There will be plenty of material from the Monsters of Rock festival in Sao Paulo, Brazil. But today, I was thrown RIGHT back to the 80’s with a bang.
You know the time, like 30 years ago, when there was something called “bootlegs” that was HIGHLY illegal, that you had to buy from your local record store, somewhere in a dark corner when nobody was watching? Cause GOD FORBID that the artist might maybe not make a buck off of it? Like ANYONE would rather buy a shitty audio-bootleg instead of the real deal? Like it wasn’t for FANS who only bought bootlegs because they already HAD everything else?!
Talk about being absolutely clueless about your own fans… That was the 80’s – this is 2015. Today YouTube is a MARKETING TOOL. Blabbermouth picks up on my videos, and select artists and bands have gotten that extra exposure and free publicity that bands desperately NEED these days.
By sharing videos in social media, they are being seen by thousands of people who maybe wouldn’t have given two fucks about them otherwise- and they don’t have to pay for advertising either. With the way the industry works today, that’s exactly the kind of PR you NEED as an artist.
This (see pic below) is what I found when I logged into my YouTube account today. Not a civilized message asking if I could be so kind to remove the video because the band thought they looked or sounded bad or whatever. No – a report that threatens to close down my channel.
For 1 (as in o-n-e) video that I thought would be beneficial to the band. Why I would even bother, I should have known better. It’s MANOWAR…?
So – ALL of you out there who have happily wanted to share your Manowar-experience with others, make sure you remove it from YouTube right away, or you will have these dangerous WARRIORS killing your accounts with their swords – or something. WTF?!
So, in translation, this is what it says – my account, that has been of good use to modern bands and artists that USE YouTube as a TOOL, is now in “bad standing” and I’m unable to use some features. Thank you so much Manowar. If anyone wants to buy my Manowar-CD:s they’re now for sale.
I’ve talked about this whole YouTube-bullshit in other blogs before. It’s 2015 – you have a SEA of thousands of cameras and cellphones in front of you. Are you going to declare war against ALL of those people? THOSE are the people buying your merch – is it a smart move to alienate those people?
Many years ago, I had a similar experience when a video of Pretty Boy Floyd – and a really GOOD one too I might add, had been online for OVER A YEAR – suddenly got one of these “strikes” out of the blue.
I contacted one of the members of the band and asked him what the f*** he couldn’t just have sent me a message for – I would have taken it down in an instant. The fact that it was even up there was because it was a good performance and it was a clip with good audio (I hate the shitty cellphone-videos with distorted sound) it’s for the bands to use for their own pleasure, music is my passion.
Turns out that he had no clue what he was doing – their attorney had recommended them to report EVERYTHING that was Pretty Boy Floyd-related on YouTube, INCLUDING their own fans performing covers of their songs. The reason being that they were planning on releasing a DVD and didn’t want ANY other material to be available out there.
Well, I guess you don’t need to be Einstein to understand that if you’re pissing off the people who are your potential buyers, you might not be doing the right thing. Did they even release that DVD by the way..? I don’t know. In all honesty, the guy apologized for getting me in trouble, it wasn’t his intention and he was only following orders.
Manowar – a band from the 80’s, still living by the 80’s rules. It was stupid to think for a SECOND that they would appreciate being seen and heard – something that most bands want.
So, I’m writing this just to warn others – do not share anything Manowar-related, or you will get freaking SUED. Warriors – and all that. It’s just that “Hail and Kill” in their book is now about striking down videos on YouTube.
One of the reasons why I love music – apart from the purely emotional aspect (music is what feelings sound like) is that there’s ALWAYS something to EXPLORE!
I’m curious by nature, I absolutely LOVE digging for facts, information, gaining more knowledge about something that truly interests me. I can lose myself in books or webpages for hours, sometimes days cause I want more!
I used to go to the library several times a week when I was a teenager (the days before Google and internet…) and spend hours in their music department. It was heaven!
There were all these books about ALL types of music styles, artists… Biographies, encyclopedias… And you could listen to records. Back then, there was a couch in a corner of the music department, with 4 pairs of headphones. You would go there with your pile of LP’s and listen through each and every one, just to get an idea what it was.
Music wasn’t available (for free) any other way before the Internet, so it felt like such a privilege to be able to explore.
I borrowed TONS of LP’s and cassettes back in those days – all kinds of styles, just out of curiosity. It could be anything from the brothers Strauss and their Austrian waltzes and operettes to one-hit-pop-wonders to country, blues, heavy metal…
Discovering something new that I liked was a true kick. Especially when I didn’t expect it.
It’s not quite as fun nowadays, because it’s not so much a sport anymore. Pretty much ANYTHING is available – easily and quickly. You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes and I kind of LIKED the challenge.
It’s also funny HOW you end up listening to some bands. The turns things can take and where it can lead you. That whole FIREWIND-thing for instance.
Went to see HALFORD when they were opening for OZZY at Madison Square Garden. I was jetlagged and tired and just wanted to get some sleep. The plan was to skip Ozzy after a few songs, had already seen him many times so I figured I wouldn’t be missing out on a whole lot.
UNTIL I noticed the “new kid on the block”, the new guitarist GUS G, who was absolutely fantastic! I forgot about being tired and stayed throughout the whole show.
Then I ended up checking for more info – who’s the dude? Firewind? What’s that? Gotta check it out. Found myself on the next flight to London and Relentless Garage to see that Firewind-band. Absolutely LOVED the energy they produced on stage – and yeah the rest is history.
I didn’t go digging as eagerly into FIrewind’s back catalog, as I did trying to find interesting stuff that Gus had played on in the past. So I got most of THAT, just for the sake of having it. The music was not quite my thing to be honest, but in order to appreciate an artist for who he is today, you need to know a bit about his past as well. It just gives you a different perspective of the journey that they’ve made.
When Firewind parted ways with former singer Apollo Papathanasio, I was bummed at first because I love Apollo’s voice. It’s the next best thing to Tony Martin who is my #1 all time favorite singer ever. Nobody comes close to Tony Martin in my book, but Apollo comes pretty darn close.
I was looking for video interviews of Apollo on YouTube before I did my own interview, just to have something to compare with, but instead I ended up seeing his name on what felt like a million different projects!
THAT got me curious! First I bought MAJESTIC, simply because I know a few other guys who played in that band.
Then I got FAITH TABOO – another band Apollo sang with in the 90’s and I loved the sound and the versatility of that album. His vocals were great even back then, but it also shows how much he’s prospered over the years.
Next thing I know, I’m typing “ebay.com” in my browser, searching for all those Apollo-fronted old bands and projects…. The CD’s were CHEAP for the most part, guess it’s cause it’s not as “cool” to buy CD’s, as it is to just DOWNLOAD shit. But I want the REAL DEAL. I want the booklet, the lyrics, the credits, the thank-you’s, the pix, just the whole thing!
And I had synchronized my eBay account with my PayPal, which means that it was easier and faster than EVER to buy shit on there! Dammit. Bad idea. ;)
I kept clicking away just for the fun of it – “oh look! There’s one! I’ll get THAT… Ah! Another one! I’ll get that as WELL…! Cool, check it out, don’t have THAT….”
An hour later…errrm… Well – take a wild guess. And now that I started, I have to finish it.
Always been collecting records – I love it, nothing like having an artist’s complete back catalog…!
When I started collecting TONY MARTIN stuff, I found his solo-album that HE didn’t even have HIMSELF (long story), and old demos, bootlegs and stuff… I couldn’t just quit half way through, either I had to have ALL his shit or NONE of it. And since he was – and still is – my favorite singer, of course I had to get ALL of it.
[When I started my Tony Martin-collection waaay back in ’95 or ’96]
Apollo has this amazing voice, I just love it. To me a good rock’n’roll voice is not about belting out high notes. I always hear people using M Matijevic of STEELHEART as an example of “good singers”. Sure, the guy can sound like his …uh… boomstick is stuck in his zipper or something, but I get pretty tired listening to that range after more than one song.
I do, however, love the deeper, masculine voices with an edge and a dramatic vibrato (NOT the “Dickinson wannabe”-vibrato or the German power-metal singer parody type of vibrato).
So I’m like a kid in a CANDY STORE right now! Here I’ve been following Firewind all over the globe the past few years just because I enjoyed their live shows – yet I never bothered to start digging deeper into the musical history of anyone except Gus G’s.
Getting all these old Apollo-projects on CD now is going to absolutely rock! I even found that very first vinyl single he recorded with CRAZE like a hundred years ago, yesterday!
In a way, it’s a good thing that the guys went separate ways, cause now they can try their wings doing different things. Gus G is working on his solo-project which I’m DYING to hear… And Apollo trying something different with stoner band Spiritual Beggars and the one-off Craze-reunion and whatever else he’s got up his sleeve.
Everything happens for a reason in life – as well as in the music business. Firewind will start a new exciting page in their history, there is a different dynamic in the band now with what Kelly is bringing to the table. I’m convinced that it’s for the better. :)
Well, regardless what band or artist rocks your boat – isn’t it just awesome to be able to lose yourself in MORE of whatever it is you like about what they do?! It’s what keeps the rock’n’roll spirit alive!
Drove up to Halmstad yesterday – which is a little less than two hours from Malmo where I live, to see ex-Firewind singer Apollo Papathanasio do a one-off gig with his very first band CRAZE. A kind of reunion type of thing.
He had mentioned it on the phone a few days ago, otherwise I wouldn’t have known about it as it wasn’t a gig that’s been largely advertised, especially not outside of Halmstad.
The venue was pretty cool, it was an old shed that hosted a fairly big stage (for that type of venue at least), and quite a lot of room for the bar and the crowd as the two “rooms” were separated. Great place.
When Apollo walked in, he was immediately surrounded by friends and fans. I finally got a chance to “dig through” the crowd of people to say hi, and he was truly glad to see me. Only had time to chat for a minute or two, before the first band was due on stage.
When Apollo said that it was a band of “young guys” I thought he meant guys in their 20’s. Instead, what entered the stage was…. 3 KIDS! :) I’m not kidding, three boys in their early teens (I heard they were around 14). And the little dudes freaking KILLED it! Wow, I was sincerely impressed.
They played like they had been in the business for 30 years! There was the unmistakeable youthful passion, but they also had the elements of an established, experienced band, which is a rare combo.
Usually when you see young bands, they are simply ripping off their idols, and not doing it very well either. THESE guys let their influences shine through clearly, while at the same time, they weren’t copycats, they were doing their own thing with a refreshing sense of confidence without any arrogance.
How they managed to achieve that unusual balance at their very early age, I have no idea, but I do hope they get a break and get more gigs or maybe even a record deal. If any unsigned band that I’ve seen lately deserves it, these young boys sure as hell do!
I didn’t take pics and I didn’t film it, unfortunately, I wish I had. That’s what you get when you expect nothing and you get absolutely blown away! Oh yeah, they were called PARADISE CRUE. Probably a name you should remember. :)
[Found somebody else’s video of the guys on YouTube, from some band contest that they won]
After the “little dudes” it was time for CRAZE to hit the stage.
I had no idea what to expect. Had only heard two songs from a vinyl single that my friend Janne Stark (fellow journalist, guitarist and author of the Encyclopedia of Swedish rock) played for me last time I was there. I knew it was 80’s type of rock but that’s about it.
And considering that Apollo admitted they hadn’t had lots of time to rehearse, it could turn out to be pretty much anything, so I was simply curious!
The first great surprise was that Apollo was playing the guitar as well this time! Awesome! And, he wasn’t standing in the middle, where I would have expected a lead singer to be – he was on the left side of the stage.
When they started playing, I just SMILED. Not because it was Dream Theater-perfect, a few minor mishaps but it was also what gave this gig a charm and honesty. Perfection is not always so charming, this shows that even super-experienced musicians are human, like the rest of us, haha! :)
I loved the songs – I adore Apollo’s voice. I have since the first time I heard him, I’m a total sucker for those Tony Martin type o voices, very masculine, dark and edgy – true rock’n’roll.
Great harmonies, and most of all, there was no question that the band was having fun on stage, as well as the crowd. The energy in the room was just so positive, it went straight to your heart! :) That’s what it should feel like when you go to a show.
YES, I filmed it. :) But out of respect for Apollo, I won’t publish any of it without his consent. So, I hope he will give his blessing and you’ll hopefully get to enjoy it soon enough. :)
But for now, just a little AUDIO-clip from one of the songs. Please be aware that I was standing so close to the stage that the sound is basically from the stage monitors. So, if something sounds like crap, it’s not the band, it’s the position of the camera/microphone. They finished their set with a cover of KISS “Love Gun” – love it! :))
I’m more than happy that I went to Halmstad yesterday, I loved the show. Apollo is a great artist, with some frontmen you just can’t go wrong. :)
Maybe it’s because I’m Swedish, but I guess that my idea of what’s truly shocking is on an entirely different level than what Americans think is shocking. :)
This Miley Cyrus-scandal is pretty amusing. People are going absolutely bananas over…what? :)
The pretty little virgin-Disney-princess has been playing it safe until now, pleasing parents by being that perfect role-model for their kids. NOW, she rebels against it all, crosses all barriers, hell, it’s rock’n’roll and it’s BRAVE. I love the song too!
She’s 20 years old and she looks good, if she feels like using that for her benefit, well, why not. Her career won’t last forever, most artists today don’t. But at least she’s going to be remembered for something.
Five years from now, people will be laughing at this “outrage” much like we’re laughing about how “obscene” Elvis was with his “rolling hips”-dance or how shocking W.A.S.P were back in the day. There are worse things out there, this is just ridiculous!
[I remember when THIS was the big shocker back in the 80’s – Madonna, singing about losing her virginity, crawling around on stage at the MTV Music Awards. Imagine – THAT was considered obscene back then…!]
What Miley Cyrus is doing isn’t new, it’s been done over and over throughout the history of music – and art in general. Push the limits, see how far you can go – and piss off a lot of people.
Remember little innocent Christina Aguliera who suddenly turned into a stripper-wannabe in “Dirty“? It wasn’t that long ago, but who thinks THAT video is particularly “shocking” today? We get used to shit so quickly. Britney Spears kissed Madonna woaahh!! THAT is the stuff people remember.
[Yeah, THIS was terrible at the time, people were just as shocked as they are now, with that new Cyrus-video]
What Miley does now is old shit in a new package. Some have mentioned Wendy O Williams as an inspiration. I bet my life that Miley has never even heard the name Wendy O Williams. Wendy was a totally out-of-control former stripper punk-bitch. She never sold millions of records, but she was the badass chick of the “underground” rock/punk scene.
[Wendy’s left boob pretty much falls out in this video when her bra-strap slides off. And she doesn’t give a rat’s ass!]
In Miley’s case I’m guessing it’s a combination between good girl gone bad and the usual artist exploatation. If she hadn’t done this – she would have drowned in the sea of nice girls in the pop business who come and go. It’s a smart move.
The question is if she’s going to be comfortable with her choices when she’s 40, but that’s a different story.
It works NOW and she can probably laugh all the way to the bank, while the rest of the world is bitching about her “pornographic video”..! :) Way to go.
[Yet another “shocker” – Britney and Madonna in this “lesbian” video, what an outrage that was at the time…!]
“We are against YouTube. We don’t like it.”
Those words were uttered by a musician a while ago, and if there had been more time, I would have loved to discuss that further.
Every successful business spends a lot of time and money on understanding their customers. A band or an artist is most definitely a business – and a tough one to be in too. You need to understand the mentality of your customers, i.e the fans.
Unfortunately, many artists seem to be stuck in the 80’s and the 80’s way of thinking. It’s 2013 – the minute you choose to get your ass up on a stage, you will end up on YouTube – if you’re lucky. Even back in the hayday of the glorious movie stars in the 50’s and 60’s they knew that ALL publicity was GOOD publicity.
You’ve got a crowd of a few hundred or a few thousand people with cellphones and built-in cams or little compact cameras with HD-video, in front of you. What’s the smartest thing to do? Thinking of it as a threat or using it to your own benefit? There is an old saying that goes – If you can’t beat them – Join them.
Every smart artist nowadays will do the latter. Even those who were initially against YouTube have now realized that it’s a powerful marketing-tool. If you’re not on YouTube – you simply don’t exist.
The more videos a band has on that thing, the more popular they will seem, because nobody’s gonna waste time and effort filming and sharing a boring, uninteresting band. It’s a compliment that someone has taken time from their concert-experience, to share it with others.
Cause unlike records, a live-experience can’t be copied. You can’t distribute and share the feeling and the buzz of being in a crowd, that true live-experience that people pay tons of money for. The ONE thing that artists today actually CAN make money from, if they know how to do it properly.
So, a fan-filmed YouTube-video should be looked at as a PR-video for the NEXT show a band is gonna do. I’ve had people commenting or e-mailing on my videos, saying that the show I filmed looked so awesome that they’ve decided to go see the band when they’re playing in their town.
Being the one uploading live-vids, I’m not making ANY benefit from it whatsoever. I’ve not made as much as a penny doing that. But the bands – as much as they may be bitching about it (some of them) HAVE.
Most of them are probably even totally unaware of the two or three extra people that bought a ticket to their next show, based on a live clip they saw on YouTube. But those three people may be the ones telling THEIR friends about the kickass band they saw last night! That’s the way it works.
Blackie Lawless (W.A.S.P) has always been against cameras at his shows. But a few years ago, at a press-conference at Sweden Rock Festival, he had to admit that there’s no point trying to fight it. Instead, he had chosen to subscribe to the Grateful Dead-way of thinking.
Now THERE’s an interesting band to take a look at from a marketing point of view.
There is too much to say about how they’ve profited BIG TIME on allowing fans to participate in the live-experience of the band. I suggest you Google it, it’s pretty interesting actually.
Grateful Dead were early pioneers of “how to let fans have your music for free and still make a profit”. They even let fans plug right into their soundboards.
To learn more – go check this out: http://www.amazon.com/Marketing-Lessons-Grateful-Dead-Business/dp/0470900520
What are some of the marketing lessons that businesses can learn from The Grateful Dead?
Brian: The fundamental assumption in almost every band’s business model was that they were going to make their money on album sales. The Grateful Dead rejected that assumption. Their fundamental business model was based on making money from the concerts.
Because of that change, there was a cascade of decisions that fell from that. For instance, each concert was completely unique night-after-night, so there was a strong incentive to see them for several nights in a row – this ultimately led to fans following them around the country.
In addition, they allowed their fans to make tapes of the concerts and freely spread them to their fans – the more concerts they played, the more tapes there were, the more people were exposed to the music, the more people paid for concert tickets.
David: The Grateful Dead let their audience define the Grateful Dead experience. Concerts were a happening, a destination where all 20,000 or more audience members were actually part of the experience.
Making fans an equal partner in a mutual journey, the Grateful Dead teaches us that our community defines who we are. In an era of instant communications on Twitter, blogs and the like, we learn that companies cannot force a mindset on their customers.
Not that I’m a big fan of the Grateful Dead, but they definitely knew what they were doing.
Going back to the musician who was saying that he didn’t like YouTube because he had no control over what was being distributed and he couldn’t edit it and such… That’s all just an ego-thing. I understand it, I don’t like people taking pics of me where I look goddamn awful, uploading it to their Facebooks and Instagrams. I have no control over that either. It’s a pain in the ass. But I’m not an artist who has chosen to be looked at/listened to.
If the bands think of YouTube as a threat because they have no control, I don’t see why they don’t simply TAKE control?!
Unless they give people an ALTERNATIVE, people will go to the “unofficial” material, cause there’s nothing else to choose from.
Why not bring someone on tour who’s good at filming and editing – who they can “control” – open a YouTube-channel called XXX On Tour 2013 – watch it here! And put good quality videos up there regularly?
Maybe even take a small fee for letting people download these good quality clips each day? I for one would prefer that anytime, to the crappy iPhone-videos with horrible audio that people upload on YouTube.
I’m far from a pro, but I feel that the least I can do for a band and their fans, is to provide videos with decent audio. At least as decent as you can get with the size and type of cameras you’re allowed to use without getting into trouble with security.
GRASPOP festival did a great thing last year – filming every day, then uploading it within 24 hours – great quality, multi-cam footage! Who’s gonna want to watch something that’s not as good, when there’s the real deal?!
My point is – instead of being uncomfortable with the evolution in social media, USE it wisely and let it work for you. I don’t see the point bitching about something when you’re not providing an alternative.
Being in a band today means you’re up against tough competition. The more you’re seen and heard, the more likely that you’re going to survive – it’s ALL about keeping your name and reputation alive.
YouTube is a big part of that.
Message to bands: Be creative and proactive – YouTube is your friend, not your enemy! :)