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The Money Business

As bad as the RIAA makes out the piracy epidemic sound like the end of the world, is piracy really taking away from sales of recorded music.

I have been looking at some metal sales recently.

All up, from June 18, 2014 to July 2, 2014 in total there have been 289,810 hard rock/metal sales. It total that is a retail gross taking close to 3 million dollars. Not a bad take for two weeks.

Mastodon’s “Once More ‘Round The Sun” makes up 12% of that total. And that is their label “Reprise” only entry. Eleven Seven Music had two entries with “Hellyeah” and “Nothing More” and those sales in total came to 6% of the total.

Warner Bros along with “Linkin Park” take up 50% of those sales. And this fits right in with the “Blockbuster” strategy of Anita Elberse that has proven that a very very small percentage of artists make up the majority of the sales.

Warner Bros also have Avenged Sevenfold and Gemini Syndrome on their roster, with Avenged Sevenfold having moved 490,000 units of “Hail To The King” in the US and Gemini Syndrome having moved 22,000 units of their “Lux” album in the US since their release dates.

Yep, that Avenged Sevenfold release in actual sales has generated close to $5 million for Warner Bros. And of course, let’s not forget the streaming income, radio plays income and so on.

There is a few takeaways from this.

There is still a lot of money in hard rock and heavy metal music.

Aggregate sales of 300,000 over two weeks, equates to 7.8 million sales in the U.S alone for 52 weeks, with a gross retail sales value of $78 million. And of course, let’s not forget the streaming income, radio plays income and so on.

The issue is that the sales are spread over a lot of releases.

And it’s good to see labels like “Artery”, “Fearless”, “Prosthetic” and many other independent ones flooding the market with releases. It’s good to see a lot of bands self releasing and recording sales. And you still have the regulars like “The Pretty Reckless”, “Five Finger Death Punch”, “Chevelle” and “Volbeat” still moving units.

And yes, the recording business still generates a lot of money. It’s just a shame that every band is held captive to the creative accounting of the record labels, especially the larger ones. It’s also a shame that every band is configured with band agreements that take into account payments to managers, accountants, lawyers and the band members themselves. Heaven forbid if a band member leaves. Then the money business starts to get messy.


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