Tuesday, December 04, 2007

KISS Becomes Old Farts

As a kid, I was something of a loser, a nerd, and a religious prude from a socially conservative midwestern family. So I was especially unpopular with the kids who talked about alcohol or drugs and whose parents let them go to rock concerts. I even half-believed in backmasking.

The rock group KISS was one of those groups that the popular kids listened to.
KISS seemed to be the epitome of rebellion against everything I believed in, starting with moderate physical appearance.

Then as I grew older, I became more socially progressive. My "social justice" views also influenced my opinion of the struggle of the RIAA against those who download music. I strongly support private property rights and so oppose illegal file sharing, but know that musicians are horribly exploited. The RIAA is on the wrong side of justice but the most effective way to fight them involves diverting our entertainment dollars to companies that pay fair royalties: magnatune, beatpick, etc.

Anyway, now it looks like KISS has become old farts, now looking to "The Man" to protect their nickel at any social costs. Or maybe there's no change. Naked self interest back then and now. I have quoted below interesting excerpts from Billboard magazines' Billboard Q&A: Gene Simmons
It has been nine years since we've seen a new KISS album. Any plans to get back into the studio?
The record industry is in such a mess. 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.

There is nothing in me that wants to go in there and do new music. How are you going to deliver it? How are you going to get paid for it if people can just get it for free? I will be putting out a Gene Simmons box set called "Monster" -- a collection of 150 unreleased songs. KISS will have another box set of unreleased music in the next year.

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. How can you pick on them? They've got freckles. That's a crook. He may as well be wearing a bandit's mask.

Doesn't affect me. But imagine being a new band with dreams of getting on stage and putting out your own record. Forget it.

But some artists like Radiohead and Trent Reznor are trying to find a new business model.
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?

Gene, does the RIAA model work for new bands? for Billy Joel?

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