Former QUEENSRŸCHE singer Geoff Tate was asked about the decline of sales in the music industry.
He said: (via Blabbermouth)
“If the situation that happens to the record industry happens to the auto industry, the scenario would be that the government would step in and subsidize the industry until it got itself on its feet. But that didn’t happen with the record-company situation.
“When people in the ’90s started downloading music for free and filesharing, it took the money and the economy out of the record industry. And instead of fighting back, the record industry just shrugged their shoulders and said, ‘Sorry. Nothing we can do. Well, maybe somebody will come up with a good idea.’ And so we all sat around and waited for somebody with an idea that would save our income. But, honestly, as artists, we lost 85 percent of our income — 85 percent! That’s pretty tragic. Now, of course, you have the imbeciles on the one side of the argument who say, ‘Oh, well, those spoiled rock stars, they make too much money anyway.’ And well, that’s true — people that are successful make money. It’s the American way. Let’s not forget why we’re here — it’s capitalism at play. People have the right to make money, and you shouldn’t persecute them or crucify them because they’re successful; that’s just asinine. But the whole thing just unraveled, and now it’s a laugh.
On the importance of branding for artists:
“Well, that’s a really interesting subject. It’s really interesting for me, because it’s definitely something that I had never thought about before — until the situation with QUEENSRŸCHEcame about, when we were trying to establish who was QUEENSRŸCHE or what the name was worth and all that kind of thing. And it was evident to all of us that the name was everything — the name was the only value that we had.
“I remember when I was trying to go out and do what I do live [as a solo artist], the promoters, who I had worked with for years, were saying, ‘I’m having a really hard time selling you, letting people know that you’re out playing, because nobody knows your name. They just know QUEENSRŸCHE; they don’t know your name, Geoff Tate.’ So it was really strange to think about that.
“Like I said earlier, I had spent 30 years signing everything I did ‘QUEENSRŸCHE‘; I didn’t sign it ‘Geoff Tate‘; I didn’t make my name known — even though I did so much of the interview kind of things and I guess I was sort of the face of the band for a long period of time. But people really recognize the name [of the band] rather than [individual] artists [within the group] — unless you’re a solo artist and you’ve always done that. So I’m kind of, in a sense, having to reinvent myself, at my age now, letting people know that I’m me [laughs], and I’m gonna be playing at a theater near you. And it’s funny, when I say, ‘Okay, I’m gonna be on tour.’ And they go, ‘Oh, really? Well, what music are you gonna play?’ [I go], ‘I’m gonna play my music.’ ‘You’re gonna play QUEENSRŸCHE music?’ I go, ‘Well… yeah!’ It’s strange. I can’t understand how they even see it any different, but they do.
“You’re talking about branding and things like that being so important nowadays… We’ve seen the rise of the tribute band right now, and it’s staggering to me that these tribute bands go out and they tour around the country — around the world in some cases — and they’re doing multiple nights at venues, and they’re doing great, while the original band doesn’t. [Laughs] And that just seems bizarre to me — that a tribute band can have more success than the original band. And I was thinking to myself, well, now that Scott Rockenfield isn’t playing in QUEENSRŸCHE and I’m not in QUEENSRŸCHE and Chris DeGarmo is not in QUEENSRŸCHE anymore, that just leaves two original players [in the current band]. So I thought, hey, why don’t we all get together as a tribute to QUEENSRŸCHE? [Laughs] And maybe we’d sell more tickets. [Laughs]”