We shouldn't feel bad...nobody's buying Ozzy's records either!

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In these challenges there are often conversations about whether someone can "make it" in music these days. I just read something from Ozzy Osbourne in Rolling Stone on this,

Q: Will you be making another record soon?
A: I would like to do another record. But it's wasting money. Nobody's buying. You don't have to sell that many records anymore to get a Number One. Depending how many records you've sold. You can have 30 or 40 [laughs]. Nobody buys them.

Yup, Gene Simmons announced this morning, he will hand deliver direct to your hand at your door his latest offering, to whomever might buy it.

Cost is relative... and some may say it's a tad expensive. Nonetheless... one has to think what's driving that.

[He's offering a "vault" of unreleased, --sounds like dry cut doodles with friends and etc. Would likely be "cool" to have if one has $2000 per unit Fool He said it's 40lbs of "stuff" Hahhh. Hey, $50 a lb for "rock" "history"... it's a bargain! Wink ]

I wouldn't pay $2,000 for Gene Simmons himself! He is a poster child for American Unexceptionalism. The only thing he excels at is marketing/grifting!

My biases mean Simmons would have to pay me for my time if I had to interact with him.

The Gene thing is funny. I mean KISS will always be my favorite band, and Gene is a important figure who inspired me to play music and shaped my positive attitude and extremely realized sense of self and unbending, fu if you don't like it, resolve in my interests in my teens. But beyond the cool dude in old concert videos, his and KISS' business ventures of the last few years have been aimed at grabbing for cash from the richest of fans in the silliest of ways, to test what's possible in a way.

In 2012 they released a $4000 book that an estimated 2 to 4 people bought. They charge, I want to say 5K or more for the guitars Paul smashes onstage, when back in the day he'd just smash 'em and toss them in the crowd. They have their meet and greet thing, but compared to say the Stones, prices aren't terrible. However Gene has reached a new level of, hilarity with his boxset ordeal.

For 50K he will come to your house (if you live in America) and hand deliver you a set of 10 CDs containing old demos, AN ACTION FIGURE OF HIMSELF, and some other stuff that is pretty worthless. It's the experience he's selling, 2 hour visit and you can have up to 25 guests over. For 2K you can do the meet n' greet. It's like he's just trying to see, okay will anyway pay 50K to have me come over? It's really funny actually. A lot of KISS fans are mad about this, and feel the band is giving nothing back to the fans, but I just laugh. Like oh Gene you bastard. There is or was a good side to Gene that not many people know, but it's pretty much impossible to see under his persona. There is Family Jewels Gene Simmons and little Chaim Witz the poor kid Mama's boy from Israel who went to America and lived out his dream.


I once had a dream that Ronnie James Dio came to my house. He brought a kebab with him. I put the kettle on and he sat at my kitchen table eating the kebab out of the beige polystyrene box it came in. I don't think any money changed hands. I don't know if this is something he offers to everyone though, it might have been an exclusive deal for me.

wow... i wonder how many of us have dreamed of ronnie. in a way, he was kind of 'the voice of a generation' for some of us.

my thought on gene is that he likes to troll interviewers, get a reaction, and more attention. in showbiz, if people are saying bad things about you, it's better than silence.

you know, any one of these guys could probably easily fork out 20-30k and make a very presentable studio lp. it seems they're all still talking like it takes hundreds of grand to get anything done these days...

as a matter of fact, most of these guys could probably make an album at their own residence, without any additional costs except for time and electricity...

it's the same as it ever was though, right, as far as 'if you want to make a million in music, you need to spend 2 million'... should have been a doctor/lawyer/glass artist/etc....

For some reason all I can hear Alan Rickman's dulcet tones gravely intoning, "By Grabthar's Hammer, what a savings..."

For many old rock artists it seems they say things like "no one buys albums" or "there's no business model" as an excuse for just not being motivated.

At this point legacy artists like KISS, Ozzy and such are decades past their prime and only appeal to whatever fans they already have. Artists like Cheap Trick, Alice Cooper and Iron Maiden are able to fairly consistently turn out albums for their fans because they still love to make music. For many ye ol' rock artists that passion is long gone. Naturally albums don't sell like old times, because times change eh. But a well promoted and hyped album from a big current artist can still push over a million in first week sales, look at 1989, 25 and DAMN. for recent examples. Adele sold 3 million in a week, just slightly beating Utada Hikaru's first week record with Distance in 2001. (I was a little salty about that, but no biggie)


The backing track is perfect... accordian music that still --sells! Smile

One could combine it with a Dio skew, electric distortion mix and vwah lah... Top-40! Black Sabbath Tango!

We should all have a tango like that, and with kebabs 'n tea! Well, one can dream Fool

Once upon a time people bought music. Relatively lots of music. Or a lot of the fairly limited choice in music. There were three national tv channels. There were no video games in the home. Heck, there were no video arcades. There were no hand held computational devices with more brain power than the moon lander. There was no bandcamp, itunes store, cdbaby or spotify. People bought music.

Then, some time in the future, music started to compete with lots and lots of other recreational choices. And lots of musical choices. There are 4,000 brand new songs that anyone with an internet connection can listen to at no charge right here at the 50/90 site. Some very, very good music. Also, some not so good music (I can think of a song or two of my own that fits that latter description.) For free. There are more video games on my iphone than I had on my brand new atari in the 80's. I can use the internet to search for most any information I need. Music, while I value it more highly than most of the other junk, is simply in greater supply with a lot less demand. People won't pay for it like they used to. Their money is being allocated among greater choices which means less money for music, new music especially.

So what's that mean for musicians? It means, putting an album on the internet will very seldom garner sales. It means music is no longer a commodity in the sense it once was. These days, with a few obvious exceptions, musicians are no longer selling music. They are now selling a relationship. An example, my favorite band is The Bottle Rockets from St. Louis, MO. They had a top 40 hit with "Radar Gun" in the early to mid 90's. They just released their best album (in my opinion) last year. Instead of being on a big label (like they once were) they are on the Bloodshot tag. Instead of having a huge budget, they offered an "executive producer" package in which anyone who forked over the hundred bucks or so got their name in the liner notes, a signed drum head, a cool poster and a signed copy of the new album. I don't like the term "true fans" but those of us who wanted to spent a lot more money than twenty bucks on a record got a lot more. It appealed to a lot of people. But it was a relatively small number compared to the entire public.

The Bottle Rockets play with Marshall Crenshaw on a regular basis. They rock pretty hard for a misnamed "alt.country" band. They were out on a tour with Chuck Prophet. And yet they still do house concerts. They do intimate, mostly acoustic sets in the living room or barn of volunteers. Fans get a chance to see them, talk to them, request all the songs they play and even drink a beer with them after the show if they are lucky. In other words, they create a relationship with the fans that goes deeper than buying an album or music.

I think it's a great time to love music. But it's not a great time to be a musician, necessarily. Unless you can, somehow, find a way to create a relationship with your audience. If that's a market strategy like KISS then great, if that works for you. If it's a combination of styles and settings like the Bottle Rockets then great, if that works for you. If it's a niche genre or subject writing only about martial arts and selling music at sparring tournaments, then great, if that works for you. If it's selling politically charged songs to activists then great, if that works for you. The down side is that good music doesn't always get found or listened to. The good side is there is a ton of great music out there if you take the time to find it.

So what does that mean for us? I don't know. But I do know I'm not about to stop making art. And I'm not going to let monetary concerns keep me from making art. Does it bother me that I know ahead of time I have almost zero chance of being a musician as a profession instead of a musician as a hobby? Yes. But my life is richer being a creative than it is not. Thanks for your patience if you've made it this far reading this rambling post. I really do love that we have a place like 50/90 so that we can share music and our thoughts in a very safe (in relation to the rest of the internet) environment.

Good post! Indeed it's a great time for people passionate about music.

There is just too much now! and with the internet giving people the power to make and release music, it's wonderful! Some Canadian dude like me can make rock music completely alone in my basement with the instruments I have sitting around. People from all over can connect and make their own music just in their house and put it somewhere that it can be heard! It's so cool to hear what people make on here, it's just the pure expression of one's self, with no extra elements, no need to sell a product or anything else. Just a bunch of people who love to make music!

Nowadays the world is open, we can find foreign albums on Spotify, tune in to radio stations across the globe with a simple app. There might be less and less big blockbusters, and the era of a rock artist like the Beatles and Nirvana breaking through to the mainstream may be gone, but we have a whole world of music that we, myself included, don't quite take advantage of.

But as you say, when it comes to making a living from being a musician...ya not so great. There is naturally a negative side to this, and with so much it's hard to find what is truly good. We have to look more.

Excellent post @tcelliott!!! You hit on exactly the issue. Yeah, there is a ton of music, including every record we ever loved/bought just sitting on the shelf waiting to be played again, but more importantly, there are exponentially more choices for recreation time. Best to find happiness in creating the art and hoping a handful of folks will "discover" you! And I agree about these wonderful challenges as they are where my music gets heard.

Hey Elliott -- great comment.

I think "art" has been at a tipping point for 2000+ years, (as it is today, again, again, again... opps sorry skipping record...), and usually tips over onto the artist, crushing 'em to death, --thereby enabling all the collectors/buyers to make money selling it post mortem.

Demanding to get paid has never worked out well, --well, never for the ones I've known, including myself.

If an artist of any kind can make'em pay and then do their own schiet in the basement, -- well, good for them. It's what "we" do here anyway, as I see it. (Or we'd be on "just another FB Page, yelling, look at me, look at me", -- spaming all...)

Look at the "Beatles" ... there's a wholelotta catalog been done long after, including yoko's stuff Fool Jack White released all his bounce tapes, --I was first in line for that (gudStuff) ...

I'm amazed at the "Artists" I "loved" (?) when ~6yo..., 14yo..., etc. ... I look at for example Hendrix on the Woodstock Tape... OMG, could anyone play anymore sloppy than that (a chemical life is a good life)? Now, I just Love Jimi and always will... but, geese, I was a bit to easily impressed. When I see Jimi Page play on Tape in more recent gigs... again... wow... just not as impressed. *HOWEVER, for THAT ~time~, it was fully original and impressive. (And again, most got screwed... --no money today... Jersey's full of 'em...)

I think part of the issue today is that we have way more than we could ever eat, spend or listen to. We are way more critical and knee jerk nasty (as being OK-Cool to do) than we should be comfortable being. When a "new" artist has the guts to play, "even", "here" ... Lord Bless'em ... Even being fully ignored can "scream" at yah ... if "that's" what happens.

I just heard of a study, (didn't read it), "Social Media" has been sourced to "depression" ... not depression first, --Social Media... then depression.

-- We need more "free" Rock Concerts in open Stadiums starting after Sunset (~heat) ..., or, e.g. "Hudson Clear Water Revivals" ... free, inna field above Harriman... with gud'ole Woody sitting in the grass... "Lord won't yah buy me, a mercedees benz...?"