Now Gene Simmons Is Blaming Radiohead For Killing The Recording Industry

from the while-making-money-for-themselves dept

Last fall, we wrote about Kiss’s Gene Simmons explanation for why the RIAA should be suing even more people to stop the evils of file sharing. There were all sorts of problems with it — and when the interviewer pointed to the success stories of Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails, Simmons brushed them off as being not worth commenting on because they were “exceptions” rather than business models that work. Of course, if it were just an exception, then it wouldn’t be much of a problem, but as a few folks have sent in, it appears that Simmons is increasingly upset with Radiohead, suggesting that its “exception” is helping to destroy the industry. He seems to be skipping over the part where Radiohead made a ton of money from its “exception.”

It’s difficult to see how an example of a way to make a lot of money could possibly be killing an industry — unless Simmons is defining the “industry” so narrowly to only include the selling of plastic discs with music. And, of course, after blaming Radiohead, he turns on the real problem: those darn fans: “The record industry is dead. It’s six feet underground and unfortunately the fans have done this.” Always a winning strategy: blame your biggest fans for your own inability to embrace a business model that makes sense to them.

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Comments on “Now Gene Simmons Is Blaming Radiohead For Killing The Recording Industry”

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Eeqmcsq says:


the horse and carriage industry blame people for killing their industry because the people chose to buy cars. The VCR manufacturers blame people for killing their industry because the people chose to buy DVDs. And Gene Simmons blame fans for killing the music industry because the fans chose to download and file share.

What part of “adapt or die”, doesn’t these guys understand? What part of “recognizing changes in the market forces” don’t these guys get?

Monarch says:

Re: Re: Meanwhile

Inaccurate analogy? What part of “Adapt and Die” is inaccurate? People continually change. Businesses continually change to promote products that the people want.

If people only wanted black coffee in the mornings, why is Micky D’s now trying to emulate Starbucks and selling Lattes now? Why do car manufacturers develop new models every year? Because businesses need to adapt or die.

Come on Mr. Anonymous Record Company Shill.., If the recording industry would have jumped on the technology bandwagon in the late ’90’s, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, and they’d probably be rolling in dough. But instead they have fought it tooth and nail since the beginning.

I hope they die soon. Because their slow and agonizing death is driving me crazy!

neil says:

Re: Meanwhile

I dont get you point. horse and carriage vs cars was a change in the industry. VCR vs DVD was a change in the industry. download and file share is theft. you examples dont fit the problem beause the people who manufactured te car did not go and steal carriages and give them away.

what if i go and open a shop that helps people get their money out of their bank account. to do this i will go an break into the bank and remove cash from the vault. i then give it to you when you come to the shop. oh poor banks they should have change with the times.

i have no problem with stealing music or movies but lets call the acction we take by its real name “theft”

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Meanwhile


It’s real name is *NOT* theft, it’s copyright infringement. It’s not theft because nobody’s losing anything, unless you believe the much-countered and idiotic assumption that every track downloaded = a lost sale. Read up on the subject before posting stupid arguments – there’s plenty of research out there for you to digest.

This is a massive sea-change in the industry, like the other examples given. It’s just that this time, the industry itself have not provided the new product, they’re been catching up with other people providing the service their customers are actually demanding. They need to change to accept the new business methods, else the bands and labels who are doing so will reap the benefits instead of has-beens like Simmons.

neil says:

Re: Re: Re: Meanwhile

Definitions of theft on the Web:

larceny: the act of taking something from someone unlawfully; “the thieving is awful at Kennedy International”

In the criminal law, theft (also known as stealing) is the illegal taking of another person’s property without that person’s freely-given consent. …

i assume you live in egypt because that is where denial is

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Meanwhile

What I fail to understand is the argument that “tangible goods” (car, home, real estate, etc.) are “property”, but that “intangible goods” (e.g., patents and copyrights) are not.

Philosophy aside, the entire concept of “property” is a creature of law, and it is through law that enforcement mechanisms are established.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Meanwhile

Simplistically, the tangible goods can only be in one place and used by a finite number of people, whereas the intangible are nowhere and can be used by an infinite number of people. The concept of property comes about naturally to regulate usage of finite resources, but the same problem does not exist for infinite ones.

Oh, and the intangible ones aren’t “copyright” or “patents”, those are the artificial mechanisms that limit the previously unlimited. The intangible goods are things like ideas, designs, artistic creations, etc.

Alan says:

Re: Re: Meanwhile

You, sir, are clueless. I would have no problem with you or anyone opening up a shop that allows anyone to COPY the money in my bank account (after all, my money is still in there). I don’t think the federal reserve would be too happy though. The point is. making a copy of something IS NOT THEFT. The original owner still has the original item. It has not been taken away from them.

Lawrence D'Oliveiro says:

You Say That Like It's A Bad Thing

Yes, it was the fans that did it–they’re human after all, and they were just behaving according to human nature.

Or, the other term for this is “market forces”. Those who try to ignore these are doomed to dismal failure, messy and prolonged in direct proportion to the amount of money they were stupid enough to throw away.

Killer_Tofu (profile) says:


Signs you are a loser, as demonstrated by Gene Simmons.

And as for AC #2, the analogys are not inaccurate. In each case, it is an industry of the past failing to adopt to the future and trying to prevent it. They always fail because you cannot stop progress. Music downloading is here to stay, the sooner they accept that, the sooner they can adapt and make money from it.

For example, I just bought Dexter Season 1 yesterday from Best Buy on my way home. It was on sale for 20$. That show is awesome. I do not have Showtime though. You know how I saw it? My brother downloaded it. Had he never downloaded it, who knows how long it would have been until, or if I ever would have seen the show. They made money because I love having the actual discs for stuff I love, and that show is awesome. So I bought it. No download, no purchase.

Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

Haha pt 2

Oh, and I should add that I am also trying to get all my friends to watch the show now. Because this show is cool enough, that I want to share it with others. And some of them I will loan my DVDs out to, and they may end up buying it if they like it.
Why doesn’t the industry understand this is just how it is?
The same was true for casettes and VHS, just as it is for CDs and DVDs.

“I believe I can see the future, as I repeat the same routine” ~NIN – Every Day is Exactly the Same

Zorro says:

Gene Simmonds is pretty much the definition of a Dinosaur. Please become extinct like your brethren and leave us alone you painted face wanker who hasn’t made a decent song in 15 years and expects to live forever from the royalities from “Crazy Days”.

If I’d known what a complete tosser you were I never would have bought those albums I did in the 70s and 80s. Fuck you and the RIAA.

Weird_Al says:

Less money, not no money

I think the industry doesn’t like the fact that they won’t be making as MUCH money as they are now.

“Don’t take away money from artists just like me. How else can I afford another solid gold hum-vee and diamond studded swimming pools, these things don’t grow on tree’s.” – Weird Al Yankovic – Don’t Download this Song

lolsauce says:


Gene Simmons lost more money in the fans he just disgraced with his comments than he would ever lose in record sales of “plastic discs”.

Celebrities should learn to shut their mouths. They have no idea what they’re talking about. It’s sad that all these bad-asses in the “music industry” can’t do much more than WHINE about things like little babies instead of adapting to changing technology.

Maybe he should learn that those “record sales” come from those very fans he just accused in his comments.

Ima Fish (profile) says:

This is so ironic because the Kiss business model was not about merely profiting from the music, but was on capitalizing and leveraging the music for even greater profit. Kiss put their name any anything, toys, posters, movies, etc. And I’d bet anything those non-musical capitalizations were infinitely more profitable than just selling pressed vinyl.

It’s amazing that people who were so creative and forward thinking about making money could become so closed minded and backward thinking today.

meagrebones says:

Gene Simmons still has fans?

It’s not a matter of people shutting their mouths or not. It’s more a matter of whether anyone listens or pays any credence to what they say. I think musicians who feel a strongly as Simmons does should refuse to make any more recordings or to perform, until the lack of their ‘art’ makes millions of fans beg them to come back under any terms at all. Just wait quietly over there Gene, we’ll let you know.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Gene Simmons still has fans?

Amen. Kiss were never a massively successful band outside of the US (from what I can see anyway – according to, they only had 2 singles in the UK top 10). So they depended on a cult following in the US to make their money off dolls and other merchandise. They’re old news now, and haven’t even made an original record since 1998 from what I can see. So, no new fans, the old ones are losing interest, and that’s Radiohead’s fault? What about the decade of decline before In Rainbows was released?

Either Simmons is complaining about his own lack of recent success (unsurprising for a dated band with no new material). Or, he’s bemoaning the supposed death of an industry that’s changed beyond recognition since he was ahead of his game. Either way, it’s pretty sad.

As for me, I loved the guy when he starred in the movie Runaway, a guilty pleasure of mine since I was a kid. I didn’t even know he was a singer till Kiss tried to make a comeback with the Bill & Ted soundtrack. These statements make him even less relevant to me now than he was then.

Vincent Clement says:

Re: No surprise here

Thing is, Simmons is not really following the traditional business model. He went beyond the music and created a brand out of KISS. Notwithstanding his comments, his actions actually support the view taken by Techdirt on using the non-scarce good – music – to increase the value of the scarce good – KISS memorabilia.

Lucretious (profile) says:

Gene Simmons would load nude pics of his own mother on his site if he thought it would increase his income. Even Paul Stanley has distanced himself from Gene’s blatant milking of Kiss fans. He’s an opportunistic, no-talent shitbag and this story doesn’t surprise me in the least. Kiss’s “music” (as awful as it is) was never anything more than an entry point to their merchandising and over-priced stage shows.

TW Burger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Failure to understand his own business model

Exactly right. As you (and comment 11) realize Simmons’s own business model uses the music to sell the scarce goods… mainly himself.

As Kid Rock recently said (paraphrase): “Go ahead and download my music, I don’t make anything from album sales.” He is hardly a roll model for intellectualism in marketing, but he has a good point.

Bands make money touring and with associated merchandise sales, not from the sales of CD’s, as does Simmons and the rest of the KISS members.

Gene, if Kid Rock can see the future, and you can’t, perhaps you should take a hard look at yourself and examine why you appear to be acting as a conservative reactionary.

Anonymous Coward says:

The fact that a big name band can pull this off does not lend much weight, to my mind, that this “new business model” is necessarily successful. It’s Radiohead. If they announced that they would only be releasing their next CD in specially marked, more expensive boxes of Captain Crunch cereal, the supermarket shelves would be bare, instantly. This doesn’t mean that it would be profitable for most bands to release CDs in cereal boxes.

Similarly, NIN can embrace nearly any business model they like – because it’s Nine Inch Nails. The installed userbase of NIN is what brings value to the proposition, not the business model.

Find me no-name bands who do this kind of thing and get big, we’ll talk. And no, selling T-shirts doesn’t count. It’s just a matter of time before people start scanning and vectorizing T-shirts, then making it so we can print them on Cafepress for less. Find a way for musicians to be paid for making music, not selling us the services of a graphic designer for a coffee mug.

Jason Still (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Find me no-name bands who do this kind of thing and get big, we’ll talk. And no, selling T-shirts doesn’t count. It’s just a matter of time before people start scanning and vectorizing T-shirts, then making it so we can print them on Cafepress for less. Find a way for musicians to be paid for making music, not selling us the services of a graphic designer for a coffee mug.

In the vein of Godwin’s Law, I propose we name this sort of thing “Masnick’s Law”.

Masnick’s Law states that in any conversation about musicians doing something different to achieve fame and/or fortune someone will inevitably attempt to make the argument that “it only worked for them because they are big/small and it will never work for someone who is the opposite,” no matter how much evidence to the contrary might be readily available.

Although perhaps a more cunning linguist than I could come of with a way to say the same thing a bit more succinctly.

Anonymous of Course says:

Re: Irony

Simmons has his wad of loot and was willing to do
whatever he could to get it. Now he’d like to deny
others the same chance. Sure he defends the status
quo, he’s comfortable now. His massive Kiss branding
effort wasn’t creative, (not that I have any problem
with it) it was street smart at best. Why expect
better from him now?

Mike L says:


Gene Simmons isn’t exactly the brightest bulb in the industry… I mean the guy once said that all the women in the world should be licking his boots. If he wants to shoot his mouth off about how Radiohead and NIN are screwing things up let him, his own history with the industry is one of being raped repeatedly by his label and his band mates… He didn’t agree to do a reality show on his life because its fun, he’s running out of money… I bet if he had someone look into all the money the RIAA has taken in that hasn’t been passed on to him, I bet he’d change his tune.

WhomTAZ says:

Maybe Gene needs to get of Reality TV

Gene is making money on his Reality TV show. Maybe that is his strategy to recover his ill conceived lost profits from CD sales.

Maybe he should start up a website where he pimps out his children and wife to fans who are willing to pay the most to have them visit or work for them. Thus more money to cover his so conceived lost revenue….

The worst conclusion of this could be he is an OLD fading rocker who has lost the lime light and is clawing and scratching in anyway to recover that lime light he so desires but is being fleeting from him…… Gene, U think you will live forever with those plastic surgery procedures?

udamdirtyape says:


Gene Simmons is an irrelevant old egomaniac and snake-oil salesman… And Kiss sucked… He sold garbage music to teenagers with little or no taste… He’s got no respect for his fans and hes also a greedy little merchandising man-whore… Kiss wine? Kiss coffins? He’d sell Kiss branded anthrax if he thought he could make a buck. Everytime I hear that little mealy-mouthed bitch speak i wanna kick him in is no-talent all-image ass!

Double-Down says:

Ha, ha, ha, ha......

After Gene’s first tirade, I went and bit torrented all of Kiss’ albums off of Pirate Bay. Not that I listen to them–but just the principle of the matter. I generally pay for albums, especially by artists that are not mainstream and trying to make it. But bands like Kiss and Metalica? Seriously after multiple millions shouldn’t the price come down….like to zero? That’s my feeling anyway.

Anonymous Coward says:

Really Gene is getting too old to tour anymore and now that is the way to make money. Music = advertisement Tour = money. He still wants to sit on his old ass and sell millions of dollars worth of shitty albums pushed out by label marketing instead of the merits of the music followed up by a sell out tour. It’s amazing the band ever survived past abominations like “Lick It Up”

Schizoid says:

It's all about the Cheese

The RIAA and any supporters are a bunch of Hem’s. “Who Moved My Cheese!!” they shout. Be a Sniff & Scurry to foresee and adapt to change. Haw’s fine too but don’t be a Hem. Stupid foolish idiots they are…refusing to accept change. I’m sure most of them have actually read the book and yet they’re still close minded, selfish, moronic dickweeds who demands their cheese be put back right where it was so they can stay in their comfort zone on their lazy asses.

Dire Wolf says:

The past is the future

The Grateful Dead. Judgments about the music and scene aside. They gave away every show they ever did and made millions. I can download almost every show they ever did for free and like Killer_Tofu I still buy the Dicks Picks live shows being released from their archive.

give it away and make millions works.

August West says:

Re: The past is the future

Hear hear, thats right! What other band sold out show after show after show, decade after decade with only ONE top ten hit in 30 years? Let me thing, NONE. Why? Because the Dead encouraged the recording and free trade of their concerts. They were a LIVE band, and I became a rabid dead head after listening to a “bootleg” copy of a spring 77 show copied for me by a friend. So, in my case that one free tape led to THOUSANDS of dollars spent on traveling, concert tickets, assorted merchandise, DVD’s, Dick’s Pick’s, vault releases, and a ridiculous collection of live shows that I still share freely with my tape trading buddies. (They are CD’s now, but I still call them tapes, old fart that I am.) The free trade of their live concerts was responsible for so many people discovering just how outstanding they could be live. Buy the live stuff, not the studio albums. They were at best a mediocre studio band. But in concert, they were unparallelled. I saw them whenever I could.

And what Metallica seems to have forgotten is that their original fan base grew out of the free trade of bootleg Metallica tapes way back in the day. Duh……

Lois Pewtersmith says:

Haim? Is that you? Calling yourself “Gene” now, I see. Funny, a guy making a living off of marginal hits from 30 years ago is afraid of the “record industry” dying. Record? What’s a record? I (and about 20,000 other people) just spend a good bit of money to see a contemporary of his, Iron Maiden (formed 2 years after Kiss). They put on a hell of a show, are playing completely sold out at more venues than they’ve played in 20 years, and are making money hand over fist (enough to charter their own custom-painted jet to lug around their sets and equipment, not seen since the Led Zeppelin heydays). They plan on releasing a new album next year, and like their last one, I’m sure most folks will download it rather than buy it, and then line up again for tickets to their next sold-out tour. Maiden’s never gotten that much radio airplay, so pirated copies of their albums have long been a part of their success (just like the early days of Metallica).

SpinLock (user link) says:

Why not kill the Recording Industry?

Ya know, maybe Gene Simmons’ repeated grousing about file sharers kill the recording industry is, in fact, good news. Aren’t these the bastards who have refused to embrace the internet? The ones that locked down the music industry with Mafia-like tactics? The ones who (used to) choose who will be stars and who will not? The ones who jammed DRM down our throats?

I figure every time Gene says it’s dying a little more, I’m going to cheer and pour a brewski!

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