2011 – A look…

2011 – A look back – Was it really a good Metal Year ?

Germany’s influential Rock Hard Magazine just published an editorial by Metal Guru Götz Kühnemund in their January 2012 issue. . It’s all rosy and positive – that’s the key message. The „underground“ is thriving.and not far behind the (Metal) „Overground“ – by which measure he doesn’t elaborate.

I beg to differ.

1.It’s getting more and more difficult for talented young bands to get signed and if they get signed it’s a shitty deal, as bad as those strangling deals done in the 60’s. The young band scene in Germany is dominated by students who use the freedom of their university days to add a bit of salt to their otherwise boring education life. There is no real hunger and passion and energy driven by creative obsession and vision. Or very rarely.

2. Music Stores die like flies (down from almost 2500 record outlets in Germany in the early 90’s to about 800 today), CD shell space get’s continuously reduced until there is none left, deep catalog is no longer carried, and new releases, if they get stocked, sell in the low hundreds. International sales have become a joke for Continental European Bands – squeezed between the Euro-Apocalypse and the CD-Endgame the markets just don’t function normal anymore. The key question these day’s is no longer whether you sell records but if you ultimately will get paid ! All indications of a dying CD format.

3. The genre is stagnant, ever more extreme metal Bands copy their predecessors‘. The images get more clownish. Touring is a „dog eat dog“ jungle with plenty of „old school“ managers and booking agents still demanding buy-on’s for several hundred Euros per show. More and more venues ask for a cut on your merch sales. The ticket sales are dropping for the first time since years.

It’s obvious that we are moving towards a situation where radical changes have to happen. We live in those transitory times with a radical solution just lurking around the corner.

I’don’t think the Majors will fade out the CD voluntary by a fixed date at the end of 2012. That’s ridiculous from a business point of view with the record company’s still making 80% of their sales with physical product.. No – the market will force their hand at a certain time, when a big chain like Media Markt/Saturn doesn’t carry CD’s any more – or when the Euro crisis escalates and youth unemployment jumps to levels now only seen in southern Europe.These are the key triggers for the ultimate death of the CD format. It’s now time to prepare for the inevitable.

These are the solutions for any band looking for a professional future:

  • cut out the middle man, stay away from the traditionalist labels .
  • Establish a fan centric approach around your own web site , build a fan community and a digital fan club
  • use Face Book but don’t get used
  • work on your music style and band image, make yourself unique
  • establish yourself as a regional headliner and play as much as possible
  • contact us after you have done all the above and lined up more than 1000 fans in your fanclub and we will take you the next step

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