The Death of The (Metal) CD
This topic kind of falls into the category of my last rant about why metal sucks because it’s quite simple that a lot of people don’t buy albums in fear that they just bought a seventeen dollar Frisbee that isn’t even heavy enough to be a paperweight. While it’s predictable that every Britney Spears will be the same steaming pile of shit where if you like one you’ll like them all, metal is going to deliver you some turds and there’s nothing you can really do about it. Pop albums will always sell for as long as there are 10 year olds needing stocking stuffers or cheap birthday gifts. Unfortunately I can’t buy small children Carcass’ Flesh Ripping Symphony or else there would be a lot more interesting school days in this world. While I’m not here to advocate downloading, I am going to admit that even I have a very hard time buying albums these days unless I have a reason to be completely sold on an album. Not many things make me want to find flocks of innocent school children to slaughter more than a half-hearted attempt at an album both musically and creatively being pitched to me by a band that I like.
Sure there are lots of dicks out there that don’t buy CD’s because they are too busy buying more ‘fulfilling’ things such as Asian midget porn where they are covered in sushi and feces (who can go wrong?). There are also lots of people out there that think they are some kind of internet royalty for stealing the latest albums while not supporting any bands by going to shows, buying merch or anything else. Then there are the people like myself who will more than likely buy an album when it’s presented for a reasonable price at a show. If the band will sign it and I can rip it to my computer before hanging it on the wall, that’s even more incentive for me to buy an album. However, there has to be more incentive for the regular fans to buy an album though, which is why selling between 500 and 1,000 albums in the first week has become an accomplishment for some metal bands. When bands put out generic 32 minute albums with little artwork or interactivity with their fans, it’s kind of hard to justify spending close to twenty bucks on it regardless of how good the music is. People don’t go to restaurants and pay full price for 1/3 of a plate of diarrhea with a glittery toothpick in it which is the mentality I have towards mostly empty albums with no visual stimulation or anything. If they wanted 1/3 of a plate, they would order an appetizer, or in music lingo, an EP. That appetizer should cost half as much as the full dinner does or else you’re never going to order it again. Same goes for albums. Some people will faithfully buy every album from a band until they put out one steaming pile of shit and then never buy another one. Even if the chef (who may or may not look like Jonathan Davis) assures you that he’ll never make that mistake again, you’re still hesitant to ever trust him again (If Jonathan Davis was your chef, good thing you didn’t trust him). When I want a filling meal, I always jumped on buying new Tool, Type O Negative, and Opeth releases because I know that they never left me wondering where the other half of the album went. When I wanted something shiny to look at I can pick up the new Mastodon or again a Tool album and not be disappointed.
I know that the majority of the bands out there don’t have the funding for a fancy album or don’t fit the mold of being an 80 minute album band, but take some initiative to make your albums worth buying. Lamb of God put together an awesome giveaway to coincide with the release of Wrath, and Mudvayne got me to buy The New Game by making a game out of a mystery that had to be solved. Shinedown got me to buy The Sound of Madness by throwing in a free shirt and a year of fanclub membership. Coincidentally all three albums were top 15 releases. A lot can be said for making the fan feel like a part of the band in any capacity. Again, I know most bands can’t afford this kind of marketing, but why not do something else? In the simplest form, sell the album autographed at normal price on your website or at newburycomics.com and promote the shit out of it. Or why not throw in a slip of paper with a meet and greet with the band if you come out and see them on the tour in support of the new album? Then not only are you selling an album, you’re ultimately selling a ticket to a fan who would love nothing more than to shake your hand and tell you how much they appreciate what you do. When you put on a smile and take a picture with them, they are going to go to your merch booth and buy a shirt and tell all of their friends what great guys you are as well. There is no down side of this aside from twenty minutes of time before each show. For larger bands that play to larger venues, put a unique code inside the album that gives the fan an internet presale between the fanclub and the general public. There is NO substitution for human interaction in music when the point of music in the first place is to affect the listener in a positive way. While millions of people will say that the internet is the death of music, I will disagree and say that a lack of marketing techniques and common sense are the death of the metal album. Releasing internet only bonus tracks or Best Buy only bonus tracks doesn’t motivate you to purchase an album; it motivates you to wait until the release date to download the album. Anybody can download 12 songs in fifteen minutes or less but there is no downloading real life experiences with bands you love or even bands you might fall in love with after spending a few minutes with.
I guarantee that every single one of us growing up was influenced on which cereal we wanted at the grocery store by whether or not it came with a toy and how cool that toy was. I hated Honey Smacks with a fiery passion growing up but I loved the Post baseball cards and would suffer through them solely for that reason. It’s human nature to love free shit, especially when the free shit is cool. If the music industry needs an answer when they ask why people resort to downloading and don’t want their joke of a record, it’s simple: Store brand Sugar Flakes are just as delicious as Frosted Flakes until the Frosted Flakes includes a motherfucking BATMOBILE inside!