|The record stores are on their death bed, and Steve Jobs is slowing pulling the plug with his wiry nerd arms.|
I still regularly visit record stores like any other music fan. It used to be so that I could scare everyone on the way to the heavy metal section. Then when I got there, I would stand around long enough for another guy looking at metal CD's to see how brutal I was, by scoffing at every album of interest he picked up and looked at.
Those were the glory days. Now all the kids got the computers and the MP3 players and the iPhones and the whatnot. The steady rise of digital music distribution by the likes of iTunes, and Rhapsody, has in turn meant the steady decline of the record store. Nobody is buying CD's anymore, and I find myself more and more alone in that heavy metal section, with no one to play victim of my silent ridicule.
So to keep up with the times, my record store habits have changed. I still try my best to horrify the 2 or 3 patrons left on my way to that metal section in the back corner. After I arrive, I diligently flip through the titles for something that will grab my interest. Once I find one or a couple of albums that I think I would want, I put them back where I found them. As the cashier eyeballs the metal detector with hawk-like precision, I leave the store. I'm going home to listen to it free.
With the way the internet is set up these days, paying for music makes you a chump.
Now let's get one thing straight here, metal isn't a platinum selling act. There's no money in record sales, and if there is, not much is going to the artist, if any. The game has changed. The only guys who are suffering from a lack of sold metal CD's are Robert Kampf, Markus Staiger and Brian Slagel, and don't worry. They're all doing fine.
Metal bands in this generation have no issue with uploading their entire discographies for listen on Myspace Music. I also hard press you to have much too much issue finding hiqh quality tracks of practically any metal song of merit on YouTube. Uploading songs is probably against YouTube's terms and conditions, but it's pretty easy for metal tracks to fly under the radar. You're probably going to have a little more trouble uploading Shania Twain than you would Vader.
So if you're on your PC, I guarantee you that if you put enough effort into it, you'll find the song you want to hear streaming for free somewhere. If however, that's not good enough, and you want to own a digital copy of the music files on your hard drive or to put on your iPod or Zune... well, you know. I'm not really going to publicly condone anyway that you can do that.
If the urge to attempt to download music for free is too great, I will tell you this: There is no festering malware hole worse on the internet than the world of free MP3 downloads. It's like shooting heroin: if you want to try that illegal crap, you're doing it at your own risk of getting AIDS.
You will be able to support your favorite metal acts easily enough by going to their shows, buying their merch and spreading the good word about them. You shouldn't allow listening to their music for free effect your guilty conscious.
Sidenote: I had my advertising pulled on the main page because of paying tribute to a certain 6-year dead metal guitarist yesterday. Probably from what I can only assume was due to his colorful nickname. I pulled the post and I'm waiting to see if that changes anything. For now, enjoy the lack of ads and RIP Darrell Abbot.