Visual-kei fans are killing visual-kei bands


In the latest volley of gloom and doom in the war against music sharing, Nathan Reavan of HearJapan has issued a scathing statement on his site. In it he details an experiment he worked out with the brand new visual-kei band (the Japanese version of goth/glam rock) Xodiack.

In order to build a following and raise awareness of the band with little initial cost, HearJapan and Xodiack released the band's first single for free on the site. All fans had to do was sign up on the site and they could instantly grab the song. Naturally, some of those fans then re-uploaded it to their own file sharing site of choice. While HearJapan recorded around 500 direct downloads, there were probably thousands more through other sites. All across the web, people were professing their love for the band, saying that they couldn't wait to hear more. Xodiack quickly worked to put together a complete single with three songs and a ton of huge photos.

No one bought it.

OK, a few people bought it, but sales almost immediately stopped as the full single, once again, appeared on file sharing sites. Interestingly, the fans had the same reaction, they all loved it. They loved the band and couldn't talk about them enough. Obviously, none of them had bought the release. None of them had actually supported the band in any real way. XodiacK had spent thousands of dollars recording the music and shooting the photos in an effort to reach out to the world outside of Japan, and the fans just gobbled it all up, giving nothing in return.

Reavan points out that this issue isn't about any money lost by his site, but that lost by the band:

"Did I take a loss in getting all the band information translated accurate, on man hours encoding, tagging, promoting, and numerous phone calls with the band to make sure everything was accurate and just the way the band wanted it? Yes. But my loss is insubstantial to the loss incurred on the band themselves. Would you want to continue doing something if you put all your energy, time and money into something and everyone told you you’re great and awesome but in the end you just get pissed on"

Reavan is targeting vis-kei fans specifically because many of the non-vis acts he works with are doing just fine. It's only the one genre of music that is taking the hit.

You can read the entire post here. It really leaves little room for vis-kei "fans" to wiggle. Also, check out my own opinion on the matter below.

I'd say that 65% of "the people" out there only listen to music because they think they have to. They don't care about it in the least, aside from using it to make themselves look cool, hip, trendy or in the know. For most, music is just transitory wallpaper, something meant to be used and then thrown away once a new trendy style is released. This is certainly nothing new, and not even an inherently bad thing. Much of the music industry is just that, an industry churning out product, keeping people employed and fed.

The real problem is when you combine shallow fans with the ephemeral state of file sharing. Visual-kei is ripe for plunder because a vast majority of the fans only care about what the band members look like and wouldn't know a skilled musician if she sat on their face and bounced. To these people, music really is nothing. It's just this thing attached to a pretty face. A face that will make mom and dad shake their heads in confusion. For many of these kids, the bands are just a tool used to carve out their own special sense of self. The mere possession of the band's album is a sign of rebellion and oh-so-worldly-wise views. Of course rebellion through music is also far from a new idea, but it's still total crap.

So BS fans allow BS music to perpetuate, making it even easier to justify getting it for free, because it's worthless anyway. The bands out there who do put their blood and soul into creating their band have little chance of breaking into and surviving in such an acidic environment. Believe it or not, that glamorous, dreamy front-man with the hawt hair style and smokey voice is probably working 10 hour days as a corporate peon to help get the band new boots for the next live gig. These guys are not exotic vampires living in vast mansions in the French coutryside. They are just some dudes trying to live their dreams, and chances are that their very own fans are bleeding them dry.

What I'm trying to say is this:

File sharing isn't killing the music industry. Shallow fans are.

So what is a real music lover to do? Easy. Buy music, tell your friends to buy music and support the bands with real talent (whatever you think that means.) I'm not saying you have to pay for every last song you download, but I am saying that you need to put your money where your mouth is. If you think a band is great, and you really mean it, then you need to buy their material. If you don't, you're a worthless blight who needs to shut the fuck up and get the fuck out.

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Zac Bentz
Zac Bentz   gamer profile



Filed under... #music



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