Testament’s Skolnick says musicians don’t want to make millions, just a basic living – but illegal downloading makes that impossible

Alex Skolnick Trio

Struggle: Alex Skolnick Trio

Testament guitarist Alex Skolnick insists people who justify illegal downloading by claiming musicians are making enough money just don’t understand the music business.

He reveals most members of testament have day jobs because the band doesn’t pay enough, and while he’s been able to carve out a living, it’s not a massively comfortable one.

And he warns that if something isn’t done to stop online piracy, it will become impossible to make music professionally – and will destroy the concept of professionally-made music.

Skolnick is reeling from the shock of his new jazz album becoming available on dozens of illegal download sites, depriving him of a return on the money he spent to create the work.

The guitarist says: “We’ve got people taking our work, which we’ve put time, heart, soul and sacrifice into, and handing it out like a cheap pamphlet.

“If the majority of musicians are unable to achieve basic, respectable, economically viable careers, then the entire art form is in trouble.”

He underlines that the Alex Skolnick Trio album Veritas was funded by the band itself, and refutes the assumption that everyone in the rock industry are either millionaires, or aiming to become millionaires.

He says: “Some have the audacity to imply our motive is to get rich. These people are clearly disconnected from the realities of the music business.

“I can assure you that in the band I’m most known for, Testament, no one has gotten rich. The other guys have outside work – blue collar jobs – and some have spouses who do as well.

“In my case, I’ve been able to channel guitar playing into work as a session guitarist and touring musician for hire. I consider myself lucky.

“The guys in the Trio also get by on music – but just barely. They have to do as many local gigs as they can with whomever will hire them in order to get by.

“I don’t think it’s asking too much for any of us, Testament or AST, to live off of our recorded music on a basic level. Do you?”

Skolnick’s full blog


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