The customer is always right; right?
This is interesting-Gene Simmons says…
“The record industry is dead, it’s six feet underground and unfortunately the fans have done this.
“They’ve decided to download and file share. There is no record industry around so we’re going to wait until everybody settles down and becomes civilised. As soon as the record industry pops its head up we’ll record new material.”
I don’t see many people saying that the fans have done this. You see a lot of “the industry did this to themselves, they got what they deserved. The labels are evil, greedy and stupid.”
Gene Simmons-Kiss; they have built their empire on giving the fans what they want.
They were ahead of everybody when they figured out that people wanted to see, experience really, a big show, not just some band up there playing. People want theater, escapism, larger than life; they want their money’s worth and we’re going to give it to them. That’s what Kiss has always been about.
But, what Gene is saying here is, the customer, the fan, isn’t always right. The customer made the decisions that got us to where we are now. And, on top of that, it isn’t worth our time, money and effort to release new material.
The blogosphere is chock full of people speculating and spouting wisdom about the future of music.
You have to be making music for the right reasons, you have to love music. You have to listen to your fans, you have to give them what they want.
Customers have changed. They have more options. They are busy. They don’t have time to sit and listen to your entire album ten times and let it grow on them. They want instant gratification. And you, music artist, better listen to them or, you will fall by the wayside. You won’t be afforded the privilege of doing what you love.
What do the fans want? Free music.
Maybe, the solution is advertiser supported music. That way the fans get what they want and advertisers can sell stuff attached to music and the artist gets to keep doing what they love. Works out for all, something for everybody.
You got the advertiser, who will help subsidize the music and has the power to get the music heard. But, the advertiser is only going to be interested in music that is conducive to selling stuff which, is also going to be the music that gives the fans the instant gratification that they demand.
All of that has nothing to do with art and everything to do with pandering.
So, what’s the big deal? The record industry has always been about pandering. Find out what’s selling and give them more of same. Imitate what works until it doesn’t work anymore. And, creative people don’t have a problem going along with it if they are being compensated. If they aren’t being compensated, they aren’t going to stop creating; they just aren’t going to make an effort to create stuff that complies to somebody else’s demands.
If there’s no money in it, the creative people are going to take their ball and go home.
A guy like Gene Simmons saying that Kiss isn’t going to record new music until there is a record industry speaks to the myth of advertiser supported music. That guy and that band are all about the deal, all about licensing.
Do you think for a minute that Gene Simmons hasn’t explored cross-marketing new Kiss music?
There is more music being released right now than at any other time. But, it’s water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink. With the technology today, you could record Sgt. Pepper in your living room. You could, if you could get George Martin to sleep on the couch for an extended stay. And, you got to have a baroque trumpet player on speed dial, and a top notch string quartet, great mics., preamps…zero cost recording doesn’t exist. If you want want to make quality recordings, you have to spend some money.
The fact is, there are whole lot of artists that aren’t finding it worth their while to record and release music right now.
The fan does want free music. But he/she wants good music too. Right now, that fan is carrying around an iPod with 8,000 songs loaded on it. The fact that people are doing that is proof that they are going to continue to want music as a big part of their lives. Music is more a part of their everyday lives, right now, than it ever has been.
Imagine a scenario where you don’t need to have your iPod loaded with 8,000 songs. While you are making coffee, getting ready for the commute, you just tell the device; “I feel like listening to Billie Holliday, The Dead Kennedys, Olivia Newton John, Skip James and Hall and Oates today and it’s on there before your first cup is ready. Tomorrow, a different batch, if you want. Or, you can say, “you know what I like device-surprise me.” No DRM, no RIAA, no car ads, just the music. Guilt free but, $5.00 a month is tacked on to your bill.
That’s where it’s going, whether it’s government regulated or, a deal is made with ISP’s. Some people will bitch about paying for a while, the labels will get more than their fair share, some will figure out how to game the system and musicians will find ways to get taken advantage of. That’s what old Gene is talking about when he says; “until everybody settles down and becomes civilised.” He may not know exactly what’s going to happen but, he knows that the “record industry” will return.