According to music industry web site Hits Daily Double, AVENGED SEVENFOLD's seventh studio album, "The Stage", is likely to sell between 65,000 and 70,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release. The SPS figure is expected to be between 70,000 and 75,000.SPS, a practice used by Billboard magazine, stands for "sales plus streaming," which includes album sales and converted track sales plus converted streaming data. For those interested: 10 tracks sold equal one album sale (since $1.29, the cost for an individual track, multiplied by ten gives you $12.99, a common price for an album, and 1,500 streams is equivalent to one album sale. AVENGED SEVENFOLD's last album, 2013's "Hail To The King", sold 159,000 copies in the United States its first week of release. The disc gave the California band their second straight chart-topper after 2010's "Nightmare", which moved 163,000 copies to hit the top spot upon its arrival. "The Stage" was released on Friday, October 28, making AVENGED SEVENFOLD the first-ever rock band to issue an unannounced album in both digital and physical form. The quintet revealed their album was out during their live-streamed performance from the rooftop of the Capitol Records tower in Hollywood, California. The band gave a 3D/360-degree live-streamed virtual reality performance, enabling fans around the globe to view the show. As for "The Stage", it is a 71-minute, 11-song concept album centered around the theme of artificial intelligence and inspired by the work of Carl Sagan and Elon Musk. Instead of a science fiction storyline, however, "The Stage" takes what a press statement called "a futurist's look at the accelerated rate at which technology's intelligence is expanding and what that means — good and bad — for the future." The album's epic 15-minute-plus closing track, "Exist", features a guest appearance by award-winning astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, giving a spoken-word performance he penned specifically for the album. The marketing plan and launch of the album, the band's first for Capitol Records, was months in the making, starting with the projection of the band's logo, the Deathbat, on buildings in cities around the world. The campaign even included some misdirection, as the group had its friend Chris Jericho "accidentally" leak a fake album title and release date.
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