Death metal is big money these days


Blabbermouth reports that Cannibal Corpse have sold more than two million albums, which makes death metal one of the more successful niche genres out there, since album sales of that nature plus tours equal a tidy sum of money. With founding bands like Morbid Angel and Slayer still gracing the charts, the spectrum of death metal related music sells more of its older albums today than it did back in the 1980s.

This puts an end to the assumption that bands cannot sell out by choosing underground metal. Once that might have been true, but now a band can launch into a genre with millions of fans, sell some albums and then detour into an indie rock project which then carries the cachet of edgy cool from having been involved with that rebel badboy metal music. There’s a lot of money in this genre for those willing to dig, and this means more entryists pounding at the door with careful camouflage for their insipid rock music.

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6 thoughts on “Death metal is big money these days”

  1. tiny midget says:

    it’s all about the windmill headbang. all the bands that feature at least one band member capable of executing the windmill headbang with mastery end up making big bucks. george corpsegrinder’s windmill is simply perfect. jason newsted and that guy from death’s human album were also masters of the windmill.

  2. My Cock means Serious Business says:

    This interview here folks explains how when a band’s having internal turmoil the music suffers in quality:

  3. Angus says:

    I think they sell albums because they are a great band. I have seen them live and have most of their albums. Alex Webster is a brilliant bassist and they bring something of interest to music. They merge Zombie story telling with music.

    Great band – nice guys- deserve to earn a decent living

  4. Todd says:

    The concept of bands writing music for money still doesn’t ring true with me. Tours for money? Sure. Merch for money? Sure.

    I do think bands will write music to look cool and feel cool, and they may think that will result in money, but I just really don’t believe that people are writing riffs thinking about cash.

  5. John says:


    Um…. 2M records over the course of 27 years at a royalty rate of $1 per record split between 5 members = $15K per member per year. That’s a generous assumption that the band is making 10% of wholesale, too no advances to be recoup studio and other expenses, don’t pay any percentage out of that to management. So that’s $15K in pipe dream bucks.

    Let’s say $2K guarantee for a bigger underground band and again, less manager % and road crew per night let’s knock that down to $1K (great deal) and say they played 150 shows per year. $30K per member.

    13 albums and lets say 13 tours and lets say they made $100K ($10 profit on 66 shirts per night) on merch each tour x 13 ($1.3M) divided by number of years – 27 and then band members 5 = about $10K more.

    And instead of pointing out how unrealistic all that is with all the other expenses not monetized above (van, gear, recoupables, shelter to operate the business of a band, let’s double the t-shirt number to $20K, and we have an average of $65K per band member, per year.

    So in our wildest imagination, being a member of the biggest selling most well known band in the genre may make as much as a low-level clerical/professional. Double it and they make the salary of a well paid professional, senior but not C-suite. And that’s income, not profit.

    And realistically, each member of CC probably makes half of that $65K per year, at most 3/4’s. In income. Not profit. As in $32-$65K a year, less rent, food, insurance, transportation, etc..etc…etc…

    Excellent musical journamalism, here. Big fucking money.

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