Simmons defends 'greedy' record labels

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Gene Simmons has defended “greedy” record labels, insisting bands like Kiss wouldn’t have existed without them.

Repeating his view that “the fans are killing music” via illegal downloads, the Kiss bassist adds that record labels were once the only business model in the world that gave money to artists without them ever having to pay it back.

He tells Planet Rock: “Record companies were a gift from heaven. Yeah, they’re greedy, but they wanna make money just like you do. But they gave you money — millions. And if it wasn’t for record companies, there’d be no Sex Pistols, there’d be no punk, there’d be no nothing. There would be punk, but it would be in a small club. It would never become huge.

“Record companies gave bands money that they never had to pay back. If the band failed and the records were a complete disaster, the advance money was all yours. What other business would give you that? If you go to a bank and they give you a million dollars, and your business goes under, they don’t care it failed – they want their money back.”

On how the fans are to blame, Simmons adds: “The fans have decided en masse that they should get free music, download, fileshare. And you’re not hurting Kiss, we’ve been around a long time and we make a good living. You’re killing the next Elvis, the Beatles, the next Kiss and the next whoever.”

The band – who won the Legend Award at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods on Monday – headlined the Main Stage at Download last weekend. They have a number of tour dates still to come this year:

Jun 21: Barcelona St Jordi, Spain

Jun 22: Madrid Barclaycard Arena, Spain

Jul 23: Highland San Manuel Indian Casino (acoustic show), CA

Oct 03: Perth Arena, Australia

Oct 06: Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Australia

Oct 08: Melbourne Rod Laver Arena, Australia

Oct 09: Melbourne Rod Laver Arena, Australia

Oct 10: Sydney Allphones Arena, Australia

Oct 12: Newcastle Entertainment Centre, Australia

Oct 13: Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Australia

Oct 16: Auckland Vector Arena, New Zealand