Alternative Press has published an article on why the rock world has embraced the surprise album release. M. Shadows spoke about Avenged Sevenfold “doing something different” for the release of “The Stage” and what they learned from it.
M. Shadows was vocal about being inspired by Beyoncé and fellow surprise album-dropper Kanye West; self-generating buzz by harnessing the power of the internet is, as far as he’s concerned, the way to go. It paid off, too: A7X’s The Stage hit the Billboard charts at No. 4 after shifting 72,000 units on its release, despite there being no prior warning.
“I don’t think three months of promotion for a record was going to cut it this time, and we wanted to do something different,” he tells us. “All the artists who’d been exciting us were doing something different. I think Kanye’s one of the greatest artists of the last 15 years. It’s like designer-rap. Beyoncé’s incredible, as well.” That’s not to say that dropping The Stage out of nowhere wasn’t a risk, and even though Shadows is pleased the band are doing their own thing, he’s aware that not all consumers are as hungry for change in the way they consume music. “We learned that rock fans are a tough bunch to move when you part ways with how they usually get a record,” he admits. “Maybe Middle America isn’t as fed up with it as we were. I guess in our little bubble on the coast it’s fun to get progressive with things. Then you realize there are people who live an hour-and-a-half away from a Best Buy and they don’t use iTunes or Spotify.”
Avenged are currently still embroiled in a legal battle with their former label, Warner Bros., but Shadows was adamant that their new home, Capitol, was more than accommodating of their creativity and ideas. When we contacted Capitol to find out the label’s perspective on surprise releases, they told us the idea came fully from the band, but declined to go into detail because of the ongoing court case.