strings Better Left To Fray
  • Reckless Love – Animal Attraction
  • Protest The Hero – Scurrilous
  • Rev Theory – Justice

So without any real web presence the decks were stacked against Cervello from the outset. What could have they done different?

They needed to provide a digital service to their fans. Music is a business and it needs to be treated like a business. Each band needs to compete against other bands for listeners attention.

What was the plan for the album? What was the plan if the album exploded? What was the plan if the album didn’t explode? How would they define if the album was a success? Would it be sales, likes on Facebook, YouTube views or Spotify Streams. Would it be attendances at live shows?

What was the plan for their online presence? Who will maintain it constantly, who will measure it and who will improve it? What was their Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy and marketing campaigns?

They released their album in October 2011 and by 2013 it was all over. They were formed in 2008 by Michel Baioni (vocals/guitars) and his brother Antonio Baioni (drums). 

They joined Facebook in May 2009. It wasn’t until June 2012 that Twitter was synced up with their Facebook posts.

Anyway they only had two Facebook posts in 2009.

Then on January 26, 2010, they posted that they are sound checking at Cosmos Studios and two days later they are recording drums for their debut album. WHY is the question? Based on their presence online, what demand was there for a debut album? Did they use their MySpace metrics for that decision? Was it their record labels decision?

Next Facebook post happened in April 13, 2010, with a preview of the new single. It only got six likes and 1 comment. Again, this should have been ringing alarm bells within the band. 

Next Facebook post was on July 1, 2010. It said that the band had finally started mixing the album and that it sounds awesome and that the band can’t wait for the fans to hear it. That post got 3 likes and 1 comment.

Hearing that album in 2013, it is a great sounding album, however the lack of fan interaction with the band should have told them that the strategy of releasing 10 songs at once was all wrong. We live in a singles world. Look at Gotye. He is living off the sales of one song.

Then on July 8, 2010 they posted another post in Swedish, that more or less said something like “We know that we have not been heard from much recently, however we are far from dead and that during the spring they recorded their debut album.” 6 likes and no comments. Again, fan engagement was minimal. 

On September 7, 2010 they posted a message saying that they are supporting Ed Kowalczyk the following day. WOW. They are playing a show the next day and are promoting it a day before.

You get the drift of their social media presence, which is a shame as they really delivered a great slab of music, that should have been released differently and marketed with a strategy.

If a band wants to have their name out there, they need to get it out there themselves. The record label is not interested and it doesn’t know how to break a band in this age. If the labels knew anything about the internet, they would have signed up the Napster technology instead of taking up arms against it.

Any new album’s form the entry point to everything else. Any album that has legendary producer/writer Max Martin as a co-writer for ‘Cause I Am’, and John 5 from Rob Zombie as a co-writer on ‘First Time’ deserves more attention.

It’s a shame that Cervello didn’t hold it together. The modern music paradigm is to create great music now and expect to be paid for it much later in the future. However to capitalise on it, you need to remain together. You need to outlast the competition.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

1986 vs 2013

BON JOVI

In 1986, Jon Bon Jovi was all about the music. He was in debt to his record label and still living with his parents. The “band” Bon Jovi released their biggest seller, Slippery When Wet.

Now, Jon Bon Jovi is all about the money. The band Bon Jovi released their biggest dud, in What About Now, Richie Sambora has been booted because of money and Jon Bon Jovi cancelled a New York Fair concert for an intimate Government concert that paid more.

 

BLACK SABBATH/OZZY OSBOURNE

In 1986, Black Sabbath released Seventh Star with Glenn Hughes on vocals and Ozzy Osbourne released The Ultimate Sin.

Seventh Star was originally intended to be the first solo album by Iommi, but due to pressures by Warner Bros. Records and the prompting of band manager Don Arden, the record was billed as Black Sabbath featuring Tony Iommi.

The Ultimate Sin featured songwriting contributions from Bob Daisley and Phil Soussan, however due to Sharon Osbourne (Arden) trying to keep as much money as possible in Ozzy’s corner, Bob Daisley was not credited on the initial release and Phil Soussan had an accounting disagreement with Sharon. Everyone got shafted by an Arden.

In 2013, Black Sabbath released 13, their first album with Ozzy since 1978, that also featured the talents of Rage Against The Machine drummer Brad Wilk. Bill Ward said he would not participate until he was offered a “signable contract.” One B.W is out and another B.W is in. Again, someone was shafted by an Arden.

RECORD LABELS

The major labels wanted their artists to have careers. They spent a lot of money to convince the public that they should pay attention to their new artist or the latest release of an existing artist.

The marketing was from the label down to the streets. The labels had so much power and they set the bar. Either a band was signed to a label or they didn’t matter. Major labels were plentiful and the most powerful person in the music business was the Record Label head. Artists could live off the money from their record deal as people had to buy the expensive record to listen to it. Because it was expensive, we played it over and over and over again and eventually became a fan.

Now the marketing is from the streets and the record labels want the hit singles. They have shareholders to please, a board to please and all the label heads are interested in bonuses and short term profits. There is no long term vision anymore as the Record Labels do not have the same power.

The major labels have been reduced to 3, with Sony, Universal and Warner Bros.

In 1986, record companies were cool. In 2013, HBO, Netflix, Showtime, Facebook, Apple, Samsung, Twitter and Amazon are cool. 

 

LIVE

In 1986, all the acts did the arena and stadium tours because demand was high. If a band opened for a major act, they believed they had made it. The public discovered new acts when those acts opened up for our favourite bands. Look at the list below;

Metallica and Ratt opened up for Ozzy Osbourne.

Anthrax opened up for Metallica.

Marillion opened up for Rush.

 

Loverboy opened up for Van Halen.

King Kobra, White Lion and W.A.S.P opened up for Kiss.

 

W.A.S.P also opened up for Iron Maiden.

Cinderella opened up for Bon Jovi in the U.S and Queensryche opened up for Bon Jovi in Europe.

 

Queensryche also opened up for AC/DC.

Cinderella also opened up for David Lee Roth.

Honeymoon Suite and Glass Tiger opened up for Journey.

Dokken opened up for Accept.

Keel opened up for Dio.

Krokus opened up for Judas Priest.

Now only the classic rock acts of the Seventies and Eighties can sell out the arenas and the few modern superstars. The majority of acts play the club circuit. If bands have a small hard core fan base, they can raise enough money to make an album and own everything about themselves. No one cares who the opening band is.

RANDY JACKSON

In 1986, he played bass with Journey. He appeared on the Raised on Radio album and also toured with them. People judged him on his abilities.

In 2013, he is a judge on American Idol.

CHARTS

Back in 1986, the charts meant everything and albums sold in double digit millions. Slippery When Wet from Bon Jovi went to Number 1 for 1 week in October and then it re-appeared at number 1 for 7 weeks in 1987.

Now the charts are useless and artists are lucky to sell a million units. There are a few, like Adele that go into double digits. Bon Jovi’s What About Now went to Number 1 for 1 week and it didn’t reappear again.

ANTHEMS OF A GENERATION

In 1986, we had Addicted To Love from Robert Palmer, Sledgehammer from Peter Gabriel, Dreams from Van Halen, Livin On A Prayer and Wanted Dead Or Alive from Bon Jovi, Peace Sells from Megadeth, Battery from Metallica, Raining Blood from Slayer and The Final Countdown from Europe.

In 2013, nothing lasts.

THE MUSIC BUSINESS 

In 1986, it was all about the music and if a band was all over traditional media, it meant they had traction and that people would be hearing their music.

Now, our favourite bands are playing to the masses who just don’t care and now it is all about marketing. Look at the marketing campaign for the new Dream Theater album. It looks like the label is trying to monetize every little bit of it. If a band is all over traditional media, it doesn’t mean that they have traction and it doesn’t mean that people have heard their music.

In 1986, everything was expensive and the cost of music was different at every store. Due to the high prices of music, everybody had a little bit of it. We had to buy it to hear it, or we used to tape it of someone who purchased it.

Now, music costs the same everywhere, and it’s cheap and everybody has more than they want. Music is available to hear for free, whether on YouTube or streaming music services like Spotify.

In 1986, albums from our favourite artists would normally come out every two years. Due to this lack of new material, music was scarce, so when we purchased albums we played them to death. We became fans by over playing the music we purchased as it was all about the music.

Now, music is released constantly and it is plentiful. Due to these riches of new material, we don’t spend as much time with the albums we purchased. We become fans by looking for the song that grabs our attention on the first listen.

LADY GAGA

In 1986, Lady Gaga was born. In 2013, Lady Gaga is just Born This Way.

METALLICA

In 1986, Metallica released Master of Puppets and lost bass player Cliff Burton in a bus accident while on tour.

In 2013, Metallica will be released Through The Never a live/concert film and will be losing a lot of money when it doesn’t set the world on fire.

MEGADETH

In 1986, Megadeth released Peace Sells.. But Who’s Buying, which in their case, everyone was buying.

In 2013, Megadeth released Supercollider and no one was buying.

KISS

In 1986, Gene Simmons from Kiss produced and co-wrote songs for the Black N Blue album, Nasty Nasty, that had a certain Tommy Thayer on guitars.

In 2013, Kiss released Monster, that has Tommy Thayer on guitars, as well as lead vocals on one song and a major co-writer of material.

STRYPER

In 1986, Stryper released To Hell With The Devil.

In 2013, Styper will release No More Hell To Pay. It looks they still have hell on their minds.

SLAYER

In 1986, Slayer reigned in blood.

In 2013, Jeff Hanneman’s reign ended. RIP.

QUEENSRYCHE

In 1986, Queensryche was one band that released the a superior album in Rage For Order.

In 2013, Queensryche are two seperate bands that ended up releasing two inferior albums in Frequency Unknown(Geoff Tate version) and Queensryche (Todd LaTorre version).

The fans are screaming for order.

CINDERELLA 

In 1986, Cinderella released Night Songs and proved to the world that they are nobody’s fool.

In 2013, Tom Keifer the singer from Cinderella released The Way Life Goes, an album 9 years in the making with a song called Fools Paradise.

VINNIE VINCENT

In 1986, Vinnie Vincent invaded the charts, with a point to prove.

In 2013, Vinnie Vincent is …..

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

The Master Manipulator

Lady GaGa is the master at manipulating the mainstream media and the public. She is that good at what she does that everyone is blind to it. I am not a fan of Lady GaGa nor do I have any interest in her music or what she will be releasing. The reason why I am even commenting on her is that she is so good at self-marketing, her recent anti-piracy dummy spit went viral and entered the topic circles that I am interested in.

Let’s recap. Lady Gaga will release her new album ‘ARTPOP’ in November.

Just last week she was in the news for appearing nude in a bizarre video to fund a campaign for Marina Abramovic and some weird art meditation retreat. Of course, all those news articles mentioned the release of her new album ARTPOP. How convenient that this video happened so close to her single release date?

This is Perfect Marketing 1.0 and she didn’t even spend a cent. Her appearance in her birthday suit went viral. The story of the ARTPOP album also went viral along with the news that a new single called ‘Applause’ will be released towards the end of August.

So over the weekend (August 10 and 11), several snippets of the songs are leaked onto the Internet. At first no one really cared. Leaks of songs these days is not even news. So what does Lady GaGa do? She goes to her Twitter account that has almost 40 million followers. She tells her fans she is not impressed at the leak of the snippets. So what do some of her fans do; they launch their very own anti-piracy campaign. Gaga then re-tweeted the campaign on Twitter and then it really gained traction. The snippets went viral. How convenient for Lady GaGa?

Fast forward to today (August 12) and Lady Gaga has released “Applause,” in its entirety a week earlier than planned. Her Twitter account said the following; “DUE TO HACKERS AN ABUNDANCE OF LOW/HIGH QUALITY LEAKS…WE ISSUE THIS POP MUSIC EMERGENCY…MONSTERS SPREAD THE WORD,”

Kudos to Lady Gaga. She played her part in this mainstream media exercise to a tee. Her manipulation of the situation is one that all artists can learn from. This was the plan from the beginning. Watch the track go straight to number one and get ready for further media manipulation marketing strategies as the album date approaches. Lady GaGa is the master.

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