Gene Simmons and RIAA v Fans

“I called for what it was when college kids first started download music for free — that they were crooks. I told every record label I spoke with that they just lit the fuse to their own bomb that was going to explode from under them and put them on the street…. The record industry doesn’t have a f*cking clue how to make money. It’s only their fault for letting foxes get into the henhouse and then wondering why there’s no eggs or chickens. Every little college kid, every freshly-scrubbed little kid’s face should have been sued off the face of the earth. They should have taken their houses and cars and nipped it right there in the beginning. Those kids are putting 100,000 to a million people out of work.” (found Via Techdirt)

The record industry is dead. It’s six feet underground and unfortunately the fans have done this.” – Gene Simmons

Screw you Simmons. Yes, the RIAA’s antiquated business model is finished. They/you can keep tightening grips around music using DRM and suing fans for as long as you want. In the end, these tactics will do nothing but anger and further alienate your fans.

At one time, record companies controlled everything. They had money, studios, ties with radio stations, and promotional arrangements. If you were ‘discovered’ then the company made you sign a contract with them that was solely in the company’s interest. Record profits were most (if not all) for the company. The bands rarely saw anything, unless they became a powerhouse like KISS, Van Halen, or got out and started their own company quickly.

In today’s world most anyone can produce material. Heck, we put out a podcast from time to time with about $40 invested (and it shows). The point being that material (of varying quality) can be put out by anyone. DRM can be broken (given time). These are facts and cannot be disputed. Suing and blasting fans just pushes them away.

Radiohead and Trent Reznor have realized these facts and have begun putting out material with a ‘pay what you can/want’ or entirely for free. Thus far it’s working really well for them.

Even if I’m not a fan of either (I’m not really), I may go listen and become one if I like the material. If I don’t become a fan, I can at least spread the word about the new album to all my friends who might become fans. Then, I might give a few bucks, and my friends give a few bucks, and so on…

From what I’ve read and understand, bands didn’t make much from album sales anyway by the time promotion, production, and company profit was taken out. This way, they can retain control, final cut, distribution, and get profit directly. If I’m a Van Halen fan (I was) then I’m also going to buy their shirts, cups, concert tickets, etc. After a move like the one below, probably not.

As a bonus, everyone gets a warm fuzzy feeling because the band gave their material out for the public to use. I would find myself much more likely to give a few bucks even if I didn’t like the band if I were given the option instead of having to shell out $20 to even try the music.

Things are so vile with these old school music-types that Eddie Van Halen sent a cease and decist order to one of our guys who painted up a guitar that was somewhat similar to one of his guitars. FFS, it was a game controller, and any profit was going to go back to the Jaycees (a non-profit corporation) who help the community through their service. A game controller you dillhole. The letter claimed that he owned that design and “all derivatives thereof”. So EVH claims any kind of taped-up red, white, and black design on a guitar? Go screw yourself.

In the end, record companies cannot control distribution anymore. They should realize that.