Oh Heavy Metal bands from the eighties. You’re so cute in that spoiled child kind of way. I don’t know whether I want to pat you all on the head, or send you to your room like the petulant, snot nosed whiners that you are.
Remember that shit your parents told you when you were a teenager? “One of these days you’ll grow up.”
Turns out, it wasn’t shit. Our folks had been there. They knew what was coming. And, goddammit, the vast majority of us “grew up”. We had to. We had to change and adapt in order to make a place for ourselves in this crazy ass, ever-changing world. We opened our eyes a little and realized that there was more to life than being angry at our parents and living inside our pubescent, rage filled, egotistical, acne covered heads. We saw that we would have to bend, just a little, in order to make life as easy to live as possible. While we still listen to the music of our youth, we also welcomed other genres and artists into our lives. And we’re better people for it.
There are those who didn’t grow up. they refused to cut their hair, cover their tattoos, and buy some jeans that are not blown out at the knees. They listen to the same bands they always have, complaining that “the first three or four records were the best, then they sold out”. We all know a couple of people like this. You can usually find them at the exact same bar every night of the week, getting drunk and commiserating about the Good Old Days® and the If Only’s™. And everything that ever happened to them is the fault of someone else; never themselves.
Hell hath no fury like an old Metalhead scorned.
It seems that there is a good majority of 80’s Metal bands out there who haven’t grown up. And now they’re sitting at the bar complaining that things ain’t what they used to be like back in the Good Old Days®. Of course, it’s not their fault. No sir. It’s the fault of allllll those people out there downloading music for free on the Internet. Stupid technology! It fucking ruins everything!
The fact that a band like Anthrax is still pumping out albums, and are honestly confused that hardly anyone is buying them, amuses me. They blame digital downloading and/or streaming for the lack of sales. They never once think that people just don’t care that much about them anymore. The Same can be said for Queensrÿche. Or, at least, their new singer who thinks the internet is responsible for why Metal isn’t making money anymore, or how they should alter the number of units you have to sell in the US in order to make Gold status because : “Unless you’re a very famous pop artist, you’re not coming anywhere near those numbers.”
Or this gem: “People are listening to shitty MP3s; they’re not getting all the good sonic qualities of the versions on the CD itself”. You all know what I think about that bullshit.
It seems that the old guard of Metal bands and artists are still blaming the Internet … and the fans for using the internet. It’s the fault of people downloading. This is the sole reason for the lack of album sales and cash that came from said album sales. Even though the “industry” as they knew it has changed because tech seriously disrupted the old way of doing things, bands are still bemoaning the shitty sales of physical media.
In reality, these bands simply didn’t adapt. They missed the boat and the train. Now they’re shaking their fists at people boarding aeroplanes.
The reality is that no one really cares about Metal they way people in the mid 80’s cared about Metal. As with every popular genre in the history of music, Metal started off small. Then it grew, eventually becoming so big that you could buy studded belts at the nearest department store and everyone knew the lyrics to Enter Sandman. Then it started to fade, and fade quickly. Then Grunge stomped on it. Then Nu-Metal came along. Now, with the exception of a handful of bands across the entire hard/heavy spectrum, Metal is pretty much back in the basement and small to medium sized clubs (or at yearly, weekend festivals).
Some of these bands are doing ok though. I mean, they’re making a living. A lot of the newer bands are hip to the ways of the Innerwebs and realize that things ain’t the way they used to be. They go forth and do their thing and they manage to pay the bills. Some can pay bigger bills than others, but they’re doing it all based on the new way of doing things (which, of course, will eventually change).
The old Metal and Hard Rock bands, like their hardcore fans, are now trying to reach back and touch who they were and where they had been. They want record execs telling them that they’re the greatest thing in the world and shower them with cash. But it’s not happening. Now the though is: “We should go back to our roots! People will respect us again and buy our albums.”
So the bands try and tap into that original hunger.
The problem is, they’re not hungry anymore. Literally. This whole idea of “getting back to roots” is bullshit. You can’t go back. You already made it to the big show. You’ve already got a nice amount of money in the bank. It may not be James and Lars amounts, but it’s not too shabby. There isn’t any going back to your roots when you’re worth more money than the majority of your fans will ever see in their lives.
They seem to take it as a personal insult when you suggest that they may want to just pack it up. Or just hit the road as a bonafide nostalgia act – kind of like what Metallica is doing these days. Those guys managed to avoid the near crushing death of 80’s Thrash (and Metal in general) by changing things up a bit (known to hardcores are “selling out”). They got really, really big and made a fortune. Now they can release an album if and when they feel like it. For the most part though, Metallica is on the road playing sets comprised of about 95% pre-black album. They know while new material is fun for themselves, the people buying the concert tickets want to hear “Master Of Puppets”. Not “Lords Of Summer”.
Metal and Hard Rock bands from the 80’s, stop trying to stay relevant. You’re screaming at a brick wall. I mean, go on and do that thing you’ve been doing if you want, but don’t expect the entire world to follow your every move and buy every album, t-shirt, and button because, regardless of what you think, you’ve had your time. It’s over. Things have changed and the world has moved on.
Personally, Anthrax hasn’t been relevant to me since about 1989. In fact it’s interesting that Scott Ian blames the internet seeing as how Stomp 442 only sold 115,000 units and it was released a near full five years before the whole mp3 downloading thing exploded. And their last album in 2011? It sold about 110,000. As for the two albums in-between (each which sold south of 100,000)… well maybe some of it was due to downloading but don’t forget that they were also released prior to The Big Four tour that kinda put you back on the Metal map a little bit. And seriously, until that tour in 2010, Anthrax was not on everyone’s mind (and how many NEW songs did you play on the Big Four tour, and subsequent tours? Right. Nostalgia act).
Queensrÿche? They haven’t been on my radar since 1992 or so. Kiss? Pffft. They put on a great show when I saw them on one of their final farewell “no, really this is the last one” tours back in ’96? I think? I can’t remember.
Metal had it’s time in the spotlight. Your careers have nothing to do with people torrenting your songs. It’s just that no one, past a few diehards (and fucking Blabbermouth commenters) really cares that much. While people still love Metal, they also listen to, and love, other kinds of music. Newer artists in different genres are scooping up sales and money now.
The video of “Hello”, released on 22 October, was viewed over 27.7 million times on YouTube in its first 24 hours, breaking the Vevo record for the most views in a day, surpassing the 20.1 million views for “Bad Blood” by Taylor Swift. On 28 October, news outlets, including BBC News, reported that “Hello” was being viewed on YouTube an average one million times an hour. The song debuted at number one in the UK Singles Chart on 30 October, with first week sales of 330,000 copies, making it the biggest-selling number one single in three years. On 2 November, the song debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the first song ever in the US to sell at least one million downloads in a week, setting the record at 1.11 million.
Music in general isn’t in the shit because of the internet. Music is doing just fine, thank you. 80’s Metal, on the other hand…