Review Summary: Greed is the deadliest form of flattery
Greatest hit compilations have been standard industry fare since the inception of the concept of a record label, and usually the band has little to no involvement in them bar throwing an extra new track that they don’t give two fucks about haphazardly in order to fill a contract quota. Due to the money crunch imposed on labels thanks to the advent of the internet, businesses continue to get even more greedy and the whole process suffers. Money trumps the message every time (see Nine Inch Nails vs Universal Records, Michael Jackson vs Sony Entertainment, every band ever
vs Victory Records as proof of this), and is, to a point, a necessary evil in the musical distribution system. However; when a label goes out of their way to try and take down a band not just in the court of law, but behind the scenes as well, something needs to be done as a whole. The content of this compilation is irrelevant due to the underhanded tactics propagated by the distributor, and not one single red cent should go to Warner Brothers Records for their blatant attempt to ruin livelihoods in an effort to boost their bottom line and achieve a twisted, and maniacal form of vindication.
Context is necessary; Avenged Sevenfold announced that due to a “seven-year law” in their recording contract, that they would be parting ways with Warner Brothers Records due to most of the executives they started there with having left the company, and didn’t like the influence that the new staff was attempting to push onto their music. Naturally, a breach of contract lawsuit was filed on the part of Warner Brothers against the band. Capitol Records stood in, paid off Warner and as most of you know, Avenged Sevenfold’s new album “The Stage” was released in late October 2016. Before this surprise release, there was a high profile ‘leak’ of the details for the new album, it was supposed to be called “Voltaic Oceans” and had a slated release date of December 9th, 2016. Then the announcement from Warner Brothers came three days later; “Avenged Sevenfold: The Best of 2005-2013” slated for a December 9th release date. When “The Stage” dropped, Warner Brothers quickly changed the release date on various websites of the compilation to the date of The Stage’s surprise release in an attempt to capitalize on traffic, but then changed it back to December a little while later.
If you haven’t gotten the gist of WB’s actions, it’s a blatant attempt to sabotage the sales of the band’s new album through lazy pseudo-nostalgia marketing practices, and search engine manipulation via release date sharing. Not only this, but the tracks chosen for this compilation (particularly the lesser known tracks off of the Diamonds in the Rough B-Sides) are widely known to be the band members’ favorite tracks in particular as evidenced in a multitude of interviews. This release was born out of pure vindication, personal vitriol, and shameless avarice. The court of law is the place to settle ethical contractual based quarrels, not social media. The fact that we as musicians, as a music community continue to turn a blind eye to the almost hysterical business practices of various distribution agencies is absolutely appalling. I’m not proposing a boycott of Warner’s music; I’m proposing awareness, I’m proposing anything more than the current state of apathy. This is about sending a message, and moving towards a better systemic approach for the music community as a whole.