For as much crap that is thrown at Gene, and Kiss for that matter, you can’t deny that the band has revolutionized a lot of things within the music industry. Gene’s latest endeavor The Gene Simmons Vault Experience, (which I’ll refer to as The Vault) may have just revolutionized things again. Back in the day when Kiss became the first band to do paid V.I.P. meet and greets, bands like Van Halen and Aerosmith criticized them heavily, only to do so themselves years later. Much like bands criticized the look, the pyro, the bombs, and overall show, only to have so many get in line to do the same exact thing, or try to anyway. I think they’ll do the same with this, especially given Rhyno’s stable, and their track record of releasing special editions of albums with a ton of previously released material. Gene’s boxed set is a super sized version of this.
A lot of people bitched about the price of The Vault, in all fairness there was a lot of misinformation going around initially, but what all of us Kiss diehards have been checking out this week pertains to the $2,000 package where you spend time with Gene in the studio, receive your boxed set, get it signed, etc. There is a story tellers portion that actually featured Ace Frehley, Bruce Kulick and Eric Singer in L.A., they were unannounced, so who knows if anyone else shows up to the other unveilings of the Vault. But speculation will now run wild, who might show up to one of these events? It also doesn’t have to be a member of Kiss, imagine if Joe Perry shows up to play his solo from See You In Your Dreams off of Genes 78 solo album? There are already rumors running rampant regarding Vinnie Vincent showing up to the Nashville date, and I’m sure seeing these three members of the Kiss family at the first date, will push more than one person to pull the trigger on their purchase.
Why do I think this will change things? Easy, who is leaking music to torrent sites? I would bet that the majority of people that leak albums are jilted reviewers, show hosts, or anyone else that has been slighted by bands, their labels or their PR people. I have never done this myself, but have been pissed off plenty in the past to take a Chris Rock like stance of “I’m not saying they should do it, but I understand”. No one that crowd funds an album, purchases it in a store, or pays $2,000 is going to leak an album, no one, sorry. So Gene and Rhyno are pretty much guaranteed that boxed set will not leak, especially at that price. Could there be a case where Gene pisses someone off at one of these and they leak it, sure, anything is possible, but it is highly unlikely. I think you have to reach stalker realm in order for something like that to happen.
Why I’m pretty sure other bands will follow suit? Easy, at $2,000 a pop, the artists/bands are being paid upfront for material that has been sitting around for years, that like Gene doesn’t fit the structure of Kiss, or are alternative takes of tracks. He didn’t go out and have to record anything new, which means the overhead or studio time is nowhere near as expensive as if he went in and did a new album. Gene has a legacy, and a fan following where enough people are interested in paying for the material and the ability to meet and interact with him. How much are people currently paying for meet and greets, and taking away a few measly trinkets in the process? I can think of plenty of other bands that could potentially do the same, hell I could even see Kiss doing something like this with unreleased material, or a Kissology/Alive Boxed set that contains pro-quality shows from their entire career.
Even if a stripped down version is released in a few years, and that leaks, Gene and Rhyno have more than likely covered their initial investments in the project. It will suck that people are getting it for free, but they will have already made enough money for the loss to be minimal.