"You're killing the next Elvis [Presley] and The Beatles and the next Kiss"
Kiss bassist Gene Simmons has once again criticised music fans for downloading music illegally, claiming those who engage in the practise are ‘killing’ up-and-coming artists.
Speaking to Planet Rock, as reported by Ultimate Classic Rock, the 65-year-old asserted his belief that artists who wish to follow in Kiss’s footsteps may never achieve the same notoriety as listeners prefer not to support them financially.
“I blame the fans. Because the fans have decided en masse – in other words, the masses have decided – that they should get free music, download, fileshare,” said Simmons. “You’re killing the next Elvis [Presley] and The Beatles and the next Kiss and the next whoever, because you have to give your music away for free.
“It’s disappointing, because they would prefer not to support a new band… It affects the next great band, who won’t have a chance. Why? Because the talent isn’t out there? It sure is. The fans killed it. They killed the infrastructure.”
Simmons was, however, full of praise for the record labels of his day, saying the companies “gave bands money that they never had to pay back – ever! If the band failed and the records were a complete disaster, the advance money was all theirs. What other business would give you that? If you go to a bank and they give you a million dollars, and your business goes under, they don’t care it failed; they want their money back.”
He continued by dubbing labels “a gift from heaven. Yeah, they’re greedy, they’re this… but they wanna make money just like you do. But they gave you money – millions! And if it wasn’t for record companies, there’d be no Sex Pistols, there’d be no punk, there’d be no nothing. There would be punk, but it would be in a small club. It would never become huge.”
Just last year, Simmons accused current record labels of failing to adequately support rock artists these days and declared the genre to be “finally dead”.
When asked what he would say to young musicians and songwriters, the reality TV star affirmed, “Don’t quit your day job is a good piece of advice. When I was coming up, it was not an insurmountable mountain. Once you had a record company on your side, they would fund you, and that also meant when you toured they would give you tour support. There was an entire industry to help the next Beatles, Stones, Prince, Hendrix, to prop them up and support them every step of the way. There are still record companies, and it does apply to pop, rap, and country to an extent. But for performers who are also songwriters – the creators – for rock music, for soul, for the blues – it’s finally dead. Rock is finally dead.”
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In that interview, published by Esquire and conducted by his son Nick, Simmons also spoke out about illegal file sharing. “The masses do not recognise file-sharing and downloading as stealing because there’s a copy left behind for you – it’s not that copy that’s the problem, it’s the other one that someone received but didn’t pay for,” he said. “The problem is that nobody will pay you for the 10,000 hours you put in to create what you created. I can only imagine the frustration of all that work, and having no one value it enough to pay you for it.”
He continued, “You’re better off not even learning how to play guitar or write songs, and just singing in the shower and auditioning for The X Factor. And I’m not slamming The X Factor, or pop singers. But where’s the next Bob Dylan? Where’s the next Beatles? Where are the songwriters? Where are the creators? Many of them now have to work behind the scenes, to prop up pop acts and write their stuff for them.”