Don't Take Economics Lessons From Gene Simmons

from the kissinomics dept

Gene Simmons made a first career out of being an outrageous rocker behind the band KISS. He's made something of a second career out of making totally ridiculous and outlandish statements and watching the reaction as people go nuts. His latest is no different as he (perhaps on purpose) shows no understanding of basic economics in trashing the concept of using free music as a promotional effort (found via Digg). He starts out by claiming that he told the recording industry bosses that they should have sued more students earlier:
"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."
Of course, this isn't even remotely true, and you'd think that Simmons would know it. Every aspect of the music business other than putting out CDs has been doing better. There are more bands making more music. There are more concerts and bands are making more money than ever before from touring. Tools for making recordings are selling better than ever before. Musical instrument sales are going up as well. More people are making money from music today than ever before. So it's hard to take Simmons' comments on the matter at face value. In fact some would argue that the whole reason that the recording industry is suffering is because they tried to follow Simmons' idea of suing these kids. The interviewer tries to point out the Radiohead and Trent Reznor examples as to why he might be wrong, and he brushes it off:
"That doesn't count. You can't pick on one person as an exception. And that's not a business model that works. I open a store and say "Come on in and pay whatever you want." Are you on f*cking crack? Do you really believe that's a business model that works?"
That's a nice sleight of hand trick there. First he tries to set the parameters by saying that you can't pick an exception... even though he was the one insisting you can't make money with free music -- so an exception is pretty important. Then he says it's not a business model that works, but actually it appears to be working quite well. Finally, he makes an incorrect comparison to a shop selling tangible goods. He never actually explains why using free as a part of your business model doesn't work, he just says it doesn't -- even when presented with examples where it does work. Then, he really goes off the economic rails. When the interviewer suggests that music can be promotional for tours and merchandise, Simmons responds:
"Well therein lies the most stupid mistake anybody can make. The most important part is the music. Without that, why would you care? Even the idea that you're considering giving the music away for free makes it easier to give it away for free. The only reason why gold is expensive is because we all agree that it is. There's no real use for it, except we all agree and abide by the idea that gold costs a certain amount per ounce. As soon as you give people the choice to deviate from it, you have chaos and anarchy. And that's what going on.
Except that... no. First of all, it doesn't matter that the music is the most important part. Breathable air is the most important part of living, but we're not paying for it, because it's abundant. He says "without [music] why would you care?" but no one is saying the music goes anywhere. They're just saying that the music is used to make lots of other stuff more valuable. As for his ridiculous assertions about the price of gold, apparently Simmons doesn't believe in supply and demand, and thinks that economics is all based on shared delusions. That would explain the rest of his comments.

Anyway, the kicker in all of this is that despite Simmons comments, it appears that even he doesn't believe what he's saying. Right in the middle of his tirade about how you can never get paid for putting out music if people can get it for free, he notes that he's coming out with two new boxsets of music. Apparently, despite his complaints, he does think that people will pay him -- and he's probably right about that, despite being wrong about everything else.


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  1.  
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    Zero, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 3:51pm

    And to think, I used to believe he was an intelligent guy.

    There goes all my kiss albums, right in the garbage.

     

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    Foobie, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 3:55pm

    KISS was the prelude to glam metal which managed to get annoying in the 80s and was promptly killed off by more talented musicians of grunge... KISS is part of the problem of making music all about image and perception and less about substance.

    He should how much of a greedy imbecile he is on his reality show, so this is not much of a surprise.

     

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    Larry, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 4:06pm

    Off subject, but on title

    I'm sitting here firing up my computer, thinking *I need to take an economics lesson...maybe I'll go see Gene Simmons*.

    POOF, right there on techdirt. Thank you techdirt, that title made my day! I needed that!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 4:07pm

    Why would you bother to comment on the rantings of a has been "rocker" who's only claim to fame was that he was in a band of marginally talented people who produced crappy and very forgettable music 20 years ago?

    Have you nothing better to write about?

     

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    Cixelsid, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 4:11pm

    So...

    His "solution" to the crumbling CD trade is to sue all college students? What a douchebag.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 4:16pm

    Oh jeez.....as a lifetime member of the KISS Army since the 1970's (and now a very permanent of the GEEZER Army), I guess I'll have to side with the 'fresh-scrubbed little kids' and tell Mr. Simmons to KISS my wrinkled old rock and roll butt! I have paid more to the record labels in the 40 years I've been buying music than I can ever hope to recoup by downloading a few obscure, out of print songs. I doubt that Gene Simmons will ever worry about where his next meal is coming from because of it and I know I won't lose any sleep over it or him. :)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 4:26pm

    Zero = Zero

    What do you get when you sue a poor, broke college student? Two things...lint from their empty pockets! Two, future cusotmer with disposable cash that remember what you did to them while they were poor, broke college students! In the end you get nothing...twice.

    To think I believed he was a great business man.

     

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    Max Powers, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 4:34pm

    Gene who?

    I don't recognize this guy. Are we sure this is the tongue endowed aging rocker behind the makeup?

    I think Alice Cooper is making a statement on economics tomorrow.

     

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    Le Blue Dude, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 4:35pm

    He does have ONE point

    Gold WAS ONCE worthless. Not valueless, as people liked the shine and color... and especially the rareness. But it was too soft to use for almost anything, and so, aside from being sorta pretty, and REALLY rare, was worthless despite having a high value.

    Of course, ask someone in the computer industry, medical industry, or scientific comunity and they'll tell you a couple thousand reasons why gold has worth these days.

    But the value of baseless currency is completely unrelated to worth. A US dollar is worth as much as the paper it is printed on. It's value is about that of one 16oz soda.

     

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    SteveD, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 4:44pm

    Another long-dead rockstar...

    This is important; it sums up a lot of the ‘Anti-Radiohead’ stuff that’s been filtering through of late. All the ‘industry experts’ (who are in fact people that stand to make a loss from the death of the industry) are lining up to say ‘hah, it didn’t work, it won’t work, lets forget about it and get back to the law suits’. And here we have rock stars like Gene Simmons and Liam Gallagher standing up to say ‘Music? For free? Over my dead body!’

    I mean, lets look at it from their point of view. You’re an ageing rockstar with a crapload of cash. Your running a successful business and have your own reality TV show to both promote it and yourself. What possible reason would you have to actually make music? It’s really only about making money.

    That’s what we need to change. The culture of celebrity that grunge tried to take on and failed. For all Mikes hard work on innovative business models, that sort of progression means the end of men like Gene Simmons. You’d never make money off it like you did in the 80s and 90s.

    I may be a music romantic, but I believe that part of what has to go with the old models is the culture of celebrity that supports it/is supported by it. Far too many youngsters are getting into the business for one reason alone; to become a celebrity. You see it on the TV every day with people like Simon Cowell grinning behind his fake smile at all the money he’s going to make off them before he drops them for the next one.

    But that sort of change goes far deeper then a simple business model, and in the mean time we’re going to see a lot more comments from previously respected men like Gene Simmons...the old guard who don’t want things to change.

     

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    Markus, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 5:01pm

    Shared Delusions

    Ohh, please! Have a look at three quarters of all technology firms and their valuations then tell me again that Gene Simmons is wrong about economics being based on shared delusions.

     

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    Beefcake, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 5:02pm

    Okay, now's the time for metaphor

    Listening to economic strategy from Gene Simmons is like a crack-whore berating you for not brushing your teeth first.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 5:06pm

    Fuck Gene Simmons. This is the guy who is lending his name and voice to selling a "rockin' toothbrush" that plays KISS tunes into your skull while you're brushing your teeth. And KISS caskets. He's the biggest money grubbing sell out on earth and while I don't have a problem with that, per se, fuck him when he says I can't be all out for myself just like he's all out for himself.

    Not to mention, I've never heard any KISS growing up. I'm now about 30 years old. The only way I ever got my hands on any KISS was through the internet. I could have bought some, but why would I spend my hard earned money on an album of a band that were older than my parents, unless I was sure I liked their music?

     

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    Nicko, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 5:09pm

    This from a man

    This from a man who grabs a large vibrator, somehow doesn't notice its dripping with epoxy, and holds it long enough for it to cure on his hand....

     

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    DML, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 5:54pm

    Actually Mike, Gene Simmons' argument isn't quite as bad as you try to make it out to be. Perhaps if they had suppressed the technology earlier, the music industry wouldn't be in the mess it's in. After all, we saw how effectively this worked for the automobile industry when they bought up and tore down rails around the country.

    And his examples with the free store and the value of gold are pretty damned good too. I'm actually kind of surprised by how good his argument is. I'm not saying I agree (I don't). But his argument is pretty good. The guy is not an idiot and he's certainly not clueless about economics.

     

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    Mike (profile), Nov 15th, 2007 @ 6:10pm

    Re:

    Perhaps if they had suppressed the technology earlier, the music industry wouldn't be in the mess it's in. After all, we saw how effectively this worked for the automobile industry when they bought up and tore down rails around the country.

    No way. That's an entirely different situation -- one where the new technology providers were able to buy up the obsolete one and kill them off. This is quite different, as it's the new, better, more efficient, more useful technology that they're trying to suppress. AND it's not from a few companies where it can be bought, but from a legion of programmers and users who clearly want it to continue. There was no way they could have effectively suppressed it.

    And his examples with the free store and the value of gold are pretty damned good too.

    How so? You just say they're good, but don't provide a reason why. The free store is an awful example, because he's talking about tangible goods, which are quite different than digital goods. Hell, the analogy is totally off because Radiohead's business model was NOT just "pay what you want" (which is what Simmons implies) but "pay what you want for *THIS* download, and then buy our boxset that's coming out later, and then come see us on tour when we play." In other words, the pay what you want was a piece of the business model -- not the whole thing.

    As for the gold thing, I'm at a loss to see how you could think that's a reasonable argument. Price is not a mass delusion because people all believe in it, it's set by the intersection of supply and demand. Can you explain why his gold example is in any way accurate?

     

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    Overcast, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 6:12pm

    "That doesn't count. You can't pick on one person as an exception. And that's not a business model that works. I open a store and say "Come on in and pay whatever you want." Are you on f*cking crack? Do you really believe that's a business model that works?"

    If you could duplicate what products you had at pretty much Zero cost (like digital music) - actually... it might.

    Or you could offer it dirt cheap at least - which is what the consumer really wants.

     

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    dave, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 6:23pm

    Gene Simmons should realize more then any one else that the money is in the merchandise. KISS is probably one of the most heavily merchandised bands ever. He has made a post rock career out of selling branded items and himself in his multitude of reality TV shows. If KISS' CD sales dropped to zero it probably wouldn't have the slightest effect on his income.

     

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    dave, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 6:26pm

    #18 continued:
    I should clarify that if CD's/MP3 were priced at $0, it wouldn't affect his income. However, if people stopped listening to KISS, it would have drastic consequences on his income.

     

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    DML, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 7:28pm

    No way. That's an entirely different situation -- one where the new technology providers were able to buy up the obsolete one and kill them off.

    That's only true if you think railroads are obsolete or worse than cars. But then you'd have to ask yourself, why would the automobile companies bother buying up railroad tracks if they were so obviously worse than cars?

    This is quite different, as it's the new, better, more efficient, more useful technology that they're trying to suppress. AND it's not from a few companies where it can be bought, but from a legion of programmers and users who clearly want it to continue. There was no way they could have effectively suppressed it.

    And this is where Gene Simmon's theory falls apart. As you say, his whole argument is based on the idea that music companies could effectively suppress new file sharing technologies. He doesn't understand that this is impossible.

    BUT if you assumed that his assumption was true then his argument makes complete economic sense.

    "How so? You just say they're good, but don't provide a reason why. The free store is an awful example, because he's talking about tangible goods, which are quite different than digital goods."

    The only reason it's different is because you don't have as much control over the digital goods. Again, assuming you did have full control over the digital goods, his example makes perfect sense. In that case, you *don't* want to give the consumers a choice of buying the music or taking it for free. So once again, Simmons fails to understand the technology. He understands economics perfectly fine.
    "Hell, the analogy is totally off because Radiohead's business model was NOT just "pay what you want" (which is what Simmons implies) but "pay what you want for *THIS* download, and then buy our boxset that's coming out later, and then come see us on tour when we play."

    Semantics. As Simmons said, it's the *music* is what's important, not the box that it comes in or even the concert. Nobody is going to buy a boxset from a bad band or go to their concert. The music drives everything.

    "As for the gold thing, I'm at a loss to see how you could think that's a reasonable argument. Price is not a mass delusion because people all believe in it, it's set by the intersection of supply and demand. Can you explain why his gold example is in any way accurate?"

    Simmons' argument was more fundamental than that. When discussing gold's value, he wasn't talking about supply and demand. Simmons was saying society's shared belief that gold is valuable is what makes it valuable. If we as a society stopped caring about gold, there wouldn't even be a demand curve.

    But lets say that 50% of society stopped believing gold was valuable. Guess what? Now gold is MUCH easier to obtain. Simmons was saying that once people get used to the idea of getting music for free, then that's what they'll expect. And this is absolutely true. Now this is great for us consumers, but worse for the guys who benefit in the current system. What Simmons fails to understand is the disruptive nature of digital media and file sharing. He doesn't understand that record companies can't stop it with a couple of lawsuits.

    BTW, this isn't a moral argument about "rightness" or "wrongness" of the current system. (Not saying you believe this Mike, but this is more for anyone who may read more into this than I intend.) It is just objectively true that the new ways things are done is worse for people like Gene Simmons who benefited tremendously from the old way of doing things.

     

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    Le Blue Dude, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 7:35pm

    Re: Re:

    Demand is a mass illusion

     

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    Le Blue Dude, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 7:38pm

    Re: Re:

    What I mean to say is that there is a difference between value and worth. And value (Which is based off of supply and demand) is divorced off of worth (Which is based off of supply and necessity)
    The difference between the two is caused by demand, which is irrational and caused, often, by mass delusions.

     

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    DML, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 7:41pm

    Further clarification in my second reply...

    "No way. That's an entirely different situation -- one where the new technology providers were able to buy up the obsolete one and kill them off."
    In my reply to this above, I didn't mean to imply that the situation was exactly the same. It's not for the reasons you gave. But it's not entirely different either. Specifically, I disagreed with you implying that railroads were "obsolete technology". Railroads were certainly not obsoleted by the invention of cars. However, unlike with digital media sharing, the people controlling the automobile industry were able to effectively shutdown competing technology. This dovetails nicely with my central point - if you assume that record companies could control the technology, then Gene Simmons' economic argument makes perfect sense.

     

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    Nick (profile), Nov 15th, 2007 @ 7:46pm

    Trent is a fan of Kiss

    Trent Reznor lists Kiss as one of his influences. NIN sampled a Kiss song. If the two are friends, Trent should be setting Simmons straight soon.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 7:48pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Utility might be a better term then nessessity

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 8:02pm

    Re: Further clarification in my second reply...

    Actualy cars are almost a step back from trains... for freight. They're just horse-carrages, without expensive horses, and corner a very different market.

     

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    Brandon Z, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 8:27pm

    But that sort of change goes far deeper then a simple business model, and in the mean time we’re going to see a lot more comments from previously respected men like Gene Simmons...the old guard who don’t want things to change.
    previously respected men!? Are you kidding!?

     

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    dtj, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 9:14pm

    It's ironic...

    Gene Simmons should, of all people, understand the power of free music. As someone who grew up in the KISS era and loving KISS, I saw alot of KISS music creep in through the backdoor, rather than the front. Parents often wouldn't buy , or allow the kids to buy, KISS music because of the bad press and such. Consequently, KISS music made it into the house via taped copies of the music that didn't have the noticeability factor of a full blown LP. That would build the enthusiasm and eventually lead to the sales of actual vinyl that they did sell. Word of mouth and viral marketing shouldn't be a foreign concept to Gene.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Nov 16th, 2007 @ 1:33am

    Re:

    @DML: a couple of points to your message at #20:

    "The only reason it's different is because you don't have as much control over the digital goods."

    Nope, that's completely wrong. The reason why a physical store is totally different is overheads, not control. With a physical store, you have to pay rent, staff, lighting, water. The labels have to pay for manufacturing, design and transport. These give the product a fixed cost that cannot be easily recovered with future profits from concerts, etc., and many of the costs are borne by a 3rd party (the retailer), so you have to sell the product at a particular price to make a profit. So, taking a copy from the store for free loses money.

    With digital media, most of those costs disappear. Bandwidth costs are negligible nowadays for a file the size of a song or average-sized album. The labels don't need to depend on 3rd parties, so they can afford to give away or drastically reduce costs of the music in order to advertise other products (e.g. the aforementioned boxsets, concerts, etc.) which have significantly higher profit margins. It's much easier to recoup costs when your distribution consists of a single copy of a digital file that can be duplicated an infinite number of times.

    That's the difference. Worrying about "control" leads to dumbass strategies like lawsuits and DRM, which have stopped me from buying any RIAA material for over 3 years now. Yes, I still buy a lot of music - over $60 from e.g. eMusic subscription, indy labels direct (money that the RIAA has lost that I used to spend btw), and I don't pirate anything.

    "Semantics. As Simmons said, it's the *music* is what's important, not the box that it comes in or even the concert. Nobody is going to buy a boxset from a bad band or go to their concert. The music drives everything."

    Actually, you just echoed Mike's point. People want to see great bands, but how do you find out who the great bands are before you see them? In the old business model, bands were pushed at you by the radio, TV and other avenues controlled by the RIAA. If they didn't like the bands they were pushing, people would give up on buying music, going to concerts, etc. and grumble about how music is worse nowadays.

    With the new model, you give away (or sell at a reduced price) the music, which acts as promotional material for the live shows, boxsets, DVDs, T-shirts, etc. People are no longer limited to the narrow avenues offered by the RIAA, so they can more easily find what they like, not merely what the labels want to sell.

     

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    YouKnowNothing, Nov 16th, 2007 @ 6:05am

    Re:

    "by more talented musicians of grunge..."

    That's HIGHLY debatable. Can you really say, with any seriousness at all, that Kurt Cobain or Eddie Vedder are a better *musicians* than Yngwie Malmsteen, Kirk Hammet, or Eddie Van Halen? Better *songwriters* maybe, but no way in hell were the grunge guys better musicians. Not even close.

     

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    Dewy, Nov 16th, 2007 @ 8:08am

    Take one second plz...

    Lets review something Mike said in the article itself which I find very revealing:
    "He's made something of a second career out of making totally ridiculous and outlandish statements and watching the reaction as people go nuts."

    Ahh, so... if he learned anything from watching those reactions, and the reactions of the public when the Moguls took to the lawsuits, perhaps he is actually seeing something and gunning for a gut reaction to his outlandish comments.

    He's known for years the money isn't in the actual music, but rather in the product recognition, and I'm willing to bet that this "tirade" is nothing more than a shrewd attempt to trick the "freshly scrubbed faces" to download his new album to spite him... which goes to prove that negative press is also press.

    Or, he could be an idiot... which I find much harder to believe.

     

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    CrybabiesWantFreeTunes, Nov 16th, 2007 @ 8:50am

    look at yourself

    "digital goods", "digital media"?

    Um, I guess everyone has gotten past the point that (in most cases) these pieces of "digital goods" and "digital media" are ***art***.

    Sharing is very convenient for those who can't find it in themselves to give up a few bucks in exchange for the music. I'm both a musician and a torrent user. I use it to sample first, then buy because album quality can be somewhat lacking. How else could I have discovered Wolfmother? And how about all those CDs I bought which have been lost over the years? I'm not paying twice - I'll find a torrent instead.

    But this whole EXPECTATION by people that music should be free ***simply*** because the distribution channel exists or because it is a "gateway" to other merch is completely wrong. I know it is here to stay, but that doesn't make it ok from a moral perspective.

    And for those who say it's "just like the tape trading days of old", keep telling yourself you have hundreds of thousands of "friends" that you swap with online. Maybe your ego really needs the boost.

    If you don't think the art is worth the money, then don't buy it. But don't expect it to be free. I'd like to see these "journalists" or "writers" or "students" start not getting paid for their "articles" or "writings" or "sucky part time job". Pull your head out people!

    Ok, you are right. It never will happen. Music isn't worth paying for. So I guess over time you will get stuck with a bunch of clever business minded people playing instruments with awesome marketing ideas rather than awesome musicians who can spend all their time writing amazing music. Reap what you sow...just don't complain in 5 or 10 years about how you can't find any great new bands.

    How many of you understand how songwriters get paid? I think all these RIAA lawsuits are ridiculous, but come on people. Really, is this what your mom taught you about right and wrong?

     

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    Russell, Nov 16th, 2007 @ 10:22am

    Shows

    This from the band that defined performance excess! They were a gimmick from Day 1. If the music is all that counts, then who needed gimmicks?

    Many people went to their shows for the act, not the music.

     

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    Ted, Nov 16th, 2007 @ 4:10pm

    Gene Simmons

    What Mr. Simmons started off with is an exageration of a truth.

    The days of selling CD's is dead. And in reallity, a musician should be paid for their work. Plus also you are placing less demand on people working the inside of these record companies.

    Buy them not being able to sell the CD's, they cut jobs. You forget that bands have to pay back to the ompanies for studio time, and production and advertisement.

    If they cannot recoup all their costs, what happens, just like everything else, cutbacks, people out of work. So where do they make up their money?

    Who do you think foots the bill for tours these days? The record companies get first cuts from those profits too. They get the merchandising first cut also.

    So bands are not making the money as to what they should be. Plus stealing music is illegal. So what is wrong with his point aside from that it is exagerated, and Gene is known for the "BIG" of everything. He is bringing attention to the subject again.

    And yeah, these kids with the innocent eyes and freckles should be busted.

    It is like this kid coming into your garage and stealing your lawn mower, tools, bike.. whatever. You busted your ass to pay for that. Bands work hard to put out a product.

    I do not think it is too much to ask for people to pay for their music. iTunes is a good way to get just the songs you like. and $.99 a song is not too much to ask. I used to pay $2.50 for a 45.

    Too bad Mr Simmons is way smarter than you are. He knows how his money was made. He does not see that for the future of the people to come after he is long and gone.

    I mean why is it that so many of the record companies of past have been gobbled up by Universal and Virgin?

    You just don't get it. He made a valid point, just a little exagerated

     

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  35.  
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    Dewy, Nov 17th, 2007 @ 12:10pm

    Bahh, old misinformation from someone who has never released a cd.

    They don't cost near what they charge anymore... so the "loss" isn't as great as they make out. Distribution costs drop daily, even for physical goods with improved and innovative means of shipping.

    And as far as who foots the bill of the tour, the tours are what makes the money today. The music IS a promotional tool to get people to the show. the concept of the "Recording Star" is fading as fast as it was created... and soon we will be back to paying musicians for their performance, just like God intended!!

     

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  36.  
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    Anon, Nov 19th, 2007 @ 8:00am

    If my information is correct, you guys have forgotten a couple of important points.

    Number one - what about people who would not buy the music to begin with, but download it because it is free. How can you lose sales that were never going to take place. Why would you turn down someone who may change their mind and eventually buy some merch or go to a concert or even *gasp* buy new cd's if your music was worth it.

    And number two - has anyone noticed that the only people who say sales are decreasing is RIAA, any independant study I have come accross has shown INCREASING MUSIC SALES.

    Just my two cents. I could be way off, but that is the way the current info has swayed my view. *Before I thought all those bright faced teens were EVIL THEIVES, just like in those anti-piracy ads(end sarcasm)*

     

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  37.  
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    SailorRipley, Nov 19th, 2007 @ 1:54pm

    Re: Gene Simmons

    I do not think it is too much to ask for people to understand the difference between theft and copyright infringement...

     

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    SailorAlphaCentauri, Nov 21st, 2007 @ 12:02pm

    I don't know if this has been said already...

    since I'm at work and don't have the time to read everyone's comments, but it's rather ironic that Gene Simmons says that the music is the only important thing, but that Kiss has made a cottage industry about selling their image on all sorts of crap -- from coolers to caskets -- that is based more on what they represent than the music itself.

    When I was a young child (circa the early 1980s), I thought that Kiss was more of a death-metal band because of their costumes, the spitting of blood, and everything else I could see in their merchandise. When I found out what kind of music they did, I was greatly disappointed with what I believed to be a jarring disconnect between their image and their songs. Don't get me wrong: I like the songs, but I thought that their sound would be very different from what it was.

    The point of this story is that Gene is wrong about the importance of the music on the industry's profits; I was into buying their stuff based on image, which carried them a lot further with me before I heard them.

    This is also the same idiot who went on NPR prepared for a fight, and spent the entire time treating the interviewer (and callers) like they were beneath him, and told people that the only reason anyone wants to be a famous musician is not for the artistic merits of being a musician, but to get laid.

     

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  39.  
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    SailorAlphaCentauri, Nov 21st, 2007 @ 12:19pm

    Re: Gene Simmons

    Considering that bands used to get ripped off for years from the entertainment industry [i.e. The Beatles losing the rights to their music, virtually anyone signing a contract in the 1970s signed away their rights to make any money, TLC selling 10 million records and having nothing to show for it because the company made all the money, etc.], many of these artists weren't raking in money hand over fist before the concept of downloading music even began, so your assertion that "bands are footing the bill" is a bit much because they've been forced to pay for that for years. It's not new. If bands and artists should be upset with anyone, it should be with the record companies that make far more money off the the artists than the creators of all that content.

    And while CDs are on the decline, they aren't dead yet. While it may seem that everyone and their mothers have iPods, not everyone does. There's still a little life left in that model, so hold off on throwing the dirt in.

    And while you think people complain about paying $.99 for a song (and you assert that you paid $2.50 for a 45; good for you!), think about this: Whole songs are a bargain when you consider that the average cell phone user is paying $2.50 [that's right; the amount you paid for an entire 45] for a ringtone that is less that 20 seconds long. I don't know many people who complain about the pricing of songs...other than the music industry itself who feels that the prices are too low.

    You're right; band's aren't making what they should. Blame the people who decided to only give them $0.03 for each album sold.

    Gene isn't bringing attention to something people have forgotten about; it's discussed all the damn time! All he's doing is showing what kind of an idiot he can be about the industry. His points aren't valid; they're the vacuous babblings of a man desperate for attention who is willing to ignore what is actually going on in the music landscape and, instead, is content to keep his head up his ass because he loves the smell of his own shit.

     

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  40.  
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    Nish, Nov 22nd, 2007 @ 12:41pm

    Who says a free store can't make money?

    This coffee shop, which is located near Seattle, seems to be doing rather well with a voluntary payment system.

     

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  41.  
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    Paul Stanley, Nov 24th, 2007 @ 7:04pm

    Why are All Internet Discussions Based on Nonsensi

    Actually the essence of what Gene says is TRUE!

    Every argument that suggests giving away music as a loss leader is a good idea ~is~ insanity... Claiming that Record Companies set-up Artists with bad contracts/royalty structures does not justify revoking the MUSIC CREATOR's right to OWN and SELL his Intellectual Property!!

    The further idiocy of Concert Tickets and Merchandise as 'physical goods-service' sold to counterbalance the DEBT of having created the music itself is the very problem.. not any future economic model!

    What if a band created music but cannot Tour?
    What if they are not structured to sell merchandise?


    There should be an AUTOMATIC Right to Ownership of any expressed IDEA (remember Copyright?)... nothing should disrupt that notion anywhere on Planet Earth!

     

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  42.  
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    Curtis wayne, Jan 2nd, 2008 @ 9:34am

    KISS' success contradicts Simmons' argument

    KISS' massive success has ALWAYS been due to their merchandising acumen. One might argue that their music itself was a loss-leader for the STAGE SHOW that they put on- which was the real attraction for many kids who are today the aging KISS Army (like me).

    Even in the 70s, the band rapidly capitalized on the popularity of their breakthrough "Kiss: Alive" album to license dolls, comics, lunchboxes, cartoons, and a TV movie, and it's only continued from there. Simmons himself notes that KISS' (and his own) skill at milking these ancillary markets is a huge reason for their success. Just so. And more power to him. But would I have been any LESS interested in attending concerts or buying T-shirts if the music was FREE? No, I probably would have been MORE likely to buy (hey, I would have more money from not spending on the LP/cassette/CD).

    Despite what Simmons (or Paul Stanley, above) say, their actions speak louder. What's Gene's primary revenue stream these days? Album sales? I doubt it. More likely, TV shows, and the string of other businesses he's invested in.

    I'm a musician, actor, and writer. I sympathize with the artist's plight. The business is shifting under our feet. But instead of denying it, we must adapt.

    And don't get me started on Paul Stanley's "automatic copyright of ANY idea" statement. We'd still be paying Archimedes royalties...

    DISCLAIMER:
    I'm a huge KISS fan from way back. Since the Terri Gross interview on NPR's "Fresh Air", I've become less of a Gene Simmons fan. I thought he had just faked me out when I saw the very entertaining "Family Jewels" pseudo-reality show, but then I read his Billboard interview. *Sigh.*

     

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  43.  
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    joe, Jan 3rd, 2008 @ 4:34am

    Re:

    OOOOOHH! So you were an idiot before, or you listen to music only if the musician is smart?!?!?

     

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  44.  
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    joe, Jan 3rd, 2008 @ 4:34am

    Re:

    OOOOOHH! So you were an idiot before, or you listen to music only if the musician is smart?!?!?

     

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  45.  
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    Woadan, Jun 19th, 2008 @ 6:27am

    For all those who are arguing about whether bands make money off of album sales, I would direct you to the following link:

    http://www.mercenary.com/probwitmusby.html

    The article is from Steve Albini, a music industry insider. (He was in a band in the 80s and has produced many of the more popular albums from the last decade and more.) The labels sure as hell make money off of album sales, but not necessarily the band. In fact, most emphatically NOT the band. Everyone else got a nice chunk of change, though. For every Rolling Stones, Beattles, or U2 out there, there are 10, no, 100 other bands who never made it to their level. In the end, many musicians end up owing moeny to the labels even after the label cuts them from their roster. Even high-profile millions-selling bands have criticized the labels for their predatory activities, including the type of accounting they use. Accounting that in any other industry but the entertainment/content industry would end up with Congressional hearings into it. (Think Enron and Ken Lay.) When was the last time that the Rolling Stones had an album out? Nothing in the last couple of decades that sold anything worthy of discussion. but they still go out on tour. And they gross hundreds of millions of dollars on each outing. Even if they only get to kep 25% of that, they still can sit back and watch the interest on their cuts build up. Let's not forget that the music labels charged more for CDs when they first came out than they had been charging for cassettes or LPs. And they cost considerably less to make. Why? Because it improved their bottom line. Digital delivery of content interferes with their bottom line in a way they don't like. That's why they push for things like ACTA and extended copyright terms. As for Gene Simmons, well, those that can do. And those that can't pontificate. Woadan

     

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  46.  
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    bitSeq, Jun 20th, 2008 @ 9:23am

    Haha Clearly Gene Simmons has no idea about todays music industry!

     

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  47.  
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    chris, Apr 1st, 2009 @ 10:39am

    wow, this is terrible

    lol, absolutely amazing. im nineteen, and to hear all of the crackheads here arguing over something this stupid is absolutely ridiculous. i wasnt more than four DAYS old, and i was listening to ac/dc, ratt, metallica, KISS, motley crue, and more. my parents grew up with it, and so have i. the stuff soothed me to sleep at night. but anyway, on to my issue:

    regardless of what everyone says here, you all are going to go on doing (and thinking) what you always do. you are all so closed-minded that you believe you are all absolutely right and you wont be persuaded otherwise. its amazing that people who think they are "smart" are such IDIOTS!!! and this goes for both sides; the idiots slamming simmons, and the idiot trying to protect him. he made music for a LIVING, if you work at a garage and the garage goes fully automated, you get pissed. not the exact same situation i know, but you all should get the idea. i have been to quite a few sites like this, and i always find this stuff. where is the 'electronic duct tape' so i can tape all your mouths shut?? why not have an intelligent conversation for once, and not get all uptight and defensive because someone doesnt agree with you?

    alright, well theres my rant for the day. hope some of you learned something (like how to keep your yap shut, for instance, or have obtained the realization that you cant argue with brick walls)

    thanks again for being idiots so i could take some extra stress out on you, its been a pleasure. you can all go back to your idiotic, self-serving lives now, where you argue about crap like this and arent making sure youre safe from, oh, the impending economic collapse or something of that nature. have a nice day all!

     

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  48.  
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    Tom Richards, Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 7:28am

    Gene is right, it will just take a little while for all you to see it.

    As a music industry veteran of over 25 years, by and large Gene is right. Giving away your only real product, especially if you are doing it to make a living, should only be done on a very limited basis and should be the exception, not the rule.

    The recording industry is in bad shape, in that most labels are much smaller, have had to merge, or no longer exist. The movie companies will become the same, thanks to criminal things like bit torrent. Today's youth culture searches for ways to get everything for free, and doesn't see things like bit torrent as stealing, when it is. Eventually no one will want to pay for anything entertainment, and then there will be none.

    I do NOT make, proportionately, what I did twenty years ago. As an example, popular cover bands in the late 1970's and early 1980's in my area used to make $500-$1000 per night. Believe it or not, the best cover bands around here now only make between $450 and $600 per night. Do the math, with inflation they are making less.

    Gene is right, the rest of you don't understand the industry. And oh, by the way, Trent Reznor doesn't make nearly what Kiss did proportionately at the same stage of their careers.

    I'd love some MBA to tell me otherwise...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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