Kiss frontman says that artists need to protect their brand and be litigious as possible, paving the way for him to blast the music industry for being “asleep at the wheel” and for not “having the balls to go and sue every fresh-faced, freckle-faced college kid who downloaded a clip.”
Kiss frontman Gene Simmons has always been outspoken in his criticism of how the music industry is changing in the face of P2P, recently adding to that by blasting the music industry for not having sued nearly enough people over the years.
Earlier this morning he told an audience gathered at the ongoing MIPCOM media content conference in Cannes, France that many have forgotten that music is a business and that artists have a “fiduciary duty” to “maximise any potential and minimise any exposure.” To him this means protecting your brand and “be litigious, sue anybody – take their homes, their cars, don’t let anybody cross that line.”
This is where he torn into illegal file-sharers.
“The music industry was asleep at the wheel and didn’t have the balls to go and sue every fresh-faced, freckle-faced college kid who downloaded a clip,” and that because of that “we’re left with hundreds of people without jobs.”
The advice sounds fine in theory, but the music industry spent tens of millions of dollars to recoup a mere several hundred thousand, and managed to put no practical dent in the practice of illegal file-sharing, if any at all. In fact, from 2006 to 2008 alone it spent more than $63.6M to recoup barely $1.4M. Sure the deterrent effect can’t be measured in dollars and cents, but at some point the cost of “having balls” becomes too great, especially if it means angering more and more of your file-sharing customers, the ones numerous studies have found buy more music than non-file-sharers.
He then goes on to compare file-sharers with “cute foxes” that must be dealt with, and that if you don’t they’ll steal all your eggs, kill all your chickens, and cause all your loved ones to hate you.
“Don’t let any cute foxes get near your henhouse,” he warned.
Simmons has long been a critic of the emerging digital music landscape, also having said that Radiohead must have been on “fucking crack” for allowing fans to pay whatever they want for copies of their album “In Rainbows.”
Even back then he was comparing music to eggs and file-sharers to foxes, and arguing that “every little college kid, every freshly-scrubbed little kid’s face should have been sued off the face of the earth.”
It’s nice to know he’s been consistent over the years, but the sad thing is that he’s apparently wasted all this time not figuring out a way to take advantage of digital distribution. Perhaps the reason why is that he’s been making so much money from touring and merchandise, the real source of an artist’s road to wealth.
Somebody also ought to tell him that artists are owning more “chickens” and “eggs” these days being that their income is up 66% since the birth of Napster back in 1999.