THE JOURNAL "SACK"
A massive, incredibly passionate response about this subject, many are printed below for all to see. Thanks for taking the time to answer me, it's appreciated.
To clarify a couple questions:
1) Machine Head made 180 gram premium double vinyl for both The Blackening and Unto The Locust, check Amazon or eBay.
2) UTL came with a digital booklet on both the special edition and the regular iTunes versions, which apparently no one looked at : )
THE GENERAL JOURNALS "NUT SACK":
Amazon just started selling cd's with "autorip". This is pretty much the best of both worlds. You order a CD and it immediately appears in your cloud fully digital, ready to be streamed to your phone, pc, tablet etc. No need to wait to for the CD to arrive in the mail to hear it, you can start listening as soon as you buy it. Than a few days later your physical copy shows up at your door MEGA! Perfect for
someone like me who loves the convenience of digital but still loves an old-school backup copy. I also dig vinyl with a download code.
Tod aka Ratchetjaw
Ben from MetalSucks here. Big fan, as you know. I read your recent journal entry about the record biz and just wanted to let you know that I completely agree: streaming is the future and physical formats are all but dead (except for vinyl, which at this point is basically sold as a "souvenir"… people just like having it but never listen to the actual disc).
Four years ago I was praising Spotify, way before it launched in the U.S. (but it was available in Europe) and everyone said I was crazy. Last year when Spotify U.S. finally launched I wrote about it extensively on MetalSucks, and people said I was crazy once again: "Why would anyone want to STREAM music without even OWNING it???" I even got into a very public war or words with Century Media's president about it. Some people are finally coming around; it's fucking awesome! I'm glad to see someone with as high a profile as you supporting it. It takes time, though; metal heads are a very conservative bunch, despite what they claim about being counter-culture and all that, and many still steadfastly cling to their precious CDs.
Where I do disagree with you is on the viability of the album format in general (whether it's physical or digital); I do think metal fans still really appreciate hearing a full album, front to back. Metal is not a singles-driven market, even if singles do exist and help bring bands visibility. Metal fans, including myself, still really enjoy listening to an album. But I see your point, that our attention spans are much shorter these days, and sometimes less is more.
Cheers, and keep on writing.
First, let me just say a huge thank you for writing these journals. Please keep them coming! Special thanks for the PHPList option - very convenient indeed.
Now, to the point - just wanted to share my opinion on music formats these days. I'm probably the last generation to grow up on CDs (and cassettes - glad those are gone!) and I will miss them when they're gone completely (which will inevitably happen, just like it happened to everything but vinyl). However, I still think that for now they should be offered as an option, for a number of reasons:
- tangibles. People love things they can touch (may not be true for today's teenagers, but there're thousands MH fans older than that). We love the booklets and the artwork. CD is a piece of music memorabilia, just like a shirt from a show or that preciousssss guitar pick. And, if they're gone, what the hell do we give you to sign at a meet&greet? :)
- money. Having and loving Spotify Premium, I'd still buy a CD if I really love the band and want to offer my X dollars as a sign of support. I know plenty of people who buy a physical copy of an album AND buy it on iTunes (illegal downloading is so 2001). That being said, I admit I have no idea how much money goes into making CDs, and if us buying them gives you any real profit anymore, so please disregard if it doesn't.
- special features. Making-of DVDs, extra tracks...stickers. Anything that goes into a "collectable" category. I think this is probably the only CD format (versus just the "regular edition") that can be sold out nowadays.
All of the above is also true for vinyl, but arguably many more people are able to play a CD at home than a vinyl.
For all the other formats...iTunes? Yes. Spotify? Absolutely (best thing that has happened to digital music, period). Unorthodox things like "booklet with download code"? Sounds cool, and stays true to my "tangible" argument. I'd try this out.
Maybe you should do a survey on a site? Curious to see what the majority of us Head Cases/Undesirables think...
Anyway, hope this wasn't too long/boring, and sorry if my grammar is occasionally weird (English is obviously my second language).
Good luck with the new album! (lack of long songs might cause a riot though :))
All the best,
In answer to your question about formats...
I will be happy with whatever you decide to do as far as a release, though I am still a CD collector. I'm one of the old school idiots who NEED to have all of the special edition releases, the overseas versions, with the one extra track, etc.
I have plenty of downloads, and I too, have discovered many bands via youtube, and other streaming sites, but when I am passionate about a band, I want the whole collection, physical CD, artwork and all. In the case of Machine Head, ultimately I want whatever comes out on CD, in as many versions as there are. I have the regular and deluxe versions of the last 3 CDs (including the European and US release of TTAOE.) I also got the Metal Hammer release of Locust, and my posters from the magazine are framed and proudly displayed in my office/man cave/music room. I am looking at a Machine Head poster on the wall above my monitor as I type....
Anyway, I think I have made my point. If you put it out, I'm in!
The Kickstarter route is interesting. I have supported a few bands through that and Pledge Music as well. It is pretty sweet getting your name in a CD booklet under the thanks column! (It took me about an hour to find my name on the Machine Head poster, but when I did, man was I stoked!).
I gotta say.... I fucking LOVE your band. Machine Head has gotten me through some serious shit. The last 2 albums are just amazing. Some of the most beautiful guitar work in metal to date. The solos in Halo, Locust, Be Still And Know, and This Is The End, are just sublime.
I had the good fortune to catch you in Worcester this past year and was even luckier to meet you (see attached pic). Damn it was cold out by the bus that night!! I missed meeting Dave, but got to meet Phil and Adam as well.
That was my 3rd Machine Head show and I hope to see you again next time you roll through the east coast. (I drove about 3 hours from Albany to see you guys, and would happily do it again).
So glad I got to see Locust album done live.
Thanks for doing these journals Robb. It means alot to us fans to be able to have a connection with you and the band.
Looking forward to the new material.
Dude, I would like to see the new album put on a custom made flash drive. Either as a guitar, band logo or something that's unique and out there. You could also include a t-shirt and poster with it. In other words, a package deal.
Glad to see your putting your thoughts out there again for us to read and reply to.
Staying on subject, other then you guys (MH) I really dont buy CDs anymore unless
its in the value bin at some 7-11/WalMart/etc for 4.99 ( think we recently got Vanilla Ice
and the Spice Girls... hahahhaa ! so thats what Fucking Head Live and the original
versions of my open mic songs [MH, BLS, StoneSour, Slipknot, DKL, Prong] are
currently competing with). Everything else i buy is all digitally downloaded.
Though, I will say as there are so many die hard Head Cases...
something tangible like the pre release of UTL/baller pack of goodies I think
is very much wanted by us fans. What ever you release include another bottle opener
cuz i lost mine the first day it was on my keychain. I was fucking pissed !! You prob
have a fuck ton of other emails to read so Ill close this shit out. So stoked for the new
material soon to come !! Cant wait to fuck shit up down in Denver the next time you
guys roll through !
Fuckin A !!!
Andrew, Winter Park, Colorado
I totally understand your "ramblings" about what format to release Machine Head music in the future. Let me tell you - I like CD's. Sure I'll rip them to mp3's right away so I can have them in my player on the road, at work, in the gym. Sure I only listen to three of four songs in the beginning because they're the ones I instantly like.
But after a couple of months I have been thinking about the lyrics for this song or that song. I've been giving a couple of the other songs on the album a go and they kinda grew on me. So after some time, sometimes a looong time, I pull the CD from the shelf, put it on the stereo and enjoy the production for the first time because the songs are played on a HI-Fi stereo. And I start reading and re-reading the lyrics, enjoying the artwork and I start to dig the rest of the songs on the album.
Why??? Machine Head music grows on you. Some tunes turn you on instantly, but most need time to plant the seed and grow. And for that I need the full package. Sit with the CD in my hand and actually read the lyrics on paper, listen to the music while stepping deeper and deeper into the universe of your songs...
Just my ramblings :-)
P.S. Enjoyed your Wacken show immensly!!!
Steen Knudsen - Denmark
You wanted response from the fans about music formats so here's mine...
I appreciate what you're saying about digital downloads being the future and I know A LOT of people will agree with you. But for me there's something special about having a CD. I like that excitement you get as you rip off the plastic wrapper to get to the goodies inside. I love looking through the inlay and appreciating the work that someone has put into it. There's some awesome artwork in CD inserts and it would be a shame if those artists no longer had that platform. I like to be able to look at my CD shelves and think about what I want to listen to with it all laid out in front of me. Sure, I rip all my CDs. I listen to my music on my computer and my phone. I even have some music only in digital copy (usually albums my husband has bought). But CDs still hold a certain magic for me and I'll be sad to see the day when they are no more.
As a sure note - I've just supported two different projects through kickstarter, both of which smashed their goal. I think it's a great way to do things as if you're going to buy the product anyway why not pay in advance so you're helping it get made?
I'm enjoying your journals, keep up the good work and thanks for reading my reply!
Loving the journals, sir - keep 'em up!
Have you considered Pledge Music as a medium for releasing the new album (check out the site)? No label to concern yourself with, or stick their noses in, just a way of controlling how and when you release to the people that matter (us!) The fans decide what/how they want the music. Ginger Wildheart is showing the industry how to do it; I think that would be a very cool way forward.
Just a thought - thanks for listening, and a big HELLA thanks for the music, dude (the reason we're all in this together...)
Anyway, on this CD/Streaming/8-track conversation.... I'm probably not the typical customer, in that I love to buy albums. I look forward to them, as a kind of anticipated musical event, usually by artists I trust. I'd rather a band do as Tool or Metallica or any number of artists have done, and take time to create a GREAT record in 5 years, rather than an "okay" record in 3 years. Or, take the approach Newsted and Down have taken, and release 3-4 song EPs every 6 months...
I admit, I like to buy "deluxe" anything. I bought the delux Locust package, and I really enjoy the Priest and Rush covers! Having said that, artistically, I understand why the album proper ended after "Who We Are." In fact, I've noticed lately many of my favorite records have running times between 40-60 minutes long. In music school, I had a composition professor who observed that his student's melodies would typically be as long as their computer monitor was wide. The point being, obviously, that the medium can dictate the music, if it is allowed to. There are rare occasions where this works to the benefit of the music. Usually, it doesn't. And again, to your point about Reign in Blood, the magic of that album is that it's a god-damned blur. Gone before you know it.
Technologically, I still don't mind ripping my CD to mp3s. I use the CD player in my car to listen to most of my music, because between work and family, it's the only alone time I get to really listen and digest music. My CD player doesn't have the ability to integrate into with my smart-phone (aux input, blue tooth, etc), so I have to use CDs. If I buy something on iTunes, the only way I can listen to it in my car is to burn it to a CD. So, I buy the CD instead. I do like to stream to my smartphone when I'm at the gym, or otherwise able to listen through it. But even then, I'm streaming my own music collection, not through a service like Spotify or Pandora. If I want Sabbath, I want to be able to immediately choose it. I'm impatient that way, I guess, but I can see the value in having your catalog on a service like that.
For me, being the luddite, I still like CDs. They look nice on the shelf, they smell nice when you flip through the inserts, and I get to see production credits. I've bought tons of records based on production/mixing/mastering credits... Maybe that's the key, producing a CD package as an "extra," such that the album or EP is released through digital medium, but the only way to get the CD is to also buy the extra stuff, at a premium price. I've long been amazed that CD prices haven't gone up in the 20 years I've been buying them. Make a deluxe Machine Head album available online, for $25, but with the packaging and bonus tracks, etc. I'd buy that... And I'm going to digitize my shit anyway, so it's not like I'm ignoring the trends of the day.
I appreciate you reading my comments, I know they were lengthy. As a life-long musician and metal-head, I have given lots of thought to the kind of issues we face, both as musicians and as fans. My own attempts at self-production have enlightened me to the difficulties in writing, producing, distributing, and SELLING one's music. For my part, I will chase the music, where ever it goes, however it's distributed. I like CDs, but the writing is on the wall. And like my comp professor said, your melody doesn't have to be the size of the computer screen. As long as you guys think past the single, as you do and always have done, you'll be fine.
God bless, and thanks for all the hard work. I'll buy your shit, however it lands, because I know it's going to rule.
I haven't jumped on the spotify train yet but you're making me wanna check it out! I always download MH's stuff on iTunes and it's still just as exciting waiting for that release date to finally come and get it that day! It would be tight to get a calendar size booklet or poster with it! I'd love to try vinyl too, don't have a record player but I'd love to get one. You're a fucking mastermind and a very positive inspiration in my life I truly look up to you and I'm so grateful you're writing more music because I can't get enough. EVER! I saw you guys twice last year and you ARE bad fucking ass I'll never forget those shows. I love you guys.
Personally, I love CDs. There's just something that I can't explain about them, it feels so much better than a download. Just being able to hold it in your hands makes it feel more real somehow.
iTunes is fine. CDs are soooo 2000.
Eilish Kerry Ross:
You know what I want? Just more Machine Head. Got me through a bad patch in my life, inspired me to get out and go my own way in music. Your music is amazing, and I like that your venting. Feels more like you want to know my opinion, even if I am just one tiny voice in amongst the collective.
I hope someday I get somewhere in music, and for sure Machine Head will be the first band I'll want to play with.
Straight to the point, please make sure you include lossless audio formats (eg. FLAC). It's a shame when some digital releases are only available as a compressed MP3 and you want to play through a good hifi setup. You really don't want Dave's drums to sound washy do you? Thanks for the openness and a great read,
I don't even use cd's anymore except to make mix cds in the random cars that don't have an audio jack for my phone. I just set my phone on shuffle and let it do it's thing. I'm not interested in the least bit in paying 20 bucks for a cd when I don't know what I'm going to get. itunes and spotify are definitely the way to go.
Nano Marley Selassie:
I want the next machine head´s album in a download code in the front of a fridge. And a penguin. Everybody loves penguins. Think about it.
Morten Bønding Koch:
Great read and nice to see you picking up the old dairies again, it gives a much closer and clearer vision of what you guys deal with as band members. But sadly i would have to agree with you, CDs have been a trophy just sitting on a shelf while the music will be streamed or downloaded, personally i buy albums as a dedication to your hard work, well knowing that i might use this physical album only once or twice a year yet still streaming the songs from the exact somewhere else. It is a mind twister knowing what people want, but as a guy born in the digital world, a download code would be put to most use
just my 2 cents, Keep up the good work m/
I love having iTunes, spotify is great to but if I hear an album on spotify that I end up loving ill go buy it on iTunes. I never buy CDs anymore
+1 for the Vinyl with digital download idea - although I'm very taken by the "A guitar that plays the whole record through a USB plug"!!!
A download code on vinyl with a beard comb.
CDs fucker ! Call me old school !
I don't care if I buy a physical CD or electronic - but I do like the idea of music arranged in a project. We call them albums today - but it could be anything that groups songs together in a way that makes sense. I've often found as I listen to an album that the song that was my favorite to start with, the one with the catchie tune or the cool words, you know the obvious one - slowly is eclipsed by a more subtle one that has really interesting words or beat or guitiar or cowbell.... whatever. I love that process of discovery especially with your music.
I really don't like the idea of having all my music as digital downloads. Or even worse (for me), streaming them from the web. Don't misunderstand me, I use YouTube to discover music, hell, it's probably my main tool for finding new bands. But when I like a band, I buy their CD. If I like them a lot, I buy multiple CDs. Do I know if the rest of the album is any good? No, it might be complete shite. But that's not really important to me. I don't know why, but I just like listening to whole albums, to a collection of songs, instead of just a one-off piece of music.
Best of both worlds would be being able to get a physical copy of just the artwork for the CD that has a download code for the music. Personally I love having the artwork of a bands CD. I have bought both d/l versions and the physical CD just to have the artwork .
posted by : DevinTownsendsFunnyShapedHead
CD, CD, CD....
Streaming and MP3's are soulless. Yes, Spotify and iTunes are a great convenience, but music is much better when you feel you've invested in it and you can take the time to listen to it.
Writing a good song is a talent, but writing a good album is an artform, and the iPod generation have made music so disposable that good art is getting harder to find.
The day physical CDs become obsolete is the day I stop purchasing music.
posted by : astroboy
Having a musician actually saying that downloading is a great thing is the most idiot, dumb, stupid thing i've ever read. Seems to me that Robb Flynn grew up in an era where LPs where the dominant thing. So he damn well knows how cool it was to hang to a product that meant something. Robb Flynn sure knows as well how cool record stores were and how important they were for the whole scene. And i don't get how a pro musician can listen to digital download. Computers ARE NOT made to listen to music. Robb Flynn should go out and listen to his favourite records on a decent stereo system before opening his stupid mouth. The death of the album as a format is a tragedy. Robb Flynn is a ignorant moron.
COMMENT | People, get off your soapboxes.
posted by : labora
Robb is right, folks. Cd stores are disappearing, physical cds are getting harder and harder to find. Soon, they won't exist. It's inevitable. EVERYTHING is going digital these days. It's the way of the world. Like it or not, that's the way it is. I'd rather have physical cds myself, but 3/4 of the time, I can't find them ANYWHERE, so I HAVE to download them. Just the way it is. Get used to it....Cds won't be around much longer, just like the 8-track and cassette.
Posted by: Dragonflame:
To Robb Flynn: I still order CDs from my favorite bands...because I want everything I can get from that band. I want the artwork and lyrics, and reading the thank yous, not to mention the CD quality is better most of the time compared to streaming music. Sure, I get digital music too, but I like the option of getting the cd and artwork from the band as well. I actually have my favorite album covers on the wall in my bands rehearsal room. Taped those cd booklets right up there.
When you came out with that everything MH magazine awhile back...we all ordered it. We didnt want a digital order and read it on an Kindle or E-Reader. When we meet bands, we wanna buy their cd and ask them to sign it. We dont want the bands to sign a usb flash drive. Or have a band say they will email us a digital signature.
My cousin has like a crapload of cds all in his living room in a giant bookcase. I like going through them, and when I grab a cd to put on, I like being able to read the booklet and look at the artwork. What if it was all digital and he said,"Sorry, internet is down if you wanna look up lyrics and stuff about the band." It's not the same.
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