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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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  • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @04:46AM (#21375961) Journal

    "If you're not a Liberal when you're 18 you have no heart. If you're not a Conservative by the time you're 40, you have no brain." --Winston Churchill (at least according to the first Google hit I found).

    • by AuMatar ( 183847 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @05:16AM (#21376133)
      Note that in Europe, liberal and conservative have different meaning than in the US. There, liberal means anti-government, close to a libertarian. Margaret Thatcher called Ronald Regan the greatest liberal of our time.
      • by kaos07 ( 1113443 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @05:59AM (#21376375)
        Actually considering Winston Churchill is English, and the quote has Liberal and Conservative with capitals, it's more likely he was talking about the British Liberal Party and the British Conservative Party, the Liberal Party (Now called the Liberal Democrats), is in the centre of the spectrum though in some cases lies slightly to the left. They're not to be confused with the Australian Liberal Party which is in fact Australia's conservative party. Great stuff. Also above poster is incorrect. In Europe liberal does not mean anti-government, and it is nowhere near libertarian. Just about everyone outside the US views libertarianism as some sort of extreme anarcho-capitalism being economically far right, and socially conservative (Small government). Liberal's (In Europe) lie to the left on matters of the economy and as a result believe in free healthcare, education, a reserve bank etc. The main reason for these differences in ideology, I believe, is that in the US the matter of the economy is already settling - capitalism is the only force people will tolerate, so the choice between parties lies on social issues. Whereas in Europe it's not so cut and dried. There's Communist Parties, Socialist Parties and Green Parties who all believe in government interference in the market as well as disagree with the conservatives on social issues. Anyway, how's that Gene Simmons doing these days...
        • 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.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by damontal ( 806788 )
            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?
            • 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!
              • Re:Capitals? (Score:4, Informative)

                by EastCoastSurfer ( 310758 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @09:48AM (#21377863)
                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.
                • 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 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.

                • 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!
          • 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.

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

              by Dr. Evil ( 3501 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @09:58AM (#21377979)

              It's not a deep nugget of wisdom. It was a clever insult. Best not to read too deeply into it.

              But then, those who are using it are probably not the best judges of brains anyway:


              "Conservative by the time you're 35"

              "If you're not a liberal when you're 25, you have no heart. If you're not a conservative by the time you're 35, you have no brain." There is no record of anyone hearing Churchill say this. Paul Addison of Edinburgh University makes this comment: "Surely Churchill can't have used the words attributed to him. He'd been a Conservative at 15 and a Liberal at 35! And would he have talked so disrespectfully of Clemmie, who is generally thought to have been a lifelong Liberal?"

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Mr. Slippery ( 47854 )

              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,

            • 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:Capitals? (Score:4, Interesting)

            by clary ( 141424 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @10:44AM (#21378555)

            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.

            I'm over 40, care about the welfare of my fellow man, and try to do my part to make the world better. However, I don't want to take other people's stuff against their will to do it. I use my own time, talent, and treasure. That is the key difference between liberal/conservative and libertarian (in the US context), though many don't want to emphasize that.

            Several years ago I saw a long interview of Michael Kinsley (by Bill Buckley I think). Now, I couldn't disagree more with most of Kinsley's positions, but I respected his thinking as consistent and principled. He was quite open about his assumption that it was the proper and desirable function of government to redistribute wealth to achieve good outcomes.

            Try to get such a straight answer from a Republican or a Democrat today on the underlying principles of his political ideology. You might get a vague nod in that direction from a Democrat, but he will make sure the voters know that he only wants to take stuff from "the rich," which is always defined as someone who has more money than the voter. Worse yet, the Republican will lie their tails off, claiming to want to "let the taxpayer keep his money," all the while redistributing money for everything from sugar subsidies to bridges to nowhere.

    • 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!
      • 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.)

        • 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.
          • 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.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Pope ( 17780 )
              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 Heir Of The Mess ( 939658 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @09:45AM (#21377841)
            Yeah, my Taiwanese wife recently picked up a pink Kiss T-Shirt at a market with a picture of the 4 band members from the 70s. I asked her if she liked their music....Confusion followed...She thought they were an Anime cartoon :-/
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Phreakiture ( 547094 )

            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

        • by AdamWeeden ( 678591 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @09:51AM (#21377899) Homepage

          Gene Simmons is a dinosaur.
          Worse, he's a GREEDY dinosaur. Has anyone seen his "reality" show? My wife loves it, but I can't stand it because it's all about him trying to sell Kiss' collective souls for as much profit as possible. The guy seems like he cares much more about making money than enjoying life. He comes off as loving money more than his family. I would not look to him for advice on what a good compromise in a new market economy is when it comes to digital distribution. If his show is any indication, that man would make you pay $50 a Kiss record and thank him for the privilege if he thought he'd get away with it.
        • by sm62704 ( 957197 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @10:09AM (#21378091) Journal
          He's like the guy who still owns (exclusively) an eight-track player in a world of people who use iPods and compact discs.

          I had a thing or two to say about 8-tracks a couple of years ago in Good Riddance to Bad Tech [].

          This sorry piece of crap is proof positive of American stupidity. The cassette - the (now obsolete) four track, two-spindle, 1/8th inch, 1 /78 IPS shirt pocket sized tape cassette was produced before the 8-track. The four track cassette was originally made as a dictation device, but advances in tape manufacture and head design soon gave them a frequency response that came close to human hearing's limit, signal to noise ratio low enough that you had to turn it up very loud to hear the hiss, and inaudible harmonic distortion which made them ideal for music.

          Nevertheless, the 8-track was born anyway. With its transport speed at twice the 4-track cassette's speed, it should have been audibly superior. However, the "powers that be" decided that 8-tracks were going to be for automobiles, which at the time were not as well insulated from outside sounds and wind as today's cars, and with the auto's horrible acoustics, it was OK for a car's music to sound like effluent.

          But the deliberately bad sound wasn't bad enough. The eight track tape had a single spindle, a very clever design where the tape fed from the center of the spindle, around a capstain roller inside the housing and back to the outside of the roll of tape. This made for an expensive setup, and one that was prone to wow and flutter, as well as having the tape get "eaten" by the tape player. And unlike a cassette, if your 8-track got ate, you might as well throw it in the trash.

          But wait, there's more! This thing was deemed to be for the car, while cassettes were going to be (by about 1970 or so) for the home.

          This made no sense whatever, since the "portable" eight track took up as much space as four cassettes, without being able to play any longer than a cassette. In fact, you could buy a longer playing cassette than 8-track.

          But the one thing more than anything else that made 8-tracks suck like a Hoover was the fact that it had to change tracks four times during an album. This usually necessitated at least one song and usually more being interrupted in the middle!

          Folks finally, after about ten years, started figuring this stuff out for themselves and replaced their 8-track cartriges with 4 track cassettes. Me? I never had an 8-track, although all my friends did. I, the geek, used the far more logical cassettes since about 1966 or 7. Hah! The geek gets the last laugh again!

          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

          He works for the record company, and has worked for the record company for almost 40 years. You badmouth your employer at your own risk.

          I have always been amused by Lynard Skynard's Working for MCA, especially the verry beginning of the song - it starts out with the buzz of an ungrounded amp, and it's obvious (to me anyway) that they put that there on purpose.

          I never heard the CD version, is the buzz still there? From all the bad remixing for CD I've heard in various RIAA fare, I'd bet it's gone.

          -mcgrew []
      • by tacocat ( 527354 ) <> on Friday November 16, 2007 @08:45AM (#21377293)

        Rather than blasting Simmons as being an irrelevant wanker, I think there's a more useful observation.

        The business model of music distribution is changing. It's not really a debateable issue anymore. It's just a fact. But changing to what?

        I think Radiohead went overboard. There is not a valid business model when you say, "Pay whatever you want". 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. It's no way to make a living.

        But what is important here is the Radiohead has demonstrated that you can make a lot of money selling CD's for really cheap once you manage to get rid of the pimp-ish middleman known as the record industry. The record industry used to have a stranglehold on all things related to radio play, music sales, concert promotions, and other product sales (shirts and posters). But so far, the internet has demonstrated a means for the bands, with a little effort on their part or someone far less expensive than the RIAA, to provide music sales and product sales via the internet. Now all they need to do is set up a means of doing concert promotions and (most importantly) radio play. Without the radio play, they have a hard time getting anything else going.

        The Recording Industry must realize by now that their original business model is a bust. This is supported by their efforts to sue rather than change or adopt. But they are also losing a lot of the legal battles. You can analogize this to Monopoly busting or even Union busting.

        The future of the Recording Industry may look something like this: A much smaller industry in terms of people employed with a more passive role of providing the framework for bands to connect to concert halls, stores, and radio stations and allow the radio stations, concert halls, and stores to determine their own purchase volumes and schedules. More like the NYSE in that people bid/buy resources based on demand in their geophraphic and demographic areas.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by CastrTroy ( 595695 )
          I think the Radiohead thing is just an interesting experiment to find out what people really do want to pay. People have never had a choice before. The album is released, and the people who buy it only have 2 choices. Buy at the price they are selling it at, or don't buy it. This is like taking a poll and asking people what a downloaded album is really worth. Then there's the Saul Williams album, where he said, pay $5 or $0, it's your choice. $5 is a much more reasonable price to ask for a downloaded
          • 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 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.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sm62704 ( 957197 )
        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
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by lahvak ( 69490 )
        Who in the hell is Gene Simmons, anyway? Never heard about the guy.
    • I think he got so angry that he might have dribbled a bit over the top of his Depends®.
    • 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.
    • I have no brain (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sm62704 ( 957197 )
      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 bac
      • 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.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by optimus2861 ( 760680 )

        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

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

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

        It's against making money and the pursuit of wealth into an idol, but it's not intrinsically anti-capitalist. Take the story of Anias and Sapphira in Acts for example. They sold a field for profit and gave some of the proceeds to the church, but lied about how much. What was their sin? If capitalism was wrong, you'd think they would be criticised

  • amusing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mgabrys_sf ( 951552 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @04:49AM (#21375967) Journal
    Someone who was always about the merch and not the music would complain. Unless of course he's missing his weekly coke-money that came in from his risiduals which have all but dried up. Or perhaps the band just sucked and the kids have moved on 30 plus years later. I love the fact that industry that made most of it's money on the backs of the youth market has all but watched that market not only walk away but become outright hostile when sued (imagine that).

    In other news of the worthy for Gene and his ilk - water is wet amazingly enough.
    • Re:amusing (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ravenspear ( 756059 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @05:49AM (#21376323)
      Indeed, I find it fascinating when labels or musicians insist on trashing college (and high school) kids on their music purchasing preferences, suing them, or otherwise treating them like crap when most of their revenue comes from this same audience. That sort of policy will certainly encourage them to give you more of their money. :rollseyes:

      The industry's only hope of recovering is to realize that their model needs to change to reflect current trends. I am in college and while I have downloaded music for free occasionally, I know a lot of people that do not. What I have also noticed is that regardless of whether people I know download or not, very few buy new music on CDs anymore. Some just listen to old (70s, 80s) music, and others I would assume can't afford to buy it. But whatever the reason, the younger generation seems to be saying to the industry "hey industry, we are no longer interested in the product you are offering and/or the way that you are offering it".

      So, instead of attempting to find out why this has taken place and shift their focus to offering a product that the market does want and will pay for, they have instead attempted to force continuation of the antiquated distribution mechanisms through litigation. This is a strategy that will ultimately end in failure, for obvious reasons which are too numerous to list. The real question is whether the industry will realize this and adapt before they go totally bankrupt. I suspect they will not and it will thus take the dissolution of the current structure before any permanent future strategy can be designed. It may have already been realized to some extent with the current increase in non-DRM digital outlets, although I am not sure if any of the current ones represent the final form of what the market is demanding.

      Of course, there is another more insidious element of the industry's "kicking and screaming" approach and that is the efforts they have taken to buy off the legislature. If they can succeed in getting their non-economically viable business models made mandatory by forcing them upon us as the law of the land, then it will take significantly longer for the questions of future distribution models to be worked out.

  • by Paktu ( 1103861 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @04:49AM (#21375971)
    This is not the first stupid thing Mr. Simmons has said or done. []

    In a later Fresh Air interview, satirist Al Franken related to Terry Gross his own encounter with Gene Simmons. According to Franken, he was awaiting a racquetball partner at a club when Simmons, whom Franken had not recognized, challenged him to a match, stating "I'll kick your ass" only to suffer an embarrassing loss to Franken. Simmons responds by calling for another match and when Franken indicates that since his racquetball partner has arrived, he can't play Simmons again, Simmons responds by making loud "bock, bock, bock" chicken sounds. Franken then offers to play Simmons with $500 at stake, at which Simmons walks away.[3][4]Franken tells Terry not to blame herself for her experience with Simmons, and that Simmons behavior at the racquetball made him "the most awful person I've ever met."
    • 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 phantomlord ( 38815 ) <> on Friday November 16, 2007 @10:53AM (#21378663) Journal

        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.
        The Radiohead thing is only one data point... I don't think it necessarily shows that mass internet distribution would be profitable.

        I know people who bought all of Loki's games, even if they didn't like some of them, because they wanted to support a new company that was catering to something they wanted. How many people threw a few dollars at Radiohead, even if they don't like Radiohead's music, just because they're one of the first big bands to do this ? When every band does it, you'll lose that factor because it's not something special anymore.

        Radiohead also already benefited from the existing recording establishment... They were backed by a music distributor who made sure they got on the radio and MTV, that the right professionals were managing their tours, etc. Would people care about Radiohead's new album (in such a large quantity) if they weren't already established as a AAA band? I don't see people dumping millions on the quality bands I see locally who offer their stuff online.

        My regional grocery store chain is cutting back the number of brands they offer for any given particular product because "people get confused when they have too many options." If you go from having 100 choices for music to having 100,000, you probably won't even know where to start looking for what you want to hear. Yeah, it'll be cheaper than the current model, but assuming 95% of it is crap, you're filtering out 5 albums out of 100 versus 5,000 out of 100,000.

        In short, I don't think the business model has proven itself on an industry wide scale based on Radiohead's experience (which is the optimal experience, rather than the median experience).I think the traditional companies can still provide a benefit in the internet age, but they're going to have to adapt (they could theoretically separate the wheat from the chaff and narrow down that huge selection to the 5,000 good ones for you) and they aren't going to have the margins they used to take anymore (so they'd better make sure they're getting you the wheat).
  • by Ethanol-fueled ( 1125189 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @04:50AM (#21375979) Homepage Journal
    It's clear what Gene Simmons' priorities [] are.
    Oh, besides being a greedy bastard.

    Disclaimer: I do not read EW -- I just remembered that quote from a guitar magazine awhile back ;)
  • 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.
    • 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.
      • 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
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          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

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

      by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @06:00AM (#21376387)
      What is interesting is that Simmons puts the greatest argument against records in that article himself:

      There is nothing in me that wants to go in there and do new music. How are you going to deliver it? How are you going to get paid for it if people can just get it for free? I will be putting out a Gene Simmons box set called "Monster" -- a collection of 150 unreleased songs. KISS will have another box set of unreleased music in the next year.
      2 boxed sets of unreleased music - at best second rate crap that was not good enough to put out the first time - coming. All to just make money as he admitted in the first sentence was his main motivation since making music for it's own sake or attracting new fans isn't enough by itself.

      I don't know what motivates musicians, but knowing enough young visual artists, when they start out, most of them are ambitious, just want to make an impact on the world, and make their living doing what they love which doesn't necessarily mean making a fortune. Making an impact seems to be especially important to them -- although I don't know if that's just intended as a road to money.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by hoopshank ( 1113275 )
        "2 boxed sets of unreleased music - at best second rate crap that was not good enough to put out the first time"

        No, the stuff Kiss and Simmons put out first time was 'second rate crap that was not good enough to put out the first time'. These box sets are surely third rate crap that it would have been criminal to put out the first time.

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

      by DavidShor ( 928926 ) * <supergeek717@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Friday November 16, 2007 @06:36AM (#21376561) Homepage
      Sure, there will always be some music played. However, the equilibrium music production reached when the only incentive to produce is one's own joy is less than the amount that produces a social optimum.

      When someone plays music, it benefits people who listen to the music as well as the producers. In an ideal world, people who listen to the music would prefer to pay the musician for extra music then have no extra music at all. So in order to achieve socially optimal music production, artists need to be compensated for the utility they bring listeners.

      To some extent, this is done by the prestige and fame system, but this seems to create rather curious incentive structures and marginal effects.

      Not that this justifies the RIAA stance, there is quite a bit of evidence that our copyright system actually discourages production by allowing artists to live off the earnings of previous songs. Even if it is against the immediate interests of listeners and artists, we need to create an incentive structure that is best for society.

      Personally, I think that we should reduce copyright times to 4 years, as research has shown that period maximizes the incentive to produce music. Marketing can be expensive, so sometimes musicians will release their music free, but that is their choice. At the same time, fines for downloading copyrighted materials should be decreased drastically, to about two times the purchase price, so that the dispute can be handled in small claims court, minimizing transaction costs.

  • by AcidPenguin9873 ( 911493 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @04:54AM (#21375997)

    Seriously. There is a story about this on Slashdot at least every other day with no actual new legal/economic/industry developments, resulting in the exact same comments and arguments rehashed. Yes, I know I can just ignore it. Yes, I must be new here. But what's wrong with some constructive criticism of Slashdot?

    FWIW I think the only way we'll see the stories disappear is if we stop reading and commenting on them (which means /. loses ad revenue and will stop posting them).

  • by ElMiguel ( 117685 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @04:56AM (#21376001)
    I would have enjoyed a few KISS songs on how The Man is being let down by "college kids". "Obey the law or be sued" would make for a catchy refrain.
    • by Nazlfrag ( 1035012 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @07:21AM (#21376801) Journal
      You torrent everything we've got
      You keep downloading and your disk gets hot
      You drive us wild, we'll go sue crazy

      We'll twist the facts till they go in a spin
      The lawsuits just begun, we'll get you in
      You drive us wild, we'll go sue crazy

      You keep on shoutin', you keep on shoutin'

      I wanna obey the law all night, and not get sued every day
      I wanna obey the law all night, and not get sued every day
      I wanna obey the law all night, and not get sued every day
      I wanna obey the law all night, and not get sued every day

      We keep on saying you'll be fined in a while
      Smoking crack and opening shops just ain't my style
      You drive us wild, we'll go sue crazy

      Our lawyers demand everything you've got
      Baby, baby thats quite a lot
      And you drive us wild, we'll go sue crazy

      You keep on shoutin', you keep on shoutin'

      I wanna obey the law all night, and not get sued every day
      I wanna obey the law all night, and not get sued every day
      I wanna obey the law all night, and not get sued every day
      I wanna obey the law all night, and not get sued every day
  • 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! []
    • why is it morally wrong?

      copyright law was intended to encourage artists to create new work by granting them a temporary monopoly on their work.

      with mass-reproducible art forms - music, photography, print, film, industries were created which took copyright away from the content creators

      once the copyrights have been acquired, the industry big-wigs have repeatedly bribed government officials and law makers into extending copyright protection to ridicules terms so they cab squeeze every penny out of each copyri
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Marcus Green ( 34723 )
        "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 endevou
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      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 an
  • by freedom_surfer ( 203272 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @05:27AM (#21376201) Homepage
    Gene Simmons also advocates public executions for drugs. If it weren't for drugs how could half his fans endure his music?
  • by damburger ( 981828 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @05:31AM (#21376225)

    Seeing as how my first thought on reading the summary was 'who is gene simmons', I think its fairly safe to say the final score is:

    College Kids 1, Retarded Old Drag Queen 0.

  • Outside the box (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Stanislav_J ( 947290 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @05:41AM (#21376279)
    I once had a small business (really more of a hobby than a major enterprise -- something to bring in some extra wampum) in which I sold unusual esoteric merchandise to a small group of fanatics (I think at most I had a few hundred folks on my mailing list). Sales were down and the economy was bad, so one month I did a "name you own price" special -- you tell me what you want and what you think is a fair price and we have a deal. And I had a higher net profit in that month than any other that year. Apropos of nothing, perhaps, as I know every business and industry is different, but the basic point is that often it is the unconventional business model that turns out to be the most successful. The more set you are in your ways, the more you stand to lose as the world passes you by.
  • 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...

  • Just because Gene Simmons can lick his own ass while playing guitar, he thinks he's qualified to comment on anything else?

  • It's too late (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gilesjuk ( 604902 ) <<giles.jones> <at> <>> on Friday November 16, 2007 @09:29AM (#21377671)
    Once something has changed that's it. You will need to lock up a lot of people to change the situation.

    It's the same with alcohol and drugs, once they've taken hold it takes a very determined leader to try and exstinguish such things. It was tried in the US in the early 1900s and failed.

    Gene is old school, he simply doesn't understand the way people think these days. I would love to see him survive on the money available to an average college student.
  • 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 raidfibre ( 1181749 ) on Friday November 16, 2007 @09:59AM (#21378003)
    If you're unsure that Gene Simmons really isn't an idiot, read this transcript of his interview with Terry Gross on NPR: []

    Terry Gross: Are you trying to say to me that all that matters to you is money?

    Gene Simmons: I will contend, and you try to disprove it, that the most important thing as we know it on this planet, in this plane, is, in fact, money. Want me to prove it?

    Terry Gross: Go ahead.

    Gene Simmons: The first thing you need -- besides air, which so far is free, and by the way if you went scuba diving, you're paying for air -- the other thing besides that is food, it's what we need to survive. I don't know what other tool I would use besides money to buy it. Although, as a woman of course you have the ability to sell your body, then get the money, and then, with that, get food. But ultimately money is part of it. And so --

    Terry Gross: [laughs] You -- you -- you are weird.

    Gene Simmons: Really? How do you get food?

    Terry Gross: Well, not by selling my body. But --

    Gene Simmons: But that's a choice you have that I don't. But getting to the money part, money is the single most important thing on the planet, including the notion that uh, love gives you everything. That's a lot of hogwash. Because although I subscribe to the romantic notion of life --

    Terry Gross: Well, let's cut to the chase. How much -- how much money do you have?

    Gene Simmons: Gee, a lot more than NPR.

    Terry Gross: Oh, I know. I -- you're very defensive on money, aren't you?

    Gene Simmons: No, I'm not, I'm just trying to show you that there's a big world out there, and reading books is wonderful. I've certainly read, well, perhaps as many as you have, but there's a delusional kind of notion that runs rampant in --

    Terry Gross: Wait, wait, could we just get something straight?

    Gene Simmons: Of course.

    Terry Gross: I'm not here to prove that I'm smart --

    Gene Simmons: Not you --

    How do we know? We know because our own well-documented research has shown conclusively that a child who lacks his own personal computer during those earliest school years will very probably grow up to be a bass player in a heavy metal rock band who wears women's fishnet pantyhose and sticks his tongue down to his kneecaps. Just like Gene Simmons.

    Your child's future doesn't have to look like this.

    The Banana Junior 6000 Self-portable Personal Computer System, complete with its optional software - Bananawrite, Bananadraw, Bananafile, and Bananamanager - is just what your four-year-old needs to compete in today's cut-throat world of high tech and high expectations.

    The Banana Junior 6000...Buy one before it's too late. Gene's mother wishes she had.
  • 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.


  • 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?

"Hey Ivan, check your six." -- Sidewinder missile jacket patch, showing a Sidewinder driving up the tail of a Russian Su-27