AVENGED SEVENFOLD frontman M. Shadows admitted in a new interview that the band "definitely dropped the ball in terms of the casual fan" when it came to the marketing of its latest album, "The Stage". The surprise release of the disc, which was announced the night it went on sale twelve months ago, earned the lowest sales of an AVENGED SEVENFOLD album in eleven years. It sold seventy-six thousand copies in its first week, seventy-three thousand of which were physical.
Shadows told ABC Radio: "Do I think it was a good strategy for the casual fan? No, it was horrible for the casual fan. Most casual fans don't even know about it, or they've written it off as… 'Why would you release a record secretly? It must not be good.' And we weren't expecting that at all."
The singer admitted that it's unlikely AVENGED SEVENFOLD would ever do the surprise release again.
"If we were to do it over, I would've tried to do something that encompasses the casual fan that's not living and breathing what bands like us are doing," he said.
Shadows told The Pulse Of Radio that the band did the surprise release partially out of a desire to let fans hear it and form their own opinions. "It's almost like the jury has already, you know, decided if they like a record or not before it even comes out, because there's so many reviews and opinions," he said. "And we just wanted people to hear it for themselves and make their own opinions."
"The Stage", AVENGED's debut for Capitol, sold less than half as many copies in its first week as the group's two previous efforts, 2010's "Nightmare" and 2013's "Hail To The King".
The group made the album available at midnight on October 27, 2016 with almost no promotion beforehand, save for the arrival of a new song one week earlier.
AVENGED SEVENFOLD is also locked in a legal battle with its former label, Warner Bros., over what the label claims is a breach of contract. The relatively soft sales of "The Stage" could reduce the damages that the band may have to pay to Warner if the label wins its case.
The deluxe version of "The Stage" will arrive on December 15. This new edition features seven additional studio songs plus four previously unreleased live tracks recorded during the band's recent shows at The O2 arena in London. Among the seven bonus tracks is the band's cover of the PINK FLOYD classic "Wish You Were Here".