When post-gaming the first-week sales of Avenged Sevenfold’s The Stage, we suggested that there might be some people that still don’t even know the band has an album out. The band’s seventh ablum sold less than half of what 2013’s Hail to the King sold in it’s first week, even though it sold a healthy 76,0000 units. That’s because they decided to release it with no notice two weeks ago. Inc. caught up with M. Shadows to talk about the album and it’s surprise release. The band says that they have mixed emotions about the dropoff in sales, but they don’t regret it:
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.
Continuing, Shadows knew that it was a risk, but they don’t regret taking it:
We knew that could happen, but 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.
Elsewhere in the interview, Shadows says the band were influenced by bands like Radiohead, Kanye West and Beyonce to surprise-release The Stage, and it was easier for them to keep it a secret, since they’re now parents in their 30s. The question is, now that they’ve done this and it didn’t translate into the 485,000 copies (653,000 if you count album-equivalent units) that Beyonce did first week, is if there will be any other rock artists to try to do something like this. And like we said before, it’ll be interesting to see what the second week drop looks like for The Stage. In all, it’s a pretty interesting article from a publication that usually doesn’t write about metal.