Friday, December 18, 2015

Anthrax's Scott Ian about music streaming services: "Band are getting ripped off"


Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian was recently interviewed by Frome Zero to Zero, you can read some excerpts below.

About music streaming services like Spotify and Pandora as a source of revenue for artists like Anthrax: "You make some money. Obviously, as an artist, I feel like we should be being paid more for our streams. I think what streaming and many other types of ways to get music these days… Basically, what it's done is just really devalued music. Music doesn't have the same value in people's minds on this planet as it did ten years ago, twenty years ago… It's just been really devalued. The commodity of music is worth less these days. Albums couldn't be cheaper. You could buy a brand new album, let's say on iTunes, you could buy a brand new CD for ten dollars. I mean, it wasn't that long ago where you had to go to, let's say, Virgin Megastore, which used to be everywhere. Albums back then in the States, a brand new CD would cost you at least seventeen dollars. That's not even including the gas to get there in your car, paying for parking sometimes. Now you could just sit at home and pay ten dollars. It's never been cheaper, and people still have a problem with that, apparently, because they'd rather steal it or stream it. Now, look, I get streaming — it's a modern convenience, it's the next step of where things are going, as far as how to get your music, and I don't have a problem with that. Look, I was one of the first people to get an iPod. I love iTunes, I love having all my shit right here in my phone; I love the convenience of that. I even like streaming, because it will turn me on to music that maybe I wouldn't have heard before and then I'll go and buy the record. But I just feel like, once again, bands are getting ripped off by these streaming services. If Spotify would pay more money to the bands for the art they're creating, I think just in general people would have a better view of music and think it was worth more. Music should be worth something. It is worth something. We're creating art, and these businesses have completely devalued what we do, and obviously I think that's bullshit."

About bands like Anthrax focusing more on touring than selling recorded music: "Well, of course, we do focus on that. We've been touring since 1984. We're not a band that was ever an MTV band or a radio band. We're not a pop band; we play metal. So touring has been our life since the beginning of this band. That's how we've gotten our music out there to people, and that's how we still do it: we get out and we play great live shows. It's something we can control. We can only control a few things as a band — obviously, the songs we write, the records we make and the shows we play. Everything else is out of our control. So being a great live band has been something that we've always focused on, since Day One. Because we want people to come see the band, get blown away, wanna come back again. If they don't own the record, they wanna go home and get that record as soon as they leave the show. Shit, even if… I'm sure a lot of people saw us last night in Paris and probably went home and stole the record online somehow. But at least now they're a fan, and maybe they will come back and see us next time we play again. That's our job. I do agree with that school of thought. It is our job to be a great live band; it has been since the beginning. I have no problem with that thought."

About where he sees the music industry going in the coming years: "Who knows? You know, vinyl has really come back in a strong way, which is something, if you would have said ten years ago, 'In 2015, vinyl's gonna be really again,' I'd be, like, 'What? No way!' But vinyl is back in a big way — so much so that it takes almost five months to get your vinyl done for a release date. You need so much time because there's not many vinyl manufacturers now. There's more demand than there is the ability to even make the shit. So I think that's awesome, that vinyl has come back so big. And I hope it stays. I hope it stays around, 'cause I think the vinyl experience, certainly for people who weren't old enough to have experienced vinyl in the first place. 'Cause, shit, vinyl started to disappear in the '80s — just think about it — when CDs took over. So when you think about it, a lot of people who are buying music these days never had that experience of putting on a record. So I think it's cool for people of an age group who never experienced it the first time around are now getting to experience vinyl, so that's really cool. Where it goes from here, I don't know. I think the streaming model is definitely cool. I just hope it could get sorted out for bands where bands are getting more than their share that they're getting now, let's put it that way — more of a fair share of the cut, anyway. Because I think streaming is a good model; it just… the business end of it, I think, needs to be worked out. And who knows? I mean, I'm looking… I can't wait for when you're just gonna get a little chip implanted somewhere in your head and that'll be your phone, it'll be your 'iChip' and Apple will just implant something in your head and you'll have all your music and you'll just be able to think about who you wanna call and you'll be able to call them. It's like that TV show 'Black Mirror', if you've seen it or not. I think that's probably the way of the future at some point. The shit's just gonna be inside us."