(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)
The shape of things to come is discernable on the youtube channel of a delightfully crazed heavy metal guy’s every growing catalogue of cover songs made from a home-based studio in Norway. Leo Moracchiloli, a former member of multiple obscure Nordic thrash bands, has created music that has been viewed over 400,000,000 times and counting. As Voicecouncil explained:
Every week for the past two years, Leo Moracchioli has been posting a fully-produced recording and music video to his wildly popular YouTube channel, Frog Leap Studios, which has reached a remarkable 1,050,000 subscribers.
This one-man-show has found a new brand of genre-crossing that is hitting the spot for multitudes of hungry fans: heavy metal covers of hit songs.He sings the vocals, plays all the instruments, creates the arrangements, edits, mixes and produces every song, right down to shooting and starring in the videos (occasionally enlisting his young daughter as an apt co-star).
It is almost unheard of for an artist to single-handedly produce musical content at the rate and volume he does.
It is not just metal covers that he creates. He also puts out instructional videos and acoustic covers, reaching up to a dozen videos per month.
He says he has had fans telling him he should take a break once in a while, but he can’t bring himself to skip a week.
“You wouldn’t do this if you didn’t have the burn to do it,” he says regarding the insane pace of his work.
Leo is a fantastic example of disintermediation which is a fancy term for “cutting out the middle man.” Years ago I read an interview with the members the Austin band Fastball about record labels. You remember Fastball:
Anyway after The Way became a huge hit the interviewer asked the band members what it was like to be rich and famous. You could feel them shrugging as they explained they were not rich. One of the members said that he had redone his kitchen, but otherwise life had not changed much. The upshot of the article was that record labels basically profit like mad while artists not so much. If you are now thinking of the scene in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure where Billy the Kid says “Here’s the deal-what I win, I keep. What you win, I keep!” give yourself a gold star as it pretty much sums up record labels.
Oh brave new world where you don’t need a record label!
The Jayblog was also a bit of disintermediation when it launched in 2008. I think Jay, Greg and I were all working at think tanks at the time, but just in case you wanted more edu-nerdy goodness, Jayblog was dishing it out, automatic for the people. Like the Prime Directive that guides the JPGB, Leo is obviously primarily doing the videos to entertain himself, which is a large part of their charm. Just imagine Leo trying to sign a record label contract in the 19XXs. Not happening, but lo and behold people get a huge kick out of him. In fact, if I recall correctly, the plot of Bill and Ted involved some unexplained technological change that allowed their band to become a cultural phenomenon. Leo is not quite to the level of Wyld Stallions as a cultural phenomenon, but he is doing pretty good so far and he can actually play his instruments. I’m therefore pleased to nominate Leo Moracchiloli for the Al Copeland Humanitarian Award.