Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Berzerker: Doing the Ultimate Indie

Bravo to The Berzerker for trying to take the Internet for all its worth (as a distribution system, anyway): they announced today they've ditched any ties with Earache, their former record company, and will be launching their fifth album via the website of their company, Berzerker Industries, without any outside distribution. The announcement, which comes via YouTube video clip, complete with Metalocalypse-style animation of their frontman giving the news, also includes what they considered the nail-in-the-coffin statistic: more than 50 percent of a CD's costs go to the retailer who sells the music.

Music distribution businesses are funny things that I don't know a whole lot about, so I'll resist giving an opinion one way or another about the pricing breakdown, but I will say that logic would suggest that bands playing music in a subgenre with a lot of grassroots support (like metal) would be likely to have more success using the Internet to go completely independent. Of course, that band would have to tap into those grassroots first, but once they do, it seems like metal fans have the kind of loyalty - not to mention the kind of fanaticism - necessary to support a band trying to stay afloat on their own. After all, we're the people - or their spiritual decendents, anyway - who created the legend of success brough to three decades of metal acts (from Sabbath to Metallica to Pantera) on the back of unlimited touring and nary a top 40 radio hit. The Berzerker seems like they've got the tap in place - they got Blabbermouth's attention, after all - now we'll see if they can prove the logic, too.

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