I was looking at the sales figures in the above link. A lot of people focus on the sales aspect of everything, so if something is sold a lot of times, they class it as being successful.
So if you look at the sales, you will see a lot of hard rock and metal bands doing low numbers for the week. One can easily jump to conclusions. The album is bad, it bombed or the industry favourite, piracy.
However, to me the sale numbers mean nothing. What is important here, is the length of time the music has been out.
Let’s start with Volbeat. They have two albums that are selling. Yippee, you say. Here’s the thing, Beyond Heaven/Above Hell was released in September 2010. Yes, 2010. It has been around for over 2 and a half years. What does this tell you? They did it without the mainstream sledgehammer across the head marketing like Bon Jovi and Justin Timberlake. They did it by creating great music and letting the people spread the word. The funny thing is, the song that made them popular in the U.S, Still Counting is not even on this album (it is from an earlier album from 2007 called Guitar Gangsters and Cadillac Blood) and was added as a bonus track later on. Talk about great music waiting to be found. It was released in 2007 and it wasn’t until 2012, that people really heard Still Counting, appreciated it and starting buying it.
You need to remember, there is so much music released each days, (I checked the new release schedule and i counted over 400 releases on one day). Multiply that by 52 weeks, and you have a lifetimes worth of music to go through. We need a filter and what better filter than people spreading the word. Not by the hundreds, but the by the thousands and in PSY’s case, by the millions.
Volbeat’s new album Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies entered the charts in the top 10. They had the usual big first week sales and second week drop, however this time around, the audience was waiting for a new release. Time will tell if this album will have the same longevity.
From hearing it, it’s a good album, but it doesn’t have the defining song, and that is what fans want. Bon Jovi had Wanted Dead Or Alive on Slippery When Wet, Motley Crue had Kick Start My Heart on Dr Feelgood, Metallica had Enter Sandman on the Black album, Poison had Nothing But A Good Time on Open Up and Say Ahh.. and so on.
In This Moment has been doing business since August 2012. 34 weeks. Bon Jovi’s What About Now, has more or less stalled. Justin Timberlake’s is slowly declining as well. Will they still be selling in 34 weeks time. For Bon Jovi, i am sure they will not.
Otherwise, is a band that i have been following for over a year now. Each week, you see them move between 400 and 700 units. They are touring their arses off, picking up new fans along the way. The album came out in May 2012. It will make a year, where it has been selling low numbers. To me this is a success story. If they stay at the rate they are, they will be passing 40,000. What’s 40,000, I hear people saying? That is a year’s worth of touring. The music is the entry-level to all the other things in the business. You don’t make money from selling music. You make money from the doors that music opens.
Stone Sour have two albums that are selling, House of Gold and Bones Pt 1 and Pt 2. The concept story is the entry for the multimedia projects to come, like the graphic novels, the motion picture movie and the tour. It’s not all about sales, it’s about different income streams.
Coheed and Cambria has already walked the path that Stone Sour is walking right now. They have had their concept albums put into comic form, graphic novel and companion books. Claudio Sanchez has also signed a deal to develop the Armory Wars story into a motion picture film.
Black Veil Brides is another band, involved in the multimedia aspect, with their concept album, Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones.
Shinedown is one of the best hard rock bands doing the scene right now. Amaryllis has been out for over a year now and the band is still moving units. Why, because people are spreading the word, they are hearing the songs live and are liking them.
For the critics that have called this album a failure, just because it didn’t move the same units as The Sound of Madness is a shallow viewpoint to have without any analysis. A song like Second Chance comes around once in a decade. That song alone moved over 2 million mp3’s. The Shinedown tour is doing decent business at the box office.
The key here is longevity. You don’t want to be here today and gone tomorrow. You want the music, the band, to remain public, to be in people’s’ minds. So many have released albums and have been forgotten. Does anyone remember that Joe Walsh released a new album last year, or that David Bowie and Bon Jovi released an album in the same week. They have been forgotten. The hardcore fans will say otherwise and that is okay they are entitled to their opinions.
Life today is all about information. We have a tonne of it. We are connected 24/7. There is always something coming out that takes the flavor of the minute. Black Sabbath released God Is Dead, and it was tanking, regardless of what the artists and Loudwire said about it.
Ozzy then releases a statement about his fall back into addiction, trying to drum up press and then Sharon chimes in. It ain’t working, the song is a dud at nine minutes long. It’s a four-minute song on a 12 inch extended remix.
I am seeing them in two days at the Allphones Arena in Sydney. I might eat my words after hearing it live. No one is talking about them. The 13 album is already in the rear view mirror and it hasn’t even been officially released. They are touring Australia and there is no buzz.