SCAM ALERT: Via Nocturna Records

Despite the vitriolic hatred, nihilism, and misanthropy that death and black metal music is known for many artists/fans/labels have a developed a pretty blind system of trust and assumptions.  This code of honor stems from a general assumption of a “metal brotherhood” along with the idea that beatings or some other justice would be served in the event anyone acting out of line while also publicly listing their address online.  However the extreme metal scene has seen many legendary rip-off artists ranging from Peruvian fat-girl-fucker Christian Felipe Paucar Toledo, Nachmystium’s Blake Judd and his Battlekommand Records (now Ascension Monuments Media), and Blake’s drug addicted sidkick crony Jeff Wilson and his Disorder Recordings/Design.  To date, none of these men have been beaten within an inch of their life despite robbing and conning people in droves, and all of them continue to tour and sell music.  Therefore, ripping people off appears to carry no penalty, or at least within the boundaries of the metal world.

Many musicians on Bandcamp have reported they are receiving an emails from a “label” calling itself Via Nocturnal Records.  The label starts off with an obviously generic message saying they want to release the band’s music on CD.  After responding positively indicating interest, the label now sends the bait for a really outrageous and embarrassing metal scam.

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Poverty is the Price for Metal Stardom

The Talk:

Every metal musician needs to have “The Talk” at some point or another and for some of you, this will be that moment.  In the world of metal, “The Talk” is the soul crashing, dream obliterating conversation where one learns the valuable lesson that you can’t get rich playing extreme metal.  It’s heartbreaking and defeating but better learned sooner than later.  And since a young ambitious musician isn’t necessarily considering the logistics, lifestyle goals, etc. of their future before they drill on that pentagram neck tattoo, I want to make sure readers of DMU are abundantly clear on what to expect on the financial front when engaging in life as a touring musician.
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Corporate Metal Labels Caught in a Death Spiral

Earlier this week the publishing catalog of metal mega-label Century Media has been pawned off for an undisclosed sum to Reservoir Media, a publishing boutique holding the royalty rights to songs by a variety of pop artists ranging from Drake to Lady Gaga. In investment terms, a boutique is defined as a financial firm that deals with a specific market, so picture Reservoir as a wealthy Wolf of Wall Street-like conglomerate recklessly gambling with the royalties of musicians. This is common in the modern music market, where suits are making bets on the evolving payout methods streaming services, but the surrender of Century Media’s entire catalog of albums (Death, Paradise Lost, In Flames) to a finance firm playing with house money goes to show how desperate the corporate metal labels of yesteryear have become.

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Dark Economic Truths of Underground Metal

Recently many of the other “metal” websites, blogs, publications et cetera have been doing articles about the business side of music industry. Unsurprisingly none of these articles had the testicular fortitude to address the ugly reality of the underground metal economy as they are written by either slaves to the machine itself or losers who genuinely believe that they have “careers” in music which heavily depend on acceptance by the community. Since the Death Metal Underground staff bow to no masters social or corporate, we are in the rare position give you the truth in its rawest form. So with absolute disregard for the powers that be in metal, let’s take an honest look inside this machine to see how it really works.

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Streaming Now The Primary Method of American Music Consumption

Streaming is now the primary way Americans listen to music according to a year end report by Nielsen, replacing downloads of individual singles.

It’s official: according to a new year-end report released by Nielsen, over the course of 2016, streaming became the primary mode of music consumption in the U.S. Overall on-demand audio streams surpassed 251 billion in 2016 — a 76 percent increase that accounts for 38 percent of the entire music consumption market. Plus, “the on-demand audio streaming share [of total music consumption] has now surpassed total digital sales (digital albums + digital track equivalents) for the first time in history.”

Streaming is the public consciousness recognizing that most of what the mainstream music industry has to offer is disposable. The labels can’t even find or develop potentially good new talent anymore as due to gutting their artists and repertoire departments and what revenue they make flowing upwards towards executives and shareholders. Average consumers never possessed high-fidelity playback chains of dedicated gear to take full advantage of the compact disc and vinyl records anyway; they only had mediocre integrated receivers hooked up to poorly performing speakers and headphones. Furthermore everyone truly into underground or once underground music genres now digs deeper, purchasing releases with zero quality control which commonly have print runs of only a few hundred to a few thousand copies. Classical continues to do okay too as classical listeners still buy the physical album and tend to have marginally better equipment.

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Bardo Methodology Interviews Dead Congregation

Webzine Bardo Methodology interviewed Dead Congregation guitarist and frontman Anastasis Valtsanis. AV touched upon Dead Congregation‘s imitators (even though they worship Immolation and Incantation), record labels forcing bands to conform to release schedules, the decline of Greek black metal in the mid 90s, how most “lost gems” are mediocre, and why the accessibility the internet affords along with the decline of the music industry revenue genericizes metal bands into pedestrian products.

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The Decline of the Compact Disc & Music Industry

broken-cd

By the 1990s, the CD reigned supreme. As the economy boomed, annual global sales surpassed 1bn in 1992 and 2bn in 1996, and the profit margins were the stuff of dreams. The CD was cheaper than vinyl to manufacture, transport and rack in stores, while selling for up to twice as much. Even as costs fell, prices rose.

The popular music industry peaked financially in 1996 but had creatively begun bottoming out years before that. Digital file sharing of lossily (and later losslessly) compressed formats simply burst the bubble of the industry’s festering corpse the ignorant had mistaken to still be moving as the putrefying gases bloated body cavities.

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