The six-piece, symphonic metal band Lost Symphony is joining us for this Guest Blog feature to give their two cents on saving the music industry. The Boston-based instrumental group is also gearing up to drop their debut record, Chapter I, on March 27th via XOff Records. With a few singles available – with videos below – audiences are familiarizing themselves with the band’s epic style of metal, chock full of double bass pedal work, hella pinch harmonics and lots of ruthless scalework.
Now Lost Symphony is generously lending us keyboardist and guitarist Benny Goodman as he dishes on how to make being a musician great again. Check out their tunes, keep your eyes and ears open for their upcoming album, and follow an honest-to-goodness musician as he decries the music industry’s broken system.
Lost Symphony is a six-piece band, but also a “Singularity.”
– When I first learned how to play “Heart and Soul” on the piano I distinctly remember how powerful I felt, even at the ripe age of six. I could make this piece of wood, strings, and ivory make an actual song with my fingers. It took me hours upon hours to internalize which keys made what sound and for how long I had to hold them down with which finger to make what noise. Sounds confusing, right? To be honest, playing the piano well is tantamount, in my eyes, to being able to perform heart surgery. I’m not even joking, you are using all ten fingers simultaneously at times with differing levels of velocity. It’s actually pretty amazing. Except, as a classically trained pianist, I associate my ability to play fast arpeggios and glissandos more with being the right dude for a Jovi/Journey tribute band than earning what a doctor would bank (in intensely elitist voice).
I don’t have a problem with doctors for making a shitton of money. The fact that The Stones still make insane cash fifty years in while Ed Sheeran and Metallica are pulling in hard millions per show makes me happy. I’m not a hater. In fact, if there’s any hate in my voice(text) whatsoever it’s either because I’m insanely jealous, just like ANY other “musician,” or that I’m annoyed that my drummer plays better than Lars. Still, I tip my hat to Lars. He played on Master of Puppets and made double bass a thing. That’s when people actually could “make it” as a musician without having to go on a television show with other “musicians” attempting to make money because otherwise, they’re only making money off of…music (or whatever Shark Tank company they’ve acquired).
There was a time where you could focus on your talents as both a player and performer and still be able to make a living without a question if given the right amount of talent to piss n’ vinegar ratio. If you were able to get on the radio, MTV, or a television show and catch that five-minute wave, there was actually a good chance you could buy a Ferrari without having to sell a kidney or knock someone off. There is not a day that goes by where I don’t wish I had written “Bad Boys” for Inner Circle, because every single time Cops is on television I know some rasta dude is smokin’ another Arturo fuente. thinking “KA-CHING.“
But it seems like those days are over. Owning a recording studio, I have actually had clients who have never purchased a physical album in their life. Drink that in, as some millennial is going…why wouldn’t you just download the uncompressed audio, bro? The art of finding rare tunes in the import bin and getting psyched over good soundboard bootlegs are long gone. Where some elite bands would shift millions of physical units twenty years ago, now those numbers have become an aggregate of physical units, downloads, streams, and some other shit I’m sure that’s in the matrix/algorithm/DaVinci Code. Things are not as they were for musicians.
That’s not to say there is not what I equate to the 1%: your Kanye, your Metallica, and your Post Malone’s of the world. Malone is setting records that equate, in modern vernacular, to numbers similar to The Beatles. I mean, fuck yeah, good for that guy, but even then, what you would have made off of those numbers pales in comparison to what you would have made years ago, relatively speaking…when THINGS WERE LIKE THEY WERE!!!! Bands did not have to do meet and greets and sell autographed shit at every show just to make 60% of what they made four tours ago. I’m all for bands saying hey to their fans and I’m the nerd that buys the signed drumhead, but it sucks, from a musician’s standpoint, to have to do these things just to get by or have to explain to your label/investor/mom why your year over year numbers blow donkey nuts.
Sometimes “This Life Moves Too Fast” for all of us.
All of my generation stood by and watched as society devalued music, kinda like Nero watching Rome burn. Before our eyes. Like some corporate slut magic. We shat all over Lars for shitting on Napster, but dare I say he was right: that musicians should be compensated fairly? All of the internet providers are making the money off streaming it, you can literally think of a song and next thing you know that band’s bootleg pressed du jour t-shirt is in your Facebook feed. Everything is available so it has become hard for a whole generation to appreciate feeling the success of being a musician. Except for the poor talented souls on YouTube killing the game and making nada other than this killer “exposure” thing everyone is raving about. The first thing people ask when I say I’m a professional musician is “what other job do you have?” It doesn’t even sound like a real thing, just something you put on your tinder profile to get more super likes.
What I’m getting at, is that I hope society wakes up and puts some thought back into letting the other 99% make money again the legit way. Having streaming services and internet providers actually enable artists and bands to be able to do this without having to ask for a handout on gofundme or some other site would be such a validation to all of the other stupid pricks like me who thought practicing for hours instead of playing sports or going to the prom was actually worth it.