Legendary rock band Aerosmith has made headlines in recent months due to feuds between band members, but once upon a time, they rocked the charts and are now considered the best-selling rock band in history (over 150 million albums sold). 40 years after their formation, members of Aerosmith speak up about the changes in the industry.
Frontman Steven Tyler isn’t happy. He insists:
There was a time when our catalogue was worth $24 million. Now it’s worth like 12 cents since they’ve invented downloading.
And says bassist Tom Hamilton:
I think we have a lot of people in our audience who still like to buy CDs. But that is changing and will continue to change… I think most people who were really into the illegal downloading, whatever you wanna call it, file sharing, thought it was just like the old hippy days, just a free for all. But there were people making money off those sites, and people should know that. I never got into it because I’m not really into .mp3. And it’s funny that the record companies never really put this out there, maybe people wouldn’t have responded, but it’s not the best sound quality you can get. Far from it!
On a different angle, lead guitarist Joe Perry answers:
I thought Napster was the greatest thing. It was so great to be able to listen to something and be able to pull some songs out that weren’t even popular enough to make the classics list… But it’s fucked up that musicians didn’t get the money for them. And the fact that they just shut it down… people obviously wanted it. They just did not get what was going on. Watching all this go on and watching how kids are listening to music and what they grab and how classic music has changed it’s meaning so much. At one point, we couldn’t even get an alternative band to open for us. We were so-called a classic band. It had a whole different meaning to it.
And in a second interview by Perry regarding video games as a turn in the music industry and how the industry “ate itself”:
The record companies have eaten themselves, basically dissolved and are trying really hard to figure out how to resur-rect a dying paradigm. And it’s right in front of them. This is one of the ways. Everything from car commercials to YouTube and an aborted Napster that should have been snapped up by the record companies a long time ago. It was obvious that the fans wanted it and they didn’t mind paying for it but the record companies just turned a blind eye to it and basically destroyed an industry… somewhere in the middle is this gap in how are they [fans] going to get it. That the artists get paid what they should get paid and not ripped off and (consumers) not paying $20 for a CD they should only be paying $7 for. Video games are a great vehicle for bands to put new music out… It’s happening and it’s going to be one of the ways people are going to get their music.