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

Difference Between A Million and 7 Million

It’s great to see David Coverdale celebrate the 20 and 30 year anniversary of the 1987 self-titled Whitesnake album.

Dokken and the work Lynch did with the band is another favourite of mine during this period and Lynch’s guitar work is a huge influence on my guitar playing and style. But “Back for the Attack” released on November 2, 1987 gets no anniversary treatment. It gets no attention and is rarely part of the conversation.

But back in 1987 it was everywhere. The momentum started with “Dream Warriors” which was released in February 1987 to promote “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors”. Back in those days, fans from different regions had to deal with windowed releases. The U.S got it first, then a few months later Europe got it and a few months after that Asia/Australia got it. Basically, for nine months, Elektra Records flogged “Dream Warriors” to death over a staggered windowed release.

So when the album dropped, people purchased. I was one of those people who devoured all the credits on albums. I don’t know why, I just found it interesting to see who wrote the songs, who produced the album, who mixed it and the places used for recording it. And I always asked myself why a band would use so many different recording studios to record an album. It doesn’t make sense to set up, pack up and reset up at another studio. And I saw a lot of different studios on the “Back For The Attack” credits and I had to google it to be sure.

The band recorded in 5 different studios around LA. The record labels are not stupid. They get the studios at a discounted rate and then charge the band the general rate + 20% for using them, which the labels will then recoup from the sales of the album. Even though the album sold in excess of a million copies in the U.S, I bet ya, the band was still in debt to the label.

So what does 1 million sales in 1987 mean in 2017.

Well if i use Spotify stats, 1 million sales in 1987 leads to 1.7 million streams of “Dream Warriors”. “Alone Again” has the most streams on Dokken’s Spotify account at 6 million plus streams. Being on a Spotify playlist of 80’s Power Ballads does help. What the stats do show is how a million sales in 1987 doesn’t equal a million fans. The same way a million illegal downloads don’t equal a million lost sales. As I’ve said many times on this blog;

  • A person could have purchased the album, heard it once and traded it
  • Another person could have purchased the album, heard it 10 times and then just added it to the collection or traded it.
  • Another person could have purchased the album, listened to it and still listens to it today.

Even in YouTube, “Alone Again” has 1.5 million plus views. “Dream Warriors” (official music video on RHINO’s account) has 985,000 plus views and on the 80sRockClassics account it has 2.72 million plus views. Compared to how big Dokken was in the 80’s, these numbers are anaemic, because “Is This Love” from Whitesnake has 37 plus million streams while the “Here I Go Again” version from “Saints and Sinners” has 40 plus million streams and when you add the 60 million streams from the 1987 radio edit version and 1987 remastered version, “Here I Go Again” is topping 100 million streams.

Why the large disconnect?

Coverdale sang about not knowing where he is going, but he knew where he had been. And he’s made up his mind that he needs to keep going over and over again, so he can keep those promises he made to himself in the past.

And people from all walks of life and different musical genres could relate and connect with the words of Coverdale.

Don Dokken on the other hand sang about how there’s no justice in falling in love because it gives someone blindness when they are the one because a group called “they” are holding the gun. Seriously, they are the dumbest lyrics I have seen/heard, which is a shame because “Heaven Sent” has excellent music and melodies.  Meanwhile in “Kiss Of Death” Don’s telling us about a brief encounter in the woods with a female vampire and in “Dream Warriors” Don’s weary eyes couldn’t face the unknown and he doesn’t want to dream no more. I’ve heard soundtrack songs that don’t follow the movie storyline which work and I’ve heard soundtrack songs that follow the movie storyline which also work and some which don’t work. Musically, Dokken the band was top-notch, but lyrically, not so good. Seriously, “Unchain The Night”. How can you do that?

And the choice of words, my friends, is the major difference between 7 million in sales and 1 million in sales. The major difference between 100 million streams and a million streams. The major difference between albums getting the anniversary treatment or not.

There’s a reason why “Livin’ On A Prayer” is more popular than “You Give Love A Bad Name” and “Wanted Dead Or Alive” and the rest of Jovi’s songs. There’s a reason why “Kickstart My Heart” is more popular than all the other Crue songs. For Metallica, “Enter Sandman” is the most streamed with 185 million streams due to it being on Spotify’s own playlists of metal essentials and also by being very high up on the playlist. However, “Nothing Else Matters” is the song with the words that connect and it has 163 million streams.

In the end lyrics matter and that’s why people who don’t play in bands and write songs for others have a career in music. Because they can write good lyrics. It’s why Sharon Osbourne hired Bob Daisley over and over again to write lyrics for Ozzy. You can beat a good lyricist.

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

Def Leppard And The Digital World

There is a Def Leppard story that did the rounds at the start of August. Almost four weeks later, it’s forgotten. That’s how fast people move on. If you are an artist and you spend 12 plus months on an album, just be mindful that it could be forgotten within a month, especially if it’s not part of a cultural movement or crossed over into the mainstream.

Anyway, back to the Def Leppard article.

No one can forget how big Def Leppard was from 1983 to 1994. Huge. Even their sound was huge with multi-layered vocals and instrumentation.

Like all the 80’s heroes, they had a bit of a back lash in the 90’s and maybe alienated some of their fan base with their 90’s sounding “Slang” album. But like all great bands from the 80’s they had a renaissance. I wrote a while back about how I believe piracy made Twisted Sister relevant again from 2000 and onwards and that viewpoint is still held for Def Leppard.

It’s actually even more relevant for Def Leppard, because the band refuses to have their 80’s output on digital services due to a payment dispute with the record label. The label (Universal) wants to pay the band a royalty based on a sale, whereas the band wants the licensing royalty payment which is much higher. The band even found it easier to create their own forgeries (re-recording some of their classics) easier than dealing with the record label.

This leads to an interesting position.

If you cannot purchase the Def Leppard 80’s output legally or stream it legally (apart from the few forgeries the band did themselves and the live releases), what should people do?

Well in this case, they obtain the music illegally (provided they haven’t purchased a legal physical copy)?

In other posts, I have mentioned how bands survive by replenishing their fan base with younger fans. It’s the reason why bands like Ratt and Dokken haven’t really gone well in the 2000’s compared to Crue, Leppard and Jovi. Well, it turns out that Def Leppard is doing a pretty fantastic job at doing just that.

“In recent years, we’ve been really fortunate that we’ve seen this new surge in our popularity. For the most part, that’s fuelled by younger people coming to the shows. We’ve been seeing it for the last 10, 12 or 15 years, you’d notice younger kids in the audience, but especially in the last couple of years, it’s grown exponentially. I really do believe that this is the upside of music piracy.”
Vivian Campbell

While the band is on the road, it works and their popularity is as big (maybe even bigger) as their 80’s popularity. The band is also a heavy user of YouTube, even though the site is the punching bag for the RIAA and the record labels. As YouTube recently said, they pay $3 per 1000 streams in the U.S. If it’s true or not, we will never know until we see proper financials from both YouTube and the labels. But if it is true, Def Leppard would be getting that cut themselves, and I haven’t heard of them taking YouTube to task over their payments. Even Metallica who controls their own copyrights don’t take YouTube to task. Both bands are heavy users of the platform, constantly putting up new content. But if you believe the RIAA and the record labels, YouTube is evil and due to its high volume of users, the payments are not enough.

But in Def Leppard’s case, you could say that YouTube is seen as a more likely driver of new fans than pirate torrent sites. Because all the research shows that YouTube has a user base made up of young people. They are also fostering a true connection with fans again which for a lot of artists who made it in the 80’s is a frightening prospect.

This model will not work for every band. In this case, each creator needs to look at the problem and find a solution that works for them. Eventually Def Leppard’s music will come to streaming services as the band will not be able to tour. But it will be on their terms and their terms only. Like AC/DC and Metallica. They signed their own streaming deal themselves and it’s got nothing to do with the record label.

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

The Streaming Wars, iTunes Suspending Downloads Due To Decreased Sales While Bandcamp Sees An Increase in Sales

“It’s (streaming) not the enemy and the thing that frustrates me is the old guys, and I call ’em the old guards; now what a nasty position to be in to be thought of as a gatekeeper. Because you’re a rockstar, you’ve been around 20, 30 years — some of ’em 40 years — and you say, ‘Bah humbug to streaming!’ You say, ‘Bah humbug to rock. Rock is dead. There’s no hope for the future. Put your guitars down and go get a job in a bank.’ It’s, like, that’s not the message that young musicians and fans need to hear. They need to hear, ‘Streaming is your friend. The listening experience is more exciting. Pick up your guitars, there’s a career for you out there. The next Elton John’s out there. The next Metallica’s out there. The next Beatles is out there. The next Muse is out there — they’re out there.’ They’re young, they need to be pushed to be the best they can be; they don’t need to be told there’s no future. There’s money and there’s hope, and what money gives musicians is the opportunity to have stability. And with stability you can continue to create music and, when an artist is creating music, we get to do interviews and talk about it.”
Nikki Sixx 

Suddenly Google has become the baddie when it comes to piracy being. The tech giant is accused of the same crimes that Napster, Limewire, The Pirate Bay, MegaUpload, etc. were accused of previously.

It’s been ongoing for a while, especially around the takedown procedures. Suddenly musicians are now speaking up against the small payments from YouTube. Nikki Sixx and Deborah Harry spoke out against YouTube.

Manager Irving Azoff mentioned YouTube should allow musicians to opt out of the service, and if the musicians via their backers ask for their content to be removed it should be removed permanently and not allowed to be put back up without the consent of said musicians.

And if you have ten minutes, check out the latest rant against YouTube. It is a read of BenHur proportions.

And then there was a rumour of iTunes cancelling music downloads which was denied by Apple. However where there is a rumour, there is also some truth. The article states;

“Whether or not Apple wakes up one day and decides to tear down its iTunes music download store is not the most important thing.  Because they are already starting to get rid of it.  This phase-out is already happening and Apple is definitely assisting this process.  They are definitely not growing their download store and they are doing what it takes to make this die a natural death.”

The article talks about how Apple is blurring the lines between iTunes and Apple Music, by corrupting our iTunes downloads with the Apple Music product, even going as far as replacing your paid iTunes download with the a different version licensed for Apple Music. Apple believes by doing this process, the user would eventually give in and pay for an Apple Music Streaming subscription.

And the major record labels couldn’t care less. They will phase out CD’s and if mp3 downloads are phased out, the only mp3’s pirates can download are the web rips of YouTube songs. Which if you read the above, the labels are really pushing hard to tear down as well. All of this means the labels get back control of the distribution channel that Napster took away.

They have hedged their bets with every digital musical offering, taking decent percentage stakes in each of them, so when they get sold or go public, the labels stand to gain billions. Add to that the millions earned from licensing the songs that they hold copyrights for and you get to see how much money is going to the record labels and not the artists.

But hey, YouTube and Spotify is to blame.

Bandcamp has posted a counter argument to Apples “iTunes problem”.

  • Bandcamp grew by 35% last year.
  • Fans pay artists $4.3 million dollars every month using the site, and they buy about 25,000 records a day.
  • Nearly 6 million fans have bought music through Bandcamp.
  • Digital album sales on Bandcamp grew 14% in 2015 while dropping 3% industry-wide.
  • Track sales grew 11% while dropping 13% industry-wide.
  • Vinyl was up 40%.
  • Cassettes 49%…
  • Even CD sales grew 10% (down 11% industry-wide).

Bandcamp is not just a download store. When a user buys music on Bandcamp, they also get instant, unlimited streaming of that music via Bandcamp’s free apps as well as an optional, high-quality download.

In the past I have always mentioned that fans come in different ways and consume music in different ways and it looks like Bandcamp is positioned to capitalise on that.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Where Should An Artist Be?

Megadeth’s “Dystopia” has 1,529,342 streams on Spotify. On YouTube, the audio clip has 1 million views and the video clip has 722K.

“Symphony Of Destruction” has 14,728,297 streams on Spotify. On YouTube there are a few fan created uploads that have around 4 million views, proving, once again, that fan uploads are good for the artist. They get paid from these videos as well. And the cumulative number on YouTube is close to the streams on Spotify, but it’s fragmented and quality varies.

“Hate By Design” from Killswitch Engage has 1,375,919 streams on Spotify. On YouTube 1,386,177 views.

Meanwhile, “My Curse” uploaded back in November 2006 has 14,730,324 views on YouTube and on Spotify it has 21,940,706 streams. Remember that Spotify launched in the US in July 2011 and it was first launched in September 2008. So on a service that has been operating for a shorter period and even shorter in the main US music market, it has racked up more streams.

This is telling me that once the promotion marketing run of a new song for Killswitch is over, the fans of the band gravitate to Spotify to consume their catalogue.

Now let’s go to Dream Theater’s “The Gift Of Music”. It’s got 938,792 streams on Spotify. On YouTube, the Official Video clip has 595,906 views and the Official Audio clip has 1,249,834 views.

However, an older song like “Pull Me Under” has 5,543,276 streams on Spotify and on YouTube, the official video has 4,193,933 views, the “Live At Luna Park” has 2,449,343 views and a fan upload has 1,591,017 views.

Dream Theater is a band with a small but highly profitable hard-core fan base that purchase the music of the band in CD, Vinyl or MP3 format. So the streaming stats of Dream Theater would always be lower than others because of that ownership perspective.

Bullet For My Valentine new single, “You Want A Battle” has 8,698,284 streams on Spotify and an older song like “Your Betrayel” has 21,322,709 streams on Spotify.

Meanwhile on YouTube, “You Want A Battle” has 4,166,841 views on the VEVO video clip and 1,009,159 views on the VEVO audio clip. “Your Betrayal” on the other hand has 30,619,555 views on the VEVO video clip.

Trivium’s new single “Until The World Goes Cold” has 5,249,262 streams on Spotify and the title track of the album has 3,055,965 streams. Meanwhile on YouTube, “Until The World Goes Cold” has 4,311,064 views on the VEVO video clip and “Silence In The Snow: has 3,533,303 views on the VEVO video clip.

Five Finger Death Punch’s new single “Wash It All Away” has 8,796,100 streams on Spotify. The lead off single from the new album “Jekyll and Hyde” has 19,147,912 streams and an older song like “Far From Home” has 24,575,975 streams.

Meanwhile on YouTube, “Wash It All Away” has 10,711,212 views on the VEVO video, “Jekyll and Hyde” has 17,718,384 views on the VEVO video and “Far From Home” doesn’t even rate a mention apart from some fan uploaded clips.

It just goes to show the artist and their label how the fans can take a song and make it as big as a single. All by listening.

One track that is killing it on YouTube is the clip to “The Wrong Side Of Heaven” which has 66,552,910 views.

Shinedown’s “Cut The Cord” has 9,251,338 streams on Spotify and their big hit “Second Chance” has 32,160,803 streams. Meanwhile on YouTube, “Second Chance” has 12,967,621 views on the video clip and “Cut The Cord” has 13,346,588 views.

So…

For an artist, you have no idea how your fans like to listen to music. You might want them to purchase a CD, but the truth is, each fan is different and you need to cater for it. The beauty of Spotify and YouTube is that songs that are not singles become as big as singles based on the listening patterns of the fans. Artists should take note of what the fans like.

And metal and rock fans are still loyal enough to purchase music when they like it but the days of purchasing blindly are over. I’ve streamed the new Killswitch Engage album to death. Eventually I will purchase it to add to my collection. but there is a higher chance that I would purchase a concert ticket first before I purchase the album. That’s just the way it is.

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

The New Music Labels

There are a lot of discussions happening around the film industry.

For example, would the new Star Wars movie be better served as a HBO/AMC/NETFLIX/etc TV Series?

Instead of a two-hour movie for Episode 7, would it serve the Star Wars story line better if it followed the Game Of Thrones formula and produced ten 1 hour episodes.

Two hours vs Ten Hours.

What would the customers want?

In relation to music, Napster pretty much showed the recording industry what customers want. More single songs than a slab of songs.

It’s pretty obvious that CD’s are not making a comeback. Yes, they are still selling, however so is vinyl. Both niche markets for the time being. The majority of the listeners have moved to streaming services, digital downloads, YouTube or P2P downloading. Whatever the method used to consume music, access is the key word.

Do we want to watch a movie in our home theatres or do we want to put up with dirty Cinema’s, people talking and deciding that the movie experience was the perfect time for them to have a Subway Roll, Satay Chicken from the Thai restaurant next door or some other kind of lunch/dinner.

What people want is instant access. But the content providers would rather sell 5 movie tickets ONCE to my family than get a percentage cut from a monthly license fee from a streaming service over and over and over and over again.

The content providers would rather sell my family ONE Blu-Ray/DVD than get a percentage cut from a monthly license fee from a streaming service over and over and over and over again.

I was talking to me kids about a movie called “Who’s Harry Crumb?” a few days ago. It got them excited to watch it. So i pulled up Netflix, searched for it and it is not there.

Bummer.

Did I got out and buy a copy of it?

Of course not. We just moved on to another movie, which in this case was “The Replacements”.

Same deal with music.

The best emails I get are the ones from Spotify when they tell me a certain album from the bands I follow is available for streaming;

In the last week, those emails have covered the following releases;

  • Survival by TesseracT
  • The Book Of Souls by Iron Maiden
  • Got Your Six by Five Finger Death Punch
  • Life, Love, Loss by Degreed
  • Here To Mars by Coheed and Cambria
  • Love, Fear and the Time Machine by Riverside

I remember the old days when we all rushed to the record store or to the cinema so we could purchase the latest music or watch the latest movie just to be part of the conversation. Why would I want those days back again.

Change is happening quicker than ever before.

We went from Napster to iTunes to YouTube to Spotify. We went from MySpace to Facebook to Twitter and back to Facebook. The major labels have withered down to three. The movie studios are doing the same.

Watch out for television to do the same. Funny thing to note, is that the channels leading the way, are channels that originally started off licensing movies from the Hollywood studios. HBO, AMC, Showtime and Netflix found out that original programming is where it’s at. Create a show that connects and watch it become part of the cultural conversation. Amazon is now involved and Apple is due to enter this market.

So what does this have to do with music and artists?

Expect Spotify to lead the way and start signing up artists because even though artists can cut a record without a major label or corporation behind them, they cannot be heard without the help of the label machine. There is a lot of money in music if you control the copyrights of artists you break through. Spotify can break an artist, they just need to start signing them and developing them.

It’s just a shame that the power players in music would rather spend their resources and monies to shut down illegal music websites through the Courts while websites controlled by terrorist like ISIS are allowed to operate. It’s a shame that the power players in music have had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the new digital world post Napster.

Especially when illegal music websites have allowed fans of certain styles of music to access bands they never could before. Metallica and Iron Maiden are two examples of illegal music websites growing their fan bases in countries where they sold no physical product.

So what did these bands do with that high rate of P2P piracy?

They toured those countries.

Being an artist is a business and making money in a business is hard.

The good thing for musicians today, is that all of the craziness that happened since Napster is all over. Musicians now know what the recording industry looks like and how it all hangs together within the music industry. In my view, the current ecosystem would remain stable for the next 50 years or so.

The big change that would happen is when technology companies like Spotify, Apple, Pandora, Google and Samsung get into signing and developing new artists. When these techies become like labels they will be powerful. Because of the data which they will have and control. Will the record labels then start to litigate against these techies.

Once these companies become like labels, expect them to enter the live arena as promoters. Apple and Spotify are both involved in the festivals scene.

Times they are a changing.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Certifications, Recorded Music and That Spotify/Sony Contract

I always have a decent laugh when I read music news. It’s always interesting to see how a news item gets copied across from website to website in my Google Alerts with no changes and no critical analysis.

Remember back in the day when all the rage was about how artists are struggling to achieve platinum certifications. All the commentary focused on the moment or within a 12 month period. It was like a platinum certification was the be all and end all.

Now, back in the Eighties, MTV made every act that got rotation into a platinum act. But that was not always the case.

“Ride The Lightning” was released in 1984 and it is my favourite Metallica album. It took five years to achieve a platinum certification. 28 years later, “Ride The Lightning” was certified 6x Platinum. Music simmers away and it just keeps on connecting. It’s not about corporate deals, or mega marketing campaigns. Metallica’s “Ride The Lightning” album is proof. It competed with piracy and it still sold.

Anyway, the RIAA recently re-classed a “sale unit” to be a paid download or 100 audio/visual streams. Based on this new re-classification, did you know that Shinedown’s “Second Chance” was just certified triple platinum?

Not bad for a song that is 7 years old.

So what does this say about recorded music?

If a song connects with an audience, expect it to sell and be streamed. The facts are out there. It doesn’t happen overnight or in a year. In happens over decades.

“Second Chance” on YouTube has 9,766,633 views on the official Atlantic Records channel. Another YouTube user called “McDrinkable” has a lyric video up of the song and it has 2,749,110 views, while another unofficial YouTube user called “Dushan Galappaththi” also has their own lyric video and they have 957,103 views.

“Second Chance” on Spotify has 21,845,406 streams.

So what do we know?

We know that music is not about the instant payola. Great music that connects with an audience will be listened too and purchased for a long time.

The beauty of Shinedown is that a song that wasn’t a single has more streams than the hit radio songs. That song is “Call Me”.

But the record labels still push an agenda that piracy is killing their business, while they make millions upon millions in licence fees from the streaming music services.

If you don’t believe me, read this article on “The Verge”. The advances paid to the record labels do not filter back to the artists at all. But hang on a sec, the record labels have this power to negotiate with the techies because of the artists. And the artists get nothing in return. That, my friends is the recording business.

Which leads me to the dumb journalists and artists that rallied behind artists who spoke out against streaming services. Let me say it again, the streaming services are not the enemy here. The record labels still are.

Looks like Roger Waters never got the memo. Even APRA’s Brett Cottle doesn’t get it. He wants the government to fight against pirates, however it is the labels that are holding back royalties.

Times are a changing people, but the record labels refuse to change.

 

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Copyright, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Time Machine

Since I did my left knee I have been in bit of a slump. At first I thought it was some minor bruising and tissue swelling. I was getting better and within 2 weeks of the injury I was walking properly. There was still some tenderness however it didn’t concern me. During that period I also had an MRI.

Then I got the results.

Basically I have a complete tear of the ACL and a partial tear of the MCL.

Now I was very surprised at the mess in my left knee that the MRI showed. I was feeling better and even contemplating playing sport again.

The Doctor was very surprised to see me walking unassisted and pain-free. According to the Doc, I should have been in a bit of a bother.

The weird thing is that after the Doctor told me the results guess what started to happen.

I started to limp.

Isn’t it amazing how the mind processes information. Prior to knowing how unstable my left knee really is, I was walking fine and contemplating returning to the soccer field on the weekend.

After I was told the MRI results on Wednesday my mind became fearful that if I tried to walk properly I was doing more damage to my left knee and I started to limp.

So here I am bumming my way through the days. I always turn to music in days like these. At the moment I am trying to find some new band that I haven’t heard off that just blows me away.

I listened to “Issa” (Finnish female rock goddess) new album “Crossfire”. It’s actually her third album and it did nothing for me.

I listened to “We Are Harlots” self titled debut. For those that don’t know they are the hard rock super group formed by ex Asking Alexandria vocalist Danny Worsnop and ex Sebastian Bach guitarist Jeff George. I enjoyed three songs in “Someday”, “Never Turn Back” and “Love For The Night”. The sad thing is that those songs are not the ones out there promoting the album.

Then I listened to an album from a Swedish band called “Dirty Passion”. It did nothing for me. So I moved on.

I took in new albums from “The Poodles”, “Kid Rock” “Scorpions” and “Gun” in a marathon four-hour session.

Does anyone have four hours to spend to listen to music these days? It’s not like the days of old when you kick back with the record and the album sleeve and just take it all in.

The Poodles “Devil In The Details” album was a surprise and an enjoyable listen, however nothing memorable stood out.

Kid Rock had one great song in the title track “First Kiss” and that was it.

The concept behind Scorpions “Return To Forever” is brilliant. Going back to outtakes from their most successful commercial period (1980 to 1990) and re-freshening those outtakes into songs is a great way to pay homage to the past.

Musically it is a good album.

The origins behind the songs that I have read in interviews and on Wikipedia is brilliant story telling. That is what we love as fans of entertainment, the story, the narrative. The “Return To Forever” album is an enjoyable listen however it doesn’t have that X-Factor song that makes me want to go back. The closest they got to it is the song “We Built This House”.

For Gun, I think I had certain expectations for their “Frantic” album and at this point in time it didn’t live up to those expectations, which is okay as their first three albums “Taking On The World”, “Gallus” and “Swagger” are classics to me.

So I went back listening to some W.A.S.P from their Eighties days. I took in the self titled debut, “The Last Command”, “Inside The Electric Circus” and “The Headless Children”. I’m a huge fan of Blackie Lawless and that eighties period was also a very creative one for him.

Then I wrote some tunes in my studio. “Revolution In Black” is a cross between the AC/DC blues groove and the era of “You Cant Stop Rock N Roll” from Twisted Sister. Lyrically the song deals with growing up listening to metal music and wearing my black metal t shirts. In the end that is what we are, a REVOLUTION IN BLACK.

For “The World We Live In” my wife has been listening to a lot of the pop songs out on the charts and I noticed that they all follow the basic Em, C, G, D chord progression. Of course some songs are in  different keys, however the progression is the same. For example, if the key was in B minor, then the progression would be Bm, G, D, A. If the song was in A minor, the progression would be Am, F, C, G.

Look at the list below and it just goes to show that music is all about the influence and re-using what came before;

One Republic – If I Lose Myself – 41,323,341 views on YouTube.
One Republic – Apologise – 100,377,441 views on YouTube.
Maroon 5 – Daylight – 17,539,902 views on YouTube.
The Script – Hall of Fame – 174,512,128 views on YouTube.
Imagine Dragons – It’s Time – 121,828,132 views on YouTube.
Bastille – Pompeii – 205,301,496 views on YouTube.
Passanger – Let Her Go – 588,321,169 views on YouTube.
Avicii – Wake Me Up – 597,531,921 views on YouTube for the official video. 221,445,894 views for the lyric video.
Keith Urban – You’ll Think Of Me – 1,581,515 views of the official video. 9,834,735 views of a fan made lyric video.
John Legend – All Of Me – 450,748,280 views on YouTube.
Bon Jovi – It’s My Life – 202,924,429 views on YouTube.
The Cranberries – Zombie – 219,952,452 views on YouTube.
Smashing Pumpkins – Disarm – 6,586,181 views on YouTube.

Looking at the above list, think of the dollars those songs have generated for artists and labels alike just by using the same chord progression. Hell, look at the YouTube view count for each song. Any artist would kill to have stats like that.

In a nutshell that is what “The World We Live In” is all about, a common chord progression with an uncommon vocal melody.

Then I went and listened to the new Halestorm album, “Into The Wild Life” (I have it ordered via Amazon and I came across a pirated copy, so I couldn’t wait to sink my ears into it). Lzzy Hale is a powerful leader and what a great voice. Emotional and yet aggressive. The band rocks hard when they need too and they can tone it back or pop it up when they need to.

Then I cranked the “Crooked Doors” album from Royal Thunder and I was BLOWN away. I listened to the opening track “Time Machine” over and over again. The albums tone, feel and emotion just resonated with me and the mood I was in.

The whole melodic guitar section from about 4.35 with the vocals layered over it is brilliant.

I know nothing about them.

It never used to be this way. We would get the scorched earth marketing push, the press interviews and the magazine articles written by the PR company.

Like Halestorm, Royal Thunder is fronted by a powerful female voice however both bands operate in two vastly different places when it comes to the commercial tree. Mlny Parsonz is a force to be reckoned with. When she sings, you can hear the years of vocal damage in her voice. And that is the uniqueness which makes her vocal style special.

Add to that the brilliant guitar playing from her husband Josh Weaver and you have a formidable songwriting team.

And suddenly I wish I was in the time machine, going back to that moment in time and not making some of the mistakes I made.

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