Metal Merch

The Absence Plum the Depths of the “Oceans”

  • Axl Rosenberg


This is an interesting business strategy. The Absence, who were joined by Scar Symmetry guitarist Per Nilsson earlier this year (which is obviously a real get — the Swedish-influenced Floridians now have an actual Swede in the band!), have announced that they’ll soon release not a new album or EP, but rather just a new single, entitled “Oceans.” And while you will, of course, be able to purchase “Oceans” just on its own, if you wanna hear it first, you can do so by purchasing a new The Absence/”Oceans” t-shirt. From the band’s Reverb Nation page:

“With every purchase of an Oceans Tee, you will receive an Advanced Pre-Release Order for Oceans; the Tee will come to you right away and the new song will arrive in your email box on the official release date before anyone else has a chance to buy it… that means you get it first!”

I’m a little confused how fans will get the single first if it will be e-mailed to them on the day of release… I guess they’ll get it before it makes its web debut or is on sale on iTunes or whatever? But how will that work? Oh well. I’m sure less-bong-resin-clogged minds comprehend the concept.

That’s not the part which really interests me, anyway. I’m obviously totally stoked to hear the song, but I’d also be curious to know if this turns out to be a viable business model. The shirts run about $23 before shipping; compared to what you’d probably pay at a show, that’s less than the cost of a shirt, but it’s also three bucks more than what you’d pay on The Absence’s web store for just a shirt (although those $20 shirts are old designs — the only way to get the new shirt is to buy the package). Will fans be willing to pay three dollars for a single which they’ll presumably be able to get for a third of the cost via other outlets? I guess it’s really gonna come down to just how much they like the shirts, right?

Please understand that I’m not trying to discourage anyone from buying one of the shirt and single packages — you know we here at MetalSucks love creative thinking with regards to the ever-changing state of the music industry! — I’m sincerely curious to see how well this works. I’ve heard other bands recently discuss the notion of going back to the old days of just recording and releasing singles, because it’s faster and cheaper than making entire albums — but I haven’t heard anyone mention trying to use those singles to sell merch, or merch to sell the single (however you wanna look at it). It honestly might be worth it just because X number of shirts sold + Y number of singles without shirts sold = profit.

Go here to order a shirt and the new single. The band will be doing a live web Q&A tomorrow, May 4, at 3 pm EST; go here to watch and participate.

[via Metal Injection]

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