Music, My Stories, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

AFM Records And International Orders

It’s great how the label gets the money when I click buy on the item, as they put up money for the album to be made, but as a fan I still don’t have the physical album.

Let me explain.

Evergrey is one of my favorite acts. They will always be a favorite, regardless of the crap service of their label.

When I saw they had a few different release packages set up for the new album “Escape Of The Phoenix”, I was interested to get one.

The album release date was set as 26 February, 2021.

So on 23 December, 2020, I clicked buy on the EVERGREY – Escape Of The Phoenix – Ltd. Artbook (incl.CD + 7″-Picture-Vinyl). The only place that had it was the AFM store and all the items come from Germany.

The price for the item was €43.86 EUR.

As i was going through with the purchase, I get hit with a €23.99 EUR shipping and handling fee. And I’m thinking, it’s half of the cost of the item. And with most items during the pandemic coming via sea you would think that the shipping would be less.

Anyway the total price came to €67.85 EUR and the Exchange rate at the time was 1 AUD = 0.588771 EUR.

So the final price of the album for me came to $115.24 AUD. I thought fuck it, I’m a fan and it’s coming up to Christmas. Plus I was a few bottles of wine in.

So I clicked buy.

On 19 February, 2021, I got an email that the item had shipped.

You would think AFM would post it a bit earlier for international orders but hey labels have never been customer centric or very smart in that regard, treating their customers as potential pirates, but their whole business model is based on customers.

Hell, I became an Evergrey fan because of piracy.

Since 20 February, 2021, the tracking number tells me that the item is still in Frankfurt, Germany.

Seriously.

On 26 February, 2021, the album hits streaming services and I crank it.

On April 1, 2021, I sent AFM an email and told em, nice April Fools joke as I don’t think I’m ever going to receive this item as it’s still in Germany.

I’m waiting a response.

Now for the album, it’s excellent. And I’ve already reviewed it.

Thank god for streaming and pirates and everyone else who allows access to the music. It allows the fans to crank it.

But the labels don’t realize that the people who buy physical editions are collectors and we can’t wait until we get the item in our hands.

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A to Z of Making It, Alternate Reality, Music, My Stories, Piracy

Are People Listening And Sharing Your Album?

I still can’t listen to the new Evergrey album on Spotify in Australia. I went to the AFM Records Facebook page and I saw they have a post that states “Listen to the new Evergrey album on Spotify and add it to your favorites!” So I went on to Spotify and like the day before only “King Of Errors” is available for streaming. I then saw on the AFM post that they had a Spotify Embed link, so I clicked on that and the whole album came up on a webpage. I clicked on the other songs on the webpage and in my Spotify player I got the message “This track is currently not available in Australia.”

And I was like, WTF. It’s like 2014. What the hell is AFM Records thinking withholding the album from Spotify? And what the hell are they thinking of doing a gated released based on which countries/zones?

This is silly. Evergrey is not known as a huge seller of recorded music in Australia. All of the CD’s that I have purchased from them I have done so as Imports. So whoever is the brains at AFM should return the brain they have and get a new model that is fitted for 2014 and beyond as they are leaving money on the table by not making the album available on Spotify, while YouTube who pays less has it.

Also the norm is that when I purchase an album from Amazon, it comes with an AutoRip feature that allows me to download an mp3 version of the album. Sixx A.M’s “Modern Vintage” had that feature, Godsmacks “1000hp” had that feature however Evergrey’s new album is not even part of that agreement either. AFM Records is out of touch with the modern world. Their answer to Spotify is to charge consumers more to have access to music.

Sales are irrelevant. It is an old metric and no way a guarantee of success. Seriously ask any artist what they would prefer. To be number 1 on an irrelevant chart or to be number 1 on Spotify or YouTube. Consumers of music have moved over to the access model. So why not service those fans as well as the fans that want to buy the album.

The only important thing today is how many people LISTENED to the album.

It is a different train of thought and the usual media outlets don’t publicise it. Think I am wrong, go on any Blabbermouth post about a band and there is always a paragraph or two about first week sales and what the album charted. Seriously, who cares. The future is that artists will get paid for every play of their track for all time. The money is in play. The more people who are subscribing and listening, the more each play is worth.

And the future is also in sharing. It doesn’t matter how many people download albums (legally or illegally). What does matter is how many people shared them via social media or word of mouth. Every artist thrives on their audience talking about their material. That is how they keep their audience and how they replenish it. I have talked to anyone who listens about how good “Hymns For The Broken” is and every time the people I told went to hear the new album they said the same thing. “King Of Errors” is great but why isn’t the album up on Spotify”

The old mainstream hype does little. New albums are hyped and are instantly forgotten. Like “13” from Black Sabbath or the self-titled “Dream Theater” album. However, if you go on Spotify, you will see that people are listening to these albums. The play counts are rising. In Australia, even Stone Sours “Looking Glass” got a stream increase thanks to Slipknot.

And U2 did do a $100 million deal with Apple (which seems to have inspired Lars Ulrich immensely). As Lars said in a recent Billboard music and branding discussion, he doesn’t care if the endeavor was a success or not. The way I read that is “as long as the band gets a cool hundred million who cares if the music is shit.” Metallica has earned their success and the truth is successful artists make more money than ever before. It’s just that these artists want to make the same as the techies and bankers do and in their quest to line their pockets they forget about creating quality art. And they forget that in 2014 and beyond it is all about the plays and the shares. Get 3 million plays a week for one song on a consistent basis and watch the money come in (provided you have a fair recording contract in place).

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