When Avenged Sevenfold signed to Capitol Records and decided to go out on a limb by surprise-releasing The Stage, they took a big risk. The album’s title track was released less than two weeks before the album appeared online and in stores at midnight on October 28th. It was a bold move, and pretty unprecedented in the rock landscape. Even Radiohead released A Moon Shaped Pool with a few days notice. In terms of awareness, there was a lot of press about it, and the band’s profile has certainly been raised more than it’s been for a while. Saleswise, it had a solid but relatively modest 72,000 sales in it’s first week. Granted, that’s a huge number for any band in this day and age, but was less than half of what their last album, 2013’s Hail to the King, sold. We suggested that the surprise release might have impacted sales, but thought, as the band did, that more people might find out about and be interested in the album as time went on. That turns out, at least in the second week, to not be the case.
You’ll get the full recap in Metal by Numbers, but in it’s second week, The Stage dropped 78%, selling 16,000 copies. That’s pretty typical for any album’s second week, but less than what the band had hoped for, given the album’s unique release. Here’s what Shadows said in the Inc. interview:
“We also take a longer-term view. The average album following a three-month release model typically sees sales drop as much as 80% for the second week. We expect some drop off, too… but we also expect our album sales to continue over a longer period of time.”
There’s nothing to suggest that the band won’t continue to sell over time, but this is more of a drop off in sales than Hail had (it dropped 74% in week 2, selling 42,000). It should be noted that in those two sales weeks, the band have sold 88,000, so it’s already one of the most successful albums of 2016. In fact, looking at sales for all of 2016, it’s already one of the top 150-sellers, many of which are catalog. It’ll easily cross 100,000 in sales over the next week or two, and continue selling throughout the holiday season. It’s a new reality we’re living in, and maybe surprise-releasing an album doesn’t necessarily make sense for everyone, but we’re doubting that the band is that upset about their chart performance, as long as people hear the album.
You can do your part by picking it up or streaming it below: