Ex-Black Sabbath Singer: 'Music Is A Worthless Art These Days'

Chad Bowar of HeavyMetal.About.com recently conducted an interview with former Black Sabbath singer Tony Martin.

Ex-Black Sabbath Singer: 'Music Is A Worthless Art These Days'
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According to Blabbermouth.net, Chad Bowar of HeavyMetal.About.com recently conducted an interview with former Black Sabbath singer Tony Martin. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below. HeavyMetal.About.com: If we put you in charge of the music industry, what changes would you make to improve it? Tony: Are you serious? You don't have enough space! I will say this, though. Music is a worthless art these days, and I believe any changes have to come from the artist, not the industry. And we have to have a new contract with the consumer. That contract should be an understanding of what it means to be in possession of the product we make. And then, most importantly, nurture a new attitude towards music that will last into the future. What does all that mean? In short: stop giving music away for free! It's not working. Stop working for free! It's not working. Music is not for free. As for the industry, I think it's time to lose most of it! In the days when I was able to sign a record deal, we relied on record labels to distribute physical albums around the world. In this age of Internet access and file transfer, it's possible to do that without the labels. The days when a record company nurtured a band with five-year deals is gone, advances are gone, and A&R is gone. Mostly it's about quick sell and out the door. Hardly any of the people living off the back of music have changed the percentages they take. I favor a more personal direct sale to our fans with a contract of commitment to them. In return, they become part of the control over the product they have. Just so that you understand the level of interest I have in this and why you don't have enough space, I have asked lawyers, unions and artists to give me reasons and answers for the whole problem we have, and it varies from international agreements on price fixing to the fact that we as owners of intellectual rights uniquely give them away when we sign our contracts with the industry. Which Martin-era Sabbath album do you think was the best, and which is your favorite? Love them all except "Forbidden". What do you think of the latest reunion and talk of a new Sabbath album? I don't have any particular thoughts either way about it. Clearly it's one of the last reunions with all the original members and that has to be considered. But apart from that, I hold no regard, but also no grudge for them. It's all cool. Are you fans of any of today's current rock/metal bands? Yeah, lots of them, and some past bands like Reef. I see the excitement in bands like Foo Fighters and Rammstein to the melodies of Radiohead and some indie bands. But what amazes me more is how kids have such an understanding of music and how it feels. My kids are stunning writers, and I can't believe they have those words and melodies at 14 and 18 years old; I never did. It all came to me later in life. Makes me wonder what bands will be like in the future. Read the entire interview from HeavyMetal.About.com.

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    HordesOfKailas
    rafey wrote: Looking forward to a future where music isn't a 'product'. Music should be free and accessible to anyone who wants it, and actually should be ownerless. Music belongs to those who enjoy it. Same goes with all other artforms. The originator should be credited, but that's about it, essentially a Creative Commons license. Ghosts I-IV by NIN was licensed under Creative Commons, which is the greatest gesture I have ever seen in today's music scene.
    That's a really stupid idea. Music and art is, like it or not, a means of making money. No one would actually produce anything of value if there wasn't money in it. Not to say people are greedy, but when it comes down to it, people need to eat and support their families. You can't ask someone to give that away for free. It'd be like asking a scientist to give away rights to a compound they create or asking a restaurant to serve customers for free. I agree the system needs to change, but I don't see how making it all free would fix much of anything.
    Mikethespud
    rafey wrote: My comment was strictly about the music itself. All music should be made available freely by artists in digital format. If they want to sell a $10 CD along with it, that's fine as long as the free downloads are also available. There will always be people who would rather buy the physical package anyways, like myself. Also, i'd argue that a musician's greatest gift to their listeners isn't a recording of their art, but a live recreation of the songs. Throw in merchandise like tshirts, limited edition swag, etc. and that's a wide enough source of revenue to eat and support your family with. Again, my view isn't so much against artists making money off their music as it is against the criminalization of downloaders.
    Maybe so, but that won't be enough money for doing things like world tours, and they won't be able to afford enough merchandise to sell in the first place
    Minivirus2
    Rimfrost wrote: I think artists deserve money for creating music, it's sad that a lot of people seem to believe that music holds no value. If we enjoy it, why won't we pay for it? It would be cool if albums sold well, wouldnt that just mean that the artists would be more encouraged and capable of producing more new music?
    Unfortunately, this is not how the mind of today's society works... Typically speaking. We live in a culture that breeds entitlement. If you can get the same thing for free, or pay $10, most people will take it for free. Do I pay for music? EVERY LAST SECOND OF IT! But that's because I like to support artists and help them continue making music. Read my last sentence up there slowly, ok? These people who free entitled to free music DO NOT realize that without money, their favorite artisits won't be making music. Sure, some people will continue to record from home, but there will be no tours and no physical distribution. They WILL kill the music industry. It's a sad world we live in.
    Rimfrost
    I think artists deserve money for creating music, it's sad that a lot of people seem to believe that music holds no value. If we enjoy it, why won't we pay for it? It would be cool if albums sold well, wouldnt that just mean that the artists would be more encouraged and capable of producing more new music?
    Mikethespud
    rafey wrote: Looking forward to a future where music isn't a 'product'. Music should be free and accessible to anyone who wants it, and actually should be ownerless. Music belongs to those who enjoy it. Same goes with all other artforms. The originator should be credited, but that's about it, essentially a Creative Commons license. Ghosts I-IV by NIN was licensed under Creative Commons, which is the greatest gesture I have ever seen in today's music scene.
    If it's completely free, then how will musicians make money?
    BurntGerbil
    Niiko wrote: In all fairness, if you don't understand the processes of the music industry, you shouldn't be making such stupid comments. "Save some money"? Yeah, you could do that if you had a job on the side or were a functions band. But what about the majority of them that aren't in either of those categories? Selling merch doesn't EVEN RELATE to being any good at anything, except marketing your product. And it's not a problem solved forever.
    You're talking to the wrong person if you want to throw accusations around about not knowing how the music business works, my friend. First, yes. Save some money. Note the word "business" in your statement. You have to invest money in a business by means of either a loan, an outside investor or from your own pocket. And yes, fixed forever. Why? Because if you're not an idiot, you won't spend your merch money at the bar after the show. You won't buy a new guitar with it. You put it back in your allotted funds for more merchandise. And when you sell out, you should have AT LEAST doubled your investment. And yes, you have to be good. Bands have to approach non-music sales differently than say, clothing companies. People buy North Face (on the surface, anyway) because they serve the function of keeping you warm. People don't buy a band shirt to serve such a function. People buy band merch because they like the band. Otherwise a random marketing exec would make millions by jumping up and down screaming "buy my shirt" into a microphone, at a tempo and key that a marketing survey concluded to be the most effective. A lot of bands' problems come from waiting for the record label fairy to magically appear and grant them their 3 wishes. Labels don't sign you until you've proven you can sustain a career. Doing absolutely nothing to market yourself proves nothing to anyone. And if you can't be bothered to save up some tip money to buy a batch of t-shirts, I would conclude that you lack the inherent ability to sustain a career.
    xplosive59
    Tony Martin's awesome, too bad his albums in sabbath were when the band were ata creative low (Headless Cross and The Eternal Idol are pretty good though)
    BurntGerbil
    Mikethespud wrote: Maybe so, but that won't be enough money for doing things like world tours, and they won't be able to afford enough merchandise to sell in the first place
    In all fairness, if they can't afford to print up their t-shirts, they probably shouldn't try to fund a world tour anyway. And as far as affording the merch, umm... save some money. If you're any good, you'll sell all of your merch for a profit and then, problem solved forever! I've never understood the "So-and-So start-up band who is yet to play outside of my local bar is hurt by file sharing" thing. I've yet to find Big Pokey and the Mighty Gumbies on a torrent site (that was terrible. I don't know where the example came from). Anyway. I was watching that Pearl Jam documentary "20" last night. They got pissed when Ticketmaster started charging $30 for concert tickets. $30!! Now we're lucky to get floor tickets for a big name Tool or Foo Fighters-caliber act for $100. I will sympathize for lost revenue from album sales when concert ticket prices are reasonable. But the fee is going to be like taxes. Once a new one is in place to be a "temporary measure," it sticks around forever and everyone learns to deal with it.
    Niiko
    In all fairness, if you don't understand the processes of the music industry, you shouldn't be making such stupid comments. "Save some money"? Yeah, you could do that if you had a job on the side or were a functions band. But what about the majority of them that aren't in either of those categories? Selling merch doesn't EVEN RELATE to being any good at anything, except marketing your product. And it's not a problem solved forever.
    SGofawesome
    rafey wrote: Looking forward to a future where music isn't a 'product'. Music should be free and accessible to anyone who wants it, and actually should be ownerless. Music belongs to those who enjoy it. Same goes with all other artforms. The originator should be credited, but that's about it, essentially a Creative Commons license. Ghosts I-IV by NIN was licensed under Creative Commons, which is the greatest gesture I have ever seen in today's music scene.
    rafey wrote: My comment was strictly about the music itself. All music should be made available freely by artists in digital format. If they want to sell a $10 CD along with it, that's fine as long as the free downloads are also available. There will always be people who would rather buy the physical package anyways, like myself. Also, i'd argue that a musician's greatest gift to their listeners isn't a recording of their art, but a live recreation of the songs. Throw in merchandise like tshirts, limited edition swag, etc. and that's a wide enough source of revenue to eat and support your family with. Again, my view isn't so much against artists making money off their music as it is against the criminalization of downloaders.
    ...You have no idea how the music business works, do you?
    rafey
    Looking forward to a future where music isn't a 'product'. Music should be free and accessible to anyone who wants it, and actually should be ownerless. Music belongs to those who enjoy it. Same goes with all other artforms. The originator should be credited, but that's about it, essentially a Creative Commons license. Ghosts I-IV by NIN was licensed under Creative Commons, which is the greatest gesture I have ever seen in today's music scene.
    rafey
    My comment was strictly about the music itself. All music should be made available freely by artists in digital format. If they want to sell a $10 CD along with it, that's fine as long as the free downloads are also available. There will always be people who would rather buy the physical package anyways, like myself. Also, i'd argue that a musician's greatest gift to their listeners isn't a recording of their art, but a live recreation of the songs. Throw in merchandise like tshirts, limited edition swag, etc. and that's a wide enough source of revenue to eat and support your family with. Again, my view isn't so much against artists making money off their music as it is against the criminalization of downloaders.
    rafey
    js81221, you missed the point. Niiko, maybe those people need to find some alternative source of income to support their passion. That's what most people do, especially if their music related income is down to the point they can't feed themselves. The fact is, bands at that level aren't the ones complaining about piracy, it's the ones who are well off and have their CD's at HMV and WalMart who see their CD sales go down or an imaginary "loss" due to the high number of illegal mp3's floating around. Indie bands are already putting their songs up for free on soundcloud and myspace in the past, they just want to reach as many listeners as they can. And I would never buy a tshirt of a band I did not think made good music. Nobody would. That's a direct relation between the artist and their fanbase. Band shirts cost at least $30, how much do you think it costs to print that shirt? i find it shocking when people claim piracy kills creativity due to lack of monetary incentive.
    link no1
    @ rafey Everything you said is pretty stupid.
    The fact is, bands at that level aren't the ones complaining about piracy, it's the ones who are well off and have their CD's at HMV and WalMart
    Well derrrrrp. Who are people going to take more notice of. Somebody from a band like Metallica or Anthrax who are well known world wide or a small pretty unknown but signed artist? Be honest, people don't even click links of bands they have never heard of (unless they are looking for that) so who would give a damn about their opinion?
    Niiko, maybe those people need to find some alternative source of income to support their passion. That's what most people do
    Yea, thats okay for bands looking to get signed. When they have made a name for themselfs then they shouldn't need to do this. Look at some bands who take a few years between each album, think how long people would be waiting if they had to pull 12 hour shis during the week aswell. I am not commenting on everything you said that sounds dumb as hell because I don't want to leave a huge wall of text but if you enjoy the music then you should pay for the music. TV licence, video games, Holidays, everything you pay for, why should music and the artist that creates it be any different? (And last time I checked, both TV and Video Games are a form of art)
    js81221
    rafey wrote: My comment was strictly about the music itself. All music should be made available freely by artists in digital format. If they want to sell a $10 CD along with it, that's fine as long as the free downloads are also available. There will always be people who would rather buy the physical package anyways, like myself. Also, i'd argue that a musician's greatest gift to their listeners isn't a recording of their art, but a live recreation of the songs. Throw in merchandise like tshirts, limited edition swag, etc. and that's a wide enough source of revenue to eat and support your family with. Again, my view isn't so much against artists making money off their music as it is against the criminalization of downloaders.
    *Download album online free....burn album to blank disc*
    rafey
    SGofawesome wrote: rafey wrote: Looking forward to a future where music isn't a 'product'. Music should be free and accessible to anyone who wants it, and actually should be ownerless. Music belongs to those who enjoy it. Same goes with all other artforms. The originator should be credited, but that's about it, essentially a Creative Commons license. Ghosts I-IV by NIN was licensed under Creative Commons, which is the greatest gesture I have ever seen in today's music scene.rafey wrote: My comment was strictly about the music itself. All music should be made available freely by artists in digital format. If they want to sell a $10 CD along with it, that's fine as long as the free downloads are also available. There will always be people who would rather buy the physical package anyways, like myself. Also, i'd argue that a musician's greatest gift to their listeners isn't a recording of their art, but a live recreation of the songs. Throw in merchandise like tshirts, limited edition swag, etc. and that's a wide enough source of revenue to eat and support your family with. Again, my view isn't so much against artists making money off their music as it is against the criminalization of downloaders....You have no idea how the music business works, do you?
    Enlighten me.
    BurntGerbil
    Damn, you said "industry" instead of "business". Well scratch that one sentence, everything else still stands
    rafey
    @link no1, nice to know i can have a conversation with the community about music and not get berated. I'm going to stop commenting in this thread due to the negativity, but before I do, I'd like to share the fact that a lot of what I said is pretty much what a guy named Trent Reznor believes and suggests regarding success as a musician. Below are a few excerpts from his brilliant article, sourced at the bottom of this comment. I'm sure Reznor has no idea what he's talking about either. Right? "Forget thinking you are going to make any real money from record sales. Make your record cheaply (but great) and GIVE IT AWAY." "what you NEED to do is this - give your music away as high-quality DRM-free MP3s." "The point is this: music IS free whether you want to believe that or not. Every piece of music you can think of is available free right now a click away. This is a fact - it sucks as the musician BUT THAT'S THE WAY IT IS (for now). So... have the public get what they want FROM YOU instead of a torrent site and garner good will in the process (plus build your database)." Source: http://mayakovskij.posterous.com/trent-r... -as-a-new-or-unkno
    silly hats
    People have different priorities now, some people don't see music the same way now as it was 50 or even 10 years ago - it does suck, but it is how they are. There is more of a consumerist lifestyle today, things are created to be replaced. The average person won't spend an extended period of time with one thing, it is always instant gratification.