Wednesday, 16 October 2013


“Beth, I hear you callin' 
But I can't come home right now 
Me and the boys are playin' 
And we just can't find the sound 
Just a few more hours 
And I'll be right home to you 
I think I hear them callin' 
Oh, Beth what can I do 
Beth what can I do

Beth – Kiss

The idea of selling out and mass music production is talked about in today’s music industry like the smell of a rate dying behind a radiator. Many a young, old, and hipster never hesitate to discuss how artists should only be about the music and not the money or the marketing. The idea of the good old rock and roll days where it was more about the chords and crowds and less about sales is idealised.

Well, I hate to break it to you, but those worshipped old school bands were just as into the money and marketing as any mass produced pop act playing on Juice TV right now. Yes, behind Kiss, one of the most influential bands in world, is a man who thought of nothing more than that dreaded word: branding.

It was with great interest I read Gene Simmons’ autobiography Kiss and Make Up a few months ago. While now a little outdated, given that it was released in early 2000’s, it holds some very interesting observations about Kiss and the music industry as a whole. The book details how Simmons envisioned much more than a band from the beginning; rather he wanted to create a brand which people could buy into. For me the book cemented the idea that when we listen to music we are buying into a product and contributing to a business. I read about how far Kiss took their branding and marketing, with the obvious albums and tours, but they were the forefront for merchandise, from t-shirts to lunchboxes and comic books to conventions.

It seems people forget music is a business and they deliver products, and bands and singers make music as their job. I don’t really believe any band who says they are in the music industry purely for the music; not only is this not a substantial way to earn a living, but these bands are saying they will never create products to take them further into the business (whether it be the band themselves or a producer behind the marketing). There is definitely a way to create music which inspires people and become a successful brand; it’s been more than thirty years since Kiss started and they are still going strong with numerous singles and album sales.

Therefore people, please let’s stop saying some music acts are little more than marketing rubbish. Everyone in the industry creates their music a little differently but want the same goal: to buy into their products. And you should buy in to it. After all, what’s better than some musical retail therapy? 

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