Joe Satriani has achieved a level of success that most people dream of. The ace shredder has sold 10 million albums worldwide and has been nominated for a Grammy a stunning 15 times (criminally, he has not won yet).
As the older generation barks repeatedly about the hell storm they see in streaming platforms, Satriani has taken a different perspective. In an interview with Metallerium, he pointed to the all-important hand the Internet and streaming services played in making music accessible to all young musicians to get started
“The internet, on the on the plus side, has brought people together, brought musicians together with their audiences around the world, which used to be really, really hard.” Satriani said. “I mean, you just can’t believe how hard it was, let’s say in 1984, when I released my first EP, and I had the EPs, on vinyl, in the trunk of my car driving around town, trying to get a record store to stock them.
“I mean, think about it, there was no Internet, there was no way I could put it on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, TikTok. There were no Spotify or iTunes, or Amazon HD, there was none of it. That meant that if I couldn’t drive, or use the mail, to mail a record to somebody, no one would hear about it. And then even if I did that, we’re talking about 10, 20, 100 people, maybe. Today, an eight-year-old musician can record themselves at the same quality as the Chili Peppers, and they can release it and they potentially can have hundreds of millions of people listen to their music. That is really mind blowing, that is really great, and that’s a super plus.”
Personally, I couldn’t agree more. If I think about it, as an adult non-musician, if I had a dime for every band I got into thanks to deep-diving through Spotify, for example, I’d be rich. Nobody seems to talk about that enough. Thanks to Satch, maybe the conversation can evolve from here.
That said, it’s fair to say Satriani isn’t wearing blinders when it comes to compensation, but he’s optimistic the available technology could help that situation.
“I think the only downside has been what has been the downside ever since recorded music started being sold, which is compensation,” he said. “It’s always difficult, it’s never been perfect, and perhaps, with the digital technology, there’s the promise that we can better solve it than ever before. Because it was very difficult, let’s say in the ’60s, to get compensated. There were a lot of things that were hidden, because there was no digital trail. It was all little scraps of paper, people making deals in back rooms, and when money went missing, it was gone forever. It’s a little bit harder to hide things these days because of digital transactions.”
Satriani‘s latest release is The Elephant of Mars, available everywhere. The lead single, “Sahara” can be heard below.
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