One thing I have noticed in the last couple of years is that websites that depend on clicks for revenue tend to love weaving narratives that benefit their bottom line. You see it largely in politics and now you see it in metal. I admit that I think these websites are entertaining and don’t hate or even dislike the people that run them or their visitors. None of this is to be taken too seriously but when I am sent the same articles over and over that are meant to sell their false narrative about A7X then I think it’s time for the band to speak up.
This is in no way aimed at our fans. By the looks of the comments on these sites you have already figured this out. This will undoubtedly be seen as justification for the album from the people that just hate A7X. Thats ok, we don’t play music for them. So lets break this down.
76k records sold in the first week by a heavy metal band in 2016 is supposedly a failure (USA only). Actually, 76k records on a surprise release with zero promotion and a single that had been out for 13 days with a running time of 8:30 is a failure. This kind of talk is insane and is the exact sort of narrative that plagues the failing music industry. This is the sort of talk that pressures artist to write their songs around “what works financially” and not “what they really want to create.” People want different. People want innovation. People want art. If this wasn’t a huge risk then everybody would be doing it. I haven’t seen the hip hop community or country music community questioning Jeezy or Kenny Chesney about why they didn’t sell more albums and crush a heavy metal band with a surprise release by more then 3k records. Sure, we sold WAY less than “Hail to the King.” But we feel this is a different circumstance.
When “Hail to the King” was released Apple Music did not exist. It now has around 15 million subscribers. Spotify has 40 million subscribers these days. And when these websites try to sell you on the streaming metric its a little more complicated then that. There are plenty of studies done as to why rock doesn’t have as many streams as hip hop. You need 1500 streams to equal 1 album. Who has time to stream a song like “The Stage” or “Exist” that many times? These two songs alone equal 25 min. So should we write 3 min. songs so we can get more streams? Fuck no. That’s ridiculous.
When I said I had “mixed feelings” about the results I simply meant that there is a part of me that knows a traditional release would have been easier and we could all parade around with another meaningless number 1. But “mixed feelings” in no way indicates that I think this was the wrong approach. I love that we did this for the fans. I love that we did this for our sanity and regardless of how you feel about the music, there is no doubt that this has been exciting. Anyone with a brain knows judging an albums merit or over all lasting impact on first week sales is simple crazy. Hell, I have never judged an album based on sales, period. But, I’m not you, and you have to make your own decision. I just want other artist to be themselves and not be gun-shy of new ideas just because some things work and somethings don’t. Regardless of this rant I want the fans to know we will not change. Evolving album, innovative live show, and playing by our rules will never waver. We have never felt so much love on a release and we truly do appreciate it. We will see you on the road!
P.S. What will the title of the click bait read this time? Lets take bets!