Since the closing of the Scurrilous tour cycle, it seems that Protest the Hero have reached an important decision: they are through with the middleman – by middleman, I of course mean the record label — and, after finding themselves in financial trouble after producing three top-tier albums, you can hardly blame them. It was for this reason, then, that the band made the executive decision to forego the middleman almost entirely for their fourth album. To mixed reactions, the band announced the fourth album would be crowdfunded. Of course, as we now know, this decision was an extremely smart one. Volition , which was funded through an IndieGogo campaign that accumulated approximately $350,000, proved that the DIY method can be wildly successful. Fast forward two years. Fans are itchin’ for some new tunes. Would it be entirely cliche to go the IndieGogo route once more? Maybe. Would it be as successful? That’s difficult to gauge. One thing is certain, however — Protest are much better off making music on their own terms. Enter Pacific Myth — the latest installment of ingenuity (and music!) from Protest the Hero. Taking the form of a six-song EP delivered track-by-track to subscribers over the course of six months, Protest are certainly, as they put it, “stirring the pot” with this idea. Before we launch into that, let’s break down what’s up for grabs: The plan is for the band to release six new songs on the 15th day of each month for the next six months. The subscription service is facilitated by BandCamp , and promises automatic delivery of the songs each month once the membership is purchased. For Pacific Myth , Protest have opted for a two-tier system. The first tier is $12, and the second $25. Just looking for tunes? $12 is it, my friend. That may sound to be a little on the steeper side for a six song EP, but every month you’ll receive both the original and instrumental version, as well as a hi-res download of each tracks’ unique cover art. So what will tier two, which totals in at $25, get ya? All of the above, plus you’ll get a documentary documenting the making of Volition. Sectioned into six 20-minute segments, the documentary will also come in monthly installments. The band also hints perks to come — available only to subscribers. Nothing solid has surfaced yet regarding the “when” and “how”s, but their website drops a few hints in terms of what they have in mind, including but not limited to: “limited edition screen prints, Pacific Myth related clothing, and even concerts / listening parties.” When you really think about it, it works out to between $2-$4 roughly per month – not bad at all! But is that besides the point? There have been plenty of stories in the past decade about new music purchasing models that were supposed to revolutionize how fans could access music and how bands could capitalize on it, many of which disappeared into the void of space and time due to their ultimate impracticality on either small or larger scales. Does this new kind of Bandcamp subscription model separate itself from the pack in that sense, or will it fall prey to many of the same trappings? We asked three of our staff writers, Elizabeth Wood, Spencer Snitil, and Scott Murphy for their thoughts on this whole concept, what they think it means for the band, the fans, and the independent and underground metal scene as a whole. POINT: Protest the Hero are releasing music in the most efficient way and are leading the charge to cut the financial cord between band and label. Spencer Snitil: I believe this is a great move for the band and the industry in two ways. Firstly, it marks a shift in the way the band releases their music. The band have stated that this is a sustainable way for them to work, as it cuts down studio time and enables them to get the music out super quick, as opposed to spending a year writing and recording all the material, and then waiting for it to come out. In the video update, the band said they were normally sick of the music by the time it came out, and this seems true for almost any recording band. I can imagine how it must feel to hear the same songs over and over again for weeks, and even months, on end. The band has also stated that if this goes well, they may just continue to release music in this way, and that it can possibly change their future and whether or not they ever release a “full album” again with all the music coming out at once. Secondly, this sets another precedent. Did anyone else notice the influx of Indiegogo campaigns for bands after Protest’s super successful attempt? The band was successful, and other bands sought to capitalize off of this, and with the band adopting this new method, it’s likely that we see others attempt to do the same, and will all likely have varying degrees of success with it. Will we see other bands launching subscription services like Protest? It’s entirely likely, especially given more and more bands are moving to the DIY side of the fence and recording their own music themselves. It also makes it easier if you’re a smaller band. It’s a lot less expensive to hit the studio for a couple of days here and there as opposed to a couple of weeks, and it’s even better if you produce yourself. It marks what could become the new paradigm in the independent music industry. In the future, will there be a platform for all new bands to do something like this? Will there be bands of larger nature that do something similar? Only time will tell, but for now I think what they’re doing is cool, and if they’re into it and see it working long term, then by all means they should go for it. COUNTERPOINT: This model is less practical and sustainable than the band and advocates think. Scott Murphy: I was not remotely surprised by all of the buzz generated by the announcement of Pacific Myth ; all of the Protest the Hero fans that I know have avid enthusiasm for the band’s work that far surpasses casual listening. And I get it: the chance to hear new music from any one of my personal favorite bands would cause me a great deal of excitement as well. But while this post is in no way intended to belittle PTH’s ambitions and their fans’ feelings about Pacific Myth , reading into the streaming services’ details — particularly regarding Tier 1 — has made me hesitant to join the chorus of praise. Tier 1’s perks are not worth $12. Granted, I should begin by admitting that I am an avid supporter of physical music, often times to the detriment of my wallet (I type this as I am spinning an original pressing of Swan ‘s Holy Money on vinyl). Even so, $12 seems too costly for what is provided in Tier 1’s subscription. Taking the $1 standard value of digital singles on Bandcamp and many other digital music platforms, the six singles in Pacific Myth ’s series should ultimately cost $6, not $12. PTH addressed this by pointing out that an instrumental version of each track accompanies each single, which technically fleshes the price out to $12. But there should be a great deal of stress placed on the “technically” in the band’s defense; after all, these are instrumental versions of existing songs, not additional instrumental songs themselves. It also seems strange that PTH would make the removal of Rody Walker’s vocals – arguably one of the most compelling features of their music – a selling point for these six additional tracks. Touting each track’s high-resolution artwork, lyrics and liner notes is also strange considering how innate this is for many digital and physical avenues of purchasing music, including albums that contain these things while also bearing a lower price tag. Admittedly, the final set of perks – including full music scores, video playthroughs, music videos, subscriber-only merch and “lots of other treats” – may be justifiable of the $12 subscription for some fans. However, this last piece brings me to my next issue with the service… Pacific Myth mimics Tidal in its exclusionary tactics. In anticipating the argument that “true fans” of the band should be willing to support them (something that I agree with as a general principle), let me point out that PTH uploaded a full stream of their latest album Volition prior to its reelase (via Metal Injection ): I make this point to help illustrate the fact that pre (and post) release streaming is a prevalent part of modern music consumption, and for good reason. This tool is not a product of our “entitlement culture,” but a sign of progress and empowerment of music consumers. I challenge anyone to make a convincing argument that the ability to sample music before purchasing is not an improvement from the ghosts of record stores past, with their blind buys based solely upon cover art, recommendations from friends & fan-zines and possibly – depending on the genre – singles played on MTV or the radio. While it may seem like heresy to treat music like a product…it is. I will never have the enough money to completely fulfill my album wish list; every trip to a record store involves me putting records back in the crates due to insufficient funds, not because of my lack of desire to support the artists. Streaming services like Bandcamp and Spotify allow me to legally sample the abundance of music that interests me so that I can determine which albums worth buying. By PTH making a subscription necessary to even listen to the Pacific Myth ’s six tracks, they are removing the democratization of sound that has become a crucial cultural norm. This is not a matter of weeding out the fans who want to free ride via streaming; as I alluded and link to above, PTH clearly realizes that the purpose of legal streaming stretches far beyond this. Well, maybe not entirely, as their comment that “unlike some other streaming platforms, we still believe that our music has value” misrepresents a key detail of modern streaming. Spotify (and other streaming services) are not truly as evil as some people (*cough* labels *cough*) would like you to believe. While I implore you to read the entirety of David Von Wiegandt’s excellent article detailing the legal nuances required of streaming services ( here ), I will attempt to summarize it as best as I can here: Legally speaking, streaming differs from digital downloads in that it constitutes a “performance” of a song, with further implications arising from the listener’s relation to that performance. Pandora, for example, is exempt from these complications because it offers an involuntary, randomized mode of access. But since Spotify’s users may access music voluntarily, the need for multiple, complex layers of copyright permissions are triggered, to the detriment of both Spotify and artists. Spotify had to pay heavy royalty fees when negotiating with the four major American record labels (to the tune of $300 million), and because of the power held by these labels in relation to their artists, artists receive roughly 1/10 th of a cent per stream instead of the 45% of total royalties that they would be entitled to if the Copyright Act were altered in a just manner. Stepping away from the legal jargon, the TL;DR point is this: Spotify has become an easy target of misguided anger from artists, causing artists to toughen up and send strongly worded Tweets which Spotify then responds to in a PR friendly tone, all while label executives use revenue profits as cum-rags. This is not to say that Spotify and other streaming services bear no responsibility to stand up for artists; they should, even if they are profit-driven businesses. But the efforts made to fix this problem by services like Tidal have been bogged down by a myriad of issues, with Pacific Myth sharing one of Tidal’s key failings/misunderstandings… “Exclusive” content does not exist on the internet. When one of my friends — who I knew had not subscribed to Pacific Myth — began commenting on the services first single “Ragged Tooth,” I quickly pulled up YouTube and had my suspicions confirmed. Two rips of the track had already been uploaded to YouTube, and while those tracks have since been taken down at the time of this post, the point made in this section’s header still remains. Once something has been posted online, there is absolutely nothing stopping someone from illegally redistributing it across numerous channels. This is no way an endorsement of these practices, and I do not believe whatsoever that the answer to my criticisms is for fans to unofficially stream or download Pacific Myth ‘s tracks. But at the same time, this is an unavoidable fact of the internet, and as long as bands continue uploading songs via subscription or for regular download, someone somewhere is going to create unofficial channels of access to them. I still hope that Pacific Myth works for PTH and their fans. My feelings towards subscription only services have not been changed by Pacific Myth ; they are restrictive and ineffective sources of music consumption that curb the democratization of music and are often more expensive than legal alternatives. However, despite the numerous reservations which I have covered above, I have no doubt that Pacific Myth was conceived by PTH with the best intentions in mind, and I genuinely hope that their fans who subscribe to the service enjoy the new tracks and continue supporting the band in whatever way(s) work best for their budgets. COUNTERPOINT 2: Protest the Hero should be commended for wanting to cut out the middleman, but this still might not be direct and immediate enough for some fans. Elizabeth Wood: I’ll admit it took a little bit of stewing to reach a verdict on how I feel about my favourite band utilizing a subscription system for their latest release. Typically, any announcement from Protest the Hero, no matter how minute, results in an influx of text messages and social media activity on my end, because I’m sort-of — uh, we’ll go with “outwardly overzealous” — about these dudes. I’ve found myself a nice little niche in which I’ve experienced a great sense of community, and for me, that’s a major selling point. I spent the later part of my night on stand-by for the big announcement, and when it finally happened, the inevitable exploding of phones occurred. From gushing with fellow super fans, to cocking my head in confusion at the nay-sayers voicing their disdain of the system in my inbox, to my own disbelief that I was actually hearing new Protest tunes, there was a lot to take in. Looking back, here are my thoughts: On one hand, I was a little disappointed. Yes, I was really feeling the instant gratification of getting to hear a song RIGHT FRIGGIN’ NOW, but I was also less than thrilled at the idea of having to wait six months to hear the release in its entirety (I’m a pretty serious front-to-back listener). I’m sure I’ll come to appreciate the suspense each month, but it will certainly take a little getting used to! Beyond my own impatience, though, I couldn’t help but feel a certain sense of divisiveness about it when I saw some peers missing out on the hype for no reason other than they couldn’t afford the twelve dollars at the time. It’s come to be expected that new music is typically available for at least previewing online, and there’s a certain element of inclusiveness in that that is eliminated by the use of a subscription service. Protest is a band that appeals primarily to young adults. Sometimes, spending money on music simply isn’t an option, especially for those who are just starting out on their own. Admittedly, it was a little bit disappointing to see fans every bit as enthusiastic missing out on the moment due to their financial situation. Of course, that’s the nature of the beast. I’m sure if I thought about it too much I’d feel for those unable to attend shows they’re itchin’ to go to due to lack of cash, as well. Same deal with ultra-rare one-night-only limited-run merch. Sometimes, it’s just the wrong ledger balance at the wrong time, and that’s life. The good news is that Pacific Myth will still be available for those willing to save up! On the other hand, I was equally disappointed to see that the video had been uploaded to YouTube (though it has since been removed, as far as I can tell), as I felt it undermined the entire purpose of the subscription service, and so soon after its announcement. I chalk my conflicting opinions up to the current state of the industry. We have come to expect that new music will be instantly available to us the moment it makes its debut, and at no cost to us, the listener. While I wouldn’t necessarily say that comes from a place of entitlement, it certainly doesn’t help the artist make a living, especially when you factor in the many middlemen that play a role in the industry. What Protest are doing is removing the middleman in order to simplify the relationship between the listener and the musician. “Hey, you like us so much that you’ll throw us a few bucks and we’ll throw you a few tracks? Let’s do business.” By creating a subscription system, this band is creating a direct money/service market that allows interested parties to fork over a little dough in exchange for the opportunity to follow a band through an endeavour. It’s no more simple or complicated than that. While I wouldn’t say it’s revolutionary, I think it’s very admirable, especially in an industry in desperate need of reform. -EW, SS, & SM
Posts Tagged ‘musician’
Protest The Hero want to cut out labels for good using Bandcamp’s new subscription service. But is it enough?
Universal Music Few bands have made quite the impact that Nirvana did when they exploded onto the scene in the early ’90s. Led by frontman Kurt Cobain and featuring the talents of drummer Dave Grohl and bassist Krist Novoselic , Nirvana revolutionized rock music with their 1991 sophomore album, ‘Nevermind.’ Tragically, Cobain took his own life in 1994, but their music and legacy lives on, making them the perfect subject for a big-screen biopic. But who should play the iconic rockers in a movie? We think we’ve found three very strong candidates to portray the members of Nirvana. Check them out below: Kurt Cobain Played by Joe Anderson Frank Micelotta, Getty Images / IMDB Talk about an uncanny resemblance! Actor Joe Anderson is the spitting image of the late, great Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain. While you may have seen Anderson in the Liam Neeson film ‘The Grey’ or the TV series ‘The River,’ he remains relatively unknown, making him a perfect candidate to play the enigmatic Cobain. That said, it’s no easy task portraying a troubled musical genius that changed the face of rock music forever. ? Dave Grohl Played by Efren Ramirez Universal / Alberto E. Rodriguez, Getty Images Along with being an extremely talented drummer, Dave Grohl is one of rock music’s resident funnymen. He was always the jovial member of Nirvana, and has continued to show his sense of humor as the frontman of Foo Fighters. In addition to having similar facial features as Grohl, ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ actor Efren Ramirez can definitely display the musician’s comedic side. So, we say ‘Vote for Pedro’ to play Dave Grohl in the Nirvana movie. ? Krist Novoselic Played by Jason Segel Jeff Kravitz / Jason Merritt, Getty Images The first qualification to play the 6-foot, 6-inch Krist Novoselic is that you gotta be tall. And at 6 foot, 4 inches, ‘How I Met Your Mother’ actor Jason Segel definitely fits the bill, as he also resembles Novoselic. Segel has been known to play a bit of a klutzy oaf in movies, and that experience will come in handy when he re-enacts the scene of Novoselic tossing his bass in the air at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards and having it land on his face. Who do you think should play the members of Nirvana if a biopic was made about them? Let us know in the comments section below. [button href=”http://loudwire.com/casting-call-metallica/” title=”Next Casting Call: Metallica” align=”center”]
Justin Sullivan, Getty Images Foo Fighters may be on a break, but fans shouldn’t fear about their future. First of all, relationships seem to still be intact with the band’s members turning up at the musician’s recent ‘Sound City’ concert to help him promote his documentary. And secondly, Dave Grohl himself says that he’s got a plan in place for his return to the band. Grohl tells MTV News , “I have the music for the next record and we’re going to start working on it once we finish doing all this stuff. We have really awesome big plans for the next album and I’m really excited about it.” That being said, the break will last a while longer as Grohl has been playing drums with Queens of the Stone Age and recently detoured into the studio to join up-and-coming band RDGLDGRN. For RDGLDGRN, it was a matter of right place, right time. They tell NME that they met at the Sound City complex while Grohl was working on his documentary and they struck up a friendship. Speaking about Grohl’s involvement in their currently-untitled debut album, they added, “[He] knocked out half our record like some kind of machine.” The group has reportedly asked Grohl to tour with them later this year, but nothing is confirmed as of yet. At present, the ‘Sound City’ documentary is Grohl’s main concern. The film just debuted at Sundance with screenings scheduled for theaters across the country beginning Jan. 31. Grohl’s Sound City Players will also play a Jan. 31 show at Los Angeles’ Palladium in coordination with the screenings. See Dave Grohl Discussing the Foo Fighters’ Future Plans Music News [button href=”http://loudwire.com/dave-grohl-taylor-hawkins-to-induct-rush-into-rock-and-roll-hall-of-fame/” title=”Next: Dave Grohl + Taylor Hawkins to Induct Rush Into Rock Hall” align=”center”]
Warner Brothers / Publicity Photo He was one of the more entertaining characters in rock music and now the short life and times of late AC/DC frontman Bon Scott will be featured on the big screen. After spending the last year getting the cast and crew lined up, pre-production has begun on the biopic. According to Bravewords.com , filmmaker J.R. Getches shot the first-ever dramatic portrayal of the musician on Jan. 14, with actor-singer Rob Liotti handling the role of Scott. The director says, “The story of Bon Scott is a classical tragedy. He travelled across the world, made his mark and then died too young. He was a misfit who found his place in rock music and became immortal pursuing his dream. This is a story worth telling.” While Liotti has been cast in the lead role, the remaining actors for the film have not been revealed. However, it is known that Malcolm and Angus Young, Mark Evans, Phil Rudd and Margaret “Silver” Smith are among the roles that have been cast. Liotti reportedly shed 40 pounds in order to prepare to play Scott. At present, High Voltage Productions Pty. are currently seeking an independent production house to help them complete their vision, but they have stated that the film’s trailer will help serve in fundraising and give a visual perpetuity to investors and the public. For more about the film, click here . [button href=”http://loudwire.com/favorite-bon-scott-acdc-song-readers-poll/” title=”Next: Vote for Your Favorite Bon Scott AC/DC Song” align=”center”]
Michael N. Todaro / Jason Merritt / Larry Busacca, Getty Images The ‘Sound City’ documentary gave Dave Grohl a chance to work with a who’s who of music, while also showcasing the legendary Sound City studio and using the board that’s been responsible for creating so many great albums. Among Grohl’s collaborators were Paul McCartney and Corey Taylor , who appear on the first two singles from the ‘Sound City’ soundtrack, and the musician-turned-director has spoken more about both pairings. Joining Taylor on Los Angeles’ ‘ Kevin & Bean ‘ morning show, Grohl stated that he was a little starstruck by his ‘ From Can to Can’t ‘ collaborator. He explains, “When I first met [ Slipknot ‘s] Corey [Taylor] or the guys from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, those are bands that I really love and I spent a lot of time listening to their music and when you meet that person in the flesh, you get a little nervous.” As for Taylor and his take on working with Grohl, the singer explained, “You want to talk about a checkmark off my bucket list, I’ve been wanting to work with Dave forever. When he invited me to be a part of this movie, it was like, ‘Oh, by the way, I’ve got this music, would you like to put this together?,’ and I just went, ‘(scream) Duh, I’m already in the car on my way.’” Arguably the biggest name on the album is Paul McCartney, and Grohl considers himself lucky to have ingratiated himself over the years to where he can just call the musician. Of the collaboration on ‘ Cut Me Some Slack ,’ Grohl recalls, “As we were filming all these performances, I was like, ‘Hey dude, why don’t you come down and jam?’ He’s like, ‘OK.’ So he comes down and brings THE BASS that he’s played for 40 years and the Les Paul that there’s only four of in the world and then he brings this guitar made out of a cigar box. It’s called a Cig Fiddle, and he’s like, ‘Oh, I think I’ll play this. Why don’t you go play the drums?’ … and we just jammed. We wrote this song in about an hour and we recorded it.” He added that it was McCartney that spurred the decision to debut it at the 12-12-12 benefit concert, suggesting that they play the song that he and Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear had jammed out eight months prior. One thing that’s a common denominator in how records were made at Sound City and for the movie’s soundtrack was the human element. Grohl says, “[What it’s all about is] the human element of music and what it’s like to just get together with a person and write a song in a room in a day and it doesn’t have to be perfect, but that’s how the magic happens.” The ‘Sound City’ documentary made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival Friday night (Jan. 18) and the movie will screen in theaters beginning Jan. 31. [button href=”http://loudwire.com/dave-grohl-sound-city-documentary-cast-soundtrack-details/” title=”Next: See the ‘Sound City’ Cast + Soundtrack Contributors” align=”center”]