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Gene Simmons on the Music Business: ‘It’s Dead – Because the Fans Won’t Pay for Music’

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Gene Simmons has once again declared the music business six feet under, telling Detroit radio station 94.7 WCSX the main reason is, “Because fans won’t pay for it.” The KISS co-founder has been vocal in recent years regarding filesharing and downloading and its effect on the industry.

“It’s not the industry – it’s the fans,” Simmons says. “Sometimes there are riots, and sometimes for bad reasons, sometimes for good reasons. But then when people break into stores and run out and take stuff, the business dies.”

“The business is dead,” he adds. “Not for [KISS] – we can continue to tour – and the Rolling Stones can continue to play the songs everybody loves and so can Paul McCartney and stuff. But for a new band, it’s dead. You have to give away your music for free, because generations of fans have been trained – shamefully – not to pay for music. Download, fileshare, view; I don’t care what you call it, the truth is new bands don’t have a chance.”

Simmons says he writes all the time, and brought up a recent collaboration with former KISS bandmate Ace Frehley for the latter’s upcoming solo album along with his own solo box set.

“A few weeks ago, Ace and I sat down and we wrote two things for his next record, which is gonna be coming out, you know, whenever he says,” Simmons reveals. “So writing happens all the time, and in my box set, which is gonna come out – oh, I don’t know – before the end of the year, there are gonna be hundreds of songs. But the actual business of it? No, it’s dead. It’s dead. Because the fans won’t pay for music.”

The bassist then brought up Radiohead without naming them, pointing to their 2007 effort In Rainbows which they offered in a pay-what-you-want price structure.

“There was an English band, very well respected,” Simmons says. “I don’t wanna say their name, ’cause their fans get so upset. And I’m actually a fan of the band. And they decided to put out a brand new album on the Internet, and the headline was, ‘Listen, there’s no price for this, just pay whatever you wanna pay, or don’t pay anything at all.’ They only did that once, because it doesn’t work. If you can walk into a store and there’s a sign up that says, ‘You can have anything for free or pay whatever you want,’ how long do you think that store would stay in business?”

Hear more of Simmons’ interview with WCSX 94.7 in the player below.

Gene Simmons on 94.7 WCSX


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