Friday, February 08, 2008

Gene Simmons Mouths Off (Again)

This is always a hot button on Isorski's Musings: KISS Bass player and reality TV/apprentice/business mogel/womanizer Gene Simmons mouthing off about the music business.

Maybe it's because he's rich, or because he's trying to be controversial, but he's one of the few who sticks up for the music industry while everyone else says its getting its just desserts.

I put it you - what do you think of Gene's quote?

A recent interview, excerpted at Eddie Trunk's site, lays it down:

And what about the people who download music illegally?:"They're crooks. I would have sued the very first one and the very last one. As soon as you take somebody's property, that's stealing. People say to me 'You're rich, you have enough money.' It's actually not for anyone to decide that. I'll let you know when I'm too rich. The last time I checked, what we do isn't called charity, it's called the music business.

Here we are today with exactly what I said would happen happening. The very same people that love the music the most have slit its throat and they're surprised it's dying. 'How come my new band can't get a shot?' 'Cos you killed it, bitch.' Every day college kids who probably love music more than anybody are the same people slashing the record industry's throat by file sharing and downloading. It's the saddest thing for new bands. Doesn't affect me or KISS. We can continue to play stadiums and do very well, and we release DVDs. But there isn't a chance for a new band to become the next Beatles or KISS because there isn't the infrastructure to do it."


Sue said...

GS'comment and yours are right on. Downloading is wrong - no matter what. ~Sue~

Ned said...

Hey Gene...ever heard of Radiohead?

VoxMoose said...

"Music" and the "music industry" are two different things and we live in a time where the former can thrive without the latter. Illegal downloads may kill the music business as we know it, but music itself will continue to thrive and adapt to any new system. Gene doesn't seem to understand this.

If the new constraint is "being able to survive as a musician in an environment where people want their music for free online" then the bands that do this and adapt will define the new success in that system (e.g. ned's Radiohead example).

We are historically in an awkward transition phase, so there is bound to be some tension between the lumbering dinosaurs and the clever monkeys during this symbolic evolutionary turnover.

Isorski said...

So my question is, which one of us did NOT back in the day go over to a friend's house with a blank tape and make a copy of an album, or, later, a CD? I know I did - a lot. What makes this different, besides the fact that you can do it so much quicker and more efficiently? Isn't it the same thing?

VoxMoose said...

I agree, Isorski. We all did that and it's not fundamentally any different now (although perhaps the fidelity per copy is better).

Making copies was technically always a copyright violation, but the industry didn't care because sales were fine. Note: sales were unaffected by unlicensed copies because the product they provided was something people actually wanted to buy. As we know, that's how business always works. Gene seems to have forgotten this.

Although I don't condone illegal downloads, the message to the industry is "I'm paying what I think this is worth: nothing." If they didn't download it for free, most wouldn't bother with the CD anyway. There are no sales losses in that equation.

Also, be careful what you say. If Gene finds out you made a copy of Love Gun on a crappy TDK-D tape in mono when you 12 in 1980, he still might sue your ass off. Can't you see how you have personally ruined the music industry, removed opportunity for new bands for the past 28 years, and destroyed his impoverished career by such selfish behavior?

Isorski said...

Gene's lawyers contacted me over the weekend. I owe him .62 cents for using his name in my Blog posting...

judakris said...

This is the man who did not let National Public Radio post his interview on the show Fresh Air on the internet because that was a free service, while everyone else who sits for the interviews seem to be fine with it. At least Gene is consistent!

It's a complicated topic. I find that if I share music, it's to "convert" a friend, get them into a band that they don't know about which in the end would hopefully end in more record sales. But that is just one piece of this puzzle. --J

Don Capone said...

He's right, of course, in a way. But the music industry is evolving. Back in the early days of downloading, no one paid for songs because they couldn't. It was either do it illegally, or do without. Idiots like Metallica fought their own fans and sued instead of giving the people what they wanted: a chance to buy the music they like in the new format. CDs were dying, but no one in music publishing could see this. It took Apple, as usual, to lead the way. And look what happened with that—iPod and iTunes sales are through the roof.

Established bands now are making less money on sales still, but have you looked at the price of a concert ticket or a tour t-shirt? That is where the money is being made up (and then some).

The problem now is how do new bands get established? How do you make money until you get enough of a following to make real money? Does Simmons have the answer to that?

Guitarman5150 said...

I think Gene has lots of good comments. This is one of them. Isorski has made another one. I think Gene is one tight SOB. That's just my take one him period.

I know me as a musican, if I give you some of my music because I want you to hear it that's one thing, BUT if I already have a price tag on it you should pay me for my services. i.e. my music. Just like you would for any other service or good.

On the other hand once I purchase said music. It is MINE witch to me means I can do what I want with it. I could flush it down the toilet if I wanted to. If I decide to share said music with the world and I can produce a reciept, who's getting shafted??