JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford believes that the rock scene is "thriving" but admits that the changes in the music industry have made it difficult for new artists to launch their careers.
Asked if he thinks any of the newer hard rock artists have a shot at becoming arena-sized acts once the current crop of dinosaur bands are no longer around, Halford told 1290 KOIL (hear audio below): "Well, there's incredible talent out there right now, with AVENGED SEVENFOLD, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH, IN THIS MOMENT, ROYAL BLOOD… There's a ton of bands… RIVAL SONS… I can keep going and going."
He continued: "I'll tell you what's changed, and you're probably aware of this as well, guys. Since the invention of this thing called the Internet, everything has shifted… The way we absorb music now, the way we go to shows and everything, the way we connect… I just actually started Instagram for the first time, because I've been told that it's a really important social tool, @robhalfordlegacy. You can see what I get up to on the road, taking pictures of my friends and so on and so forth. So it's a different world.
"We were pondering about this the other day in the van driving back from a gig [during our South American tour]. You know, will there be another great, big rock-star giant like Ozzy Osbourne? Will there be another great, big rock-star giant like Axl Rose, for example. Does that really matter? I don't know. But it's shifted, it's changed. The good news is there's an extraordinary display of talent coming from all different quarters in all different genres of rock and roll. So the future looks bright."
Halford added: "My mate Gene Simmons [KISS] said 'rock and roll is dead' [a few months] ago, which caused a bit of a ruckus. I don't believe it's dead. I think it's thriving, I think it's great, and I think the future's bright. Not only the bands that are coming up now, but the bands that are starting where we started forty years ago, making noise in the garage or whatever. It's great."
Halford also spoke about how the changes in technology, particularly as it relates to streaming music services like Spotify, have affected the way artists earn money from their compositions, performances, sound recordings or brand.
"Well, I could talk to you guys for hours on this subject, but, briefly, we're all in this turmoil right now, with the way that the big boys, like Spotify, for example, are streaming music," he said. "And when you cut down the revenue, the actual amount of revenue that goes to the artist is absolutely ridiculous. It's nowhere near what a record royalty is from a label like we have, for example. We've been with our beautiful Sony family forever. We get what we feel is a fair rate for our music that we make. Where I kind of wonder is how the new bands get started, because, yeah, I mean, we've got a back catalog. We've done, like, forty or fifty million records. Those were the days when people went to the record stores — to Tower Records or wherever. You hung out, you bought the vinyl. It was a whole different thing. Now it's all on your phone; it's all on your smartphone."
He continued: "Hey, we've all gotta step forward, we've gotta live and adapt and make sure that we stay connected. So the business has changed dramatically since the invention of the Internet. Fortunately, the music is strong throughout the whole business of rock and roll. And we just have to, kind of, smooth out the bumps here just to make sure that everybody's fairly compensated, I believe."
While acknowledging that music has simply lost its economic value and is suffering from a loss of public respect, Halford believes that the advent of social media has brought people's personal and business closer together.
"I will say one thing… I've been around the world [so] many times I've lost count. What you find is humanity is exactly the same, it doesn't matter where you go on this planet," he said.
"In my experience in rock and roll and heavy metal, there are metalheads all over the world, but it goes deeper than that now, because of the way that we are all so connected.
"I've just been watching this horrible thing going on in Nepal. It's been really, really [moving], really [emotionally] powerful to see the world come together to try and help these poor people who are struggling with that earthquake. And then you've got the troubles back in the U.S., with Ferguson and so forth. Everybody's more involved now, and I think that's really important.
"I think that everybody has an opportunity now to make their feelings heard, and to, kind of, come together in a much faster and stronger way. I think we can get things done now just at a different speed. Sometimes it's a clutter, but I think that the heart of it is this human consciousness."
Halford continued: "I've always felt that everybody has the capacity to be a good person. We're all born good people. It's how we change and develop, the choices that we make [that determine] how we turn out.
"So, what I'm trying to say is, with the advent of the Internet, with the advent of social media, the way that we're all instantly connected 24 hours a day, that's gotta be good for the soul and it's gotta be good for the human race."
JUDAS PRIEST's latest album, "Redeemer Of Souls", was released in July 2014. The follow-up to 2008's double-disc concept album "Nostradamus" was billed as a return to JUDAS PRIEST's heavy-metal roots.
"Redeemer Of Souls" sold around 32,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 6 on The Billboard 200 chart.