Metal: a holdout against temporary culture

The mainstream media stumbles up against everything, so it’s no surprise they hit on valid ideas sometimes:

With the Beatles finally on iTunes, Garth Brooks and AC/DC are among the few notable acts that continue to staunchly hold out, unwilling to agree to Apple’s restrictive pricing schemes and loath to see their albums chopped into singles.

Angus Young of AC/DC, another act with an exceptionally lucrative catalog of music, once insisted that AC/DC doesn’t make singles, “we make albums.”

“If we were on iTunes, we know a certain percentage of people would only download two or three songs from the album,” Young told The Daily Telegraph in 2008. “We don’t think that represents us musically.”

Young has said AC/DC’s sales haven’t suffered as a result. The band’s last studio album, “Black Ice,” released in 2008, sold more than 6 million copies worldwide. – AP

The problem with digital music is that it’s licensed content, not something you control. If their DRM goes down, or their download site goes away, what do you have? A license to download — but only from them, in the formats specified.

If we find something better than MP3/MP4(AAC) to compress music, what happens? You buy it again.

If Apple goes bankrupt, which it has come close to many times, what happens? You buy it all again.

CDs may not be ideal, but for a certain segment of the market, they’re perfect. We don’t want to muck around with an account on We want a physical object, we enjoy purchasing it and taking it home, and we can do that because we’re selective about what we buy.

You can’t say that about Lady Gaga or whatever other trivial crap most people listen to.

Metal is one of the few genres that is holding out in this way. Instead of making purchasing easier, we argue, make it harder and more expensive. Make the choice count for more as a result. Make people think harder about what they buy. Make them touch a physical representation of it, and keep it around the house.

Sure, I hate the mountains of landfill produced by CDs going into the dumpster. But for the most part, these are CDs for terrible music that should have never been signed, or CDs of trivial music that people “got tired of” a month later.

AC/DC and heavy metal represent the opposite principle: buy a few things you’ll want to hear for a lifetime.