Gene Simmons shows his age (and ignorance)

Gene Simmons wants to sue college kids off the face of Earth. Don Reisinger has a few choice words for the leader of KISS.

What's with all these old fools trying to make a name for themselves in the music business again by speaking out against piracy? First it was Metallica , who hated on bloggers, but came off its high horse only after we took the band to task. And now, it's Gene Simmons of the once-important KISS, who is blaming fans and peer-to-peer networks for the destruction of the poor music industry.

"The record industry is dead. It's six feet underground and unfortunately the fans have done this," Simmons said. "They've decided to download and file share. There is no record industry around so we're going to wait until everybody settles down and becomes civilized. As soon as the record industry pops its head up we'll record new material."

But it gets better. Not too long ago, the 58-year old, cool dude wannabe said that "Every little college kid, every freshly-scrubbed little kid's face, should have been sued off the face of the earth."

Oh, Gene. I know old age gets to you and sometimes it's easier to be cranky than apply logic to things you don't understand, but can't you try just this one time? You've not only made yourself look like a fool, but your gross misrepresentation of the facts shows us how little you know.

Here's a refresher:

First and foremost, all those "little college kids" you mention aren't the real problem. Contrary to the propaganda the RIAA has been feeding you, the real issue isn't with those pimply-faced P2P users, but with the huge piracy cartels overseas that have created a multi-billion dollar industry out of scaring the hell out of your label overlords.

And you know what? You're now espousing the beliefs of a bunch of gutless cowards who are deathly afraid of confronting the guys with weaponry, but would rather attack college students, force 11-year old girls into a deposition, and make sure people pay ridiculous sums of cash for a track that can be purchased for $0.99 off a service that your industry is relatively happy with.

Try as you might, ol' Genie Boy, you can't run from the facts. You may want to blame your "fans", but in reality, you're attacking the smallest piece of the piracy pie. And to make matters worse, that small piece is the only reason you have had any success at all. Why ostracize them?

I should also correct you in saying that the music industry is not "dead" as you proclaim, but is actually quite spry in its old age. Not only has it been able to field an attack dog in the RIAA, but it's a major force in the anti-piracy fight and, much like you, is trying to do everything it can to push consumers away and make itself look like the bully.

It's working too -- Apple just announced that it sold over 5 billion tracks on its iTunes Store.

But perhaps my biggest issue with your comments, Gene, is not that you are entirely wrong in your description of the music industry, but that you're showing your age and ruining it for those artists that find value in this new era.

What about Radiohead, who made bundles of cash with its In Rainbows experiment or the countless number of young and independent artists that believe in the downloading and free proliferation of music? Or those that have found ways to adapt to the changing times and turn a pretty nice profit?

It may not work for you, Gene, but rest assured that as we enter the next decade, more and more people will gladly jump on the bandwagon I'm describing here.

And just so you know, it's not the pirates that should be blamed for the decline of the music industry. Instead, just like Metallica, you need to look in the mirror and finally realize that it's not your fans that you should hate, but yourselves for not giving your fans what they want.

For more on what Don is up to, follow him on Twitter by clicking here!

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About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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