Thursday, August 6, 2020

Skid Row Row Your Boat Gently Down A Stream

Someone let Grandpa out of the garage
Here's what happens when old rockers don't read the Terms of Service.  And it backs up what I've been saying for years now: if you're looking for money from music, focus on sales and not streams.

I'm going to comment on this one line by line and maybe by the end, we can figure out why some of these Drama Queens, like Sebastian Bach, are so out of touch these days.

TWISTED SISTER singer Dee Snider, former SKID ROW frontman Sebastian Bach and ex-DREAM THEATER drummer Mike Portnoy are among the musicians who have taken issue with Spotify CEO Daniel Ek's suggestion that artists need to be more prolific in the streaming age.

Remember all those times I suggested if you wanted to make music for the rest of your life, you should have a day job too?  It's good advice.

For years, Spotify has been criticized for offering paltry payouts to musicians and songwriters, with some claiming that the service gives major-label artists an unfair advantage via playlist placement and other promotional avenues.

In an interview published Thursday, Ek told Music Ally: "Even today on our marketplace, there's literally millions and millions of artists. What tends to be reported are the people that are unhappy, but we very rarely see anyone who's talking about… In the entire existence [of Spotify], I don't think I've ever seen a single artist saying, 'I'm happy with all the money I'm getting from streaming,' stating that publicly. In private, they have done that many times, but in public, they have no incentive to do it. But unequivocally, from the data, there are more and more artists that are able to live off streaming income in itself.

"There is a narrative fallacy here, combined with the fact that, obviously, some artists that used to do well in the past may not do well in this future landscape, where you can't record music once every three to four years and think that's going to be enough," he continued.

That's important, actually.  People's attention spans (myself included) have gotten shorter.  Even at home any more, I'm usually recording something.  I might put it out, I might not but that's because I always like new stuff, and the more the better.  You can't put out 30/40 minutes of music every two years and just sit back and coast, especially if the style of music you're doing hasn't been in fashion for 30 years.

"The artists today that are making it realize that it's about creating a continuous engagement with their fans. It is about putting the work in, about the storytelling around the album, and about keeping a continuous dialogue with your fans.

Makes sense.  What these babies should do is film the recording session and put mini-docs out up until the release.  Create an interest instead of just hiring an Ad/PR agency to promote the release and then not do anything after it's out.  I always wondered why people spend more time promoting something that's not available instead of something that is.

"I feel, really, that the ones that aren't doing well in streaming are predominantly people who want to release music the way it used to be released," he added.

He is mostly right.  The thing I don't believe is "there are more and more artists that are able to live off streaming income in itself."  Maybe if the artist is still living in their parents' basement and have no expenses, then someone could live off streaming income but I doubt they would be living comfortably just from that.

A number of notable artists have since fired back at Ek over his suggestion that artists need to churn out more content if they want to the same money they used to, with many in the music community saying that's just not how the creative process works.

"While you (the listener) benefit & enjoy Spotify, it's part of what's killing a major income stream for artist/creators," Snider tweeted. "The amount of artists 'rich enough' to withstand this loss are about .0001%. Daniel Ek's solution is for us to write & record more on our dime?! Fuck him!"

You'd better get to work since this is the way things are currently and will be for the foreseeable future.  Also, sales haven't been the major income stream for a long time.  Performance royalties would probably be the major income stream for a band that had a hit in the 80s and doesn't tour anymore, unless you had a stroke of luck and that song wound up in a movie or a video game.  Dee's "Daniel Ek's solution is for us to write & record more on our dime" is a little off.  It's not the solution but it doesn't look good for someone like Mr Bach since more of his solo songs isn't what anyone wants or needs.  There's millions of songs on Spotify, why would I waste my time listening to 80s "metal" when it wasn't even good at the time?

Bach also chimed in, writing: "When this guy puts out an album himself I will listen to him tell me about my albums."

It could be the lack of punctuation or lack of smarts but he should have said, "...I will listen to him tell me about my albums and how they tank out of the gate."  I think his last CD was certified Paper by the RIAA.

Portnoy was equally critical of Ek's comments, tweeting: "What a greedy little's bad enough that he's worth BILLIONS based on stealing and giving away other musician's music...but now he's suggesting we need to make MORE music for HIM to make more money!!! F-@Spotify and F-@eldsjal

You know why he's rich?  Because he obviously did something right.  You know that Spotify isn't a payday, unless you didn't read the TOS.  Opt out if it bothers you so much.  I used to opt out of having my stuff on Tidal, since I didn't like the owners (they were celebrities calling themselves artists).  It's easy to opt out.  And how exactly is Ek "stealing and giving away other musician's music"?  We may never know the answer.

"I have 8 full album releases in 2020 & will make PEANUTS on them (if anything at all...) So his theory of artists needing to make MORE music to succeed is shit! F-@eldsjal & F-@Spotify! Support THE ARTISTS DIRECTLY if you want them to be able to continue to make music..."

He should have put his songs on BandCamp so people could buy them.  If you want more money from streams, talk to your label or manager to see if they can get you a better deal.  As good as Mr Portnoy is, what he plays on is for a pretty niche market; not a lot of Prog Metal in the charts.  They may be the best fans in the world but it's not a huge number.  He'd be better off playing sessions, at least he can do that whereas Dee and Mr Bach are out of luck on that one. 

Here's why all of these belly-achers are so dumb.  They're so hung up on streaming yet they want to make money.  As I mentioned at the top: focus on sales.  Treat your streams as promotion for the sale, then you'd get the money for the sale AND the stream.  I have zero sympathy for these three Extra Chromosomers.  They've known forever that money is in the touring, and wait for it, merchandise.  But people don't stream merchandise, they sell it.  It's income.  But someone like Bach would still want $0.02 for every time you wore the T-shirt that you bought at his show.

Since I hiked my stuff over to DistroKid, I have 5 or 6 things up on Spotify.  You know how much I expect to make from streams?  $0.  I expect the same out of sales too so anything to me, is a bonus.  And thankfully over the years, I have seen minor payouts and I'm still thrilled that happened.  I'm not here for the money, I'm here because I thoroughly enjoy making music whether it's playing guitar, making the songs, being my own engineer, mixing, making the cover.  I enjoy the whole process, especially since it's all from home and I'm not wasting a gross amount of money going into a recording studio.  Thank God I'm not on a label either.  Also, I don't have to cater to an audience.  The only one that has to like what I do is me since I'm the guy that's going to be listening to it the most.  If someone else does and likes it, then great, if not, no big deal.  At the end of the day, I'm happy. 

And I still haven't figured out why Drama Queens, like Sebastian Bach, are so out of touch these days.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

I Was Confused At First...

Writers, academics sign open letter criticizing 'ideological conformity,' cancel culture

Letter decries 'intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism'

When I first started reading this, I saw: Dozens of artists, writers and academics have signed an open letter ( decrying the weakening of public debate and warning that the free exchange of information and ideas is in jeopardy amid a rise in what they call "illiberalism."  I thought, "Oh, good.  Finally some lefties are figuring out that there's a problem with their side." 

But they didn't get it at all: "The forces of illiberalism are gaining strength throughout the world and have a powerful ally in Donald Trump, who represents a real threat to democracy."  Who wrote this letter, Rob Reiner? 

Maybe the "elites" are getting senile.  Cancel Culture is a left problem, plain and simple.  I'm Liberal-minded but I don't admit it out loud anymore (except for now, I guess).  As Dave Rubin said, "The Left left me."  Currently, the Woke Left are made up of the most embarrassing people and they lack one of the most important traits a human can have: a sense of humour.  It's no wonder I can't get along with an activist.  How do you know you're in a Feminist Bookstore?  There's no Humour section.  Maybe things will change but currently, the Cancel Culture is about cancelling out any thing that's right of Far Left.  Illiberalism sounds like another term for Post Modernism.

Orange Man Bad didn't win 2016.  The whiny, regressive, activist Left, headed by candidate Mean Grandma, lost because normal people don't like Political Correctness/Group Identity politics or want it.  It's repulsive.  All I hear from the Right is how important Free Speech is (and it is) but who comes along to try and silence it these days?  The Left.  A lot of things happened over the last 30 years and it's pretty much to the point where the sides are switched.  And things sure aren't any better in Canada.

"Critics have pointed out that some of those who signed have engaged in the same toxic behavior they decry in the letter."  Oh, the irony.

Reading the letter, it does sound like a bunch of old people whining, "Don't pick on me"... only with the help of a Thesaurus.  I get it since the ones doing the "calling out" are a bunch of low IQers that only have a Social Justice degree but you don't take these people seriously when they can't even take their life choices seriously.  That's probably why they don't respect anything.  As a left-leaner, I find these "intellectuals" that endorsed this letter as sophisticated as the people calling them out.  Maybe if they stopped acting like Facebook users, they could figure out what's really going on around them. 

And a message for the kids: Politics aren't really that important, it's just that it happened to replace Reality TV in the last 6-7 years.  Be polite, respect is earned, be honest, do what you want as long as it doesn't bother anyone else, speak your mind when it's important and whatever you do, don't become a piece of shit activist.  Nobody likes an Activist.  Buy an instrument (preferably a guitar), make some music and make some friends.

Friday, July 17, 2020

What's In A Name?

Singer says lawsuit over Lady A name is 'white privilege'

L-R: Stupid, Dumbass, Jerk
Somehow this is turning into a race issue when it really isn't.  Although when it gets read into it, it's pretty embarrassing for the offending party.

In short, Lady Antebellum changes their name to Lady A but Anita White has been going by Lady A for years.  Why there's a lawsuit against Anita is beyond me.  If anything, it should be Anita suing the band.  Lady Antebellum should quite simply go fuck themselves.  It's not a white thing, it's a no class thing.  And why would Lady Antebellum change their name to Lady A when 2/3s of the group is male?  Also, the word Antebellum means pre-war (ante=before; bellum=war).  Those three jerks couldn't come up with a better name?  I hate New Country more than before.

Anita White is Blues, and any Blues is better than whatever AO music Lady Anorexic decides to shit out.  Anita is right when she points out the irony is lost on Lady Antiscrotum: "They claim to be allies and that they wanted to change their name out of the racist connotation, and then they sue a Black woman for the new name."

What's weirder is when you search Google for Lady Antebellum, the first thing you see on the right of the page is "Lady A is an American country music group formed in Nashville, Tennessee in 2006..."  Thanks, Google, for being insensitive pricks.  They even got @LadyA on Twitter.  Pretty shitty; shitty indeed.

Here's what real musicians do: the last band I was in, we decided we'd go with the name Ghost Note.  It's a cool name but it was already taken.  So we said, "Somebody else has that name, we'll have to come up with a new one."  That's what real musicians do.  It's called a sign of respect.  Lady Arsehole is made up of three classless people.

Anita shouldn't have to rebrand herself at all.  Plain and simple, Anita was there first and Lady Antipersperant should think of a new name that's not someone else's.  I get that they're a Country band and Country bands aren't known for their originality or smarts but that's no excuse for willfully taking another artist's name and then have the nerve to sue them for $10 million.  I would be livid if I bought Lady A tickets and it ended up being those three Country fucks on the stage. 

Sorry about the bad language.

There was no real point to this Blog entry other than to rant.  But, in all honesty, if someone else, black or white, went by the stage name Lady A, the same thing would have happened.