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Gene Simmons Blames College Kids For Music Industry Woes

CowboyNeal posted more than 6 years ago | from the pointing-fingers dept.

Music 860

drcagn writes "Gene Simmons has blasted 'college' kids and claims that they have destroyed the music industry, with the labels also to blame for not properly suing them out of existence when they had the chance. When asked about Radiohead and Trent Reznor's recent support of a different direction in music distribution, he says "that's not a business model that works. I open a store and say 'Come on in and pay whatever you want.' Are you on f---ing crack?" When asked about music being free and making money off of merchandise, he says, "The most important part is the music. Without that, why would you care?" even though earlier in the interview he brags that he believes that KISS's merchandise is more profitable than Elvis's or the Beatles.'"

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He's right... (1)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 6 years ago | (#21375955)

...if he believes the customer is always wrong...
But even if he's wrong it's not a problem as he's already dead.

Well, he's over 40. (5, Funny)

istartedi (132515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21375961)

"If you're not a Liberal when you're 18 you have no heart. If you're not a Conservative by the time you're 40, you have no brain." --Winston Churchill (at least according to the first Google hit I found).

old has-been fruits against music (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21376051)

Elton John was another turd burglar gainst music. What's up with that?

Re:Well, he's over 40. (4, Interesting)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376133)

Note that in Europe, liberal and conservative have different meaning than in the US. There, liberal means anti-government, close to a libertarian. Margaret Thatcher called Ronald Regan the greatest liberal of our time.

Re:Well, he's over 40. (-1, Offtopic)

simong (32944) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376219)

It has two meanings in the UK: the political party called the Conservative Party, and the traditional meaning of the word. Although still not the same as Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh. They're just idiots.

Re:Well, he's over 40. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21376269)

You forgot to add inHannity to that list.

Re:Well, he's over 40. (5, Informative)

kaos07 (1113443) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376375)

Actually considering Winston Churchill is English, and the quote has Liberal and Conservative with capitals, it's more likely he was talking about the British Liberal Party and the British Conservative Party, the Liberal Party (Now called the Liberal Democrats), is in the centre of the spectrum though in some cases lies slightly to the left. They're not to be confused with the Australian Liberal Party which is in fact Australia's conservative party. Great stuff. Also above poster is incorrect. In Europe liberal does not mean anti-government, and it is nowhere near libertarian. Just about everyone outside the US views libertarianism as some sort of extreme anarcho-capitalism being economically far right, and socially conservative (Small government). Liberal's (In Europe) lie to the left on matters of the economy and as a result believe in free healthcare, education, a reserve bank etc. The main reason for these differences in ideology, I believe, is that in the US the matter of the economy is already settling - capitalism is the only force people will tolerate, so the choice between parties lies on social issues. Whereas in Europe it's not so cut and dried. There's Communist Parties, Socialist Parties and Green Parties who all believe in government interference in the market as well as disagree with the conservatives on social issues. Anyway, how's that Gene Simmons doing these days...

Re:Well, he's over 40. (5, Insightful)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376147)

And this is why Gene Simmons ceased being relevant sometime in the mid 70's. Radiohead and Reznor have more creativity in their little fingers than Simmons ever had. "Oh, we'll paint our faces to cover up the fact our music sucks." Radiohead and Reznor have deviated from conventional rock mediocrity and at least been creative. Kiss just upset parents in the 70's and sang the music that now appears on MOR stations everywhere.

Or, to put it more succinctly, FUCK GENE SIMMONS!

Re:Well, he's over 40. (5, Insightful)

Lunarsight (1053230) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376541)

Gene Simmons is a dinosaur. And, no - I don't mean that in terms of his age.

He's like the guy who still owns (exclusively) an eight-track player in a world of people who use iPods and compact discs. They fail to see innovation even when it's staring them right in the face.

He may criticize Radiohead's selling approach, but you can't argue with the results. How much did Radiohead's album make in revenue? The non-standard selling method itself probably generated them a ton of publicity that they wouldn't otherwise have had.

I honestly think a band like KISS could get away with giving their music away for free, since they have other avenues available to them to make a crapload of money. (Live shows and merchandising, for starters.) They should be distributing the music as a promotional tool, rather than having it be the revenue-generator itself.

These artists need to learn to stop shooting their mouths off against the very people who support them. I completely support boycotting all major label artists, but artists like this in particular REALLY, REALLY deserve it. (Sadly, we all know that many people will continue to support artists like this, because they're pathetic fanboy lemmings who cluelessly follow their favorite artists wherever they go.)

Are you on f---ing crack? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21375965)

Because Gene Simmons certainly is.

Re:Are you on f---ing crack? (2)

stonedcat (80201) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376377)

I always suspected Gene Simmons to be a complete douche bag. However I lacked this recent revelation to make it stick completely.

Thank you Gene for proving yourself as a failure of a human being. Please eat a KISS brand shotgun.

amusing (5, Interesting)

mgabrys_sf (951552) | more than 6 years ago | (#21375967)

Someone who was always about the merch and not the music would complain. Unless of course he's missing his weekly coke-money that came in from his risiduals which have all but dried up. Or perhaps the band just sucked and the kids have moved on 30 plus years later. I love the fact that industry that made most of it's money on the backs of the youth market has all but watched that market not only walk away but become outright hostile when sued (imagine that).

In other news of the worthy for Gene and his ilk - water is wet amazingly enough.

Re:amusing (5, Interesting)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376323)

Indeed, I find it fascinating when labels or musicians insist on trashing college (and high school) kids on their music purchasing preferences, suing them, or otherwise treating them like crap when most of their revenue comes from this same audience. That sort of policy will certainly encourage them to give you more of their money. :rollseyes:

The industry's only hope of recovering is to realize that their model needs to change to reflect current trends. I am in college and while I have downloaded music for free occasionally, I know a lot of people that do not. What I have also noticed is that regardless of whether people I know download or not, very few buy new music on CDs anymore. Some just listen to old (70s, 80s) music, and others I would assume can't afford to buy it. But whatever the reason, the younger generation seems to be saying to the industry "hey industry, we are no longer interested in the product you are offering and/or the way that you are offering it".

So, instead of attempting to find out why this has taken place and shift their focus to offering a product that the market does want and will pay for, they have instead attempted to force continuation of the antiquated distribution mechanisms through litigation. This is a strategy that will ultimately end in failure, for obvious reasons which are too numerous to list. The real question is whether the industry will realize this and adapt before they go totally bankrupt. I suspect they will not and it will thus take the dissolution of the current structure before any permanent future strategy can be designed. It may have already been realized to some extent with the current increase in non-DRM digital outlets, although I am not sure if any of the current ones represent the final form of what the market is demanding.

Of course, there is another more insidious element of the industry's "kicking and screaming" approach and that is the efforts they have taken to buy off the legislature. If they can succeed in getting their non-economically viable business models made mandatory by forcing them upon us as the law of the land, then it will take significantly longer for the questions of future distribution models to be worked out.

Re:amusing (1)

samplehead (538012) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376485)

Gene and drugs? Oh boy, you have no idea.

just read this guy's wikipedia (4, Interesting)

Paktu (1103861) | more than 6 years ago | (#21375971)

This is not the first stupid thing Mr. Simmons has said or done. []

In a later Fresh Air interview, satirist Al Franken related to Terry Gross his own encounter with Gene Simmons. According to Franken, he was awaiting a racquetball partner at a club when Simmons, whom Franken had not recognized, challenged him to a match, stating "I'll kick your ass" only to suffer an embarrassing loss to Franken. Simmons responds by calling for another match and when Franken indicates that since his racquetball partner has arrived, he can't play Simmons again, Simmons responds by making loud "bock, bock, bock" chicken sounds. Franken then offers to play Simmons with $500 at stake, at which Simmons walks away.[3][4]Franken tells Terry not to blame herself for her experience with Simmons, and that Simmons behavior at the racquetball made him "the most awful person I've ever met."

Live bands shouldn't have any problems (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 6 years ago | (#21375973)

Kiss must be one of the most profitable touring bands in existence and that's where the majority of the money lies. Assuming Gene is all about the music, why not do what Prince or other artists are doing and use his back catalogue to promote his tours?

I can see how record studio artists might shit a brick at the prospect of giving away music etc. but definitely not live bands.

Krispy Kreme and ol' Gene (4, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#21375979)

It's clear what Gene Simmons' priorities [] are.
Oh, besides being a greedy bastard.

Disclaimer: I do not read EW -- I just remembered that quote from a guitar magazine awhile back ;)

Re:Krispy Kreme and ol' Gene (-1)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376045)

Oh, besides being a greedy bastard.

Greed is good. It is what has given the first world its fantastic standard of living. Simmons' problem is that he doesn't realize that the music paradigm has shifted.

Re:Krispy Kreme and ol' Gene (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376327)

Maybe he's too dumb to be convinced when smart people tell him to give away his stuff for free ;-)

Re:Krispy Kreme and ol' Gene (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376353)

He doesn't have a "problem" in the way you seem to define it. He just recognizes that making music for a living is dead in the water, and that we've gone from a sort of golden age where we have more music available than we know what to do with, to a period where aspiring artists will settle back and never really take the steps necessary to produce the culture we all love to hate to pay for. Gene is already covered in this regard. He's more or less expressing his frustration at the coming world without a good rock band in it.

Re:Krispy Kreme and ol' Gene (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21376417)

Slavery is good. It is what gave the Roman world its fantastic standard of living.

Re:Krispy Kreme and ol' Gene (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21376535)

Without greed you would have no need for a "fantastic" standard of living.

Music's dead? (5, Insightful)

Entropius (188861) | more than 6 years ago | (#21375995)

The headline says it all.

"Music *industry* woes".

Music, itself -- the part that involves people getting up on stage and singing/playing/whatever, and maybe selling recordings if they're good enough -- is doing just fine.

People still write songs and play them, and will keep on doing so independent of the success or failure of any particular method by which others profit off of them.

Re:Music's dead? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21376193)

Fuck music! Money is what we want!

Re:Music's dead? (5, Insightful)

stormguard2099 (1177733) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376273)

A great analogy in my opinion would be if every professional sports team suddenly disbanded. We wouldn't call this "the end of sports!!!!1!111" because there would still be people who go and play after school, on the weekends. Not because they are contractually obligated to or they are intent on some sort of monetary gain but because they enjoy it.

In the same sense, people are still going to make music even if every label closed tomorrow and no one ever sold another cd. Obviously this is an exageration but the point remains the same. If every single comercial avenue of music closed down there would still be people making music.

Re:Music's dead? (5, Insightful)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376415)

That's a good analogy. To my mind, neither of these pursuits (sport, music) would be any the worse from having the business people removed from their operations.

Today is a new world. Certainly within music, noone needs the _industry_. Producer and consumer are able to communicate directly via the internet. The industry's contribution is to insert themselves in the process for the purpose of taxation, which serves only them. Without them, the tightness of the feedback loop (consumer is able to give their feedback immediately after downloading the album and the musician is able to take those comments on board and may choose to alter their approach (or not), moments after reading it) is surely going to lead to everyone being a whole lot happier.

Radiohead and Reznor are demonstrating this; surely that obvious, even to someone who paints their face?

Anyhow.. it's painful to watch the industry-formerly-profiting-from-music die (and it's putting up a great fight), but die it will. If we stop feeding it, that will help.

Say hello to tomorrow :D

Re:Music's dead? (5, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376387)

What is interesting is that Simmons puts the greatest argument against records in that article himself:

There is nothing in me that wants to go in there and do new music. How are you going to deliver it? How are you going to get paid for it if people can just get it for free? I will be putting out a Gene Simmons box set called "Monster" -- a collection of 150 unreleased songs. KISS will have another box set of unreleased music in the next year.
2 boxed sets of unreleased music - at best second rate crap that was not good enough to put out the first time - coming. All to just make money as he admitted in the first sentence was his main motivation since making music for it's own sake or attracting new fans isn't enough by itself.

I don't know what motivates musicians, but knowing enough young visual artists, when they start out, most of them are ambitious, just want to make an impact on the world, and make their living doing what they love which doesn't necessarily mean making a fortune. Making an impact seems to be especially important to them -- although I don't know if that's just intended as a road to money.

From the department of redundancy department (3, Funny)

AcidPenguin9873 (911493) | more than 6 years ago | (#21375997)

Seriously. There is a story about this on Slashdot at least every other day with no actual new legal/economic/industry developments, resulting in the exact same comments and arguments rehashed. Yes, I know I can just ignore it. Yes, I must be new here. But what's wrong with some constructive criticism of Slashdot?

FWIW I think the only way we'll see the stories disappear is if we stop reading and commenting on them (which means /. loses ad revenue and will stop posting them).

Re:From the department of redundancy department (5, Funny)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376231)

This one is slightly different

Standard /. story goes Senior record company exec doesn't understand how the world is changing

This story is Burnt out, over the hill musician doesn't understand how the world is changing

Re:From the department of redundancy department (4, Funny)

whogben (919335) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376267)

I'll support you in your campaign not to post on this topic - here I am matching your commitment, comrade!

Re:From the department of redundancy department (1)

FoolsGold (1139759) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376291)

Oh please. You know how many times the "Bill Gates borg" icon has been brought up with regards to any Microsoft-related topic?

Slashdot aren't interested constructive criticism, even if it will help make them look more professiona.

Re:From the department of redundancy department (1)

darthflo (1095225) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376305)

which means /. loses ad revenue and will stop posting them
Negative. Posting a single story doesn't cost them jack. If you actually wanted your message to stand out, you'd have to get lots of people to stop reading slashdot alltogether. Which they want because parts of the content are interesting. Your idea may work for print-style media where every square millimeter of (actual redactional) content is lost advertising money, but in this case it simply won't work.

Re:From the department of redundancy department (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376363)

the only way we'll see the stories disappear is if we stop reading and commenting on them (which means /. loses ad revenue and will stop posting them).
It costs /. almost nothing to post a story that doesn't get read as long as people still read the other ones. These stories, like music, can be reproduced for an extremely low cost; it's only the initial creation that costs money. Like the music industry, slashdot doesn't actually create content, it just makes money by finding the good content and publishing it to the world.

Pity he's not writing any new music (5, Funny)

ElMiguel (117685) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376001)

I would have enjoyed a few KISS songs on how The Man is being let down by "college kids". "Obey the law or be sued" would make for a catchy refrain.

What do you expect? (1)

telbij (465356) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376003)

What do you expect from a guy who got rich decades ago off an antiquated system? He's one of the few winners from the traditional music industry structure. It'd be nice if he had the perspective to realize that music is voluntary purchase, and without the good graces of college kids he would have nothing, but he's a musician, not an economist.

Nothing new here (4, Insightful)

retro128 (318602) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376009)

Everyone in the old guard says that digital distribution won't work. They watch CD sales slip away and think it's because of piracy, when it's actually the old business model falling apart. Sue college kids...Yeah, that'll get sales up. People are done buying 13 tracks of crap for the one song they like. The future is a la carte. Guys like Gene Simmons can either sink or swim, though granted I doubt he could sell his music to anyone under 40 anyway.

Re:Nothing new here (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21376157)

He sells his music to plenty of people under 40. I would imagine that you've never created anything that anyone would want to listen to, like the rest of the people that espouse the nonsensical slogans; "information wants to be free", "copyrights are outdated", etc, etc.

Re:Nothing new here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21376395)

Sounds like you're just upset because you found out your "rock n roll" idol is an anachronistic dick.

Re:Nothing new here (0)

Acid-Duck (228035) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376303)

Mod parent up, I totally agree with this. When I was younger, I purchased my first CD writter (2x) and back then I decided to acquire a cd writter for the exact reason the parent post explained, I was tired of paying upwards 20$ for a CD with 1 or 2 good tracks out of the 10-15 tracks it had.

Re:Nothing new here (1)

endemoniada (744727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376459)

I don't know if it's just me... but I'm not going to listen to a band that only has a few good songs per album. That doesn't sound like a very good band at all, so why support them?

I don't mean to flame anyones taste in music, but it's just an observation I made. To me, "a la carte" music is worthless, because I'l probably but the entire album, or not buy anything at all.

Jumping on the bandwagon of arrogance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21376021)

Gene Simmons may have jumped the shark years ago...but this doesn't make him any more relevant to todays music scene. Go away! shoo! shoo!


the song goes... (1)

vegardh (831486) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376035)

"I don't usually do things like this to kids your age, but when I saw you coming out of college that day, I knew, I knew, I've got to have you, I've got to have you"

Just listen and you'll understand (0)

greg1104 (461138) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376037)

Have you heard the music most college kids are listening to nowadays? I wouldn't pay for that crap either.

Re:Just listen and you'll understand (1)

Divine10 (830295) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376099)

If listening to "Your Body is A Wonderland," on repeat is wrong, I don't wanna be right.

Re:Just listen and you'll understand (1)

pat mcguire (1134935) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376135)

don't worry, you're not

What a Fucktard! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21376067)

Like this shithead ever created any art for the sake of being creative. What ruins the industry is simple minded musicians mass producing garbage for the masses. what a fucktard!

Oh come on.... (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376075)

The majority of posts seem to focus on the fact that Kiss make loads of money from merchandising and loads of money from touring and say "so Simmons is wrong". Look, the guy is the exception to the rule. Most musicians are bland and uninteresting and all the better for it. Kiss, like many of their contemporaries, made themselves into entertainers, not just musicians. Many rappers and high-camp pop acts follow this model, with extravagant stage "experiences", but it just wouldnt work for, say, Damien Rice.

Re:Oh come on.... (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376263)

I for one would pay more money for the "uninteresting" Damien Rice show than some extravagant display of musical whoredom. I would also gladly pay for Damien Rice "Eskimo" PJs, but I may be in the minority on that one :)

That's because... (1)

NIckGorton (974753) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376373)

Damien Rice has that... what do you call it.... oh yeah, talent.

You hear that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21376077)

The sound of an old man wheezing at the top of his lungs,


Cooper was better anyway (2, Insightful)

opencity (582224) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376095)

This is they guy who will sue your ass off if you try and make a documentary about Kiss cover bands.
Luckily I don't know enough Kiss to fit 'sue' into a song title. Slow news night, I guess.

Cause College Kids Have Lots Of Money (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376101)

Although when you actually look at the pitiful amount of money the music industry actually pulls in, I wouldn't be surprised if it was funded predominately by college kids.

Cutting back on expenses (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376107)

Hey I wanna rock n roll all night & party every day too pal, but in order for me to afford it I have to cut back on some expenses.

I think deciding to download songs my dad already payed for half a dozen times because some drunk chick sat on his record is a good place to start !

The richer they are (3, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376111)

the greedier they get.

I don't know much about Kiss, but I imagine he's getting to that age where he wants to tour less (and thus make less merchandise sales) and thus would like to live off royalties.

He's right though (0, Redundant)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376115)

Ok, bye, bye karma but I never understood this idea, so popular on slashdot, that downloading stuff that you didn't pay for is somehow not stealing. The only argument I hear is that the recording industry is a bunch of assholes so its ok to take from them as much as you can. But every industry is like that, the only difference is that music and movies are easier to steal than say cars or clothes or insurance policies.

Can anybody fill me in as to why downloading music without paying for it is ok?

Re:He's right though (2, Insightful)

W2k (540424) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376265)

As for myself: Because I disagree with the idea that someone who has created some content has the exclusive right to control distribution of that content. In short, I believe copyright as it works today does not benefit society, and should be radically changed. I believe there is no such thing as "intellectual property", because anything anyone will ever create ultimately builds on stuff that person has picked up from the environment and people around him/her. This does not mean there is nothing called originality, individual creativity and skill certainly counts for something. However, copyright removes, for an unjustifiably long timespan, content is withheld from the public domain where it would otherwise be used as a foundation for new and better content.

Of course, there are certain pieces of content that cost huge sums of money to create and where the creator will likely not go through the trouble unless he/she has some hope of return on investment. Certain types of software certainly fall into this category. Thus some sort of compromise is in order: I would propose that current copyright law is reduced to 5 years and that copying for noncommercial purposes is legalized. This would make selling pirated software, music etc illegal but permit filesharing.

Re:He's right though (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21376277)

You don't know what "stealing" means, do you?

Here's a hint: Pirates did not make COPIES of treasure to appreciate privately.

EXCUSE ME WHAT MADE YOU THINK YOU COULD COPY-PASTE THIS SENTENCE, EVEN FOR THE PURPOSES OF RESPONDING TO IT, WITHOUT PAYING MY ARBITRARY FEE? MY SECRET CALCULATIONS INDICATE THAT IF YOU COULDN'T HIT CTRL-C AND CTRL-V YOU WOULD HAVE PAID ME 5 BAJILLION EUROQUIDOLLARS FOR THE CONTINUED USE OF THE PREVIOUS SENTENCE SO I THINK ITS FAIR YOU FORK IT OVER NOW. I mean, would you want to live in a world where you couldn't retire on one internet post? Why, no one would ever post their thoughts or express themselves if they couldn't make a hot trillion on a pwn job! Also give me money seriously. Don't read this more than once or its stealing.

Re:He's right though (3, Interesting)

DingerX (847589) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376293)

Well, Gene Simmons is right, sorta, when he points out the core issue:

The only reason why gold is expensive is because we all agree that it is. There's no real use for it, except we all agree and abide by the idea that gold costs a certain amount per ounce. As soon as you give people the choice to deviate from it, you have chaos and anarchy.
Property is, at heart, an agreement between people about things. My computer has nothing intrinsic in it that makes it mine and not yours: we just agree that that is the case.

There's something very basic in humans that less us understand the concept of "mine" and "yours", and apply it to physical objects. But what about ideas? Intellectual property is much more difficult for most people to wrap their minds around. For example, you don't understand it either. "Downloading stuff that you didn't pay for" is not stealing. Stealing is a criminal act where you deprive someone of the use or enjoyment of property. Making a copy of a work is not criminal, nor does it deprive the copyright owner of anything. It can be against the wishes of the copyright owner, and the copyright owner can assert that you inflicted damages, but it is not stealing, just as hijacking an aircraft is not committing insurance fraud.

So, we've got property rights that are agreed upon by a society, or so we think, and some of those, few people really seem to understand, and yet affect everybody. Worse, these are relative young "rights". Copyrights came in with mass printing and were built to combat mass printing. With the cost of duplication practically nil, and the means of communication readily available, Copyright law, as it is now, is just impractical: it's designed for mass infringement cases, not as a means of generating revenue.

On the one hand, human behavior in these matters has not changed since the beginning of written communication: people copy what interests them, and don't immediately grasp the notion of paying for an instantion of an idea (they do, however, immediately grasp the importance of paying someone to produce ideas). On the other hand, we have a handful of companies with a business model based on the high cost of mass production and distribution confronted with a change to an environment of cheap distribution and individualized production. And there's no worse citizen than a fading elite. The music industry in particular made this worse by focusing on saturating the market with a few insipid "hits", and overexposing the listeners: to the average person, that song that they're hearing several times a day isn't worth anything in itself.

So to answer your question: nobody's saying downloading music without paying for it is ok. I say that, yes, downloading music without paying for is ok, when the copyright holders make it available for free.

Re:He's right though (5, Insightful)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376311)

I never understood this idea, so popular on slashdot, that downloading stuff that you didn't pay for is somehow not stealing.

It is wrong, and illegal, but it isn't stealing.

  • Stealing is where you take something and the owner no longer has it. This is a criminal offense.
  • Copyright infringement is where you copy something. The owner still has it, but the owner doesn't get paid for the copy (note: this is not the same as the owner "losing money" since the infringer may not necessarilly have bought it anyway). This is a civil offense.

Stealing and copyright infringement are covered by different laws and they have different effects on the victims of the crimes and society in general, they are not the same thing.

That doesn't make copyright infringement right. However, there needs to be some flexibility here.

For example, I generally download an album before I buy it. If I like what I hear I go out and buy the CD, if not, I delete what I downloaded. If I can't hear something before buying it I probably won't buy it because I've bought too many CDs I thought were going to be good and turned out to be complete crap. And what's wrong with this? Consider it promotion for the bands - if their music is good then it makes them more money because I'm more likely to spend my money on CDs I _know_ are good rather than taking a gamble.

Can anybody fill me in as to why downloading music without paying for it is ok?

It isn't. But can you fill me in as to why the following behaviour is ok:
  • Suing thousands of people who can't afford to defend themselves despite having only circumstantial evidence that they have committed any crime (and thus forcing potentially innocent people to settle at great expense)
  • Preventing customers from accessing content which they have legitimately purchased, by means of various (potentially illegal) DRM systems (which often the customer is not informed about prior to purchase).
  • Criminalising people who who want to listen to their legally purchased CDs on their MP3 players.

At the moment, the quality of the official product is frequently substandard compared to the blackmarket product. People generally like paying and staying within the law, but when it starts to become impossible to use the legally purchased product, is it any surprise that people stop buying it?

Re:He's right though (1)

uglyduckling (103926) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376399)

It's not stealing because stealing (i.e. theft) is the crime of permenantly depriving someone of their property; e.g. in English law "...a person is guilty of theft if: he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it..." [] . When a track is downloaded from the internet, no property has been appropriated, no-one has been deprived of anything. I'm not say it's not illegal, but it's not stealing. Punching someone in the face would be criminal in most circumstances, but it wouldn't be 'theft of their good looks' or some other convolution to make it sound like stealing.

As has been amply explained by others, copyright laws are a (relatively) modern contrivance intended to enable a minory of talented artists to generate sufficient revenue from their arts that they need not 'keep the day job', because as a society we (presumably) feel that their arts enrich society as a whole and we would not benefit from them so readily if they had to hold down another job. A multi-billion dollar industry has grown up around these artists, such that the industry is far richer and more powerful than most of the artists themselves, and they are desparately trying to protect their revenue stream. One of their strategies is to try to redefine copyright infringement as 'theft' which they have been largely successful in doing, even though it's utter nonsense.

The notion of 'intellectual property' has also been invented in order to confuse the issue. Sadly this is still all about companies trying to extract the maximum revenue from an idea or invention - often something that the company themselves neither thought of nor developed. There is a place for some sort of 'ownership of ideas' so that plagiarism is avoided, but this unfortunately has little to do with copyright.

Re:He's right though (1)

muftak (636261) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376413)

I just downloaded a copy of your comment without paying for it! I'm a thief!

Re:He's right though (2, Insightful)

Martian_Kyo (1161137) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376477)

The fact that it's so easy to replicate/steal, makes you wonder should it really cost that much?

If there was a machine that can replicate a 500,000 dollar car for 100 dollars....wouldn't you be asking yourself....should I really pay 499,900 dollars just for design?...should cars cost so much?

But... he's totally right! (DRM or prosecution?) (2, Insightful)

compumike (454538) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376137)

From the article:

Every little college kid, every freshly-scrubbed little kid's face should have been sued off the face of the earth. They should have taken their houses and cars and nipped it right there in the beginning. Those kids are putting 100,000 to a million people out of work. How can you pick on them? They've got freckles. That's a crook. He may as well be wearing a bandit's mask.
While the imagery is over the top, as is the assertion that it's absolutely every kid, the basic message is just about correct: lots of people are pirating music. I've been reading the other slashdot responses talking about the failure of the traditional CD business model... and believe it or not, the industry has (slowly) come around to alternatives, like per-track pricing. But even still, people continue to pirate at an alarming rate. And more than that, they think it's morally OK. And they think it's justified because of the failure of the music industry to adapt. That's plain wrong: the slow movement of the music industry doesn't make it right to illegally circumvent the legal market for their goods.

And I think he's generally right that pirates need to be taken to court and prosecuted. This is a far better alternative than DRM, which hurts legal users too. Prosecute the criminals. I don't think that the slashdot audience can be self-consistent if it's both opposed to DRM and to prosecuting criminals.

Get started with microcontrollers today! []

Re:But... he's totally right! (DRM or prosecution? (3, Interesting)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376255)

why is it morally wrong?

copyright law was intended to encourage artists to create new work by granting them a temporary monopoly on their work.

with mass-reproducible art forms - music, photography, print, film, industries were created which took copyright away from the content creators

once the copyrights have been acquired, the industry big-wigs have repeatedly bribed government officials and law makers into extending copyright protection to ridicules terms so they cab squeeze every penny out of each copyright they own, while the creator makes next to nothing from their work.

so, is it morally right for large corporations to bend laws and buy-out politicians to allow their business model to work?
is it right for laws to protect corporations over the rights of private citizens?

as a private citizen, I believe the current situation is unjust, and I believe that a moral person has a moral obligation to fight unjust laws. But I also come from a country where blank media is taxed, to compensate the artists. so I steal as much content as I can. I've got to get my money's worth.

I am a content creator myself, and I have been inhibited by these oppressive copyright laws.

Re:But... he's totally right! (DRM or prosecution? (2, Insightful)

Marcus Green (34723) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376469)

"with mass-reproducible art forms - music, photography, print, film, industries were created which took copyright away from the content creators"

Or to look at it another way, with mass-producible art forms, e.g. CD audio recordings it allowed musicians to create high quality products using their own resources for which they could retain copyright and sell directly to their public, i.e. via the web or at gigs. These people would invest considerable amounts of their own time and money in this creative endevour and it is a reasonable idea that they should be able to control its reproduction to gain financially.

Re:But... he's totally right! (DRM or prosecution? (2, Insightful)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376451)

Well if you start suing whoever is listening to your music then pretty much you would be left all alone to listen to it.
Music and art theft was and is a problem.

Radiohead has matured and has shown the way. Apple is showing the path.

Bands like KISS are still retarted and will always be. These guys want kids to pay $29.99 for a CD which contain 20 songs out of which 2 are good and rest are piss poor.

Now that kids have the power to resist such payments, and instead pay only 99 cents for each track they like and refuse to pay 29.99 for crap, KISS hates them.

KISS: Good riddance.
The world would be a better place if a band like you disappears.

Oh, and stop comparing yourself to Gold. Gold is valuable for 5000 years and still retains its lustre and value any day in any country.
Your songs are worth the crap that you are tomorrow.

Re:But... he's totally right! (DRM or prosecution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21376475)

That's plain wrong: the slow movement of the music industry doesn't make it right to illegally circumvent the legal market for their goods.

Look, it doesn't matter if it's right or wrong, it's simply a reality brought about by technological change. Either you adapt somehow or you're done for. It's just that simple. Thinking one can sue hundreds of million of people worldwide is illusionary, there is no way to get it back under control unless you employ police state methods anyway: If someone attaches a music file to an e-mail and sends it to a friend, how are you going to stop it? You'd have to monitor every single e-mail and then people would start using PGP... Complaining about copying is like complaining about the weather, it's here to stay.

Im not on f---ing crack (-1, Troll)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376145)

But you, Gene, are f---ing old. you belong to an age long gone. obsolete. relic. antique. either shut up, or die, so you wont hamper progress of mankind.

Re:Im not on f---ing crack (1)

Instantlemming (816917) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376247)

Either shut up or die? I hope that he will shut up when he dies. Would be a bit eerie if he didn't.

Re:Im not on f---ing crack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21376309)

This gets modded up?:/ Shut up and die? Hampering the progress of mankind? You realize we're only talking about music here, right?

My parents are old too, but that doesn't automatically discount what they say nor does it give an asshat like Simmons any more credibility.

The most important part is the music.... (1)

dgun (1056422) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376175)

....he said, as he headed toward the wardrobe trailer, where he will spend the next 8 hours working on his hair and makeup.

Give me a break (1)

Stanislav_J (947290) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376185)

Gene Fucking Simmons has made enough off KISS merchandise alone to more than comfortably support a small town, so he's got no room to beef.

why do where care about Gene Simmons? (5, Funny)

freedom_surfer (203272) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376201)

Gene Simmons also advocates public executions for drugs. If it weren't for drugs how could half his fans endure his music?

Re:why do we care about Gene Simmons? (1)

freedom_surfer (203272) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376233)

Doh! Must review subject too. Have taken to many drugs trying to enjoy Gene's music.

Logic? (2, Insightful)

djauto23 (1091453) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376209)

The only reason why gold is expensive is because we all agree that it is. There's no real use for it, except we all agree and abide by the idea that gold costs a certain amount per ounce. As soon as you give people the choice to deviate from it, you have chaos and anarchy. And that's what going on. Hmmm...not certain if I follow his logic.

Re:Logic? (2, Interesting)

bill_of_wrongs (761897) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376513)

That can actually be used as a damn good demonstration of why he and other believers in "intellectual property" are wrong. The price of gold is determined by supply and demand. The supply is limited by the production costs per unit which can be estimated quite accurately. The same supply and demand mechanism also regulates music sales but for music the production costs approach zero as the number of copies approach infinity. Trying to artificially increase the cost of making a copy doesn't work in a somewhat democratic society, in order to enforce it you need some kind of dictatorship.

Gene Simmons? (5, Funny)

damburger (981828) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376225)

Seeing as how my first thought on reading the summary was 'who is gene simmons', I think its fairly safe to say the final score is:

College Kids 1, Retarded Old Drag Queen 0.

I'm thinking of... (1)

Sander_ (55929) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376227)

...KISS and my lower spine now. Strange.


Wow (2, Interesting)

Publikwerks (885730) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376239)

So he wants to base his business model around suing college kids for downloading songs? Maybe if the recording industry focused more on innovation than lawsuits they wouldn't be in this mess.Everyone and their mother told them that the cd was a dead end, and yet they dragged their feet. Now, they can't catch up.

Yesterday's liberals... (1)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376249)

...are tomorrow's conservatives.

Tag this article "pastit" (1)

Von Helmet (727753) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376253)

Or "Getoffmylawn".

"I was made for suing you baby..." (1)

Snufu (1049644) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376259)

"I...Wanna rock and roll all nigh--hey...get off my lawn!"

Outside the box (4, Interesting)

Stanislav_J (947290) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376279)

I once had a small business (really more of a hobby than a major enterprise -- something to bring in some extra wampum) in which I sold unusual esoteric merchandise to a small group of fanatics (I think at most I had a few hundred folks on my mailing list). Sales were down and the economy was bad, so one month I did a "name you own price" special -- you tell me what you want and what you think is a fair price and we have a deal. And I had a higher net profit in that month than any other that year. Apropos of nothing, perhaps, as I know every business and industry is different, but the basic point is that often it is the unconventional business model that turns out to be the most successful. The more set you are in your ways, the more you stand to lose as the world passes you by.

Re:Outside the box (1)

tkinnun0 (756022) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376407)

Let me guess, that month was December, the next year you changed your business model to pay-what-you-like and made multi-millions?

Or you discovered a thing called promotion [] .

What a coincidence... (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376281)

I was just thinking how shitty, artless bands like Kiss are probably to blame for music industry woes.

But do we really care? (5, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376315)

First off, some people need to RTFA, he is NOT talking about himself, but about new bands who dream of success who he claims will not be able to do it (or at least not the way he defines success, getting really rich of your image).


Times change. Once you had far more theathers and far more places where plays could be held. Then the movie theather arrived and put countless performers out of business. Were once a musician was playing in bar now there is a sound installation. Where once there was an entertainer, now there is a big screen TV.

Movie theathers too took a hit with the arrival of television. Live tv broadcasts took a hit when VCR's arrived and even more with DVR.

Coal mines are gone in holland, because we discovered a gas field and bam, lots of people unemployed. Daf cars (trucks still exists) is gone and again, people out of a job because less and less people are needed to make cars and there are countries that can do it cheaper.

IT is being outsourced as are call center jobs.

The next generations job prospects are going to be different then today's.

In a way, he says that himself, no band has managed to overtake KISS in merchandising. HE himself killed the dream off new bands in becoming the next kiss because he refuses to step aside. Shame on him.

Lets say that not a single musician can make money anymore. Unlikely but lets assume it for a second, not a single person can make a single penny creating music. So?

Where is it written that you should be able too? I am by training a baker, I am fairly good at it, (but not exceptionally so) and I left the business because it is a dead end. People buy their bakery goods from the factory and opening a new bakery shop is far to expensive and legally impossible. Zoning restrictions, a bakery works at night and produces noise and smells while by its nature it has to be in a residential area. That don't mix no more. The hygience laws have become so strict that it costs a fortune to fit out a new building and the costs (and shortage) of skilled labourers, plus the restrictions of what they are allowed to do means you need a massive amount of very expensive equipment, which because the demand for small scale equipment has plummeted is increasingly expensive.

In short, society has killed the small baker shop. Of the people in my entire school only a handfull are still in the trade, a most of them because they inheritied the business from their parents.

Do I see Gene Simmons give a shit about that? No. Why then should I give a shit if some other person has to give up his dream of being a paid artist and find another way of making a living.

Lots of people try to make an argument that music sharing doesn't hurt the industry or that artist can compensate or that there are different methods of selling music.

I like to take it one step further, why should society give a shit wether music creators can make money? Do we really want to make rigid laws for all people just so a few can make a living the job they want? I want to bake bread. Should YOU be forced to go to a seperate store in your area for your bread rather then go to the supermarket? Should for instance the dutch be forced to serve pie again on their birthday from the local bakery rather then "vlaai" (a kind of pie coming originally from a dutch province that comes from a chain of stores that get supplied by a factory).

If you say no to that, then you should say no to everything the RIAA wants as well. Society should not have to bend over backwards just some people can make music for a living. Get a job.

Disingenuous argument (4, Insightful)

Arabani (1127547) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376339)

Regarding giving away music and making money off touring/merchandise:

Well therein lies the most stupid mistake anybody can make. The most important part is the music. Without that, why would you care? Even the idea that you're considering giving the music away for free makes it easier to give it away for free. The only reason why gold is expensive is because we all agree that it is. There's no real use for it, except we all agree and abide by the idea that gold costs a certain amount per ounce. As soon as you give people the choice to deviate from it, you have chaos and anarchy. And that's what going on.
His use of gold as an argument for why music shouldn't be given away is disingenuous. He's arguing that gold, not having any intrinsic value, derives its value from the fact that people "agree" on a certain price. But that's not the case (if it were, DOJ would be quite busy with price-fixing investigations). As any first-year economics student knows, in a (free) market, prices are determined by supply and demand. Gold is in high demand (because it's pretty, as well as having some industrial uses), but has an extremely limited supply (297 tonnes mined in 2005, costing an average of $237/troy ounce to extract [] ). Therefore, $237/troy ounce is the minimum price of gold given a free market and assuming mining corporations are profit-seeking enterprises. It seems clear that the price of gold is in fact a very poor analogy to the price of music, because music is a) NOT in limited supply (one could argue the supply is infinite, depending on the medium and one's definition of "music"), and b) the marginal cost (how much it costs to produce another unit) is orders of magnitude lower than that of gold.

As an intellectual exercise, let's stick to Gene's flawed analogy. Gold has a price because there's this idea that people "agree" that it should have a certain price. Now let's examine Radiohead's experiment. They're saying "you name a price, and we'll charge you that much". And so on an individual basis, each fan is agreeing with Radiohead that the price of the new album should be X dollars. Seems to me that Radiohead's model is exactly what he's arguing for. So tell me, what's wrong with giving away music?

Regardless, somebody needs to let Mr. Simmons know that he's living in a brave new world, and unless he has a burning desire to move in with the dodos, he needs to realize that the old models might not work anymore. That, or maybe he's trying really hard for the arrogant, self-righteous bastard image.

He's kinda right about merchandise, though. (3, Insightful)

ZombieRoboNinja (905329) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376341)

It's the same argument you hear from the hardest of the hardcore FOSS guys - that ALL products that can be reproduced electronically - music, code, games, books, presumably movies - should be available for free, and that the artists should support themselves either by asking for handouts or by selling something marginally related to their art.

I'd argue that rock stars don't WANT to shill t-shirts, or they'd be in a t-shirt company. And honestly, if you're looking for LESS crappy pop music, do you really want to encourage them to base their economics on having faces that look good on lunch boxes?

Same for programmers, of course. While the line is blurred in many cases, at heart I'd say many coders don't WANT to work as "support" for their own product. I mean, isn't that the basic coder stereotype, impatience with people who don't understand technology?

The paradigm breaks down even more for novelists. A novelist's entire skill set revolves around writing stuff, and anything he writes is gonna take ten seconds to copy and upload, so without "intellectual property" of SOME sort he's basically SOL.

FORTUNATELY, (and here's where I hopefully mitigate the -1 Troll points I foresee for this post), merchandising ISN'T the only way musicians can make money aside from CD profits. They also have that little niche called "live performances," which sustained them for a good 99.9% of human history.

Re:He's kinda right about merchandise, though. (1)

The_reformant (777653) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376439)

The only problem is that live performances are only profitable for the biggest of bands. The majority of small-medium touring bands will do it at a cost to them.

Re:He's kinda right about merchandise, though. (1)

ZombieRoboNinja (905329) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376507)

But is that just an effect of the current economic model that incorporates CD sales? I've heard that a lot of bands tour basically as a way of advertising their CDs, whereas before the 70s it was the other way around - bands only sold records to get people to show up to their performances. If that's the case, ticket prices may be artificially cheap right now, and after the CD-sales economy crashes, they could rise high enough to support more touring bands.

Honest question, because I really don't know much about the logistics.

poor college kids (1)

doyoulikeworms (1094003) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376345)

It's that college kids don't have money anyway. They can't afford to buy your music either one way or the other. The best way to make money off these kids is to leave them alone... because they may become fans. Once these kids graduate, they'll have the money to support the artists they love.

It's all OK though, because the college kids will graduate and they'll enter the upper tiers of the socioeconomic ladder. The kids have all grown up hating and fearing you, so good luck extracting dollars from their soon-to-be-lined pockets. You've dug your own ditch, and now get ready to lie in it.

Next thing you know... (1)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376381)

Gene Simmons is going to blast college kids for engaging in sex before marriage.

Something like: "Everyone knows stable marriages are the bedrock of civilized society, and stable marriages cannot be created except through abstinence before marriage! College kids these days are out of the f****** minds!!".

This being said, of course, after performing the following song [] in full KISS regalia...

Ah well, getting old and cranky will happen to us all, as they say. ;-)

Re:Next thing you know... (1)

samplehead (538012) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376529)

Gene and marriage?

Simmons went into music to make money (5, Insightful)

simong (32944) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376385)

I found a copy of Simmons' biography in a second hand shop and while it's an interesting read, he's a pretty dull guy. No vices apart from womanising, and it's fairly obvious that he saw music as a way of avoiding the day job, which he's managed to do for 35 years. It comes as no surprise that he mistrusts the way that the music business is going, and can't see the difference between file sharing and paid-for downloading. He is the epitome of senior music industry management - late 50s, tour jacket wearing, stuck in that notion of selling 'product'. Not being able to buy Kiss online won't trouble his income much, and it probably doesn't occur to him that more of his income these days comes from touring, merchandise and just being Gene Simmons. I can imagine that he was a slow adopter of the CD format too, and probably made sure that he got a good deal out of them before Kiss got digitised for the first time.

Hey Gene.... (3, Insightful)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376391)

That doesn't count. You can't pick on one person as an exception. And that's not a business model that works. I open a store and say "Come on in and pay whatever you want." Are you on f---ing crack? Do you really believe that's a business model that works?

they got a heck of a lot more per album for themselves doing it that way than you get with your rip-off recording contract...

/me thinks he's just jealous he didn't come up with the idea himself... cos if he tries it now, he'll just look like a me-too wannabee...

I blame the record industry (1)

MadJo (674225) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376403)

for my low income.
I'm sure I can find some correlation between the record industry, and me not earning enough money with my work. And I don't mean because I buy CDs, because I don't.

Cry me a river, Gene Simmons.
You do realize that these college kids are the core target for your publisher, although I doubt if an aging 'rockband' is in their interests, especially after your comments?

And if they were sued out of existence, you are biting off the hand that could feed you.

"Every little college kid, every freshly-scrubbed little kid's face should have been sued off the face of the earth. They should have taken their houses and cars and nipped it right there in the beginning."
Right, and directly after that the music industry would really come to a complete standstill, because no one has money to pay for records, which would actually increase piracy, or decrease the will to even listen to music, if the industry was that vindictive and evil.

If you piss off enough of your paying customers, you will find that they will push back, and you will not like it if that happens.

I guess dinosaurs made the same noise when (1)

presarioD (771260) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376445)

they were going extinct...I haven't bought a dinosaur egg for ages. In fact I've noticed that all the remaining ones I have are so old that have started to smell...

I got my Simmons's mixed up (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376487)

I first thought, "Are kids sweating to pirated oldies"? The horror!

KISS (1)

zukinux (1094199) | more than 6 years ago | (#21376493)

KISS as in Keep it simple, stupid, not as kiss :)
That's what Radiohead did, and man, it all comes back to them. They've earned it, and I appreciate them much more then anyone else.
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