Happy Record Store Day Eve! In celebration of this event, Heavy Metal Examiner held a round-table discussion with movers and shakers at various labels about Heavy Metal Vinyl, among other things. Enjoy, and go buy a record!
To commemorate this year’s Record Store Day (April 18), Mark Morton of Heavy Metal Examiner coordinated a round-table discussion with several record label executives and got their opinions on the resurgence and collectability of heavy metal vinyl. Participating in this discussion were Paula Hogan (General Manager, Candlelight Records USA), Austin Stephens (Director of Sales, Roadrunner Records), Pat Egan (Director of Sales, Relapse Records), Tracy Vera (Senior VP, Metal Blade Records), and Simon Füllemann (General Manager, Metal Blade Records GmbH). An excerpt follows below.
Heavy Metal Examiner: What do you think of the resurgence in the interest in metal vinyl?
Paula Hogan: Vinyl and metal I feel is a “taste” fans never lose interest in. Metal is, for the most part, always a genre that is a consistent seller regardless of fashion or trends. Sure, it has its peaks and lulls, but it is always there. With vinyl, the packaging, oftentimes special artwork is something that feels so much more personal and unique in your hands versus a CD and the unphysical nature of the mp3. I think the resurgence in vinyl popularity is a combination of elements. First, as noted, is the uniqueness and the natural excitability factor of having a special/limited-edition piece of your favorite band, but second, the continued argument of labels and artists about the accessibility CDs give to illegal downloading, which for vinyl is far more limited.
Austin Stephens: Vinyl, in general, has made a huge comeback, relatively, compared to other physical formats. As far as metal as a genre for the format, I think there is something to be said for the level of musicianship that complements the genre, and though vinyl is still a product line that appeals to a much defined niche consumer, its growth is undeniable.
Pat Egan: The renewed interest in vinyl may be a passing trend, but in the metal world, it has never gone away. At Relapse, we never stopped pressing vinyl (unlike most of our peers). We knew all along that the metal fans loved the packaging that you can’t get from a digital download or even a CD. There’s something to be said about pouring over the liner notes inside a record, or how awesome that new BARONESS cover that John Baizley did. The major labels are already starting to screw up the vinyl format again, by over charging fans for a standard record. I mean $29.99 for the new Paul McCartney “Fireman” LP? Way to f*** the people who are actually willing to PAY for music. Sure there are 2 LPs in it and it may be 180-gram, but that is just pure major label greed.
Tracy Vera: It excites me and I love it.
Simon Fullerman: It is cool again to collect vinyl and, since you can buy record players with USB connection everywhere, this is an easy tool to put vinyl on your portable players.
Heavy Metal Examiner: When choosing what albums to offer on vinyl, what criteria do you look for?
Paula Hogan: Obviously, sales potential, but as well the artist itself, the artwork available and how it will work for the format.
Austin Stephens: We look at what genres / artists mean something to this consumer. The audiophile that leans more towards progressive metal is definite vinyl consideration and pretty much a no-brainer for artists like DREAM THEATER and OPETH within our roster. Specialty retailers like the Omega mail-order, Interpunk.com, and the Vinyl Collective are big voices for specific artists and genres, and we look to their trends as well when deciding what makes sense to release or re-issue. Any artist with a rabid and loyal fan base is in consideration for the format, though, as we don’t want to limit ourselves or our artists in what their fans may want.
Pat Egan: For the most part, every new band that puts out new music will see it released on vinyl from us. It’s not a fad for us. For bands on their second and third releases, it will depend on how well the previous record did. If we’re sitting on a few hundred LPs in the warehouse, chances are we are not going to put out the new one. In that case, we will usually license that release on vinyl to another label. In many instances, those small labels are run by Relapse employees who care about the band and the packaging and just want to own a copy of that release on vinyl.
Tracy Vera: Hipness or coolness, like in the case of a new band like BISON, classic bands with a classic release, or releases like SLAYER, a visual quality like CATTLE DECAPITATION, and/or bands with really rabid fans like CANNIBAL CORPSE.
Simon Fullerman: Metal records. Bands that have been in it for a long time or bands that have big hype.
Read the entire article from Heavy Metal Examiner.
Posted by PT