• This topic deserves a differentiated comment. One of my favorite bands, German gothic metal veterans Crematory, have recently been releasing a comment claiming that the group's upcoming record might be its last and that its album tour is going to be a farewell if album and ticket sales didn't improve. The band leader asked the fans to ''get off their lazy asses'' and support the band with led to an elevated number of controversial reactions. You can find the entire post on the band's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CREMATORY

    First of all, it's understandable that it's frustrating for artists who have put so much creativity, passion and time into their project for nearly three decades to lose money every year, sell less copies of their art and see less people attend their shows. I can perfectly understand the drummer's point of view. Since I have known the band half of my life, seen the band in concert three times and bought most of their records, I don't take the message personally at all. My father or I are still going to buy the new album and if the band plays close to my hometown when I'm going to be in Germany, I will attend the concert, no matter if it costs thirty bucks or more. The band usually plays far over two hours, talks to fans after the show and offers a memorable experience. I know Crematory won't disappoint as they offer value for money.

    However, the drummer's cry for help won't change anything and those who already didn't like the band or were neutral won't be tempted to support the band now. Some hot-tempered fans might even turn their backs on the band as a consequence. What was meant to wake up people could actually become the final nail in the coffin because it offended people. A quick look at the band's Facebook page shows that about two thirds of the reactions are negative. The positive thing is that people are now discussing the future of the music industry but nobody will be talking about Crematory anymore in a few weeks. Releasing such comments is indeed honest, liberating and straight-forward but the long-term consequences only make things worse.

    The fans are not to blame for the group's financial problems anyway. Prices for records, merchandise and concert have constantly risen over the past few decades just like anything else while the salaries didn't truly follow. Those who have followed the band throughout all those years, bought their records and attended concerts have to spend money on more essential expenses these days, have become too old to attend concerts until late at night and have maybe not the energy to attend festivals with noisy crowds in the summer heat for one hundred bucks or more. Gothic metal is simply not as popular as it was twenty years ago either which means that most younger metal fans might not even be familiar with the genre in general or this band in particular. Crematory isn't the only band to go through these changes and this tendency is nearly impossible to be reverted. Another fact is that most people are traveling more these days than they did twenty years ago, so people want to have their music accessible at all times in a digitalized world to listen to it on their cell phones or computers. Some people don't have the time to listen to full records in their living rooms anymore and will instead listen to new music on the bus. It only make sense that people prefer streaming services, downloads or digital copies over physical products that might only collect dust on a shelf. Nobody wants to buy a product for a hefty price just to see it collect dust like in a museum. This might not be a healthy development for our society but that's just the way it is in general and nobody is going to change the world, especially not with a Facebook comment.

    What can really be done to change the game? There are more options than one might think of. Here are a few that came to my mind immediately and I'm far from being an expert of any kind.

    First of all, the labels in particular and the music industry in general need to adapt to these changes. Instead of producing music videos or lyrics videos that nobody will watch, short commercials on streaming websites or social media presences will lead to a more efficient marketing strategy. 

    Instead of giving interviews to print media that become less popular every year, one should cooperate with specialized fan magazines and popular people on social media to get more attention. 

    Music should become more available digitally for a certain price. Bandcamp would be the best current option for a band to get more popular and get more immediate profit at the same time. Crowdfunding campaigns offering unique gimmicks to fans are a great way to finance projects and records. Sticking with declining labels is less and less essential these days.

    Being active on social media such as Facebook and Twitter but also specific forums will make a band more visible.

    Offering specific gimmicks will also attract fan attention, such as signed copies for fair prices, an exclusive release with one of the few popular music magazines to promote an upcoming album, or boxed sets like the ones the band has released from their records Klagebilder to Revolution could be some ideas. All releases should include download codes offering high-quality digital versions of the record. If you want to sell physical copies, bonus tracks are mandatory and can be complemented by addition live discs, posters or even shirts.

    Touring with a bigger band could also be an interesting option even if it might feel disgraceful for a band that has been around for three decades. Softer German bands associated to the gothic genre such as Unheilig, Rammstein and In Extremo are doing very well financially and opening for these bands would introduce a group like Crematory to younger audiences. It could also be an idea to join forces with similar bands with comparable issues and to have three popular gothic metal bands touring together for reduced costs per member. I'm sure a line-up consisting of Paradise Lost, Moonspell and Crematory would attract much larger audiences than if the bands toured on their own.

    Obviously, all these changes need to be introduced and prepared progressively. A clever label or band would have started doing these things more than a decade ago already because the music industry as we knew it was already declining back then and streaming services and download portals were becoming more and more popular. But it's not too late to embrace change and adapt. Instead of being passive-aggressive over it, it would be much more efficient to be proactive and try out something new.

    That being said, I will continue attending concerts, buy merchandise and purchase physical versions of my favorite bands' records but this philosophy only applies to a modest minority these days.

    Partager via Gmail Delicious Technorati Yahoo! Google Bookmarks Blogmarks

    votre commentaire
  • Some administrators seem to have the strategy to exploit their best human resources until they are completelty drained just to drop or exchange them as soon as they aren't considered valuable enough anymore. In most cases, those inhuman and purely bureaucratical decisions are just as despicable as they're wrong.

    Remember Montreal Canadien's Patrick Roy, undoubtedly one of the best goaltenders in the history of the NHL. He might have had a difficult personality but he was respected among most teammates, adored by numerous fans and last but not least incredibly successful. Then a new manager without much experience, reputation and success came in and didn't know how to handle such a heavyweight. It came to a clash and the coach tried to humiliate the goaltender by not taking him off the ice during a game when the entire team played terribly. Patrick Roy was furious, announced his departure and went on two win two more Stanley Cups for the Colorado Avalanche. The Montreal Canadiens haven't won one single Stanley Cup since then.

    Some sportsmen and other people in their everyday lives don't always have the occasion to make such a brave move so easily. They aren't financially independent, they have families, friends and houses to pay near their workplace and they don't always have the occasion to start a new career or life. The administrators in charge know about this and exploit their employees recklessly.

    This leads me to the current case of Laurent Ciman. He has had an incredibly successful career, a large group of fans and followers and is still a national player for the Belgian team despite his advanced age. He didn't join Montreal Impact for the fame and money but because he needed a secure environment for his autistic daughter who could get better treatments in Canada than in Belgium. Even though Ciman made his choice for the sake of taking care of his family, he gave everything for his new team. He was elected defenseman of the year in the MLS in his first year. He brought some attention to an internationally unknown team. He supported local charity and developed a strong bond with numerous fans. Ciman was also known for being severe and demanding towards himself and his teammates. Taking leadership also means taking risks. Laurent Ciman was always a perfect example for determination, honesty and integrity in both good and bad times.

    Now, a new coach has joined the team and his first noteworthy decision was to send Laurent Ciman to an expansion team in Los Angeles to get two younger and rather unknown players in return. The coach, whose name isn't even worthy to be mentioned here, justified his decision by saying that he wants to start a new era and that his decision was only influenced by recent performances. The new coach wanted to show that the management is more important than one of the team's most experienced, most faithful and most successful players. The fans reacted very negatively which surprised the coach. This proves how disconnected from reality he really is.

    The worst thing is the way this transfer was made. Laurent Ciman wasn't even asked whether he agreed to the transfer or not. The decision was taken while he was in Belgium with his family, just two weeks before Christman during offseason. Apparently, this transfer had been planned over weeks but nobody told Laurent Ciman about it. This is nothing new: managers expect their players to be honest but when it comes to themselves they are rarely role models for integrity.

    The worst element about this trade isn't the fact that a great player is leaving a team that desperately needs a leader after the departure of captain Patrice Bernier. The worst element is the human factor in this decision. Laurent Ciman's autistic daughter now either needs to leave the country and work with specialists from yet another foreign country and in a foreign language which could seriously harm her developed or Laurent Ciman must separate from his family to work in Los Angeles while his wife and children must stay in Canada. Let's not forget that Laurent Ciman bought a house in Montreal, was very well integrated in the local community and that the family members were even planning on becoming Canadian citizens. All those dreams and hopes are now shattered - by a coach who didn't even take the time to talk to his star player appropriately.

    It's very difficult to support this team after what has just happened. True fans have to criticize and question decisions like these. It's impossible to just turn the page from one day to another and to replace one player with another one. This example stands for many things that are wrong with society these days. Power, money and influence matter but empathy doesn't, even if managers might wrongfully claim otherwise.

    It's time to change things for the better - by showing your disagreement with this horrendous decision. Or by deciding to leave and start anew like Patrick Roy once did.

    Partager via Gmail Delicious Technorati Yahoo! Google Bookmarks Blogmarks

    votre commentaire
  • Age restrictions seem to be a typically North American thing. I've attended numerous rock, punk and metal shows when I lived in Germany and was between fourteen and seventeen years old and my ID has never ever been checked. When I attend metal shows in Canada, my ID is regularly checked, even though I'm twenty-eight years old. Doormen told me that I look younger than my age which I take as a compliment but I sincerely don't think I look as young or younger than eighteen or nineteen. Once, I showed a driver's license with a picture that was a few years old and the security guy wouldn't believe it was me and asked me plenty of questions about my birth date and address. I thought this was a little bit exaggerated and that the security guy was taking his job a little bit too seriously and I say this as someone who has worked as a doorman at a bar for three years myself.

    I think the problem related to age restrictions is related to laws about purchasing alcohol. In North America, a lot of shows are played in bars and pubs and there is an age limit to avoid that younger people purchase alcohol. In my opinion, it would be a much better solution if shows were all ages but you had to show your ID when you buy alcohol at the show. This might be more work for bartenders but you could place a second bartender on a shift or place a grumpy security guard behind the counter to check all IDs. Young people aren't less passionate about music, most often it's actually the opposite if I think about how much I adored the first concerts I attended and young people should have the right to attend shows like anyone else. It makes for a greater experience for everyone involved.

    The only downside that might apply to some people is that young adults need to be more careful when they decide to pick up girls or guys at an all ages show to make sure they aren't underage. It isn't always easy to tell in a dark bar whether a female with lots of make-up is maybe seventeen or actually twenty-two. Don't play a guessing game and ask if you aren't sure. You just have to be a little bit more careful, that's all.

    Partager via Gmail Delicious Technorati Yahoo! Google Bookmarks Blogmarks

    votre commentaire
  • ''The singing of the national anthem is indeed a typically North American thing. It's not as if the national team were playing, so I don't really understand why there even is the need for the singing of said anthem in the NHL, NFL, NBA and so on. It's sometimes quite weird when a NHL team actually features more Russian, Swedish or Canadian players and yet they have to react to the anthem of the United States of America. This is something you won't see in Europe. When soccer teams face each other in the Champions League, the neutral UEFA hymn is played but not the national anthems of the countries the teams actually come from which is a great solution. In some cases, playing the national anthem could even lead to riots. I'm not sure whether the playing of the national anthem of Spain would be welcome in Camp Nou when Barcelona is playing for example. I would suggest all leagues go for a neutral league anthem and skip the conservative act of patriotism.

    Same goes for the celebration of the Armed Forces during sports games. I have tons of respect for members of the Armed Forces but I'm attending a sports game and not a military event and I think both things should be unrelated. There are also professions that are equally worth being honored and which are never honored officially like that. I'm thinking about all the doctors, lawyers, police officers, scientists and teachers in this world for example. Funnily enough, when I'm attending sports games, I see everybody standing up for the national anthem and the honoring of a member of the Armed Forces, even people who don't even bother standing up when a team scores a goal, a player gets a hat-trick and so on. I would suggest getting rid of that conservative military propaganda during sports events.

    On the other side: when in Rome, do as the Romans do. I'm German but I'm living in Canada. So when I'm attending a sports game, I actually do stand up during the national anthems of Canada and the United States of America. I even sing along to the national anthem of Canada and I honestly don't have any problem with that. I also stand up when a member of the Armed Forces is honored. It's called having good manners. Whether you find that practice great or not doesn't matter here.

    Bottom line: I think the singing of the national anthem and honoring members of the Armed Forces during sports events is a very conservative and maybe even obsolete tradition that should be removed from North American arenas and stadiums. However, as long as this tradition is being maintained, everybody should stick to it out of respect. Therefore, I think that there are other ways to voice your opinion against your government than not celebrating the national anthem or kneeling down during its performance. Doing something like this actually makes the government seem bigger than it is. By protesting against the government by refusing to celebrate the national anthem, you seem to imply that your country and your government are the same or at least very closely related. This is not true. Nine months of questionable presidency shouldn't affect the values the United States of America, including its anthem and its flag, stand for. Singing the national anthem and wearing a wristband, shirt or pin with a message dedicated to those overlooked or mistreated in times like these would have a much stronger impact. It would show that people do believe in their country and that they won't let a terrible President divide it.''

    Partager via Gmail Delicious Technorati Yahoo! Google Bookmarks Blogmarks

    votre commentaire
  • ''Each time there is another news about another senseless thing Trump does, I feel so relieved to not live in his country, especially being an immigrant myself.

    That's quite a sad thing considering the United States is one of the most beautiful, diversified and unique countries in the world. Aside of some corrupt or war-torn developing countries, I couldn't imagine a worse place to live than in the United States these days, especially if compared to other countries in the Western World.

    Trump will not destroy this country as many people suggest but surely throw it back several years, harm its natural evolution and destroy most of its positive reputation in the world which is already an ongoing process.

    It's a mystery to me that a country supposedly filled with so many proud patriots lets him do this. It's also a mystery that so many immigrants let him do that. It's also a mystery that the Democrats aren't actively trying to find ways to change things around and work on a potential comeback.

    I'm not in favor of demonstrations and riots in general but it's kind of worrying to see that there isn't much going on in that regard right now either. Getting used to his antics by overlooking them, resigning yourself or tolerating them is quite dangerous.

    Trump was elected and deserved his chance as a President no matter what people said. I'm the first one to say that because I believe in democracy. It might not be the perfect system but the best that exists in our world. However, more than half a year after the start of Donald Trump's Presidency, it should be obvious to the majority of Americans that he doesn't do this noble profession and important role any justice.

    If the Republicans want to remain credible and have a chance to win any other elections in the near future, they should be faithful to their own values and choose to get rid of a man who only cares about himself and not his party and who is dragging everyone down with him. I understand that parties care mostly about influence, money and power but there must be a breaking point somewhere. Now would be the time for the Republicans to show their true identity. If nothing happens, people will take radical actions and things could escalate very quickly. Now is the time to prevent further damage. 

    Abraham Lincoln must be spinning in his grave.''

    Partager via Gmail Delicious Technorati Yahoo! Google Bookmarks Blogmarks

    votre commentaire

    Suivre le flux RSS des articles de cette rubrique
    Suivre le flux RSS des commentaires de cette rubrique