Skip to comments.How Iron Maiden found its worst music pirates -- then went and played for them
Posted on 12/23/2013 2:45:02 AM PST by wastedyears
For more than a decade, musicians have battled rampant music piracy that has put labels and record stores out of business at a rapid pace. Unlike the shift to Amazon that did in the book store chains, record stores are suffering from outright theft, and the migration to iTunes or Spotify streaming isn't making up the difference.
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Reminds me when Paramount started suing Star Trek fans over their fan websites...look where that franchise ended up.
They did find a unique money stream in a difficult world.
As for the current sorry state of music, I blame the raising of the drinking age to 21. Prior to this, there were road houses everywhere. And all those road houses had bands every night. You could make a decent living just playing these road houses, and pretty good cash if you just played on weekends. When the drinking age was raised, and the 18-20 year old kids no longer could go out, it scuttled 80% of the road house clientele, and all the road houses went out of business.
These road houses were the “minor leagues” of music. It’s where musicians got good at their craft. And we not only developed our skills, we could try new and different forms of music.
Clubs had a stage, and bands had their own PA and light systems. People who attended these shows came away with the feel that they had been to a big-time rock show.
We did all this while maintaining the dream of “Hitting it big”, as some bands did. There’s no place to do that now, no place for young people to become musicians.
Whenever I go out to see a band play now, I come away depressed. The bands are relegated to a corner of a cramped bar, with something that just barely makes them heard over the din. And the band members themselves are my age, playing vanilla music with no spirit.
You make a good point. I never saw it that way. Compelling post.
That's the best explanation I've heard. I've had enough of auto-tuned dance divas.
Where did rock go?
Most underrated metal band in history.
Perpahs Obamamusic, which will force young people to go to juice bars, where government selectected musicians from the nations grant fed music departments will play.
Yea, that should fix it.
Very good post, but I think there’s more to it than that. I blame the sorry state of music on the mass commercialization of music in a digital age where products have very short shelf-lives. The industry always has to have a number of “big acts” at the top of the charts, and they simply churn the content just to keep their customers interested.
There may be an element of that in it. But remember that mass commercialization has always been done in music. The name that immediately comes to mind is The Monkees.
But new and good music always shoots up between the cracks if it exists. But as far as I can see, it just ain’t there any more.
Oh, there are tremendous musicians out there - they have just forsaken the corruption-riddled record company/radio distribution channels and are finding ways to sell their product directly through the Internet. I don't think the situation for young musicians is hopeless, it's just that the traditional path of playing in a bar and getting discovered by record company A&R men is no longer viable.
You make a good point. Hell, The Beatles got their start playing in the Cavern Club for the lunch crowd.
There's more good music out now than has ever existed. Most of it won't be played on the radio, though, so one has to search for it.
Eddie Trunk has a syndicated metal radio show which airs Sunday nights. Last night, he played an hour of Maiden.
This is actually far more dramatic than it appears, for several reasons.
To start with, the vast majority of music out there, and a lot still in copyright, is “old music”. Old music has a huge disconnect with music listeners who have never heard it, unless something, anything, bridges the gap. That is, unless they hear it, they don’t know anything about it.
And they won’t buy music “sound unheard”. There is just too much of it for any appreciable audience to discover on their own.
But music piracy changes that. Someone who doesn’t know anything about jazz or blues, for example, begins with very general search terms. They get results starting with the most popular jazz and blues artists. From there, they pick up names of artists; then perhaps other artists they played with. They might notice a record label, or a sub-genre of what they’re interested in.
All the while, they are downloading old music that is new to them, and listening to it. Their searches become more refined. Their knowledge on that subject grows.
And eventually it leads them to want to buy that music, if they can get it at a reasonable price.
Importantly, many of the music pirates become fans of the music and/or the artist. So they do word of mouth sales to their peers as well.
Used to be that making a record meant expensive studio time. And you couldn’t dink around, you’d better be damn good to limit the amount of studio time needed to cut a record.
Now you could make music in your own home and distribute it easily, so anyone can do it, even if you have zero musical talent.
All the while, they are downloading old music that is new to them, and listening to it.
And eventually it leads them to want to buy that music
They’re downloading it for free and that leads them to buy it...
What you can download is often of poor quality compared to production CD or even vinyl. And older music is often a lot less expensive.
The statistics bear this out, that a significant number of pirates do start buying their own music, except for those who could have never afforded it in the first place. This is why record companies complain about lost sales, but don’t actually lose sales attributable to piracy.
Excellent point. Was reading about The Beatles recently and how they cut their teeth for years playing in dive bars night after night. They didn't all turn 21 until Feb 25, 1964 (George Harrison's 21st birthday), after they made it big.
So had the drinking age been 21 at the time, all of The Beatles would have been banned from the bars and would have had to go out and get regular jobs. We never would have heard of them!
A lot of people think The Beatles just kind of exploded on the scene in 1963-64. But they spent years before that playing in Hamburg night clubs and at the Cavern in England. All rough-and-tumble joints where they had to get good and get good fast just to survive. By the time Brian Epstein got a hold of them and cleaned them up a bit for the masses, they were already one of the tightest, rawest rock outfits out there. That's why they made it as big as they did.
I know it’s a smart business model, they put everything onto a plane and toured the world in a month the first time around.
“So had the drinking age been 21 at the time, all of The Beatles would have been banned from the bars and would have had to go out and get regular jobs. We never would have heard of them! “
Early days they used to play a regular gig at a bar in Hamburg until George was found to be under age 18, then boot!
The Monkees was a teevee show about a band. The Coasters and especially the Drifters were about commercialized vehicles for the songs of Lieber and Stoller. Ever changing casts, I mean bandmembers, several Drifters on tour at the same time during the original "incarnation" of the band.
Mowtown was studio musicians and put together bands/song-writer productions as well. But everyone has to pick on the fictional Monkees.
Iron Maiden was neglected by radio, the US press, awards programs, and their label, yet they continued to build a base through constant touring.
However The Monkees were musicians in real life and they played their own instruments both on the show and off the show.
Some of their music is quite good and stands up well even today. Songs such as "Words"; "Tapioca Tundra" and "Pleasant Valley Sunday."
The Monkees were a put together tv program. They eventually came to play and write their material. But around that time the plug was pulled on the franchise.
Their songs had some of the same studio musicians as records by The Beach Boys, the Byrds, and other “genuine” bands.
There are interviews where persons such as Mickey Dolenz stress that it was a show ABOUT a band.
Ricky Nelson was a TV shoe too!
Rock music was destroyed on purpose from the top down. Trust me, I was there and I saw it. The biggest rockstar on the planet used the “n” word in a song. Rock music had always involved 16 year old girls looking up to sexually potent white men. That is not allowed in today’s world.
The way an IP specialist put it to me was: if you ever knowingly fail to pursue an infringement claim, you weaken any future IP claims you may pursue.
That is, Paramount couldn't have cared less about the fan websites, but their lawyers were telling them they needed to go after them or they'd weaken their case against true IP thieves.
The myths, the myths. Monkees a real band? ‘fraid not. Even less than the Beach Boys, a vocal group backed by studio musicians. I once saw a package show at a ghetto movie theatre (the only pale face in the audience), saw it twice, it happened between the B movie showings with all white casts to make me feel better, and the audience worse, and in it was Wilson Pickett, the Shirelles, and a couple of others. Live and all dubbed like Milli Vanilli, long before Milli Vanilli’s time.
Times they are a-changing but musicians still don’t get more than a dollah fitty per disk sold, the same as authors selling $24.95 novels, the money is and always has been in concerts. Even the old Lolling Scones, who own their material, know it, and don’t bother visiting the studio any more. Entire albums are being given away on bandcamp.com and similar portals, but please spread the word, buy our T-shirts, and attend our shows.
In 1994 when Nirvana got $1million for their top selling album, David Geffen got $55million from that same album.
Allen Klein wound up with the US publishing on their 60s albums. He also got the money from George Harrison’s “charity fundraiser” concert.
There’s a racket in selling such racket.
Very smart: “The fans want our music? Great! We’ll go play there, too!”
The money seems to be in songwriter royalties, though not from the cheapskate streaming service, or for drummers and bass players, too advance musically to write silly love songs. But get a tune into a TV show, and you’re going to Disneyland, even if you’re not homo. And to give credit to the Hollywood fags, they do tend pick good tunes from lesser known artists (according to the latter, anyway, I don’t watch the idiot box.)
Bill Wyman, the fool who quit his band that wouldn’t have made it back when if not for his equipment, quit it just before the big moolah started rolling, said in an interview I read in an European magazine a few years ago, that yes, he had a million (or two) in his bank account, and a restaurant. Not to mention the mediocre 2nd-run All Stars Band which couldn’t compete with Ringo Starr’s ad hoc outfits.
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