Heavy Metal Music, Poverty, The Value Gap and Bitcoin
Never in history has the poverty of of the "starving artist" been more abject than it is today for original Heavy Metal Artists.
Many pundits and industry folks refuse to admit it, or have other explanations, but the data points to the phenomenon of free music.
Most club level original musicians (in this article I am referring specifically to Heavy Metal) live on an income from their art that is below the Federal Poverty Line.
Nearly every type of artist from painters, sculptors, comedians to actors, have a very good chance to make more money as their popularity rises - enabling them more room to create and live a quality life with one exception - Music. Even Poets do better.
But lets get real here folks. Can you even imagine a service that at 99 cents for the first 3 months allowed unlimited access to Rembrandt's, Van Gogh's, Monet's, Pollacks, Warhol's, etc. Hell you can't even get art posters for that. In fact you cannot get anything unlimited for that. Said another way in our economy you can't get anything unlimited for any price.
It is important to note here that regardless of the delivery method of music it will always be pirated by 10 to 20% of the listeners. And this is a big problem for industry leaders, because like all dysfunctional businesses, there is a tendency to manage to the exception, not the rule. This lack of awareness obliterates any attempt to find a solution as leaders argue: Well no matter what we do they'll just pirate the music files, when the research shows that this is very far from true. Most people don't want to learn a skill, no matter how easy, that will enable them to perform an action that is illegal and more importantly feels wrong. Other individuals don't want the hassle, they want convenience over time.
It's the value gap.
The Enterprising and fearless, young band "A Breach of Silence" has done some math and the results are startling. The statistics are featured in their metalcore tune "Falling Away." which can be viewed at the end of this article. In order to make the same amount of money as the sale of just a single physical record, a bands album must be streamed 125 times in its entirety (not just a couple songs.) Another staggering statistic: In order for a band to make just the average salary of a streaming company employee (107k/year) like say someone who works at spotify, would require the band to book 13,000,000 streams in a year. This would be the same as physical album sales of a paltry 7,133! Which was about the average first order of records in the old days for small acts.
Is Crypto-Currency a potential solution?
Maybe. Several innovators in the Crypto-currency (Bitcoin, etc.) Are looking at ways to restore album sales numbers and use new technologies like the "BlockChain." You don't need to understand this, all you need to know is that the untenable position of original musicians has been recognized and some of the brightest minds in business are working to resolve it. One company who takes this very seriously is Ujo. For more information: Please visit UJOMUSIC
Who is to Blame?
Certainly the industry has culpability in its' race to the bottom of an upside down business model. This model is tantamount to a farmer selling his crop for less than it costs to water it. Soon no water - dead crop. Don't take the recent industry death squirm as a sign that all the worry is over. Far from it. You see the industry at certain levels does not give a flying fuck about the talent, which is their only reason to exist.
There is another culprit in this that threatens everything we love and it is ourselves, that's right you and me. But we can do something about it. The time to act is now. Buy one piece of merch. from your favorite Band today. The Gauntlet is going to ride this issue hard and we will refuse to give up.