.Editorial - Music Album DLC

Release year: 2021
Reviewed by Ben

Believe me, I am quite aware of how negative I sound when I review lots of crapola records. But one of the things that I think is defensible in my regards, is, well, hey, I still buy music! Not near as much as I used to, but when a band gets into my ear canals and starts blasting, I take notice. Accept has been the most recent band that I just went wild over. Balls To The Wall, Restless And Wild, Breaker, and Metal Heart came all over my life in the past couple of months. I even got the version of Metal Heart with the live in Japan EP Kaizoku-Ban to make up for the US version of Restless And Wild with its shitty alternate cover art and no page booklet. As of several months ago, The Crown was another such band that exploded my world. The difference is though, I spent upwards of fifty bucks on the Metal Blade bandcamp to get the mp3s. Yes, I paid for mp3s. I do it quite a bit actually. I do it because at least with bandcamp, I can delude myself into thinking the artist might see some of that income. Anyways, all of this brain activity got me thinking. With everyone's sales declining into oblivion and streaming taking over, what are some things that metal bands can do to entice buys of their music? Is it bonus tracks? (yes) Would they sell more if they included "case candy" like stickers and photo booklets? Would they sell more if they included little trinkets (ala the sea shell in some Sonata Arctica box set years ago)? Or would they sell regardless because metal and country are two of the last groups of music listeners that still buy music?

One thing that many electronic synthwave groups do is that they release instrumental versions of albums a few months after the "normal" edition comes out. I think this is a great idea and it works... for synthwave. I am always lined up to get the instrumental versions because oftentimes the vibe is so very different without vocals, so yea it does get that extra sale from me. While this works for synthwave it doesn't quite pan out for metal. When I started thinking of applying this to metal I realized why this wouldn't work. For one, many metal guitarists / "musicians" are very defensive about their music. Especially if they have trouble communicating ideas because of lack of musical language vocabulary. They do not want random people to see exactly how their music is constructed. That's akin to hanging dong after a cold shower. Secondly, if a modern metal band has abused their engineer's cpu abilities then instrumental versions of albums will glaringly show the many edits and splices that took place while recording said album. Ok, so that's out of the equation. What's next?

Well, there's the ol faithful... bonus tracks. However, instead of just chunking some turd onto a "digipak bonus," bonus tracks should be more thought out and planned. Now, I get that tossing out fully produced and engineered b-sides these days just doesn't happen like they used to ala Iron Maiden and Helloween. And they especially wouldn't be given out for "free." So what else do we have? Demos? I like demos, the rougher the better but I am in a minority here. Acoustic versions are a nice touch, especially those that use acoustic guitars and pianos like Evergrey. Unfortunately, the acoustic format doesn't translate that well for extreme bands. Dammit. I despise out of place live tracks as bonus tracks. I love me Judas Priest, but their 2001 remaster collection kind of sucks ass in terms of the bonus tracks. Each album has a decently worthwhile demo song (most recorded in the Turbo era) and one crappy sounding fade in, fade out live song from some random place. Even the booklet says "this was recorded on one of our many world tours," or something equally as vague. The only live bonuses I find reasonable are essentially whole show bootlegs.

So, like, what if we threw in a bunch of "physical extras" to make buying albums worth it? It's hard to do this without raising the costs due to packaging. Examples of how to do this without making each release a box set are Japanese metal cd releases. I have many imports and they come with extra booklets with Japanese text, pictures of discographies, stories and histories (in Japanese) and sometimes extra booklets packed with photos. Lots of them also include a couple of stickers like the ones that came with Better Than Raw. Now these are cool, but not "makes me wanna spend money" cool. Posters are tricky to do because if you fit them in a normal cd sleeve, you have to fold it a dozen times and have a criss crossed creased up poster hanging on the wall. Looking back through the butthole of time, I've only bought two albums that came as "box sets" with little knick knacks. The Dark Ride from Helloween came in a big ol box and had a cool ass Zippo lighter and a mouse pad. The thing about these are that they are geared towards the hardcore fan / collector. I think the labels already have a solid algorithm to figure out the amount of buyers for these lavish products. They do not attract the casual fan.

To be quite blunt, I can't think of some great way to entice more people to buy an album. Fortunately (or not), when it comes to metal, this genre has quite a built in dedicated fan base. Although it seems as the last of the old guard is fading, we haven't been rendered completely impotent yet. That'll probably happen in a couple of generations. Seriously though, while the fan base can sometimes be cringey there's many a fan of metal who actually want their fav bands to get money. The whole issue of crowdfunding and whatnots are a whole other issue, but one aspect that makes those things work is that fans feel directly involved with the creation of new music by way of financial contribution. It feels good to help. Do you still buy music? Or at the very least stream? Do you do the premium memberships for streaming? What would make you buy a non vinyl physical release? Would you buy digitally if the digital versions had demos, acoustic versions, not shitty live cuts?

Killing Songs :
Ben quoted
Other albums by .Editorial that we have reviewed:
.Editorial - A Brief Run Through Power Metal (in 3 1/2 stages) reviewed by Ben and quoted
.Editorial - Metal N Media reviewed by Ben and quoted
.Editorial - The Curious Case Of Udo reviewed by Ben and quoted
.Editorial - Know Your Role: The Music Producer reviewed by Ben and quoted
.Editorial - Music Video Monies reviewed by Ben and quoted
To see all 62 reviews click here
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 0 replies to this review. Last one on Tue May 25, 2021 6:58 am
View and Post comments