KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons was recently interviewed on the “Thunder Underground” podcast.
Asked for his opinion on streaming music services like Spotify, Simmons said:
“Good luck to ’em. I am not a supporter. I do believe in free-market economy — supply and demand and all that kind of stuff — and I support Taylor Swift and METALLICA and anybody else who doesn’t wanna play the game; THE BEATLES didn’t wanna play the game for a long time.
“Look, it doesn’t affect me,” he continued.
“I’m a rich b*stard. I do well. By some standards, I’m rich and famous and all that stuff. By Warren Buffett standards, I couldn’t pick a booger of the floor for him; actually, I can. But it’s all relative. However, none of this affects me. It doesn’t. I make a living. We have our fans, they show up, that’s great. We sell truckloads. We outsell THE BEATLES and Elvis [Presley] on licensing and merchandising combined, as well as any other ten bands put in there.
But imagine you’re a new band and you have your passion and your music and you really love it, you can’t do it. There’s nothing else. They can’t show up live, because they don’t know who you are, so somehow you’ve gotta get the music out there. But if you wanna earn a living, you can’t get the music out there. So you’re living in your mother’s basement, you have to have a dayjob and the kids get your music for free. ‘I’m just promoting my live shows.’ It doesn’t work. And the people that killed all the new bands are the fans themselves. It wasn’t corporate America, it wasn’t aliens from space. The people that killed the music they love are the people who love the music.”
Simmons went on to say:
“Remember, RADIOHEAD put out a record: ‘Hey, pay what you wanna pay.’ [Editor’s note: RADIOHEAD‘s ‘In Rainbows’ album was first released in October 2007 as a digital download from the band’s web site. Fans were encouraged to ‘pay what you wish’ — even nothing — and a ‘digital tip jar’ was set up to collect voluntary payments.]
They did it once, didn’t they? It doesn’t work. Charge people. Make them pay. Make a cross, draw a line in the sand. This is commerce, and that’s charity. Once you get your money and all that stuff, then you can decide if you wanna do charity. Or advertise it as charity: ‘What I’m about to do? Charity.’ But I don’t want somebody else deciding when I do charity or how much I’m giving.
“Did you ever heard a freckle-faced kid go, ‘Hey, you’re too rich. You don’t need that money.’ Listen, b*tch, I didn’t ask your opinion. I’ll let you know what money I need and what I don’t need. I don’t need some kid who hasn’t wiped his first c*mstain off his leg to tell me what I need in my life.”