Gene Simmons took time out from shouting at clouds to have a little rage at file sharing for killing rock. Let's hear him out, shall we?:
"The next KISS of the next BEATLES or whoever it is is not gonna come along, because there is no infrastructure. Here… Let's play a game. From 1958 until 1988 is thirty years. What have we got? Well, let's see… We have Elvis Presley, THE BEATLES, THE [ROLLING] STONES, Jimi Hendrix… the biggest bands of all time. And then in disco, you had Madonna, Donna Summer… all that. The biggest of all. And then in pop, you had Michael Jackson, THE JACKSON 5… all that stuff… and U2. And in heavy metal, you had METALLICA and IRON MAIDEN and all that stuff. Okay. And Prince and all that… From 1988 until today… give me the new BEATLES and the new STONES. Give me just one. You can't. Rock is dead. And the reason for that? Downloading and filesharing. When you stop charging for things, it becomes worthless. And there's gonna have to be a business model that's gonna have to change.I suppose it's hard to argue that if you don't charge for something, it becomes worthless in a strict financial sense, but I'd have really liked to have heard from Simmons how filesharing stopped bands generating during the 1990s, before it became a thing. Maybe it's just such an evil force that it travels out in time in all directions.
Or, perhaps, rock started to look tired because people who had made some records ten, twenty, thirty years previously stuck around flogging branded merchandise off their reputation and strangled a lot of the creativity in the scene. What do you think, Gene?
Or, maybe, if you're looking for a 21st Century Madonna, and don't immediately think Beyonce, you're just too far from what's going on. Maybe discounting the whole R&B scene, maybe not thinking Kanye or Jay-Z are as culturally relevant as deep-reaching... maybe the problem is that you don't really recognise what the heirs of Presley look like, Gene.
'Cause there are great bands out there, but there's no support system." He continued: "You know, there's a ten-thousand-hour principle [the principle which holds that 10,000 hours of 'deliberate practice' are needed to become world-class in any field]. There's a book about that. Before THE BEATLES went into the studio to become THE BEATLES, they played clubs for ten thousand hours. That's years. You have to do something for thousands and thousands of hours before you get any good on it.You're right, Gene, there is a book about the 10,000 hours theory. There's also - far more significantly - a study into it. It's bollocks.
Nowadays, instant gratification means you can hum in your shower, then wind up on 'The X Factor' and you're on television and you get a recording contract. But almost none of these singers who get recording contracts become huge. And that's because the taller the tree, the deeper the root that needs to be in the ground to hold up all that weight. So if you have a tree with no roots [makes falling hand motion]." Simmons added: "I love the new pop singers. I love Taylor Swift and Katy Perry. I've met them both. They're all great and talented… What's gonna happen when you're 40 and 50? Will it still work? That's the test of time."What's beautiful here is Simmons suddenly realising that he's completely undermined his own argument by remembering Taylor Swift, so decides that she doesn't count as we don't known what she'll be doing in twenty years. Swift has been a jobbing musician for eleven years already, which means she's already been going for a year longer than The Beatles managed. Despite her career having happened entirely post-Napster.
But, still, always interesting to hear from you Gene. Good to know the opinions of the leader in the Branded Rock Merchandise Market.