Gene Simmons: Generations of fans don’t want to pay for music


Gene Simmons and Wolfgang Puck Host Rocktoberfest Opening Night at L.A. Live in Los Angeles on October 15, 2012

It’s no coincidence that record stores don’t see droves of music fans spewing through their doors the way it used to. The obvious culprit: peer-to-peer networking which has rendered almost all music free.

From its early inception as Napster in 1999 to modern-day versions like BitTorrent, acquiring free music has become very easy for listeners. As a result, the music industry isn’t expecting a resurgence in physical music sales anytime soon. In fact, Statista reports that since 2012, music sales that include albums, CDs, and even digital albums have been steadily dropping.

Among the industry icons, one artist who has expressed his dismay and disappointment with today’s reality of rampant song-downloading is rock and roll legend Gene Simmons. Blabbermouth highlights that Simmons sees a demise more than decline for the music industry saying that the “business is dead”. His argument? Upcoming bands would find it harder to establish longevity. The way he sees it, incessant file sharing has significantly cut down business opportunities for any artist who wants to enter the already highly competitive scene. Simmons also emphasizes that as veterans of the global music landscape there is little initiative to make music because the “delivery systems that are available don’t pay.”

The Israeli-American singer-songwriter founded one of the biggest heavy metal and hard rock bands of all time in KISS with rhythm guitarist Paul Stanley in 1972. Since their rise to prominence in the early 1970s, KISS sold numerous albums that generated more than 26.7 million in certified sales. The band has been bestowed one of music’s most honorable nods: the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Over time, their brand of music has successfully transcended records and concerts into the more dynamic audiovisual platforms—one of which is the video gaming world. One of the fan-favorite KISS songs, “Detroit Rock City”, is featured in three different installments of the video-rhythm game Rock Band series. Not only can original fans of KISS experience their beloved music interactively, but it also introduced a new generation of rock fans to their music. Moreover, the online gaming industry has also received a taste of KISS’s far-reaching influence through the KISS slots game on Slingo. The gameplay features their famous personas on the graphics with their hits playing in the background. Simmons—through KISS—has contributed so much to the music industry that when he talks about its decline, people listen.

While Simmons maintains that the status of the music industry as of the moment is “unfortunately, very, very dim”, The Street notes that he has stressed that drastic changes must be established immediately in the form of “new legislations”. Alongside new legislations, Simmons hopes that companies like Apple can help change the buying habits of music fans. These may be the only way to help turn things around as record companies “were asleep at the wheel when that first kid downloaded music for free”.

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