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Music Media The Almighty Buck

Gene Simmons Blames College Kids For Music Industry Woes 860

drcagn writes "Gene Simmons has blasted 'college' kids and claims that they have destroyed the music industry, with the labels also to blame for not properly suing them out of existence when they had the chance. When asked about Radiohead and Trent Reznor's recent support of a different direction in music distribution, he says "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---ing crack?" When asked about music being free and making money off of merchandise, he says, "The most important part is the music. Without that, why would you care?" even though earlier in the interview he brags that he believes that KISS's merchandise is more profitable than Elvis's or the Beatles.'"
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Gene Simmons Blames College Kids For Music Industry Woes

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  • Music's dead? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Entropius ( 188861 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @04:54AM (#21375995)
    The headline says it all.

    "Music *industry* woes".

    Music, itself -- the part that involves people getting up on stage and singing/playing/whatever, and maybe selling recordings if they're good enough -- is doing just fine.

    People still write songs and play them, and will keep on doing so independent of the success or failure of any particular method by which others profit off of them.
  • Nothing new here (Score:5, Insightful)

    by retro128 ( 318602 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @04:57AM (#21376009)
    Everyone in the old guard says that digital distribution won't work. They watch CD sales slip away and think it's because of piracy, when it's actually the old business model falling apart. Sue college kids...Yeah, that'll get sales up. People are done buying 13 tracks of crap for the one song they like. The future is a la carte. Guys like Gene Simmons can either sink or swim, though granted I doubt he could sell his music to anyone under 40 anyway.
  • by opencity ( 582224 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @05:11AM (#21376095) Homepage
    This is they guy who will sue your ass off if you try and make a documentary about Kiss cover bands.
    Luckily I don't know enough Kiss to fit 'sue' into a song title. Slow news night, I guess.
  • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @05:13AM (#21376111)
    the greedier they get.

    I don't know much about Kiss, but I imagine he's getting to that age where he wants to tour less (and thus make less merchandise sales) and thus would like to live off royalties.
  • by compumike ( 454538 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @05:17AM (#21376137) Homepage
    From the article:

    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.
    While the imagery is over the top, as is the assertion that it's absolutely every kid, the basic message is just about correct: lots of people are pirating music. I've been reading the other slashdot responses talking about the failure of the traditional CD business model... and believe it or not, the industry has (slowly) come around to alternatives, like per-track pricing. But even still, people continue to pirate at an alarming rate. And more than that, they think it's morally OK. And they think it's justified because of the failure of the music industry to adapt. That's plain wrong: the slow movement of the music industry doesn't make it right to illegally circumvent the legal market for their goods.

    And I think he's generally right that pirates need to be taken to court and prosecuted. This is a far better alternative than DRM, which hurts legal users too. Prosecute the criminals. I don't think that the slashdot audience can be self-consistent if it's both opposed to DRM and to prosecuting criminals.

    Get started with microcontrollers today! []
  • by Goldberg's Pants ( 139800 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @05:18AM (#21376147) Journal
    And this is why Gene Simmons ceased being relevant sometime in the mid 70's. Radiohead and Reznor have more creativity in their little fingers than Simmons ever had. "Oh, we'll paint our faces to cover up the fact our music sucks." Radiohead and Reznor have deviated from conventional rock mediocrity and at least been creative. Kiss just upset parents in the 70's and sang the music that now appears on MOR stations everywhere.

    Or, to put it more succinctly, FUCK GENE SIMMONS!
  • Logic? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by djauto23 ( 1091453 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @05:27AM (#21376209) Homepage
    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. Hmmm...not certain if I follow his logic.
  • by W2k ( 540424 ) <> on Friday November 16, 2007 @05:38AM (#21376265) Homepage Journal
    As for myself: Because I disagree with the idea that someone who has created some content has the exclusive right to control distribution of that content. In short, I believe copyright as it works today does not benefit society, and should be radically changed. I believe there is no such thing as "intellectual property", because anything anyone will ever create ultimately builds on stuff that person has picked up from the environment and people around him/her. This does not mean there is nothing called originality, individual creativity and skill certainly counts for something. However, copyright removes, for an unjustifiably long timespan, content is withheld from the public domain where it would otherwise be used as a foundation for new and better content.

    Of course, there are certain pieces of content that cost huge sums of money to create and where the creator will likely not go through the trouble unless he/she has some hope of return on investment. Certain types of software certainly fall into this category. Thus some sort of compromise is in order: I would propose that current copyright law is reduced to 5 years and that copying for noncommercial purposes is legalized. This would make selling pirated software, music etc illegal but permit filesharing.
  • Re:Music's dead? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stormguard2099 ( 1177733 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @05:40AM (#21376273)
    A great analogy in my opinion would be if every professional sports team suddenly disbanded. We wouldn't call this "the end of sports!!!!1!111" because there would still be people who go and play after school, on the weekends. Not because they are contractually obligated to or they are intent on some sort of monetary gain but because they enjoy it.

    In the same sense, people are still going to make music even if every label closed tomorrow and no one ever sold another cd. Obviously this is an exageration but the point remains the same. If every single comercial avenue of music closed down there would still be people making music.
  • by FireFury03 ( 653718 ) <slashdot@nexusu[ ]rg ['k.o' in gap]> on Friday November 16, 2007 @05:48AM (#21376311) Homepage
    I never understood this idea, so popular on slashdot, that downloading stuff that you didn't pay for is somehow not stealing.

    It is wrong, and illegal, but it isn't stealing.

    • Stealing is where you take something and the owner no longer has it. This is a criminal offense.
    • Copyright infringement is where you copy something. The owner still has it, but the owner doesn't get paid for the copy (note: this is not the same as the owner "losing money" since the infringer may not necessarilly have bought it anyway). This is a civil offense.

    Stealing and copyright infringement are covered by different laws and they have different effects on the victims of the crimes and society in general, they are not the same thing.

    That doesn't make copyright infringement right. However, there needs to be some flexibility here.

    For example, I generally download an album before I buy it. If I like what I hear I go out and buy the CD, if not, I delete what I downloaded. If I can't hear something before buying it I probably won't buy it because I've bought too many CDs I thought were going to be good and turned out to be complete crap. And what's wrong with this? Consider it promotion for the bands - if their music is good then it makes them more money because I'm more likely to spend my money on CDs I _know_ are good rather than taking a gamble.

    Can anybody fill me in as to why downloading music without paying for it is ok?

    It isn't. But can you fill me in as to why the following behaviour is ok:
    • Suing thousands of people who can't afford to defend themselves despite having only circumstantial evidence that they have committed any crime (and thus forcing potentially innocent people to settle at great expense)
    • Preventing customers from accessing content which they have legitimately purchased, by means of various (potentially illegal) DRM systems (which often the customer is not informed about prior to purchase).
    • Criminalising people who who want to listen to their legally purchased CDs on their MP3 players.

    At the moment, the quality of the official product is frequently substandard compared to the blackmarket product. People generally like paying and staying within the law, but when it starts to become impossible to use the legally purchased product, is it any surprise that people stop buying it?
  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @05:49AM (#21376315) Journal

    First off, some people need to RTFA, he is NOT talking about himself, but about new bands who dream of success who he claims will not be able to do it (or at least not the way he defines success, getting really rich of your image).


    Times change. Once you had far more theathers and far more places where plays could be held. Then the movie theather arrived and put countless performers out of business. Were once a musician was playing in bar now there is a sound installation. Where once there was an entertainer, now there is a big screen TV.

    Movie theathers too took a hit with the arrival of television. Live tv broadcasts took a hit when VCR's arrived and even more with DVR.

    Coal mines are gone in holland, because we discovered a gas field and bam, lots of people unemployed. Daf cars (trucks still exists) is gone and again, people out of a job because less and less people are needed to make cars and there are countries that can do it cheaper.

    IT is being outsourced as are call center jobs.

    The next generations job prospects are going to be different then today's.

    In a way, he says that himself, no band has managed to overtake KISS in merchandising. HE himself killed the dream off new bands in becoming the next kiss because he refuses to step aside. Shame on him.

    Lets say that not a single musician can make money anymore. Unlikely but lets assume it for a second, not a single person can make a single penny creating music. So?

    Where is it written that you should be able too? I am by training a baker, I am fairly good at it, (but not exceptionally so) and I left the business because it is a dead end. People buy their bakery goods from the factory and opening a new bakery shop is far to expensive and legally impossible. Zoning restrictions, a bakery works at night and produces noise and smells while by its nature it has to be in a residential area. That don't mix no more. The hygience laws have become so strict that it costs a fortune to fit out a new building and the costs (and shortage) of skilled labourers, plus the restrictions of what they are allowed to do means you need a massive amount of very expensive equipment, which because the demand for small scale equipment has plummeted is increasingly expensive.

    In short, society has killed the small baker shop. Of the people in my entire school only a handfull are still in the trade, a most of them because they inheritied the business from their parents.

    Do I see Gene Simmons give a shit about that? No. Why then should I give a shit if some other person has to give up his dream of being a paid artist and find another way of making a living.

    Lots of people try to make an argument that music sharing doesn't hurt the industry or that artist can compensate or that there are different methods of selling music.

    I like to take it one step further, why should society give a shit wether music creators can make money? Do we really want to make rigid laws for all people just so a few can make a living the job they want? I want to bake bread. Should YOU be forced to go to a seperate store in your area for your bread rather then go to the supermarket? Should for instance the dutch be forced to serve pie again on their birthday from the local bakery rather then "vlaai" (a kind of pie coming originally from a dutch province that comes from a chain of stores that get supplied by a factory).

    If you say no to that, then you should say no to everything the RIAA wants as well. Society should not have to bend over backwards just some people can make music for a living. Get a job.

  • by Arabani ( 1127547 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @05:51AM (#21376339)
    Regarding giving away music and making money off touring/merchandise:

    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.
    His use of gold as an argument for why music shouldn't be given away is disingenuous. He's arguing that gold, not having any intrinsic value, derives its value from the fact that people "agree" on a certain price. But that's not the case (if it were, DOJ would be quite busy with price-fixing investigations). As any first-year economics student knows, in a (free) market, prices are determined by supply and demand. Gold is in high demand (because it's pretty, as well as having some industrial uses), but has an extremely limited supply (297 tonnes mined in 2005, costing an average of $237/troy ounce to extract []). Therefore, $237/troy ounce is the minimum price of gold given a free market and assuming mining corporations are profit-seeking enterprises. It seems clear that the price of gold is in fact a very poor analogy to the price of music, because music is a) NOT in limited supply (one could argue the supply is infinite, depending on the medium and one's definition of "music"), and b) the marginal cost (how much it costs to produce another unit) is orders of magnitude lower than that of gold.

    As an intellectual exercise, let's stick to Gene's flawed analogy. Gold has a price because there's this idea that people "agree" that it should have a certain price. Now let's examine Radiohead's experiment. They're saying "you name a price, and we'll charge you that much". And so on an individual basis, each fan is agreeing with Radiohead that the price of the new album should be X dollars. Seems to me that Radiohead's model is exactly what he's arguing for. So tell me, what's wrong with giving away music?

    Regardless, somebody needs to let Mr. Simmons know that he's living in a brave new world, and unless he has a burning desire to move in with the dodos, he needs to realize that the old models might not work anymore. That, or maybe he's trying really hard for the arrogant, self-righteous bastard image.
  • by ZombieRoboNinja ( 905329 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @05:52AM (#21376341)
    It's the same argument you hear from the hardest of the hardcore FOSS guys - that ALL products that can be reproduced electronically - music, code, games, books, presumably movies - should be available for free, and that the artists should support themselves either by asking for handouts or by selling something marginally related to their art.

    I'd argue that rock stars don't WANT to shill t-shirts, or they'd be in a t-shirt company. And honestly, if you're looking for LESS crappy pop music, do you really want to encourage them to base their economics on having faces that look good on lunch boxes?

    Same for programmers, of course. While the line is blurred in many cases, at heart I'd say many coders don't WANT to work as "support" for their own product. I mean, isn't that the basic coder stereotype, impatience with people who don't understand technology?

    The paradigm breaks down even more for novelists. A novelist's entire skill set revolves around writing stuff, and anything he writes is gonna take ten seconds to copy and upload, so without "intellectual property" of SOME sort he's basically SOL.

    FORTUNATELY, (and here's where I hopefully mitigate the -1 Troll points I foresee for this post), merchandising ISN'T the only way musicians can make money aside from CD profits. They also have that little niche called "live performances," which sustained them for a good 99.9% of human history.
  • by simong ( 32944 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @06:00AM (#21376385) Homepage
    I found a copy of Simmons' biography in a second hand shop and while it's an interesting read, he's a pretty dull guy. No vices apart from womanising, and it's fairly obvious that he saw music as a way of avoiding the day job, which he's managed to do for 35 years. It comes as no surprise that he mistrusts the way that the music business is going, and can't see the difference between file sharing and paid-for downloading. He is the epitome of senior music industry management - late 50s, tour jacket wearing, stuck in that notion of selling 'product'. Not being able to buy Kiss online won't trouble his income much, and it probably doesn't occur to him that more of his income these days comes from touring, merchandise and just being Gene Simmons. I can imagine that he was a slow adopter of the CD format too, and probably made sure that he got a good deal out of them before Kiss got digitised for the first time.
  • Hey Gene.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by advocate_one ( 662832 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @06:01AM (#21376391)

    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---ing crack? Do you really believe that's a business model that works?

    they got a heck of a lot more per album for themselves doing it that way than you get with your rip-off recording contract...

    /me thinks he's just jealous he didn't come up with the idea himself... cos if he tries it now, he'll just look like a me-too wannabee...

  • Re:Music's dead? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by easyTree ( 1042254 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @06:04AM (#21376415)
    That's a good analogy. To my mind, neither of these pursuits (sport, music) would be any the worse from having the business people removed from their operations.

    Today is a new world. Certainly within music, noone needs the _industry_. Producer and consumer are able to communicate directly via the internet. The industry's contribution is to insert themselves in the process for the purpose of taxation, which serves only them. Without them, the tightness of the feedback loop (consumer is able to give their feedback immediately after downloading the album and the musician is able to take those comments on board and may choose to alter their approach (or not), moments after reading it) is surely going to lead to everyone being a whole lot happier.

    Radiohead and Reznor are demonstrating this; surely that obvious, even to someone who paints their face?

    Anyhow.. it's painful to watch the industry-formerly-profiting-from-music die (and it's putting up a great fight), but die it will. If we stop feeding it, that will help.

    Say hello to tomorrow :D
  • by freedom_india ( 780002 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @06:12AM (#21376451) Homepage Journal
    Well if you start suing whoever is listening to your music then pretty much you would be left all alone to listen to it.
    Music and art theft was and is a problem.

    Radiohead has matured and has shown the way. Apple is showing the path.

    Bands like KISS are still retarted and will always be. These guys want kids to pay $29.99 for a CD which contain 20 songs out of which 2 are good and rest are piss poor.

    Now that kids have the power to resist such payments, and instead pay only 99 cents for each track they like and refuse to pay 29.99 for crap, KISS hates them.

    KISS: Good riddance.
    The world would be a better place if a band like you disappears.

    Oh, and stop comparing yourself to Gold. Gold is valuable for 5000 years and still retains its lustre and value any day in any country.
    Your songs are worth the crap that you are tomorrow.

  • by Marcus Green ( 34723 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @06:19AM (#21376469) Homepage
    "with mass-reproducible art forms - music, photography, print, film, industries were created which took copyright away from the content creators"

    Or to look at it another way, with mass-producible art forms, e.g. CD audio recordings it allowed musicians to create high quality products using their own resources for which they could retain copyright and sell directly to their public, i.e. via the web or at gigs. These people would invest considerable amounts of their own time and money in this creative endevour and it is a reasonable idea that they should be able to control its reproduction to gain financially.

  • by Martian_Kyo ( 1161137 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @06:20AM (#21376477)
    The fact that it's so easy to replicate/steal, makes you wonder should it really cost that much?

    If there was a machine that can replicate a 500,000 dollar car for 100 dollars....wouldn't you be asking yourself....should I really pay 499,900 dollars just for design?...should cars cost so much?

  • by Lunarsight ( 1053230 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @06:34AM (#21376541) Homepage
    Gene Simmons is a dinosaur. And, no - I don't mean that in terms of his age.

    He's like the guy who still owns (exclusively) an eight-track player in a world of people who use iPods and compact discs. They fail to see innovation even when it's staring them right in the face.

    He may criticize Radiohead's selling approach, but you can't argue with the results. How much did Radiohead's album make in revenue? The non-standard selling method itself probably generated them a ton of publicity that they wouldn't otherwise have had.

    I honestly think a band like KISS could get away with giving their music away for free, since they have other avenues available to them to make a crapload of money. (Live shows and merchandising, for starters.) They should be distributing the music as a promotional tool, rather than having it be the revenue-generator itself.

    These artists need to learn to stop shooting their mouths off against the very people who support them. I completely support boycotting all major label artists, but artists like this in particular REALLY, REALLY deserve it. (Sadly, we all know that many people will continue to support artists like this, because they're pathetic fanboy lemmings who cluelessly follow their favorite artists wherever they go.)

  • Capitals? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vistic ( 556838 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @06:35AM (#21376545)
    Did he write this or speak this? Are the capital letters from a citation that's accurate (Bartlett's Familiar Quotations?)

    In any case the quote has always annoyed me... but not as much as the conservatives who quote it (with a "when you're older and wiser, you'll come around" attitude about them). As I'm getting older I'm paying more attention to politics and getting more involved, and probably even more liberal than I was at 18.

    I've also taken it to mean that when you're 40, you have money and property you want to be greedy about and protect, and so don't care as much about the welfare of your fellow man. Likewise I'm better off than at 18, and it sure doesn't deter me from wanting to make the world better overall.
  • by kongit ( 758125 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @06:39AM (#21376569)
    Sorry I must disagree. Only the biggest of bands can make loads of money being a musician but smaller musicians can make a living. There are still places that value live music and often these places are small. The cost of performing is usually linked to the size of the audience: for a small audience you do not need $20,000 worth of amps and speakers nor do you have to pay the exorbitant cost to rent a large space to play in. So while the musician makes less money at small venues, he can still make enough to get by on if he plays enough. A good example of this is the number of professional jazz musicians, they normally don't play large venues but they can still make a living doing what they love.
  • by Alcoholic Dali ( 1024937 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @06:49AM (#21376633)
    Gene Simmons is the product of the 80s hair band era where record companies were making money hand over fist. That era is completely gone, but his brain still functions with that time period in mind. In short, he's obsolete.
  • Re:Music's dead? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by stormguard2099 ( 1177733 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @07:03AM (#21376711)

    noone needs the_industry
    I wouldn't say that no one needs them. Surely musicians can't tour as extensivly without financial backing or have the same promotion without a label. While radiohead and reznor can self promote and distribute themselves, how many other bands can boast the same? Don't take this to mean that I am whole-heartedly supporting label but I do think they serve a purpose.

    Labels form and they search for talented, undiscovered acts to sign that while they may already be popular in their own sense, get much more exposure due to association/touring with a larger band. Also, most small acts couldn't afford the distribution costs on their own. It's my understanding that this is why labels are formed.

    Back in the day I think this was really the only way to make it in the biz but now the internet makes promotion AND distribution much easier so that these labels aren't the sole means. They are still have a value but with the advent of the internet it's not as crucial as in the past.

    The point i am trying to make is that they are do serve a purpose but that they no longer have the monopoly that they once had.
  • by Goldberg's Pants ( 139800 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @07:11AM (#21376761) Journal
    Infringing copyright? That's not the discussion, at least not in this part of the thread. This is about a rock and roll dinosaur condemning a marketing exercise that netted a band a big chunk of change.

    I am not a fan of Radiohead. They've made precisely THREE songs I like. (For the record those are "Just", "Paranoid Android" and "Everything In Its Right Place"). I will never buy a Radiohead CD. However, with "In Rainbows", I slung them a few bucks to A) support the creativity of the new business model, B) Metaphorically give the RIAA the finger, and C) Maybe discover that Radiohead are actually quite good. (In actuality I'd say "In Rainbows" did nothing to make me a fan. However I did get to support a band directly, and for the $4 or so I threw in their direction, there's a couple of songs I really like.)

    When Reznor gets around to releasing his next work I'll be supporting that as I am a massive fan of NIN and have been for 15 years now.

    Simmons has no credibility anyway. Kiss have licensed their music for toothbrushes for christs sake. I see them advertised on TV. As you clean your teeth, the brush plays music. The advert shows a kid brushing his teeth while a Kiss song plays.

    Bill Hicks put it far better than I could. "Here's the deal, folks. You do a commercial - you're off the artistic roll call, forever. End of story. Okay? You're another whore at the captialist gang bang and if you do a commercial, there's a price on your head. Everything you say is suspect and every word that comes out of your mouth is now like a turd falling into my drink."
  • Re:Capitals? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by damontal ( 806788 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @07:44AM (#21376937)
    you have money and property you want to be greedy about and protect

    ah, so protecting your money and property is now greedy? i guess you'd freely give up what money and property you own because you're not "greedy", right?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 16, 2007 @07:53AM (#21376973)
    I guess the equivalent in this case is:

    If you're still making new music, you see plenty of opportunities to take advantage of technology and new distribution models (i.e. Reznor and Radiohead). If you're old and washed up, then of course you want to maximize all the royalties you can from replays of your moldy old tracks using an antiquated business model.
  • by g253 ( 855070 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @07:56AM (#21376991) Homepage
    It _is_ morally OK. Selling copies of a disk is wrong, because you're making money off someone else's work. Making a copy is sharing. Sharing is friendly and generous.

    Should I be sued if I make a copy of a cd for a friend who couldn't afford to buy it anyway? Should I be sued only if he could afford it? Why don't we sue everyone who's ever taped a tv show?

    If I want a friend to listen to this great song I discovered, I invite him home to listen to it. If he's currently living abroad, should I refrain from sending it by e-mail because it suddenly becomes evil?

    I think what you fail to understand is that the music industry is not in the business of selling music, it is in the business of selling a media container, a physical object on which the music is stored. The artists let them sell these containers in exchange for a share of the profit.
    For a long time capturing the music on a physical object was an expensive process, as was duplicating said object, wich justified the relatively high price of records. Modern technology makes recording and duplicating cheap and easy, so these people (music industry) simply have nothing to sell anymore.

    As for the artists, they will be just fine. There's plenty of ways to make money off your music. You can play live shows, you can offer it for download with ads on the page, you can sell merchandise, you can sell a container that's desirable and expensive/hard to duplicate (a cd in a nice looking digipack, or with a poster or whatever)... And yes, there was music and professional musicians before the invention of the gramophone.
  • Re:Capitals? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FauxPasIII ( 75900 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @07:58AM (#21376999)
    > i guess you'd freely give up what money and property you own because you're not "greedy", right?

    Would I give up some of my money to support a sensible plan to improve the overall standard of living in my nation? You betcha! Voila une liberal!
  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @08:05AM (#21377019) Journal

    Say funeral arrangements. People do indeed provide that service, and we pay them for it. Now say that a medical breakthrough happens and dying becomes a thing of the past. No more dead, no more need for burials. Should YOU then be legally forced to die, just so funeral directors can continue making a living supplying that service?

    What I am saying is that if musicians can't make a living making music, they should stop doing that. Demand and supply, this does NOT mean, as you seem to think, that if you supply that you are entitled to a demand.

    Times change. Monks were once able to support their monestary by handcopying books. With the invention of the printing press, that job vanished. Should society be forced to stand still just so a handfull can enjoy the living they once did.

    Get this straight, I am not saying music should be free. I am saying that if people don't want to pay for your music, don't make it.

    Perhaps I spend too much time around performance artists. This is a group of people that feel they deserve tax money for their art. They need the tax money because nobody is willing to pay for it.

    I am going to introduce a law, and you must follow it, when ever you come across a street performer you MUST donate 10 dollars. You saw it, you gonna pay for it.

    Offcourse that is silly, as silly as people thinking they have a right to make a living in any job they feel like. I would LOVE to make a living as a gigolo for beautifull young ladies. Ain't going to happen and if the world isn't willing to bend over backwards for my needs then I sure as hell am not going to give a shit about some kid who wants to become rich making music in world that doesn't want to pay for music. Find another job, do it for free. I had to do that, I am forced to just do my amazing love making as a hobby with no more compensation that a "job well done".

  • by SerpentMage ( 13390 ) <[ ] ['' in gap]> on Friday November 16, 2007 @08:12AM (#21377067)
    Let's tone down Gene Simmon's argument...

    1) Many artists these days are not the quality that one would expect. THOUGH, and this is a big THOUGH... There were plenty of garbage artists in the 80's, and 70's. You just don't hear about them now. Case in point Twisted Sister... I never did get that. Twisted Sister is an example of a band that was marketed with no talent.

    2) People don't buy music because they can rip it off somebody for cheaper. The reality is that if you can get for free you will not pay for it. And this is the case in college or university. I remember people used to photocopy entire text books because they were too cheap to buy the text book. Thus I can very easily see students not paying for music.

    Combine this with a general attitude of "we don't want to pay for anything" and you get a serious revenue problem.

    I actually don't believe the argument that if you have quality you will buy it. Take the Radio Head example. It's not a business model, point blank! Gene Simmons was a bit harsh in his metaphor. But the problem is that I doubt it covers enough to make a living. There was an author who gave away his book "in the spirit" of community. Well his latest book is not completely available anymore in free format. Why? Easy because people were not buying his book and his sales were hurting. And this is the irony. Somebody tries to do a good thing, and what happens? He gets kicked in the teeth.

    So in the end Gene Simmons is correct! Content costs....
  • by Fizzl ( 209397 ) <<ten.lzzif> <ta> <lzzif>> on Friday November 16, 2007 @08:23AM (#21377141) Homepage Journal
    KISS was never really about music. It was a huge franchise to capitalize on. Gene Simmons is not a musician. He is a businessman.
  • Re:Capitals? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Eivind ( 15695 ) <> on Friday November 16, 2007 @08:31AM (#21377191) Homepage
    It's a transparent dishonest and insulting debating-technique.

    "Offcourse you say that, you're a child. All children believe that. Once you grow up and get a little wiser, you will stop believing that."

    This is attacking the messenger rather than the message.

    It's also insulting. It states flat-out that "Anyone who disagrees with me, has no brain."
  • by ocbwilg ( 259828 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @08:47AM (#21377313)
    That's funny. It's a fairly well-established fact that Gene Simmons has an amazing aversion to gambling. His rationale is that when it comes to business and money, he always wants to be on the winning team. With gambling, there's a chance you'll lose. Even "his" well-publicized $100,000 bet at the Kentucky Derby wasn't placed by him, it was allegedly done behind his back by his wife. But it's also entirely possible that it was done as a publicity stunt to stir up interest in him and his various projects (Family Jewels, the IRL, etc).

    At any rate, it's fairly obvious that he doesn't know what he's talking about. And it is odd that someone who has made the overwhelming majority of his "music-industry" money from things other than album sales would take such a vehement stance against the newly emerging models for the music industry. But it's clear from the example he gave that he doesn't understand the market. He equates what Radiohead did with "Opening a store and saying 'Come on in and pay whatever you want,'" but his example is comparing brick and mortar stores (expensive to open and mainatain) with a web-based distribution service (much cheaper, much less overhead). The two business models (the one he expressed and the one that Radiohead tried) are completely different.

    What might be more interesting would be his response upon finding out that Radiohead made at least as much money from their With Rainbows experiment than they have from traditional album releases, and that there's still a "special edition" CD to be released and sold yet. My guess (based on Gene's past behavior) is that he wouldn't care. He's very focused on making money at every opportunity, and I suspect that the notion of an unpaid download offends his sensibilities, even if the system is still generating more revenue for him than the traditional model.

    Don't even get me started about his stupid comments like "Every little college kid, every freshly-scrubbed little kid's face should have been sued off the face of the earth." Nothing like trying to sue your customers out of existance. After all, it worked for SCO.
  • by aurispector ( 530273 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @09:07AM (#21377477)
    This is the most accurate comment regarding Simmons. The people with interests vested in the current system naturally don't support change. Frankly, Nancy Pelosi makes me sick by being a media industry puppet with the whole finanical aid thing. Look at big pharma - sure, they're bastards but at least they make something beneficial. Pharma spends billions on research then gets a few years to profit IF it passes FDA approval. Conversely, any idiot can pen a stupid ditty which costs nothing then get approximately forever to profit from it. How much did humanity benefit from, say, the song "Beth" versus Lipitor?

    The whole system is screwed up.
  • by crovira ( 10242 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @09:10AM (#21377503) Homepage
    I would hesitate to look at Gene Simmons for any kind of intelligent statement on anything.

    I never liked KISS.
  • by DigDuality ( 918867 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @09:23AM (#21377609)
    First off, NIN has had far more than one hit. Head Like a Hole, Closer, Hurt, Starf*ckers, Only, The Hand that Feeds, My Violent Heart. 2ndly, like Cash's version of NIN's Hurt is only b/c of a touching music video. Cash's voice, nor his guitar even begin to capture the emotion in Trent's version. The Fragile is a musical masterpiece, both from an instrumental perspective and from a production one. Small niche of fans? Doubt it. I'm sorry, when did Kiss come out with a concept album? DownloadSpiral in this regard (a story from beginning to end about drug addiction) was geniusly executed. The single brought Trent his fame, no dobut. But this album is a must have. It's up there with Pink Floyd's the Wall. Year Zero, while no where near as musically complex and focused more on simple drum loops, still was more brilliant than anything KISS has ever done. If you can't tell the difference between a bunch of pretty boys in face paint singing sing-songs, and one man who for the most part plays most of the instruments in the studio, has written not one, but two concept albums, then i pity you. As to Trent sounding the same. Exactly what does anything off Pretty Hate Machine sound like anything on Broken? Where does anything off Year Zero sound like anything off Downward Spiral?
  • by Goaway ( 82658 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @09:28AM (#21377653) Homepage
    Perhaps you should have looked just a bit closer. []

    The original quote is a quite a bit older than Churchill, and the flavour of it is also quite different. The one you quoted is quite butchered, and says something else entirely from what the original meant to convey.

    Thanks to an anonymous poster for digging that link out earlier.
  • Re:Capitals? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by plague3106 ( 71849 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @09:28AM (#21377659)
    No, not at all. From Wikipedia: "Greed denotes desire to acquire wealth or possessions beyond the the needs of the individual especially when this accumulation of possession denies others legitimate needs or access to those or other resources. For example, amassing a large collection of sea shells would not be considered greed, unless in doing so, the needs of others was jepordized."

    Is it greed when a poor person wants to protect the small house they work to have? Is it greed for a poor person to have food in his house, enough to feed his family?

    I don't think you could actually argue that. So greed goes well beyond "protecting your property." There's nothing wrong with protecting what you've worked for (otherwise, why work at all? Might as well become a leech and go on welfare).
  • Re:Capitals? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drsmithy ( 35869 ) <drsmithy@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Friday November 16, 2007 @09:40AM (#21377793)

    Funny, because I've always interpreted it as:

    The older you get, the more you understand the value of your own labour and the more benefits you have to show from it. Hence, when older, you're far more likely to care about the government taking it from you and people like you.

  • I have no brain (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sm62704 ( 957197 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @09:44AM (#21377827) Journal
    If you're not a Conservative by the time you're 40, you have no money.

    A liberal wants you to give your money to the government so the government can give it to the poor.

    A conservative wants you to give your money to the government so the governmnet can give it to him. He says he's against taxes, but he's only against himself paying taxes. If you don't pay yours he's up in arms.

    The guy you see risking his life and spending his sweat to build that road isn't getting the government money. His employer sits back in his air-conditioned office and pays hime a pittance from the vast fortunes government gave him to build the road.

    Wealth isn't created in the board room or on wall street. Wealth is created in the factory, behind the fry cook's stove, in the programmer's cube, on the construction site. The wealthy don't create wealth, they aggregate it.

    America is strange in that its "conservative" party the Republicans would have you believe that they are Christians, when Christianity is decidedly anti-capital.

    -mcgrew []
  • He's right (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Torodung ( 31985 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @09:53AM (#21377915) Journal
    "That's not a business model that works."

    Truer words were never spoken.

    Here's the truth also, Mr. Simmons. No business model will work because in the age of computerized publication, content is no longer a business. Period. It's too easy to produce when your average high-school student, with a job as a checkout bagger, has access to cheap (and complete) digital publication and production tools.

    I can do the job of what used to be a $1M+ recording studio/pressing plant on a $500 PC, and post it to a bittorrent on a $25 Internet account, and retain full rights. This means I can't make money off of the music alone. QED.

    This brings us back to square one, as you say, "The most important part is the music. Without that, why would you care?"

    Right again, Mr. Simmons. Music is no longer a business. Trading oil futures is a business. Music is not. It is about the music, again. All you businessmen need to find a business to get into. I suspect you were never actually a musician, but I could be wrong.

    Gutenberg put a lot of preachers and wandering storytellers out of business too. He put the entire Catholic Church out of business, in fact, in the space of about 100 years. This is the kind of change we are talking about here. This is big. I think we should do it with fewer "Inquisitions" this time, if we can avoid them, as you so stupidly encourage.

    It's also quite normal. The world changes. There is no longer a business model for making money off of content. End result: There's a mountain of crap out there and it's harder to find quality stuff, but there's a banquet of quality under that mountain, so you must make money some other way. There's no longer any money in content alone.

    You want a business model? Reliably help people sift through all the crap. You'll be in direct competition with Google, of course.

    Sad but true. Your day is over, Gene. Adapt or die already.

  • by sm62704 ( 957197 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @09:56AM (#21377947) Journal
    And this is why Gene Simmons ceased being relevant sometime in the mid 70's.

    Gene Simmons was never relevant, and neither are Radiohead and Reznor. They're just songwriters and musicians. None of them ever changed the world, and I doubt many peoples' lives would have been any different if these guys had never been born.

    John Lennon was relevant. Beethooven was relevant. In a hundred years nobody will have ever heard of Resnor, Radiohead, or Kiss.

    -mcgrew []

    PS- Kiss made good music. So does Resnor. If it rocks it rocks. "Oh, we'll paint our faces to cover up the fact our music sucks" is an incredibly stupid statment. Had they no talent, no amount of makeup would have covered it up. The fact is that there are always thousands of very talented musicians making very good music who will die in obscurity because there are so many of them. The makeup was a gimmick that made them stand out.
  • by Phreakiture ( 547094 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @10:14AM (#21378161) Homepage

    KISS was never really about music. It was a huge franchise to capitalize on. Gene Simmons is not a musician. He is a businessman.

    Spot on. If you caught the Henry Rollins show where he was interviewed, it becomes plain to see. Gene Simmons doesn't make music; he makes money. The music is merely a tool to get to the money.

    What he doesn't realise, however, is that sometimes you have to give up a little bit to make more. In business, it's called a loss leader. You give away a little something, or sell it below cost, and then make that money back and then some on the add-ons.

  • by Pope ( 17780 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @10:18AM (#21378201)
    Peter Criss wrote & sang "Beth," not Gene Simmons.

    Aside from correcting your facts, I'd like to point out that art has an important part in our lives as humans. Music in particular can have profound emotional effects on listeners.

    Go ahead, try to make a living as a musician, I dare you. A handfull make it big, and the rest just get by.
  • by Mr. Slippery ( 47854 ) <> on Friday November 16, 2007 @10:23AM (#21378247) Homepage

    There is not a valid business model when you say, "Pay whatever you want".

    Actually a lot of people make their living, in whole or in part, in just that way.

    Priests live off the money in the collection plate. Bartenders and servers live off tips. So do many musicians. Public TV and radio continue to exist. Museums with "suggested donations" stay open.

    If you disagree with this conclusion than consider how you will respond when your employer or customers decide they will start paying you whatever they want to and if that's not enough for rent, too bad for you

    Um, my employer does pay me whatever he wants. He could tell me tomorrow, "from now on, we're only paying you $10 a day." Then I stop working. Too bad for him.

  • Miss the point (Score:3, Insightful)

    by localman ( 111171 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @10:35AM (#21378433) Homepage
    'Come on in and pay whatever you want.' Are you on f---ing crack?"

    He's right about that... the "pay what you want" model won't work long term. It works now because it is novel, because the fans want to support the artists in this movement, and because nobody knows what everyone else pays... yet. But it would devolve into people just taking stuff because they'd feel like suckers whenever they found out they paid more than average. "Pay what you want" would end up like every other soft shareware project.

    But that's not the point: the point is cheaper a-la-carte music, where more of the money goes to the artist and less to a marketing/distribution corporation. The price can still be set, like at iTunes. But there's finally a little competition in music distribution industry (thanks to illegal downloads) and as with most competition, the consumer wins.


  • Re:Capitals? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mr. Slippery ( 47854 ) <> on Friday November 16, 2007 @10:42AM (#21378517) Homepage

    The older you get, the more you understand the value of your own labour and the more benefits you have to show from it. Hence, when older, you're far more likely to care about the government taking it from you and people like you.

    The older I get, the more I see how people who benefit from the system are not the ones doing the labor; the more I see that capitalism rewards parasitic investors, gamblers, the children of the wealthy, and the rapers of the land.

    To take music as an example, the older I get, the more talented people I see playing for tips in bars and the more manufactured crap I see hitting the charts. The more I look into the history of music, the more I see the most creative people getting screwed by the corporate swine.

  • Re:Capitals? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FauxPasIII ( 75900 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @10:53AM (#21378653)
    > If you look at your paycheck, you're already giving up an excessive amount of
    > your money under the guise of improving the standard of living in your nation.

    Eh, I'm lucky enough to have a comfortable income, so yeah, I pay a good bit. But then,
    I get a top-notch highway system, a federally insured system of banks, police and
    fire protection, my food and water are relatively safe, my workplace is held up to
    a minimum saftey requirement... All in all I think I am getting a pretty good deal.
    If we had all the money back that we've flushed down the Iraq toilet, who knows what
    all nifty stuff I'd be getting for my investment in this nation?

  • by hyades1 ( 1149581 ) <> on Friday November 16, 2007 @11:03AM (#21378779)

    A guy whose main contribution to music is the length of his tongue has the nerve to rant about what works for musicians? Give me a break. Kiss stole Alice Cooper's act, stole Ozzie Ozbourne's riffs, stole their makeup from some San Francisco Hallowe'en party, and stole lyrics from whatever washroom wall was handy.

    If this guy ever had a creative bone in his body, nobody's yet seen any evidence of it. No doubt he thinks he's owed money by the three or four pathetic losers who are downloading his drek for free. After all, when you haven't released an album in a decade or two, maybe you start doubting your ability to steal from internet-savvy artists.

  • by ProppaT ( 557551 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @11:08AM (#21378839) Homepage

    Gene Simmons saying "It's about the music." I thought it was about the merch and pyro?
  • Re:Capitals? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy ( 611928 ) * <> on Friday November 16, 2007 @11:08AM (#21378841) Journal
    The problem with the hard core "don't tax me bro" crowd is that they really really believe that there is no cost in letting people starve in the streets/have no education/have no health care.

    People don't passively starve in the street. They will try to find food. A large population of people who can't afford food is a serious problem, not because the more fortunate will have to step over them in the gutter, but because the more fortunate will come home to find that they've been robbed. Right now it's a truism that people don't steal to afford food...That's because they don't have to, because the government provides it.

    Likewise education. A well educated populace makes a better workforce, military, and tax base. What benefits the economy benefits most the people who have the largest stake in it: the rich.

    Health care. What do you think happens when a guy with no insurance walks into the emergency room with a legitimate emergency? Well, in LA, they let 'em die on the floor [] but in most places they treat them anyway and eat the cost. This person can't get the sort of routine care that would keep them out of the emergency room, but they can get the sort of massively expensive care that you get from the emergency room. That cost gets passed to the hospital, and then down to the first guy who walks through the door who CAN pay.

    There are a lot of things in society that have a cost. The hardcore conservative really believes that those costs don't exist...Everything would be just the same if they didn't have to pay for the damn poor people. Hardcore liberals? I don't know what the hell they believe in. Fairies? I don't know. They tend to push the right thing, but for the wrong reasons...Fuzzy relativist ethics rather than simple economics.

    The simple truth of it is that it is a lot better for society to shoulder costs like education, care for the disabled, workfare, etc, because if society doesn't shoulder the cost, then individuals have to shoulder the costs and that generally causes problems itself and results in a less effective solution. It's fair to talk reform, but don't try to pretend like the problem is the fact that the government spends money, while ignoring the reality of what would happen if they didn't.
  • Re:I have no brain (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bitt3n ( 941736 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @11:10AM (#21378871)
    If you want to argue that the rich don't pay enough taxes, or that, though they do create wealth, people who build and run companies are compensated in excess of the wealth for which they are responsible, fine. However, extremist statements about how people who build and run factories, restaurants and other businesses are nothing but parasites on the people they employ, and want to use the government as a tool to suck the blood of the working man, make you sound like you walked out of a Soviet propaganda pamphlet from 1955.
  • Yeah, honestly. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 16, 2007 @11:10AM (#21378881)
    Sue the college kids out of existence? What, all of them? Aside from being impossible, the economic consequences would be pretty devastating.

    I didn't read the article (sue me), but I have never found "are they on crack" to be a logically-sound attack or defense for an argument. Sounds like he can't get his head around the peculiarities of digital distribution, nor the reasons why such peculiarities could potentially make such a business model functional. Even if it turns out that this business model is doomed to fail, it won't be for any of the reasons that Gene Simmons would offer.

    Times change. Cope.
  • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Friday November 16, 2007 @11:15AM (#21378961)

    You do that by not spending half your tax revenue on the military, like the US does.

  • Re:I have no brain (Score:3, Insightful)

    by optimus2861 ( 760680 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @11:35AM (#21379229)

    Wealth isn't created in the board room or on wall street. Wealth is created in the factory, behind the fry cook's stove, in the programmer's cube, on the construction site. The wealthy don't create wealth, they aggregate it.

    That a statement like that runs up to +5 without an appropriate rebuttal is a crying shame. So the restaurant owner who built the restaurant, bought the deep-fryer and other kitchen equipment, and pays the cook, isn't creating wealth by his actions? The factory owner who invests tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars in specialized equipment, the land the factory sits on, the building it's housed in, paying his workers and his contractors, isn't creating wealth by his actions? You think it would be better if those owners didn't do those things? Where are the workers then?

    I'll tell you: sitting on welfare whining they don't have jobs.

    Since this started with a Churchill quote (well, an apocryphal one anyway), I'll paraphrase one to finish: Capitalism is the worst form of economy, except for all the others that have been tried.

  • by danielk1982 ( 868580 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @11:35AM (#21379239)
    >Musicians make money from live performances, not record sales. Records are advertisements for their live shows.

    This is a stupid notion that will not die. Musicians do make money from record sales. Sometimes, their percentage is low, but thats because they probably sold the rights to publishing houses which do make money off record sales. If there was no protection on published music, musicians would not be able to do that. Indirectly or directly, lack of record sales hurts musicians.

    Fact is that their works, under copyright law, are protected. Even if artists never made a dime off of recorded music, there is still the fact that pirating music is illegal, and that *only* owners of copyrighted content have a right to decide the method of distribution for their works.

    >Records are advertisements for their live shows.

    No they aren't. Records are protected works. They could be used as advertisements for some artist's live shows, but thats up to the artist to decide - not you.
  • by gobbo ( 567674 ) <> on Friday November 16, 2007 @12:00PM (#21379595) Journal

    I get a top-notch highway system, a federally insured system of banks, police and fire protection, my food and water are relatively safe, my workplace is held up to a minimum saftey requirement... All in all I think I am getting a pretty good deal.

    Don't assume that you're getting all that stuff from federal income tax. Most of that is allocated to paying off loans, so you're actually mostly servicing the banks, not The People.

    All those nifty civilized things your tax money gets that don't count as usury or murderous are primarily coming from the plethora of other less obvious taxes: property, goods/services, state income tax, etc.

    If we had all the money back that we've flushed down the Iraq toilet, who knows what all nifty stuff I'd be getting for my investment in this nation?

    Yeah, I wonder just how effective half a trillion dollars would be if applied to international pro-democracy propaganda, educational support programs, donations to civil society, and even providing support for local pro-democracy institutions? You know, empowering local Iraqis and Afghanis to rise up and build an equitable system from the grassroots? I'm guessing 500 billion bucks buys a lot of freedom using non-violence-- if that's actually your goal. It's ten times the domestic annual education budget, so one could easily double the domestic budget, and 'educate' the world too.

    Here's what Americans would have gotten out of such a radical foreign aid approach: goodwill, security, credibility, a stronger domestic civil sector, more freedom at home, less fear and twisting of the national political culture. Less opportunity for kleptocrat fascism at home. Very likely, actual modern democracies in target countries. A safer world, a smaller american military, fewer overseas bases and invasion forces. Less money and power flowing into Halliburton, Lockheed, and a different track for the future, one that doesn't need FEMA preparing for martial law.

  • by AHumbleOpinion ( 546848 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @12:14PM (#21379787) Homepage
    I would hesitate to look at Gene Simmons for any kind of intelligent statement on anything. I never liked KISS.

    That is a fairly ignorant statement, personal opinions regarding his music prove nothing. If anything, a quick investigation of his career should demonstrate that he is highly intelligent and highly successful in areas of business.

    Besides, doesn't the evidence prove him correct? Bands that were incredibly well known and highly regarded, thanks to the promotion of those evil record companies executing that old business model, chocked while experimenting with a new business model. What do you think will happen to new and unknown bands? Face it, artists have always needed sponsors, the royalty and churches in the past, the record companies in more recent times. Support directly from fans yields merely subsistence in the optimistic scenarios.
  • by AHumbleOpinion ( 546848 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @12:37PM (#21380103) Homepage
    Radiohead and Reznor have more creativity in their little fingers than Simmons ever had.

    Musical creativity does not indicate business sense. I believe that Simmons has adequately demonstrated that he does have far greater business sense. I wouldn't dismiss his insight so quickly, we are discussing a new business model.

    Radiohead and Reznor have deviated from conventional rock mediocrity and at least been creative. Kiss just upset parents in the 70's and sang the music that now appears on MOR stations everywhere.

    And your children/grandchildren will be saying that Radiohead and Reznor just upset parents in the 90s and merely appear on the oldies stations nowadays. Musicians sell rebellion to youth, they engage in the outrageous to establish credibility. The bar gets moved up and their antics become quaint in a couple of generations. Sorry, but Reznor will join Elvis and the Beatles in this regard. I'm not sure he will have their longevity though, he may be too closely tied with the culture of the 90s.
  • by Squirmy McPhee ( 856939 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @12:38PM (#21380115)

    There is not a valid business model when you say, "Pay whatever you want".

    Nonsense. When you get right down to it, virtually every business transaction follows this model -- it's just that we typically look at it from the seller's point of view rather than the buyer's point of view. Think about it. If you need a widget, do you obiently pay whatever the widget seller demands? No, of course not. You decide what you're willing to pay for the widget, and if the seller won't give it to you for that price or less you look for another seller or simply live without the widget. The bottom line is that you're not going to pay more than you're willing to. The reason we look at it from the seller's point of view is that the supply of widgets is limited, which means the seller doesn't necessarily need to sell to you, only to enough people that he can sell all of his widgets. But when you're talking about a digital product in the modern world, the supply can be unlimited. Once an unlimited supply is available, the seller has no choice but to accept whatever people will pay, even if that's nothing. You don't want to give it to me free? Fine, I'll go to someone who will. The software industry has, to some extent, figured out how to deal with this -- just look at the number of people making a living off free software -- but the entertainment industry is still trying to control the price of what has become essentially an infinite resource. I can't imagine they're going to succeed any more than they would if they tried to put a price on sunlight, but regardless they're in exactly the same position they would have been in 50 years ago if they priced records too high -- if they demand more than people are willing to pay, sales will suffer.

    Of course, with the current legal campaign it's difficult to tell just how much a "free" movie or song will really cost. But then, between DRM, rootkits, and the claims by some in the *AAs that ripping/copying for personal use is not fair use, it's also difficult to tell just how much a CD or DVD will ultimately cost. I, for one, am not willing to take on this cost uncertainty, so I don't download and I have pared my 100 CD/year habit down to almost zero.

  • by Schnapple ( 262314 ) <tomkidd@viate x a s . com> on Friday November 16, 2007 @12:59PM (#21380407) Homepage
    I would just like to point out that in all my years of reading Slashdot posts, yours is the single best post I have ever seen with regards to both eloquently explaining why copyright infringement is not the same thing as theft, legally, and also conceding the fact that it is still illegal and wrong. I predict many other posters will take you to task over what you said but you really nailed it perfectly.
  • by Shotgun ( 30919 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @01:03PM (#21380437)
    Sorry. Everyone claiming that "pay what you want" isn't a valid business model have no sense of history. Listen to a little CCR to get a clue.

    Performers have been dancing a playing on the street corners ever since there were streets and corners. Throw out a hat and start playing.

    You don't need a penny,
    Just to hang around,
    But if you've got a nickel,
    Won't you lay your money down.

    Now we have the internet. The corner just got really big and really busy, and those nickels start adding up really fast.

  • by L0rdJedi ( 65690 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @02:18PM (#21381509)
    Go ahead, try to make a living as a musician, I dare you. A handfull make it big, and the rest just get by.

    Maybe that's because, like actors, the damn industry is saturated. It's not about what you know, but who you know or who happens to see you playing at a club. Maybe if a few hundred people weren't "trying to make it big" we'd have some better music that we don't have to search for.

    I could care less either way.
  • by mosel-saar-ruwer ( 732341 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @02:33PM (#21381743)

    I would hesitate to look at Gene Simmons for any kind of intelligent statement on anything.

    Okay, admittedly, Shannon Tweed [] is only his "common law" wife, but she was the queen of the B-movies, back in the 1990's.

    Her magnum opus, A Woman Scorned [], is one of the epic B-movies of our era.

    Check it out some time.

  • by Jeld ( 17209 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @03:07PM (#21382251) Homepage
    "with the labels also to blame for not properly suing them out of existence"

    College kids are, and will be a higher priority then music industry. Hell, we can live without good music, (remember the 80s?), but we cannot, as a society, live without college kids.
  • Re:Capitals? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @03:25PM (#21382513) Homepage Journal

    If you look at your paycheck, you're already giving up an excessive amount of your money under the guise of improving the standard of living in your nation.
    In the guise?
    Look around, stores full of valuables are protected by no more than a mere sheet of very breakable glass, foreigners walk the streets, people come and go peacefully and in good health busying themselves to their various affairs.

    Paved roads to every house!
    Electricity lighting every street!
    Clean water, hot or cold, at my whim!
    Garbage picked up twice a week! Streets swept!
    The city bus rolls around predictably for out convenience...

    My nation's standards of living are pretty fucking awesome, I just walked to the fridge to get some frikkin' milk and honey for my coffee, my feet warm on a cold autumn day: It's like I'm living in the promised land of legends!

Things equal to nothing else are equal to each other.