Everyone seems to like Ozzy Osbourne, the Birmingham (UK) born ex-frontman of mega-group ‘Black Sabbath’, reality TV star and now, hugely successful solo artist. Since getting kicked out of Black Sabbath for his drink and drugs habits, Ozzy has sold a a staggering 50 million albums so it’s probably safe to say he has a few dollars hidden away. However, Ozzy is not happy.
In a great interview with Herald Sun he covers many issues but of course we’re interested in his views on file-sharing. Talking about his music, he said:
“I’ve been suffering terribly from people downloading it. If they don’t find something to stop it, people won’t be able to make records. There won’t be any new bands. How are they going to survive? I’m an old-timer, I’ve been doing it 40 years now, but new bands are going to suffer. It’s ridiculous, you could be doing it for nothing.”
Maybe bands will have to innovate with new ideas – such as that from Radiohead which appears to be catching on now that it became clear that they made a fortune. Or maybe take the Prince approach and give your music away in a newspaper? Either way, bands realize that if the fans hear their music, they’ll come to the gigs and happily spend money on the merchandising.
You can’t beat ‘live’ and Sharon Osbourne – Ozzy’s wife and business manager and creator of Ozzfest – explained this to him:
“Sharon said I’d be astounded to find out how many bands are touring because you can download a record but you can’t beat a rock show.”
Absolutely true. Every person who downloads Ozzy’s material is yet another potential fan and more likely to help in the aim of filling his live gigs, and judging by the number of shows he’s performing in ‘to make ends meet’, that assistance will be well received:
“I’ve never done in a long time as many live shows as I’m doing now. This year I’ve done 90 shows.”
Despite being heralded as a ‘God-Like Genius’ in 2004 by NME magazine, Ozzy has been known to show more human traits, such as bewilderment and confusion – and this interview is no different. Despite ‘suffering terribly’ at the hands of downloaders, Ozzy isn’t ready for retirement yet and appears happy with his record sales:
“I did try that but I’ve still got life in my bones. I’m still selling lots of records.”
But what about his future prospects?
“It seems to be getting bigger and bigger” says Ozzy.
Don’t ever change Ozzy, things just wouldn’t be the same.