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back to article Gene Simmons blames college kids for ruining music biz

Music pirates have made a powerfully bitter enemy of Gene Simmons, bass guitarist for the 1970s band Kiss. In a recent interview with Billboard, Simmons curmudgeonly blames "college kids" for the "mess" the record industry is in, and blasted artists like Radiohead and Trent Reznor for seeking a different businesses model to …

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Any word?

From the spokesperson for the Association Of Wax Cylinder makers? Has he decided to sue KISS for not releasing any album on a wax cylinder?

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Alert

Old news

he did this same rant in a interview on IFC's Henry Rollins show several

months ago.

A entertaining guy, but I wouldn't want to share a room with his ego.

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Simmons, Simmons...

Isn't that the ugly, sweaty guy with bad hair doing the exercise videos? Seems to me that's the real crime.

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Weak

Right. The college kids ruined music. Napster ruined. Not a record industry in dire need of a swift kick in the backside. I have always been a fan of DIY bands like NOFX and Fugazi so Gene "Foot long tongue" Simmons can rant and rail all he wants, the landscape of the industry has been changed forever, and litigation (despite so many of the people in my country who believe otherwise) is not the answer. Put out a quality album at a decent price, and no one will need to copy it.

PS

Bands make their money touring anyway, everyone knows that. The only industry really suffering is the recording industry and they are the ones that drove us to this in the first place.

PSS

I recall the same argument over cassettes. Get over it.

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Screw You!

I suddenly have the urge to download every single Kiss song EVER.

(Not to listen to.....just to burn on to a DVD for "safe keeping" you know)

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Black Helicopters

Sore

Gene, lets get this straight. You're overpaid for what you do. Your music was/is overpriced. How many original albums have Kiss put together in the last 10 years ? And you're sore that these overpriced earnings are reducing? ok. Get back to the real world and accept the facts that you don't have significant talent and should EARN a living like the rest of us

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Stop

Gene ... who?

Is this someone important? Someone with a great depth of knowledge, and years of business experience?

Is he/she/it internationally renown for assisting others to achieve such godly status?

Enquiring minds wish to know.

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simmons to college kids: GET OFF MY LAWN!!!

it's all about the music? after that tirade about money?

i think simmons is on f---ing crack.

if you don't want to make music because you are scared of not making money, then stop. do it now. and stop making all of that other shit too while you're at it. do the world a favor.

i love when rock stars talk about money and how they aren't getting enough.

"we need money! lawyers and heroine and hookers aren't cheap! neither is rehab and alimony and paternity suits. have a heart you college kids and give us money!"

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Calm Down...Gene

Okay Gene,

You are really beginning to piss me off. I have always been a TRUE Kiss fan and especially a Gene Simmons Fan. I am also in the IT world. I don't believe there is anything wrong with downloading any types of files from the internet. You might call it piracy, but when another use shares his files online with a million other users, it's just that sharing...nothing more. Each and every day someone shares music, video with friends and family by either making a copy of a cd or dvd so they can watch or listen to a new item. Most likely the person who gets the copy will either like it so much may actually go out and buy the item. Unfortunately you and the RIAA will never stop us. The technology world is way smarter than you and the RIAA. The RIAA might stop a website every so often, but another one will take it's place the next day. This will never go away and there's nothing you can do about it.

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Ace Freely

wasn't ace the one with the giant tongue?

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Burn baby burn

If you are thinking of downloading some Kiss, make sure you burn it on the CD, in a bonfire.

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He's right!

The problem is that these kids have actually got some talent - a thing to which Simmons is a complete stranger.

He's a sad, has-never-actually-been "musician" who can't take truth that nobody actually listened to Kiss.

what a sad-act.

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Pirate

A business model that works?

As I reckon it, downloaders averaged around $2 for Radiohead's album, counting those who paid $0. That is significantly more than most bands on record contracts get from your tenner.

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Get over it Gene

Its easy to see why Gene is so freaked over this. Kiss is the perfect example of everything bad about the record business. We're talking about a band that is all costumes and marketing hype instead of talent. He's in the same category as Britney Spears, Milli Vanilli and all the other factory produced crap that is what actually destroyed the recording industry.

Its simple Gene, make a quality product and people will buy it. Based on your talent I'd say you deserve to be making about 35K a year. Are you ready to start handing out refund checks?

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Pirate

All about the music

Er. I think I heard somewhere that KISS trademarked the dollar symbol ($).

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New recording, please.

How many times can your fans buy the same CD? You don't have new recording, you don't get many new fans. Do your part first, please.

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Irony

The only way people born after the 1970s are going to know about Kiss is by accidentally downloading one of their songs off the Internet.

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Ash

Gene Simmons, Paris Hilton of the music industry

Paid shit loads for doing fuck all but embarassing himself.

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Pirate

hmm

> Simmons said that he doesn't plan on making a new KISS album because he doesn't know how he'll get paid for it if people can just get it for free.

That'll teach 'em, can't pirate your music if you don't make any. Whatever happened to musicians making music because they wanted to, and any money they got for it being a bonus. Of course if you stop releasing albums, that means you'd actually have to be sensible with the money you'd already made (can't see a musician doing that, can you?) or get a real job to pay the bills.

Or, you could offer music for a reasonable price and people would buy it! As i see it, if you can make and exact duplicate (in every way, disc/album art, exact same audio etc) for less than a pound, then why are they being sold for £10 each. The only reason piracy works is that the difference between sale price and manufacturing price is so insanely high.

I buy albums, but only when they get down to the price i am prepared to pay, before that i generally get them off the net. If it's any good, even if i've got a pirated copy, i'm happy to actually buy it and support the artist. but only once it gets to a reasonable price, for me, thats under a fiver.

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Bad analogy

As is typical for "Big Music", Gene has made a piss-poor analogy between a brick-and-mortar store and electronic distribution.

Yes, it would be retail suicide to open a store and let people pay (or not) whatever they wanted for your products because the wholesale costs of the products plus overhead (lease, utilities, employees, etc...) would require a certain level of income just to break even.

For electronic distribution there is no material cost and minimal overhead (server space, bandwidth and maybe a couple trained monkeys to bounce the server if something goes wrong). I'm sure there are production costs involved, but does a REAL musician need to spend more than a couple thousand to record? No-talent hacks might need a lot more to polish their turd, but many artists are building their own affordable studios to cut out another middleman.

It's almost all pure profit when distributing music online so artists stand to make a lot more than they would through the old business model even if only half of their 'customers' pay.

Gene's just another dinosaur in a crowd full of dinosaurs who are unwilling and/or incapable of changing. If he was half the business man he claims to be, he could have come up with a new model. Instead he ridicules those with more business sense, courage and creativity than he has seen in over a decade.

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Anonymous Coward

kiss always did suck

or maybe it's just the era i grew up in, when punk rock made us all realise quite how lame some people were. hey gene, this applies to you. asshole.

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Oh my

This "entertainer" needs to take himself out of the gene pool now (no pun intended). He's not going to make music because he doesn't know if he'll get paid or not, and then he has the balls to say it's still all about the music? Biohazard said it best in their song "Business":

"If you think for a minute this song's about you / Step the fuck back, cuz it's probably true / The message in the music is the reason that we're in this / That's what matters to us, not business / Music is for you and me, not the fucking industry / Try to tell us what is cool, we come from different schools / It only matters what you say, not the fuckin' games you play / Full of shit, it's plain to see, the whole damn fuckin' industry"

I can sympathize with an artist wanting to get paid. Contrary to popular opinion, not all artists want to tour. Take Filthy Thieving Bastards (side project from two of the guys in Swingin Utters), for example. They have families and jobs and from what I've heard, they don't really want to tour because they want to spend time with their families. But they still make good music that people want to hear. Should they not get paid for their work? And what of the songwriters who write for other people? Restricting payment to tour merchandise is not the way to go.

I personally like how Mr. Ego thinks Radiohead and Trent Reznor are to blame for the music industry's problem. How dare they decide to release their music in a manner they see fit, a manner which is not consistent with the extortionate and illegal practices of the mainstream music industry! How dare they value their fans and their fans' input like that. Last I knew, there was a lot of free music and free concerts in the sixties. Did the music industry come crashing down as a result? Obviously not.

re: "Old News" comment above -- "A entertaining guy, but I wouldn't want to share a room with his ego." I don't think you could fit into a room with his ego. I don't think this world is big enough for his ego. And I thought the guys from Metallica had huge egos now...

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Kiss my R. I. Ass. of America

Ever since Metallica and Napster, every time I fire up a new P2P app, I download some Metallica. I never listen to it, I just do it because they're wankers.

Welcome aboard Kiss.

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Anonymous Coward

I previewed NIN's Year Zero...

and I promptly forked out the money needed to get a hard copy.

I've bought more CDs when Napster was the rage.

So KISS can f**k off.

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missed opportunity

I was a rabid KISS fan- addict way back in the day, and am feeling very much let down by Gene's mouth- foaming. For all his soi- disant business acumen, I am verily surprised that he did not jump on the music- download thing for what it is: a great opportunity to get product into people's hands (ears, iPods, whatever). Being able to "kick the tires" before I hand over my extremely hard- earned shekels (many many shekels, I might add) on this or that CD has actually prompted me to buy more things I would have otherwise passed over (a point made above). Oh, but it's easier to pitch a hissy fit and unleash the lawyers than to formulate a plan, right-o.

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Pirate

Does this mean...

... that Mr. Simmons won't be making "Runaway II?"

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What ?

Since when did Gene Simmons and music have anything to do with each other ?

Kiss were a perfect example of style over substance, most people cant name a Kiss song but when prompted will recall ' long tongue, big boots, make-up' etc.

Kiss would have died today because the music was never a strong point, it was all image, so Simmons tirade has no grounding in reality

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Anonymous Coward

Damn that's funny

This coming from a man who holds all of the licenses of anything that is even remotely "Kiss" related? The band could never cut another album and live in obscene wealth for the rest of their natural lives, just off the royalities alone. So, in his case, it's not about "the music" or the fans...

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Let's Be Real Here

First of all, I'm not a huge KISS fan. Their music was OK but not great. Yes, I'm 41 so I grew up with it. Do I listen to KISS music now? No.

Gene Simmons is (was?) a great marketeer. KISS is marketed very well.

All that said, Gene needs to calm down. The other bands trying different sales models are doing what they want to do. It's their music, let them. It's better than letting the RIAA and its member companies steal all the money and pay the musician nothing.

And, to the person who said "it's just sharing". Sorry, no, it IS piracy when you "share" it with thousands of your closest friends. At least have the stones to call it what it is.

Does the record industry need a wake-up call? Sure. And many bands are beginning to get it. Don't produce entire albums of utter crap. Produce a few really good songs and sell those individually.

And, if they can, sell them directly so that the record companies don't get to rob them of 95% (or more) of the income.

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Anonymous Coward

Music isn't a full time job

Perhaps there are just too many musicians who are making a full time living from their music when their music isn't that good. If an author produces one good novel every ten years then he or she has to work a normal job to pay the bills. Why should musicians be any different? Why should a band that makes one or two good albums in their musical career get to live a life of luxury as a result of a couple of years work?

Simmons seems to think that just because he has spent a few hours in a recording studio he is entitled to an etermity of wealth and fame, and the reason he believes this is because he has swallowed the self-serving mantra of the record industry. The reality is that most musical acts only produce a short lived and transient product that doesn't justify a great deal of money. The quality of pop music in its many forms (including Kiss) really isn't that important - what is important is that people are making new music, and this happens whether there is money in it or not. And the real geniuses - the Bowies and the Jaggers - can make a fortune without needing to sell their music at all.

What is pissing Simmons off is that his music isn't worth very much. he's blaming P2P for loss of earnings, but really he should be blaming his own short-sightedness for failing to realise that Kiss' music was popular because it was fashionable, not because it was good. And this goes for the majority of the back catalogue of most music labels.

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Unhappy

MTV killed the music

In the library, with a rusty spoon.

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Happy

Short and Sweet

Gene Simmons can use his enhanced tongue to lick that spot between my sack and my a**hole.

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Dan
Pirate

radio

Nah man, radio ruined the music industry. All I need to do is turn on the radio and there's dozens and dozens of channels of free music playing all day long. They even divide them into genres of stations and then again into categorised programmes. If I wanna hear some free Kiss music I just go to the DJ Rockula show on URock FM. I'm never gonna need to buy any music again, it's all there, free, 24 hours a day.

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He's a tool

Gene Simmons has always been a tool and he's just shown his fans what he thinks about us. As for the college kids being the reason the record industry is in the state it's in - it's the record companies own fault. In the states you can buy a music cd a damn sight cheaper than you can here in old Blighty, why is that Gene?

My 17 year old son is a prime example of try before you buy. He asks me to download one or two songs for him and if he likes them he'll go out and buy the cd. He has literaly hundreds of cd's (all genuine) in his collection and this shows you two things :-

1. I'm giving him too much pocket money.

2. The try before you buy model works

Get off your high horse Simmons you wanker and try and give something back to the REAL people who gave you your vast fortunes, fancy cars and sprawling estates. The fans made you what you are and not the record executives and one day you'll wake up in the real world, not that 1970's/80's alternate dimension you still dwell in. Maybe there's a little jealousy here between ageing Gene & the likes of Trent Reznor etc who have embraced the digital age.

You're a tosser Simmons with a capital T!

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IT Angle

Green Gene?

Job with IBM?

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Coat

@Solomon Grundy

"Gene Simmons can use his enhanced tongue to lick that spot between my sack and my a**hole."

In medical terminology, that's called the "t'isnt".

T'isnt yer sack and t'isnt yer arse.

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Hey

If piracy stops bands like KISS making music, rock on!

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Pirate

One word: Manowar

Gene Simmons can KISS my ass.

When I was in college, I discovered new music by trading cassette tapes with friends and acquaintances. "Piracy," they'd call it today, just on a smaller scale. Or would they call it "viral marketing?" I guess that all depends on whether they could control it.

Anyway, Gene should take a look at the true Kings of Metal, the heavy metal band Manowar. Manowar has been selling DRM-free MP3s of their albums - either single tracks or entire albums - on their online store for close to 10 years. Instead of treating their fans as an enemy camp that must be "sued off the face of the earth" they instead treat their fans with respect and get respect in return. Perhaps Gene is just too full of himself to realize the obvious truth...

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Paris Hilton

crap music = dead music biz

Kiss were the very type of b(l)and that brought about the necessity of punk. Accompanied by record company execs hoovering up too much coke and thinking that "Rock Music (tm)" was what the world needed with all it's empty posturing and power chords. Nothing new, nothing original, rock for the MacDonalds generation - freen Kiss band member with your Happy Meal.

It's not even as if they were actually outrageous - only theatrical.

That people actually went out and bought anything from the sanitised clowns always amazed me.

Wazzup Gene? - no-one interested in your back catalogue?

Maybe it's cos you've been found out at last to be nothing more than a poser who believed his own hype.

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Tom

Gene Simmons...

...what a cock face.

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Pirate

Gene Simmons is a Makeup-Wearing Poofter

Nothing to do with the comment. I just wanted to say it.

I don't usually download LimeWire music anymore. I buy it from iTunes. Sorry, El Reg, but the model works, and works well. I have 975 songs, and about 800 are legal. Either purchases from iTunes (or other stores online), or rips of my CDs. I even have a couple of songs that I recorded using my ION USB turntable.

I actually paid for over 80% of my digital music. Some of it, I paid for decades ago, and I expect to be able to listen to the property that I paid for in perpetuity, so I completely disagree with the "rental model" of music.

The reason I like the iTunes model is that I can buy the one song that they recorded before the acid kicked in, and I don't have to buy the truckload of garbage they recorded after the dealer left.

There was only one song that KISS ever recorded that I wanted to hear: Detroit, Rock City." It pretty much summed up what Mr. Simmons was all about. The Internet is the oncoming headlights...

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Gene, KISS my ass

you talentless freak

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Happy

Just sheer jealousy on Gene's part

Dave Gahan said it best:

"If you ain't being bootlegged, then you ain't happening."

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Pirate

Piracy = more people on concerts

I truly love the music of Nine inch Nails, but currently I wouldn't dream of paying for it because:

1. DRM. Why pay for a worse product than I can get for free?

2. The general hussle of paying for stuff over the net

3. I want the music on my computer/ipod, not on a disc.

However, I will happily pay to visit a concert/festival where Reznor plays (done both, eminent concerts both :-)).

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Flame

Simmons the sellout

Simmons even admits in his "autobiography" that KISS was basically something dreamed up to make money and that musicianship was a distant second. Now he's upset that people are scamming the scammer. Boo Hoo. If anyone was a has-been before they even started, it's got to be Gene Simmons. Gene: You had a good thing going and made your pile and are still making money off the ignorant masses. If people actually (God only knows why) like your 'music' enough to download it, consider it a (very barely deserved) compliment and an honor, and just let it go dude. Amazing how someone can be a star, f*ck countless hordes of groupies (and somehow come out unscathed), make tons of money, but somehow lack the spirit of rock n' roll entirely. You may have "been there and done that", but somehow you've missed the point it seems...

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I'm happy to pay the real artists

Not a metalhead myself, but a jazz fan. I balk at paying more than about eight bucks for a CD in a record store, but I'll happily shell out $15 for one at a live performance. Why?

Simple....I'm buying it from the artists, and I know that the money that I hand them for a CD is going into their pockets, to support their continued performing careers. When Dave Frishberg has just spent a couple hours entertaining me with his witty lyrics and superb piano artistry, I'm happy to drop $45 on the three CDs of his that I don't already own. If Tony Pacini sends me an email to say that he's having an album release party next weekend, I'm there.

No way I'd fork over money to the RIAA/Sony/Disney/EMI cartel, if I can possibly avoid it. I buy used when possible, either locally or on Amazon. Musicians who want to make money in music should do so in the time-honored tradition; by playing for their supper, so to speak. Perform for people, and make the personal connections to the music. My money's going into live performance, not the pockets (or noses) of record company executives.

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Loss leader!

In the same breath he's said that he won't get paid from the music and that his licensing and merchandising is second to none.

Many record labels and acts are actually putting out music as a loss-leader now, knowing that it getting pirated is a good promotional tool, and that the real money is in tours, live shows and performance royalties.

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Happy

The way forward for music marketing

Gene Simmons clearly is a poster child for the music industry ... greedy, ignorant of technology, and fearful of change. What a dick head.

Radiohead did a bold experiment - basically cutting out all the middlemen - all the wasted packaging - use of fosile fuels for moving inventory - etc. All their profit went back to the band (and of course some went to the web service).

This is the future of music sales

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welcome to the world.

Well yah boo sucks, welcome to the real world we live in. You are happily ambling along making a nice living when something happens to change that. You might get invaded, or ethnically cleansed. More mundanely it might be that the mine you and several previous generations of your family have worked in is closed because its cheaper to generate electricity from gas, or the blue chip you work for has just found a nice bunch of people in the third world who will do your job for $10 dollars a day (but please can you train them first). Sometimes things happen that you can't control. You can whine about it and do nothing, or you can adapt (me , I adapt and whine - I like to cover all my bases)

Gene, console yourself that you made plenty of money and got laid a lot along the way. If you want to carry on making the mega bucks then you are going to have to get out there and shake your arse on stage, flog those t-shirts, play the cruise liners, vegas, guest slot in Star Trek etc. Or shut up and piss off to the retirement home. The world doesn't owe you a living. Give Radiohead and NIN the credit for trying to figure out alternatives.

As my hated employers never cease to remind me, "Shift Happens." Mind you they are a bunch of tossers.

p.s sharing is theft. don't try and kid the rest of us that it isn't.

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