Gene Simmons, who raised a generation to believe that "If it's too loud, you're too old" (and to whose Creatures of the Night album I used to jam on an air guitar in fourth grade), apparently thinks that if you're responsible for destroying the music industry, you're too young. As noted by Reuters, the long-tongued bassist is now on a rampage about them pesky kids:
The record industry is in such a mess. I called for what it was when college kids first started download music for free -- that they were crooks. I told every record label I spoke with that they just lit the fuse to their own bomb that was going to explode from under them and put them on the street.
There is nothing in me that wants to go in there and do new music. How are you going to deliver it? How are you going to get paid for it if people can just get it for free?...
The record industry doesn't have a f---ing clue how to make money. It's only their fault for letting foxes get into the henhouse and then wondering why there's no eggs or chickens. Every little college kid, every freshly-scrubbed little kid's face should have been sued off the face of the earth. They should have taken their houses and cars and nipped it right there in the beginning. Those kids are putting 100,000 to a million people out of work. How can you pick on them? They've got freckles. That's a crook. He may as well be wearing a bandit's mask.
There you have it. It is the consumer that is to blame for expecting the music industry to join the 21st Century. Interestingly, earlier in the interview Simmons boldly declared that, "No one -- and that includes the Beatles and Elvis -- can touch our (KISS') merchandising and licensing." I guess that's one way to make a lot of money.
I've long argued that the music industry has a payment problem, not an intellectual property problem. It needs to find easy ways for people to pay for what they listen to. iTunes was a massive step in the right direction - it made it easy for people like me to pay for what we were already inclined to pay for, but which we didn't want to bother driving down to Music Warehouse to get.
As with open source, the models for making money from free distribution of music are in gestation, and will become increasingly clear. The digitization of music doesn't spell the end of the music industry: it is the beginning.
However, to usher in the next generation of the music business we need to think beyond 18th Century conceptions of property. The "lock it up and sell it" model is old and increasingly decrepit. It misunderstands and attempts to stultify the opportunity inherent in digital's massive distribution potential.
The kids are alright, Gene. They're just out in front of your outmoded ways of profiting from your work. Catch up.