A number of rock and metal musicians have slammed comments made by Spotify CEO Daniel Ek. After the streaming businessman claimed artists will need to record an album more often than once every three or four years to make sufficient income, artists like Mike Portnoy, Dee Snider, Sebastian Bach and others have voiced their own opinion.

According to Loudwire, although streaming has allowed fans far more access to music, royalty payouts to artists, and record labels, has been a source of contention. The official numbers do fluctuate, but according to various sources, Spotify pays amongst the lowest rates per stream compared to its competitors.

The lowest paying platform is YouTube, giving roughly $0.00074 to record labels per stream, though the number does fluctuate. Pandora is the second-least generous platform, followed by Spotify, which pays roughly $0.00397 per stream.

“Obviously, some artists that used to do well in the past may not do well in this future landscape, where you can’t record music once every three to four years and think that’s going to be enough,” Ek told Music Ally. ‘But unequivocally, from the data, there are more and more artists that are able to live off streaming income in itself.”

“What a greedy little bitch…it’s bad enough that he’s worth BILLIONS based on stealing and giving away other musician’s music…but now he’s suggesting we need to make MORE music for HIM to make more money!!! [email protected] and [email protected]” Mike Portnoy wrote on Twitter. “I have 8 full album releases in 2020 & will make PEANUTS on them (if anything at all…) So his theory of artists needing to make MORE music to succeed is shit! [email protected] & [email protected]! Support THE ARTISTS DIRECTLY if you want them to be able to continue to make music…”

Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider reacted, “While you (the listener) benefit & enjoy spotify, it’s part of what’s killing a major income stream for artist/creators. The amount of artists ‘rich enough’ to withstand this loss are about .0001%. Daniel Ek’s solution is for us to write & record more on our dime?! F–k him!”

“When this guy puts out an album himself I will listen to him tell me about my albums,” tweeted Sebastian Bach.

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Greg Prato of Songfacts spoke with Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillian, excerpts from the interview appear below.

SongfactsWhoosh! is the third record in a row that Bob Ezrin produced for the band. How large of a role did he play in it?

Ian Gillan: Massive. Absolutely very important…

Songfacts: What’s the story behind the album title and cover image?

Gillan: It came about with the title. We had a couple of submissions by the design department in Germany. The idea of Whoosh! came to me as a very good onomatopoeic word that describes the transient nature of humanity on the planet. And in a more humorous sense, it describes Deep Purple’s career. Like, Whoosh! – it seems like just yesterday it was 1970. It seemed to fit.

And then I think some of the guys looked at the lyrics and saw the apocalyptic nature of some of these scenarios and came up with the dissolving spaceman, which I kind of like. It’s quite powerful. 

Songfacts: What song from the Deep Purple Mark II era do you most connect with?

Gillan: I don’t connect with any of them. We still do quite a few on stage and they’re intensely important. At the moment, Pictures Of Home I’m enjoying because of the orchestral melodies and the orchestral dynamics in the song. We don’t think of things like that. We’re thinking about new stuff, and I have no emotional relationship with any of my songs. 

Songfacts: What are the “few red lights and a few old beds” you sing about in Smoke On The Water?

Gillan: That’s the hotel we moved into – the Grand Hotel – after the casino burned down during the Frank Zappa concert we were at. And that’s what the song is all about. We ended up at the Grand Hotel, and it was very bright, so we changed the light bulbs. We got some red light bulbs, and we used the bed mattresses as sound baffles.

We set the gear up in the hallways and the corridors of the hotel, and the Rolling Stones’ mobile truck was out back with very long cables coming up through the windows. We tried to re-create an atmosphere in a technical sense the best we could. And when we went to write the lyrics, because we were short on material, we thought it was an “add-on track.” It was just a last-minute panic.

So, the riff and backing track had been recorded on the first day as a kind of soundcheck. There were no lyrics. The engineer told us on the last day, “Man, we’re several minutes short for an album.” So, we dug it out, and Roger [Glover] and I wrote a biographical account of the making of the record: “We all came out to Montreux…” etcetera, etcetera. 

That’s how it ended up on the album. It never got played on the radio for a year because it was too long. It was only when a guy from Warner Bros. came to see a show and saw the reaction of the crowd. He ran back to the studio and did an edit of three-and-a-half minutes, and it got played for the first time on the radio. That was a year after the album release. It would never have gotten played if we hadn’t done the edit.

Songfacts: How do you feel about that song today?

Gillan: Like all the narrative songs, you can place yourself there. It’s fantastic – I love singing it. It’s such a groove. And the important thing is everyone in the audience is so involved in the song, and of course, they know every word and the groove.

It’s a shared experience. It’s like a congregational euphoria. It’s amazing. It’s fantastic. I love it. When you asked earlier about what songs do I feel for, in a way, I love them all. I have no trouble getting up for it just about every day. 

Songfacts: What is the song Perfect Strangers about?

Gillan: We had been apart for a while, so Perfect Strangers is a contradiction in terms, like an oxymoron. That was pretty much how we described it – there was a lot of suspicion and worry and nervousness about getting together again and having a reunion, and when we all sat around in the basement of this old house in Vermont, there was a log fire and three feet of snow outside.

We had a couple of beers, and nobody started playing. Then, Paicey [Ian Paice] started tapping away and people started grooving, and a little shuffle came along. In five minutes everyone had a smile on their face.

So, Perfect Strangers was how we were before, and Perfect Strangers are how we are afterwards – with two opposite meanings to the phrase.

Songfacts: What’s the best Deep Purple deep cut?

Gillan: I never had a sense of entitlement, so I don’t know. I have no idea how to answer that question because we don’t look at things that way. They’re all like our children, you know? Some are good and some are bad, but we love them all. I can’t answer it honestly. You have to ask people who have an objective opinion about that sort of thing.

Songfacts: Who or what is the “pony trekker” in Space Truckin’?

Gillan: It’s not literal – nothing in that song is literal. It’s all a play on words, like, “We’d move to the Canaveral moonstop” and “pony trekker” and “Borealice.” It’s all nonsense.

Read more at Songfacts.

Audio samples of all the songs that are set to appear on Whoosh! are below.

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Greg Prato of Songfacts spoke with former Triumph guitarist Rik Emmett about his picks for the five greatest guitar riffs in rock history, amongst other topics. excerpts appear below.

Emmett’s five greatest guitar riffs picks:

1. Chord head for All Along The Watchtower by Jimi Hendrix. Still the greatest guitar recording that ever made the Top 40. A legendary guitarist making a defining statement. Plus, the epic transfigured Biblical setting of a Bob Dylan song? As good as it gets. 

2. Going to cheat here and quote three at once: [A] Clapton [B] Page [C] Beck. The Yardbirds alumni. I will also go personal on this, rather than trying to interpret universality (although they are closely linked, if I may be so bold):

A) Clapton – Steppin’ Out, from the Blues Breakers album. The tone. The confidence. The pure roar of the blues legacy pulsing in every note. This is where “riffing” became crystallized in my teenaged mind.

B) Page – How Many More Times from Led Zeppelin I. Could there be anything heavier and sexier on a guitar than a low open E riff from Jimmy Page? No, there could not.

C) Jeff Beck – Arguably the greatest living electric-rock guitarist. And what defined him in my teenaged mind? The opening riff of “I Ain’t Superstitious,” on Truth (with wah wah, to boot! Mrrrrowww!). I could just as easily have picked his Bolero, which I also played in basement bands in high school – but the best “riffs” are sometimes the most succinct. DOGS BEGIN TO BARK ALL OVER MY NEIGHBORHOOD.

3. Smoke On The Water. Ritchie Blackmore, Deep Purple. It is the perfect blend of the Spinal Tap fine line between stupid and clever. The bass and drums provide the engine, but the riff itself is the hulking mass of metal and chrome up top. 

4. A handful of Jimmy Page Zep riffs: Whole Lotta Love is the chugging champion of all time. But… what about The Ocean? Heartbreaker? Moby Dick? You can go on and on, but let Whole Lotta Love stand as the elected representative to speak on behalf of so many worthy others.

5. Where did riffage begin? For me, Wipe Out by the Surfaris, Secret Agent Man by Johnny Rivers. I know there were historical precedents, but surf rock started for me with Wipe Out. Plus – best title!

Songfacts: From your solo reissues that just came out, please select some of your favorite tunes and explain the lyrical and/or musical inspiration behind each.

Rik EmmettStrung Out Troubadours State of Grace. A self-defining spiritual statement from a humanist: the encapsulation of living one’s way towards a zen moment. 

Raw Quartet – Crazy Woman. My version of an old Delta blues acoustic song. I felt I captured a nice lyrical “novelty” thing in this, of a pair of lovers being two of a kind, in their craziness.

Good Faith Beacon Street Hotel.

Also, Swing Shift – Mr. Bebop and Taste of Steel. This is the “swing” jazz singer/songwriter/guitarist in me. One of my favorite types of song to write, even though I know jazz is a tough sell. So I guess part of the charm for me, is my own contrary arrogance towards the marketplace. 

Swing Shift – Santa Fe Horizon and Key Chain. Santa Fe is one of my best “mood” instrumentals, and Key Chain remains one of my most difficult-to-play instrumentals. I didn’t have great chops [yet] as my own producer on this album from 1998, but I had now fully inhabited my composing talent as an artist. 

Songfacts: Why do you think Canada spawned so many renowned rock acts with progressive leanings (Rush, Triumph, Saga, FM, etc.) in the ’70s?

Emmett: Probably the influence of FM radio and the fact that prog bands toured Canada with some success (Yes, Gentle Giant, Genesis). Canada was always (and still is) a breeding ground for singer-songwriters, where the song rules. But if you were a guy in a band in the early ’70s, the whole Deep Purple-then-Zep-morphing-into-prog bands had hit hard in basements and garages everywhere. You wanted to play music that took itself very seriously. Float like a butterfly, rock like a piledriver.

Read more at Songfacts.

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On the heels of the current single The Day I Tried To Live moving up the radio charts, heavy metal legends Sevendust are announcing their 13th studio album Blood & Stone. The new album is scheduled for release on October 23rd through Rise Records (the second for the band on the label). The latest release also marks the return for the band with producer Michael “Elvis” Baskette, known for his work with Alter Bridge; Tremonti; Slash; and others. Blood & Stone is available for pre-order in various configurations at

From the pulsating intro of album opener Dying To Live to the now popular album closer The Day I Tried To Live, Sevendust continue to push the sound they have made their own for more than 25 years. Tracks like Love, Blood From A Stone, Kill Me and Against The World showcases why the band has been adored by fans and critics alike. Lajon Witherspoon, Clint Lowery, John Connolly, Vince Hornsby and Morgan Rose have raised the bar with Blood & StoneThe new music fits perfectly alongside with the bands most seminal tracks that have become the cornerstone of the band’s live performances.  

The track listing for Blood & Stone is:

1)     Dying To Live

2)     Love

3)     Blood From A Stone

4)     Feel Like Going On

5)     What You’ve Become

6)     Kill Me

7)     Nothing Left To See Here Anymore

8)     Desperation

9)     Criminal

10)     Against The World

11)     Alone

12)     Wish You Well

13)     The Day I Tried To Live

Recently, Sevendust impacted rock radio and unveiled a lyric video for their cover of the Soundgarden classic The Day I Tried To Live. The song is currently moving up the charts and the reaction to the track has been overwhelmingly favorable to the unique interpretation the band put on the classic track. The video can be seen below.

Sevendust online:,,

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Born Innocent, the highly anticipated full-length from heavy metal legends Alcatrazz is out now through Silver Lining Music and available at this location.

The hard-hitting, melodic heavy metal band Alcatrazz unleash Born Innocent, their first studio venture since 1986’s Dangerous Games.  Alongside the unique vocal prowess and range of star frontman and founding member Graham Bonnett, Born Innocent also features fellow founding members Jimmy Waldo and Gary Shea.  Debuting on Born Innocent is the latest of the illustrious Alcatrazz guitarists to bring their extreme six-string talents to the band, with Boston-based Berklee College of Music Assistant Professor of Guitar, and one-man metal impresario Joe Stump.

The band is also streaming the second single, Born Innocent. Listen to it here.

To listen to the first single,  Dirty Like The City, please click here and to read more about this release, and to view a track listing, please go here.

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British/American metal trio Rraven released a new single and lyric video for the song Top Of The Mountain today. The track is taken from the band’s upcoming album, Metal City, out September 18th through SPV/Steamhammer as a CD digipak, LP, bundle version with shirt (only at the Steamhammer shop), download and stream.

It’s often small things that can give powerful impetus to a musician’s creativity. In the case of USA-based metal trio Raven, featuring the English brothers John (bass, vocals) and Mark Gallagher (guitar), it was the unanimously positive reactions to their 2015 release ExtermiNation, and, of course, the arrival of drummer Mike Heller (he joined the fold in summer 2017 to replace Joe Hasselvander, who had left the band due to health issues), which has resulted in an awesome new album.

“Our initial goal was just to raise the bar once more. We did a good job on ExtermiNation and decided we just wanted more of everything next time,” John Gallagher says. “However, things changed once we got Mike on board. Attitude and tempos got revved up a lot! Mike is a ball of energy. He has a good ear and is a big fan of the early albums, especially the crazy feel. He’s kicked us into a higher gear where we feel that we can play anything and everything we write with no restrictions.”

Metal City track listing:

1. The Power 
2. Top of the Mountain 
3. Human Race 
4. Metal City 

5. Battlescarred
6. Cybertron
7. Motorheadin’
8. Not So Easy
9. Break
10. When Worlds Collide

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