Metal Monday: Relapse Records puts entire catalog online
Prominent underground/ extreme metal label Relapse Records announced a big move last week that may arguably be the future in music marketing. In a rather ballsy move, the label is now offering it’s entire 20+ year discography, which features a slew of rather highly esteemed metal bands, online for free at the website Bandcamp.com — an online music store, free to use, which caters predominantly to indie artists. There are two pages right now, the current roster page and the alumni page, where you can access all the sweet jams, so check it out! You can also view Relapse’s official press release here.
In today’s predominantly digital age, where it’s become just as easy and convenient to download your media through Torrents and other file sharing programs, artists and the entertainment industry as a whole (music, television, movies, video games) wages an ongoing battle against piracy while consumers and Internet advocates tend to believe in unlimited access to content. People simply don’t consume media the way they did 15 years ago. Case and point: how often do you hear someone shrug off a band’s new album release after opting to wait until it’s available for download on a site like Pirate Bay instead?
While many labels wage their war against people and entities promoting free access to digital content, Relapse Records is taking an arguably novel stance by embracing it. The Relapse page offers pages for new music and a page of alumni bands. Despite having unlimited access to the label’s awesome collection of music from more than 120 bands throughout the last two decades ranging from MASTODON, DYING FETUS, PIG DESTROYER, HIGH ON FIRE, DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, AMORPHOUS, NECROPHAGIST and REVOCATION — just to name a few — the true news here is how this established company is putting its material up for grabs online. They’re definitely showing what side of the argument they stand on. The only question now is how many more labels will follow suit. Is this the wave of the future in label identity, marketing and promotion? Will fans use this as a tool to learn even more about bands they may have not had the money or interest in seeking out before? Could fans not give a shit less and not even notice? While I personally think this is a very sharp move that will hopefully benefit the artists in the long run, only time will truly tell.
Share your thoughts with us, dingus! Do you think this is a good idea for Relapse or any record label? Do you see yourself taking advantage of this? What if another label followed suit? Do you think juggernaut labels outside just the metal industry like Warner, Sony and Universal will join the trend?