IS METAL BLADE RECORDS GOING DIGITAL ONLY?
Buried in a Metal Injection review of the Arcane Order’s recent release In the Wake of Collisions (which we also wrote up) was this excerpt taken from the Metal Blade Records press release that accompanied the album:
Metal Blade Records is starting to release ‘Digital Only’ releases, which means these releases will only be available to consumers as digital albums and will not be carried as physical releases in stores. What this means for you is basically that you will only receive these releases as digital downloads to check out for review or interview consideration. We will not be making up physical copies to service as we will not be making physical copies up for sale.
This is pretty big news. Given, The Arcane Order isn’t exactly a huge band and Metal Blade probably wouldn’t attempt this (YET!) with releases from higher profile bands like As I Lay Dying or The Black Dahlia Murder — but still, this is a big, bold step forward. The digital market isn’t prevalent enough yet that labels have been willing to risk foregoing CD sales dollars, but it seems that for lower profile acts it makes sense. Money saved on manufacturing and shipping costs is money that can be spent on marketing. It also encourages fans to share music they like with their friends, and though some might argue that this cuts into sales — and perhaps it does — I think that the sales it cuts into are negligible for a low-profile act (people seem to forget that we’ve been burning copies of CDs for our friends for years, and dubbing tapes before that). Furthermore I believe that the value of spreading the music outweighs whatever lost sales there may have been, especially for a newer band.
And apparently, so does Metal Blade. It’s not easy being the first and it takes a fair amount of balls to do so. Metal Blade should be commended for this revolutionary, forward-thinking new way of doing business. Watch as the rest of the record label world follows suit.