Anthrax’s Scott Ian: “I’m Not Old, Nor Am I Out of Touch!”
Several weeks back, Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante made some ill-informed comments about Apple’s role in the decline of the recorded music industry which prompted me to pen the headline, “Anthrax Drummer: ‘I’m Old and Out of Touch.’” Benante understandably took exception to that categorization and contacted me to let me know his displeasure, but ended up being a great sport and agreed to debate me on the topic one-on-one for a special episode of The MetalSucks Podcast. While Benante came across as more open to the role technology plays in today’s music industry during that chat than I’d gathered from his initial comments, he still came off as a bit resistant, preferring the old ways to the new.
Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian, however, seems way more on board the ever-rolling train of technology than his bandmate. In a recent chat with Resurrection Fest [transcribed by Blabbermouth], Ian revealed that while he was initially against streaming services such as Spotify, he’s since come to see how they can pan out for artists in the long run (emphasis added):
“I wasn’t a fan of streaming music initially, because I’m in a band and I felt like, ‘Alright, well, I don’t like this idea because the bands are getting ripped off.’
“I still feel like the bands are getting ripped off, but at the same time, I definitely enjoy… I love being able to be in my house and basically have any song ever right on my phone, and I can go on Spotify and I can have it streaming all through my house anytime. Spotify is a good tool for all bands, but streaming doesn’t make up for a loss of record sales.
“If you don’t adapt, then you don’t survive. It’s evolution – that’s really what it is. And in the last few years, we’ve adapted and we’ve accepted what’s going on in the world. You can’t constantly fight a battle against things you’re never going to win and have no control over.
“So you adapt and you accept it and you figure out, ‘What’s the best way this is gonna work for us? And how do we use this new tool to best represent Anthrax?‘ And Spotify has actually worked out really well for us in the last few years – especially on the last record. Because we really embraced it on ‘For All Kings.’
“And kids discover us on Spotify and then they go buy a ticket to come see us. And then they’re a fan for life once they see the band live.“
Scott Ian gets it! Look: no one ever said Spotify et al. offered great payouts to artists, although as the number of paying subscribers on those services has grown so too has the payments bands receive (in a big way). The point is that the forward march of technology cannot be stopped — the people have spoken, and this is what they want — so either you get on board and figure out how to make it work for you or you get left behind.
Next time Benante is quoted talking about the downfall of the music biz I’m just gonna have him knock on the ceiling of his tour bus bunk to talk to his old pal Scott about it. Woulda saved both of us a lot of agita!