ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian says that bands won't be able to make records anymore and tour as much as they used to due to the continuing alteration of the way fans consume music.
Despite the fact that Spotify, iTunes and other digital outlets have made music easier to purchase, more mobile and cheaper than ever, people either pick and choose the odd single to buy, or they stream music on services such as Spotify or YouTube, often free of charge.
During an appearance on the July 27 edition of Eddie Trunk's SiriusXM satellite radio show, "Eddie Trunk Live", Ian lamented the state of the music industry, saying it's harder than ever to make money from album sales, and rejected the popular notion these days that music should be free.
"Music's never been cheaper now," Ian said. "I'm talking about the cost to buy a CD. You can get a brand new record from your favorite band for ten dollars, basically. And even that's high, 'cause most bands will sell 'em cheaper, especially the first or two the records are out. So, for ten bucks you can get a new record. I mean, it wasn't that long ago that CDs cost $18.99 at the Virgin Megastore. Records cost half what they used to cost, and people aren't buying them as much, which is crazy to me. It's never been cheaper. What more do the people want?"
He continued: "I get it. I understand there's a thing called the Internet and people have the ability to steal music. So I understand why it's happening, but you would think that people would just have the attitude, 'I'm gonna support music, I'm gonna support the bands I love, because if I don't support this, well, the bands I love aren't gonna be able to make records anymore and they're not gonna be able to tour as much anymore. So it's this weird conundrum that everybody is finding themselves in in the last few years. I get it.'
Ian added: "Look, if I was a kid, and it was 1977 and I had a way to get KISS albums for free, I'm pretty sure I probably would have jumped on that bandwagon. But for me to get a free KISS album in 1977 would have meant having the balls to walk into a record store, take a vinyl album, stick it under my shirt and walk out without getting caught. There was a consequence to that. So it's a completely different thing [today]. There's no consequence to stealing music online … or anything: movies, or books, or anything. Maybe until there's a proper consequence and people actually realize they're breaking a law, then maybe it will change. But, I mean, it's, like… C'mon, man! Seriously? Ten dollars for a CD? That's asking too much?"
Ian also spoke about the fact that more consumers are streaming music over the internet to their smartphones or computers, instead of owning collections of songs.
"I'm not against streaming," he said. "I also do look forward and understand that it's the way of the future; it's the way things have been going for years and years and years. From the days of cassette Walkmans back in the '80s, the technology has been pushing forward to make music more portable. And this is just the next wave of it, really."
He continued: "As kids, we didn't look at your Walkmans, we didn't look at them as a threat to the way of life for the music industry, but if you go back to that time, to the older generations, to them, [they were thinking], 'What the fuck is a Walkman? You're gonna walk around and listen to music in headphones while you're on a subway train going to work? What kind of shit is this?' So it's the same thing. It's really the same thing."
Ian added: "I mean, who knew that this is where it was gonna end up? And not even end up. Where is it gonna be fifty years from now? Then you'll just have a chip inside, planted in your neck, with the whole catalog of all the hit music in history, and you just think about it and the song comes in your head. Eventually, maybe it's gonna go there. You just have to buy the chip for, like, a million dollars."
ANTHRAX is currently putting the finishing touches on its long-awaited follow-up to 2011's "Worship Music" album for an early 2016 release. The CD, which is once again being produced by Jay Ruston (STONE SOUR, STEEL PANTHER), will include such songtitles as "The Battle Chose Us", "You Gotta Believe" and "The Evil Twin".
ANTHRAX recently completed a six-week North American tour with VOLBEAT. The band's setlist included the new song "Soror Irrumator (Lords Of The Rock)", ANTHRAX's contribution to the the second installment of "Catch The Throne: The Mixtape", for HBO's Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning series "Game Of Thrones".