||CHRIS DALE'S METAL MELTDOWN
10,000 TANK ALBUMS!
1st April 2011
Just before the new Tank album 'War Machine' (with your humble narrator on bass) came out, we got news that it had leaked out to filesharing sites and that over 10,000 people had already downloaded it free.
Good news or bad?
Well, good in that 10,000 people wanted to hear it. That's 9,995 more than many albums I've done. It's a good sign that there's people interested and quite flattering for the band really.
Obviously bad in that we've lost the cash from 10,000 sales. But would those people all actually have bought it for full price? And how many of these people download it in advance with the full intention of buying the actual CD with artwork, lyrics and all when it comes out?
These are things we can only guess at.
The Artwork You Get When You Buy The CD
And you know, at the end of the day the kind of money that I am personally losing from 10,000 less sales isn't life changing. You know, I couldn't buy a house in the Algarve with it and more particularly I'd be no closer to owning a helicopter.
The real problem is that it costs money to make albums. As you know, record companies advance money to bands to make albums with. Studios aren't free; well shit ones are, but good ones aren't.
Rehearsal rooms aren't free either, you need to play an album together as a band a lot of times before it really gels. You can busk an album on the spot, but it'll be shit. That isn't what AC/DC did.
You can get the guitarist to play bass, you can program the drums. But it's not ideal. It's not going to make for a great album. AC/DC didn't drop in parts sat at home on a Mac, though it would have been cheaper.
Getting an album mixed well isn't free either, mastering engineers aren't free, well again shit ones are and you can sort of mix it yourself. But the Young brothers didn't.
The Artwork You Get When You Download It Free
Photographers, artwork, web design, touring... it all costs money. Yeah some of it you can do by yourself or on the cheap but each step you're doing on the cheap is overall another step towards making a shit album. That isn't what AC/DC did.
If record companies can no longer break even (or better still, make money) on albums they will no longer advance money to bands to make great albums.
It sounds crazy but it's already happening. Record company advances have dropped in size from stupid telephone number sizes in the 80s and 90s to very small amounts, really not enough to book studios with.
Studios have meanwhile had to drop their prices, usually by cutting costs and therefore quality themselves. All areas of the industry are under pressure.
Major bands will no longer make albums when the funds are too low. New bands will not make great albums. They'll make good albums and OK albums, but not great ones.
In the future, as albums and bands get worse, we will look back on the music of the late 20th Century as a golden era in rock music, lost forever. It's a real worry, like global warming, it's inevitable and we're doing it to ourselves.
Aside from that it's fine. Download what you want.
MORE CHRIS DALE'S METAL MELTDOWN COLUMNS HERE...
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November 2014: Storm Thorgerson (1944-2013) RIP
October 2014: Mr. Big – Live Review at Koko, London
September 2014: Mr. Big: 'The Stories We Could Tell' album review
September 2013: Intensive Bass Course with Billy Sheehan
August 2013: Booking Agents vs Promoters
July 2013: Rock and Metal Pub Quiz
June 2013: Communication Tips For European Festivals, Or How To Learn A Language In An Evening
May 2013: Storm Thorgerson (1944-2013) RIP
April 2013: Daily Mail Columnist Richard Littlejohn Sinks To New Low With Anti-Heavy Metal Article
April 2013: The Future Of Classic Bands
March 2013: Smashing Pumpkins Video Shoot
Febuary 2013: Ten Years On Total Rock
January 2013: Kiss Follow Up To Monster 2013
December 2012: Kiss Reformation Magick
November 2012: Exclusive Interview With Geoff Tate
November 2012: Morally Worrying Session
October 2012: Kiss 'Monster' Review
October 2012: The Best Invention Of All Time
September 2012: A Conversation With Rudy Sarzo
August 2012: Scream For Me Sarajevo Part 3
July 2012: Scream For Me Sarajevo Part 2
June 2012: Scream For Me Sarajevo Part 1
May 2012: Managers v Producers
April 2012: Kiss 'Monster' Album Preview
March 2012: London Venue's Nazi Past?
February 2012: How Not to Join the Ozzy Osbourne Band
January 2012: Metal Evilution
December 2011: Take Your Pick Competition
November 2011: The Pandora's Box Of Pop
October 2011: Tank Tour Diary 2011
September 2011: Festival Stage Collapses
August 2011: Bruce Air, The Early Days
July 2011: European Festival Round-Up
June 2011: Bernie Torme Proud To Be Part Of MT Ozzy Article
June 2011: Who's Your Favourite Ozzy Guitarist?
May 2011: Japanese Tsunami Disaster
April 2011: 10,000 Tank Albums!
March 2011: Death Metal Session!
6th February 2011: Gary Moore (4th April 1952 - 6th February 2011)
February 2011: Recording Bass at Steve Harris'
January 2011: A Column About Columns