Former BLACK SABBATH Singer TONY MARTIN: ‘Music Is A Worthless Art These Days’

Chad Bowar of recently conducted an interview with former BLACK SABBATH singer Tony Martin. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below. If we put you in charge of the music industry, what changes would you make to improve it?

Tony: Are you serious? You don’t have enough space! I will say this, though. Music is a worthless art these days, and I believe any changes have to come from the artist, not the industry. And we have to have a new contract with the consumer. That contract should be an understanding of what it means to be in possession of the product we make. And then, most importantly, nurture a new attitude towards music that will last into the future. What does all that mean? In short: stop giving music away for free! It’s not working. Stop working for free! It’s not working. Music is not for free. As for the industry, I think it’s time to lose most of it! In the days when I was able to sign a record deal, we relied on record labels to distribute physical albums around the world. In this age of Internet access and file transfer, it’s possible to do that without the labels. The days when a record company nurtured a band with five-year deals is gone, advances are gone, and AR is gone. Mostly it’s about quick sell and out the door. Hardly any of the people living off the back of music have changed the percentages they take. I favor a more personal direct sale to our fans with a contract of commitment to them. In return, they become part of the control over the product they have. Just so that you understand the level of interest I have in this and why you don’t have enough space, I have asked lawyers, unions and artists to give me reasons and answers for the whole problem we have, and it varies from international agreements on price fixing to the fact that we as owners of intellectual rights uniquely give them away when we sign our contracts with the industry. Which Martin-era SABBATH album do you think was the best, and which is your favorite?

Tony: Love them all except “Forbidden”. What do you think of the latest reunion and talk of a new SABBATH album?

Tony: I don’t have any particular thoughts either way about it. Clearly it’s one of the last reunions with all the original members and that has to be considered. But apart from that, I hold no regard, but also no grudge for them. It’s all cool. Are you fans of any of today’s current rock/metal bands?

Tony: Yeah, lots of them, and some past bands like REEF. I see the excitement in bands like FOO FIGHTERS and RAMMSTEIN to the melodies of RADIOHEAD and some indie bands. But what amazes me more is how kids have such an understanding of music and how it feels. My kids are stunning writers, and I can’t believe they have those words and melodies at 14 and 18 years old; I never did. It all came to me later in life. Makes me wonder what bands will be like in the future.

Read the entire interview from