Gene Simmons: “The Record Industry Is Dead For New Artists”


In an interview on Larry King’s YouTube Channel (which is 26 minutes long) and took place almost a year ago, but was uploaded recently, Gene Simmons talked about the situation in rock music nowadays and the consequences that digital platforms have brought.

“I’ve said this 10 years ago, when streaming and downloading and all that stuff was for free. Radiohead, it bears noting, tried to do a brand new record and said to their fans, ‘Pay whatever you will.’ It’s interesting to note it hasn’t been done since, ’cause it doesn’t work. If you leave the doors open in a supermarket and say, ‘Pay whatever you want,’ people will just go ahead and pay nothing. But it doesn’t work, because people would rather get stuff for free.

“My heart goes out to new bands,” he continued. “There’s so much good talent out there that will never get a chance. Right now in the zeitgeist, they think, ‘Okay, music industry. I get on ‘X Factor’ or ‘The Voice’ and I sing, and then I have a career. They have no idea what it means. The other thing is that record companies simply cannot make money.
“My daughter, Sophie, is a huge Spotify writer, singer and all that. She’s written for Rick Ross and Yellow Claw and all these kinds of [artists]. She’s got tons of songs that have been downloaded millions and millions of times. You can download something 10 million times and make a few hundred bucks.

“The record industry is dead for new artists,” Gene added. “Rock is dead. The last great rock band was the Foo Fighters, and that’s 20 years ago. You can’t name another rock band, because you can’t make a living.