JOE ELLIOTT says streaming music services like SPOTIFY and APPLE MUSIC helped establish DEF LEPPARD as ‘a cool legacy band’
In a new interview with Goldmine magazine, Joe Elliot says streaming music services like Spotify and Apple Music helped establish DEF LEPPARD as “a cool heritage band”. He explained: “You have to remember: we were one of the longest resisters [from the digital music revolution]. We didn’t announce our digital deal until me and Neal Schon were promoting for the JOURNEY tour of the stadium in 2018, in January. And then because in the past, I had to call our management and say, ‘How many copies blah, blah, blah have they sold?’ “Oh, I’ll get back to you in two weeks” and then someone would have to be called, and they would have to go through a binder, looking for a sheet of paper. Now you get, ‘Do you want to know how many times you aired this morning in Venezuela?’ We have that instant information. And I was told the other day that we’ve been almost six billion streams since January 2018. I’m, like, ‘Wow, that’s crazy!’ You know it’s not Taylor Swift Where Adele territory, but for us, it’s pretty amazing, you know? And those things, again, they inspire you to walk a little taller. And, also, you realize now that you stream so heavily in South America, that you’ve pretty much booked the tour around where you stream. It was information that was always guesswork in the past. It’s now the information highway.”
Joe continued: “And between streaming and social media, which you can pretty much tie together, hand in hand, we have this unique situation of having this perpetual vehicle. You don’t now wait until Thursday noon to get the music magazines out, that’s what we used to do in the UK. Recording mirror, Disk, NME, Sounds, and they would all come out on Thursday. And they’d all have pretty much the same information, but you’d have to flick through them to see who’s on tour, what songs are being reviewed, and then place your order to buy a copy. It’s totally different, but it’s just as exciting. I don’t think it’s that organic, but everything else, whether it’s games, music or news, any type of information, the fact that it’s instantaneous, it can get jaded. But at least you only have two or three minutes to catch what you need to catch. You don’t have to wait till 10am for the 10am news to arrive, find out what’s happening in the world. You can sit on the toilet, take this, it’s Sky News and see what happens. [Laughs] And so musically, it really helps all artists, I think, but I’m glad we held on because it gave our back catalog a big hit when we finally announced it.”
In 2012, several years before reaching an agreement with the Universal Music Group on digital rights for some of the band’s best-known tracks, DEF LEPPARD began re-recording his greatest hits, including those from 1983 “Rock of Ages” and 1987 “Pour Sugar on Me”, as a way to give their fans a digital option while also giving the band’s longtime record label a giant middle finger. According The Hollywood Reporter, DEF LEPPARD did so because they were at one point able to broker a love deal in which they had approval for everything done with their songs — from special collections to licensing for movies, TV shows, and music. games and their availability even online.
Elliot Told The Hollywood Reporter in a 2012 interview that the fight with Universal was “on principle”. But, he admitted, “I would be lying if I didn’t say it was about the money because the problem we have is that they want to pay us what we think is a rate ridiculously low. It’s a well-known fact: Artists over the years have always been cheated by record companies. … The reason we’re so sticky about this is because two years ago we reached an agreement with a gentleman from Universal who was pretty much on our side – he was a fan, a smart businessman and a fair guy – and we shook hands. Fifteen days later, someone above his head said the deal wasn’t happening. For an Englishman, when you shake hands, it’s a binding contract, and Universal denied on it. So we dug our heels in and said, ‘We’re going to say no to anything you ask.'”
Following the disagreement, Universal couldn’t “get our back catalog out, we’re not going to let them put a song on a compilation unless we want it there, and they’ll never be able to get a license,” the singer said. “They won’t be able to do anything without our permission because it’s in our contract.”
Elliot went on to say that the crux of the dispute revolved around the fact that DEF LEPPARD wanted “to have the same rate for digital as we do when we sell CDs, and they’re trying to give us a rate that’s not even close. They’ve been putting our songs online illegally for a while, paying us the tariff they chose without even negotiating with us, so we asked our lawyer to withdraw them,” he explained.
“We decided years ago that we would try to regain control,” he added. “And I think that’s something to be applauded. We’re just trying to take ownership of what we’ve done. We own our own t-shirt offerings, our own showmanship and our own rights to make the decisions. we want. We’re not trying to milk our back catalog for billions of dollars, we’re just trying to get paid a fair amount.”
DEF LEPPARDit is “The Stadium Tour” kicked off on June 16 in Atlanta, Georgia. The British rock veterans co-lead the trek with MOTLEY CRUEwith the support of POISON and JOAN JETT AND THE BLACK HEARTS.
DEF LEPPARDof the tour includes some of the band’s biggest hits, such as “Pour Sugar on Me”, “Photograph” and “Rock of Ages” — as well as songs from the band’s latest album, “Diamond Star Halos”among them “Kick” and “Set it on fire”.
DEF LEPPARDThe long-delayed North American trek was originally scheduled for 2020, then moved to 2021, then 2022. “The Stadium Tour” will wrap up September 9 in Las Vegas, Nevada.