Signals From Mars – The YouTube Revolution

One of the things that has hurt the music industry the most, possibly the most, since it has directly affected concert revenue, album and single sales, is YouTube. People can bark about illegal downloading all they like, but the fact of the matter is YouTube has pretty much everything people are looking for, whether that’s a full album, the latest radio hit, or last night’s concert. As a result, people are seeing the mystique of shows go by the way side as fans can see setlists, or the entire set right from their home. Due to this, people are becoming judge, jury and executioner based on someone’s five megapixel video that was shot on their smartphone. Cool deal if all you’re getting is the band’s performance with soundboard like quality, but usually the sound is either heavily distorted, or dude next to the person filming is signing out of key, while the person on the other side is carrying on a conversation about how his vasectomy went awry.

In any event, the stars we grew up idolizing, are growing up as well, hell, they’re growing old. Due to this we’re seeing some of our favorite artists dealing with cancer, passing away, or seeing their abilities wither away right before our eyes and ears thanks to YouTube. Paul Stanley is the first person to come to mind when someone starts to debate if an artist has lost their ability to sing. Like any other Kiss related discussion given the fan base, you’re damned if you do, and you’re damned if you don’t. You’ll have people that are dead set on either side of the debate. But I do think the proof is in the videos that are posted on music forums, or sent to you via facebook by your friend that is equally obsessed with the band.

A lot of people are calling for Paul to quit, the band to quit, and start the whole “see Ace was right”, “Peter was right” routine. Look, I don’t subscribe to any of that, and have mentioned on more than one occasion that Kiss should build towards doing what the Bee-Gees did before their abrupt end, we’ll get to that in a second. For those that say Kiss can’t pack fans in like they used to, they need Ace and Peter, etc. why are they still doing 200 dates a year? Why are they still headlining festivals around the world, or co-headlining tours in the US? It is simple, they are still in demand, their show is still in demand, and there is still money to be made. Thus, the band is taking on all of these dates, regardless if Paul’s voice suffers as a result.

There are a few solutions here, splitting up the repertoire with Gene, allowing Tommy and Eric to sing more tracks live, or maybe slowing down? That’s right, the polar opposite of what the band wants to hear, but they should cut their dates in half. Spread 100 shows out throughout a year, decide which hemisphere you’re going to hit, and then switch to the other the following year. In other words, do the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Central and South America one year, and do Europe, Africa and Asia the following. This will give Paul the ability to rest his voice more, and the band may actually make more money as a result since they won’t be doing as many shows. Back to my Bee-Gees reference, before the band ended, they started playing less shows, then started doing one show per continent culminating everything at a festival in Australia, which was broadcast to fans from around the world. It wasn’t because they couldn’t pack shows, the band’s age and health was catching up with them. The last few years before health issues began setting in, they would just do one show, and emit it for the entire world to see via PPV. They would play before a hundred thousand people in Australia, and then millions around the world. They made ridiculous amounts of money in the process, but the allure of making even more money may trump that with Kiss. But at what point does enough money become enough? This is the only way I see Paul getting better, typically they get off the road, rest a few weeks, he sounds great, but two weeks later, he’s back to being hoarse, and sounding God awful.

A few months back a certain Kiss-centrique podcast mentioned how Ace would never make it to Australia or New Zeland, I’m guessing they were wrong by the looks of the photos and videos popping up on YouTube. This same show had issues with a certain band playing this year’s Kiss Kruise, Chris Czynszak of the Decibel Geek Podcast will be co-hosting an upcoming edition of Mars Attacks where we discuss this item further.

Parting comment, there is a saying in Spanish that my father always uses, which loosely translates into you’ll catch a liar before you’re able to catch a one legged man. In last week’s Signals From Mars post I discussed Scott Weiland for a bit, and this week we’ve all seen the YouTube video of him doing a horrid job at a show in Texas. I realize he is an adult, and should be accountable for his actions, but shouldn’t there be some sort of clause where his manager, publicist, etc. is held accountable for covering his substance abuse issues? To what point should these people be legally allowed to just make money off of him, and not care about his physical state and wellbeing? This can probably never be regulated, but it is a shame that money will always come first. What happens if and when God forbid, he ends up like countless others with issues of addiction, these same people will be there to collect the majority of the money regardless if Weiland is around or not. After all, nothing makes more money than a dead rock star, sad, but true.

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