Rock music isn’t as popular as it used to be. Gene Simmons discussed this when talking to Spin and gave his insight on the topic. He also talked about what would happen when acts like Paul McCartney stop playing. According to Simmons, the current model of artists making money is not good and today’s artists can barely make any money, unlike during his time.
Simmons was asked what would happen to rock music when classic rock acts like Paul McCartney retire in the next few years. He said that rock is dead, and people now are listening to EDM and artists like Tame Impala, which he actually likes. He also named Ghost as one of the other interesting acts. Simmons said that there’s good music being made right now but they are not going to get the chance that they did.
“Rock is dead. The kids are listening to EDM and sort of Tame Impala stuff, which I quite like actually. Ghost is interesting. There’s some good stuff out there, but they’re not going to get the chance that we did. They didn’t have a record company who put up posters around, gave you advances that you never had to return, so you could full-time dedicate yourself to that thing.
How do you do that if you’re giving your music away for 1/100th of one penny for a download? How do you pay the rent? How do you buy gas? So there’s that vicious cycle of we’re a new band, we don’t make any money, nobody knows who we are. Let’s give our music away for free and hope that we build up enough fans so we can go out and play clubs to make enough money to drive to the next city.”
Artists in Simmons’ time had record companies putting posters around to promote them, giving them advances that the artists never had to return; they could dedicate themselves to music full-time. However, that is not the case today at all. Simmons asks how are today’s artists going to make ends meet when they give away their music for 1/100th of a penny for a download. How are artists going to pay rent, or buy gas with that little income.
Simmons talked about the vicious cycle of the industry today. When a new band springs up, they have to give away their music for free since nobody knows them and they don’t make any money. They ope that they could build up enough fans so that they can go out and play clubs to make just enough money to drive to the next city.
Just like everything needs fuel, Simmons says that musicians, writers and painters need money to survive. The current model does not offer that, and when artists like KISS and Paul McCartney stop playing, there’s going to be nothing left of rock.