Metalocalypse Mastermind: 'Music Is in a Really, Really Tough Place Right Now'

"Slowly but surely people are making less money in music because people think it's free," Brendon Small explains.

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Metalocalypse mastermind Brendon Small wasn't too optimistic about the music business during a recent Phoenix New Times chat, sharing grim predictions regarding the constant decline.

"You know, music is in a really, really tough place right now," Small said. "The main reason ... If you're going to do music, you should really enjoy the music you're making because slowly but surely year by year people are making less money in music because people think it's free. I'm watching friends of mine in bands who are experiencing that."

On a more positive note, Brendon discussed the idea of Metalocalypse and how it initially came to be. "I went to music school a long time ago, and before that, I was listening to lots of metal and guitar-driven music," he said. "Once I got to music school, it's weird; you want to learn all types of things and different styles. Like in the 'Doomstar' record, I got to play around with '70s power-pop stuff and classical-style music. And that's the type of stuff you learn at music school.

"You get pulled in a lot of directions and lose your musical identity to a certain degree, which isn't necessarily a bad thing," he continued. "But then I started getting back into metal again, and I started going out and seeing lots of different shows and playing on my guitar. And that's where Metalocalpyse came from: Me falling back in love with my guitar. And using the show as an excuse for me playing the guitar really helped."

Discussing other animated series on today's market, the musician singled out "South Park" as the only feature still making him genuinely laugh. "I like animated features, but, um, the only thing I really watch is 'South Park' because that still makes me laugh. There's plenty of great stuff out there. I just tend to stay away from it ... Almost like if you work in a chocolate factory, you don't want to come home and eat chocolate, you know? You want something savory."

23 comments sorted by best / new / date

    eddiehimself
    I'm not so bothered about the piracy any more, because it looks like it's here to stay. What does make me annoyed though is people talking about musicians as if they don't deserve to make any money from music. As if they should just go and tour the country and play all these shows and just do it for free. It's mad.
    Niiko
    Agreed. For me piracy isn't what I have a problem with, it's peoples views that it's somehow owed to them and their silly justifications that annoys me.
    l0ld4v3
    But they don't, they never did, everything was paid by the label, and the label expects all that investment in return. Who handles the money? Going independent is the way to go, but that means saying bye bye to the behemoth that allowed for a "rockstar" kind of life style. Handling business on your own, **** the manager and the label.
    Nickpocalypse
    Music is in a fine place; people who want to use music to make money are in a really tough place. It's an important distinction.
    KingV911
    It takes money to survive, especially if you have a family. It's a nice thought to think "I'm just doing it for the love of music", which might be fine at first, but **** you need money to live --- and to make music for that matter. It's not just about getting rich.
    l0ld4v3
    No one ever said there's money in making music. I takes work and effort to make money to survive, making something people would deem as worthy, regardless of your profession. Traditionally, music is a product of culture, not money; up until the mid of the 20th century someone thought about making money out of musicians.
    Nickpocalypse
    Might be a good idea to have a job then. Of course it would be nice to be able to just make music all day long, but this isn't, and hasn't really been a very realistic goal; those who are able to do it are exceptions to the rule.
    Rimfrost
    If artist could sell their product and earn money selling it (more money than it cost to produce it) they would be able to live making music. Unfortunately the world doesn´t work this way anymore, music is a worthless product...
    kcmoon5150
    Music shouldnt be about the money... Art shouldnt be about the money
    ibanez124
    I hate these statements. I love playing music as much as the next guy, but you can't tell me that if someone paid you to play music you wouldn't do it.
    Rimfrost
    The point is, music shouldn´t be a proffesion, it should be a hobby, for some reason. I guess people are envious, even though i hate that argument. Just like the whole "get a REAL job" thing with Youtube personalities. Doesn´t make a lot of sense if you think about it.
    kcmoon5150
    Yes, this is what I was trying to say... Of course everyone should have a hobby and do things they enjoy, but everyone should be making REAL contributions to society as well....
    Nickpocalypse
    You're missing the point; it's not that people shouldn't enjoy living a lifestyle that's supported by music, if they're lucky enough to do it, it's that people shouldn't expect to be able to live off creating art, and a lot of musicians seem to feel that they're entitled to a life lived off making music. Making music or art of any kind should not be a means to a financial end; the true value of art is in the creating of it itself.
    KingV911
    Artists need to make money to survive and continue to make art. If an artist makes art full time, and people consume said art, the artist should at least be granted a normal standard of living like any other working person.
    l0ld4v3
    How about working two or three jobs like most of us commoners do?
    KingV911
    Try doing that while touring. There aren't even enough jobs available for everyone to do that if they wanted to. The point is: pay a fair amount for the art you consume.
    Random9000
    I love how two articles were posted almost identical to each other (referring to the Kirk Hammit post). One sounds like someone just complaining and being way too outspoken the other (Brendon) seems to be "well this sucks, but I feel more sorry for new bands then myself to be honest." Kinda found it funny.