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Avenged SevenfoldJeff Forney

Avenged Sevenfold Have “Mixed Feelings” Over New Album’s Low First Week Sales


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Avenged Sevenfold frontman M. Shadows had a business oriented discussion with Inc.com regarding the band’s decision to ‘surprise’ release their latest album, “The Stage“. In the chat he talked about the side effects of doing so and their ongoing legal dispute with their former label home, Warner Bros. Records. As it turned out, the first week sales for the album were less than half of that of their previous album, with many pundits surmising that the lack of a traditional promotional campaign for the effort to build up hype for it was to blame.

When asked how they felt about the relatively low numbers (the album still sold a hearty 76,000 copies during its first week out,) he replied:

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“We have mixed feelings right now. We know we could have done a boring lead up and taken the number one spot. When you do a three-month buildup you roll pre-orders, singles, etc. into your first week.

The way we did it, our numbers are just for one week. Like Kanye: his first week numbers were low compared to what they could have been had he done the traditional release.”

He further explained:

“…We felt it was worth the risk.

We also take a longer-term view. The average album following a three-month release model typically sees sales drop as much as 80% for the second week. We expect some drop off, too… but we also expect our album sales to continue over a longer period of time.

It’s mixed feelings, but I’m very excited to be doing new things. I would be depressed if we had done the old buildup process. That feels very 2009.

Right now we have an album that sold less copies in its first week than the last one. And that’s okay: you can’t break the rules and expect the same result.”

Meanwhile, in regards to the Warner Bros. Records ongoing lawsuit against the band for their decision to exit the label (more on that here,) Shadows stated:

“We had been at the label for quite a while. Tom Whalley was the CEO, our A & R guys were people like Andy Olyphant… we had about 10 years with that team in place. They were really open with us. It was a great relationship.

After Tom left we went through a few different regimes, the direction of the label changed, decisions changed… and we felt they were no longer the label we signed with and knew. It didn’t seem like they were behind us. We were one of the biggest-selling bands on the label but that didn’t seem to matter; they were focused on other bands and other acts.

Once that really sunk in, once we knew they weren’t going to be the label for us, we exercised the 7-year rule that allows us to opt out of our contract.

So now they’re suing us for damages, and they don’t want to lose the suit because if they do, a lot of other bands will walk.

Leaving the label is definitely a risk but we’re not going to be bullied. We’re going to do what matters to us and is right for us.”

When asked why they didn’t just finish out the deal by putting out the one remaining album left on contract, he said:

“We’re not going to put out a record that a label doesn’t know what to do with. And we’re not going to do a “fake” release either, even though that’s what some people recommended we do. We always want to make music that touches us, and touches other people.”

That case is expected to go to trial next year. For more on the business side of the release of “The Stage” and why they decided to put it out the way they did, head over to Inc.com.

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