Toilet Talks: Access, Promotion, Economics, and Metal


An assortment of Toilet editors got together again to discuss some of the most critical (or at least mildly amusing) topics in metal today.

I had a few questions revolving around the business end of metal, and surprisingly, a consensus was made on most things. The discussion has been lightly (heavily) edited for coherence.

joaquin First question is an easy one, what are you all drankin’?
leifbearikson Dr. Pepper like the unhealthy mongrel I am.
joe_thrashnkill A Meta Modern IPA from Oasis Brewing here in Texas.
simonephoenix Since I’m heading to the grind, nada.
simonephoenix Didn’t even get to have a Brooklyn Summer Ale like I do every July 4th.
therandallthor I am also drinking nothing because I’m running door, and drinking on the job is illegal.
leifbearikson You need a better job.
leifbearikson I should probably go ahead and down some beers before the gym.
joe_thrashnkill You need Fight Milk.
leifbearikson Follow it up with some Crowtein.
joaquin I got a Tree House Haze double IPA that is really hitting the spot. Looks like this is a dryer chat than the last one, which is good for my future editing.
joe_thrashnkill Don’t count on it.
joaquin Alright, real question time. In randomly clicking around Bandcamp, I have noticed that even unpopular pop/indie/jazz on bands only allow a few songs for streaming. Is metal shooting itself in the foot by providing too much free access? Why not have a bonus track or two for buyers only?
joe_thrashnkill I’ve noticed that some higher profile metal acts have started restricting the full album for streaming. Most notably, the latest from Unleash the Archers.
leifbearikson I think they do a good job of guilt tripping by asking if you’ll buy an album after a certain amount of listens.
leifbearikson Lord knows it’s worked on me several times
joaquin I fall for that a lot as well. Glad to, actually.
leifbearikson I just can’t handle seeing that tiny digital heart break and fall apart, y’know.
joe_thrashnkill I suppose there is a risk that restricting tracks will keep a potential buyer from hearing THE ONE SONG that they totally connect with and makes them a fan for life that buys every album and scrap of merch.
simonephoenix On one hand yes. I don’t need to hear the whole album on the BC page. But it seems bands and especially labels suck at implementing this. They’ll put two songs from the album on the page but forget to put the WHOLE album in the actual purchase.
simonephoenix I recently bought what I thought was an album from a Sudamerican thrash band thinking it was the whole thing. Nope just the one song. The band’s name is Anal Destructor btw.
hessianhunter Metal fans are generally a computer literate bunch, thanks to being total fucking nerds. If they want to hear a whole record, they’ll just torrent it unless you make it easy to stream.
joe_thrashnkill Pumpkin Baby, I spend like 18 hours a day in front of a computer and I don’t think I could figure out how to torrent a current album.
simonephoenix I can. It’s not worth it.
leifbearikson Why torrent when you can just go to Sam Goody and steal CDs? (Is Sam Goody still real?)
joe_thrashnkill Nah. I think you gotta go to a Blockbuster Music.
simonephoenix Virgin Megastore for life.
joe_thrashnkill There may be something to this with established artists. If you know that you’ve got a ravenous fanbase that’ll totally want your album, why not just give them a song or two of your hottest traxxx? Thing is, I can’t really think of any metal bands that can afford to miss out on any potential fans. At least none on Bandcamp.
joaquin I think Alcest did that, at least when the newest was first released. They did alright. They are probably on the low end of big enough to do it.
simonephoenix I suppose it comes down to quality. If your band sucks, it doesn’t matter how many tracks you allow does it?
joe_thrashnkill What is the supposed benefit of your shitty pornogrind band restricting your album to only stream two tracks?
joe_thrashnkill Shit, what is the benefit of your shitty pornogrind band allowing people to stream your full album?
simonephoenix If we’re talking pornogrind that’s literally 8 seconds. 7 of which is samples from a terrible 80s horror movie.
joaquin I think they would be better off going the other way and only restricting a few.
joe_thrashnkill I feel you, Joaquin. Buy the album get some bonus traxxx.
leifbearikson Nobody can listen to Bestiality Bangarang unless they buy the album, dammit!
joe_thrashnkill Makes sense. If I enjoyed 48 6-second blasts with jizz samples, I’ll really enjoy an extra 8 when I buy the full thing.
joaquin (This question brought to you by Moshoff) As people who constantly are seeking new music we may be outliers here, but what is the best way for bands to reach out to the ears of the world? Where can advertising money be spent efficiently, if at all? What has worked on you?
simonephoenix Funny or compelling video promos on Facebook or Instagram do it for me.
joe_thrashnkill Sending me a thoughtful email at will probably get you further than paying for reach on Facebook. Same goes for No Clean Singing, Invisible Oranges…
joe_thrashnkill Cheaper too. You just tell me what your budget is and then send me that money.
leifbearikson If I see a recommendation or even some cool album art from a blog I frequent/trust I’m much more likely to check out your band than from a random FB ad.
leifbearikson Joe, please remember to tell people it’s $15 for me to review their album.
simonephoenix You’re selling yourself short there Leif. No less than $25.
joe_thrashnkill If you have money burning a hole in your pocket to spend on your band, I’d suggest plunking it down on guitar lessons. Or decent gear. Or best of all, upgrading your merch from garbage bag ass Hanes Beefy Tees to something that I’d actually want attached to my torso.
joe_thrashnkill I don’t think I’ve ever found and become a fan of a band via an advertisement.
joe_thrashnkill But I could be alone there. How about you guys?
leifbearikson No, I’m with you 100%. Something about band advertisement feels inherently weird to me.
simonephoenix Remember those really annoying music video clips Victory Records used to do and Sumerian still occasionally does? Yeah, probably not the best way to advertise.
leifbearikson Like, if you have what are essentially commercials for your band I’m probably not into what your band is doing.
hessianhunter I can’t remember ever learning of a musician or band I truly like from an advertisement. I frankly distrust music advertisements. I always find stuff via blogs, my friends, or Spotify recommendations based on my listening habits.
joe_thrashnkill I know that the Blastbeat Network offers some kind of deal for unsigned bands to run ads a discounted price on MetalSucks, Injection, etc., but I’ve never, ever clicked one. Ever. Even accidentally.
joe_thrashnkill Oh wait! A CAVEAT!!!!
joe_thrashnkill If you’re a band going on a big ass tour, you should definitely pay for Facebook ads targeted to fans of your band or extremely similar bands that live in the metro areas that you will be at.
hessianhunter Agreed. Ads promoting tours are legit.
leifbearikson A tour ad is the only kind of ad I’d approve of.
therandallthor Advertising is a WEIRD game for bands. I’ve seen friends pay for big blog site backgrounds and it seems like it did a little bit to help. I personally use ads on shows and it definitely seems to pay itself off (20 dollar ad, I get 3 extra in the door at 10 a head, I win).
joe_thrashnkill Yeah, I mean… there’s actual algebra involved here.
joe_thrashnkill Don’t spend money on an ad if you won’t be able to calculate what you got for it. Exposure is for giant brands with millions to waste. Not for your shitty pornogrind band.
therandallthor FB ads have actually become pretty exceptional tools for bands. Advertising your album to your own fans, since organic posts have dog shit reach now.
joe_thrashnkill Yeah. And the cost for reaching your own audience is pretty reasonable. Again, it’s what you’re promoting. Do you want people to download your new album from Bandcamp or do you want them to watch your wacky video with Chad buttchugging a Natty Ice? One of those makes more fiscal sense than the other.
leifbearikson Buttchugging pays for itself. Every time.
simonephoenix It seems immensely shitty that bands have to pay to make sure that people who already follow them know about any new music or updates.
joe_thrashnkill I agree, but it’s Facebook’s platform and they gotta get paid somehow.
hessianhunter My band gets more downloads when we are on a roll with humorous posts on social media. Maybe we should spend some practices workshopping jokes for the next month of content.
joaquin Just don’t accidentally turn into an improv class.
simonephoenix It works for Rings of Saturn. Hue.
joe_thrashnkill That is an interesting side effect of the Facebook algorithm. TovH posts memes because they keep our engagement up which keeps our posts in the Facebook feed of people that like our page.
leifbearikson More bands should definitely have a dank meme practice. Live meme or die hard.
hessianhunter Comedic posts REALLY worked for Whirr until one of their members (oops, I mean “friends”) posted some extremely transphobic unfunny bullshit that got them permabanned from coverage by hip bloggers.
joe_thrashnkill hahahahaahahahahaha
therandallthor Believe it or not, my shitposting for the last 3 years is specifically for engagement, even at a personal profile level, helps keep me in y’alls feeds when I promote.
joe_thrashnkill So the lesson here is to always be shitposting.
leifbearikson Can we get an Alec Baldwin meme for that?
joaquin Alright, time for a crazy theoretical question. In a world where we have moved to Universal Basic Income but you only get paid if you are working in some capacity, what will be the benchmarks required to claim full-time musicianship?
leifbearikson Buckethead levels of output.
joe_thrashnkill You gotta play three sets a week.
joe_thrashnkill Because we probably don’t need to destroy Bandcamp’s servers with hundreds of thousands of improv albums a day.
joaquin RIP bedroom black metal projects.
leifbearikson Wait, is this how we finally kill bedroom black metal?
joe_thrashnkill Finally. 
joaquin This is what happens when you don’t vote Bernie.
leifbearikson Bernie only listens to dynamically recorded black metal.
therandallthor Would you revoke someone’s basic income if they got to be too successful?
joe_thrashnkill Nah dude. It’s universal. That means everyone gets it.
joaquin I think the deal is you can make extra on top of it though. I’m not up to date on my theoretical economic systems.
joe_thrashnkill One of the things that gets people riled up against shit like Bernie’s free college plan is that, theoretically, Trump’s kids would go to school free too. Which is fine. If rich kids wanna go to a free public college, more power to them. They won’t tho. They’ll go to Harvard like fuckin’ assholes.
therandallthor Who cares, theoretically under that system, Trump would be paying more than enough taxes for it, right?
joe_thrashnkill Bingo.
leifbearikson I just felt a rumble through the force at the mention of “paying” “more” and “taxes” all in the same sentence.
hessianhunter I’d say playing at least 100 shows a year that net you at least $50 a piece would qualify you as a “working” musician in that economic system. 5k a year is not a bad secondary income.
joaquin Oh that’s a good point. I like the idea that it has to bring in a certain cash amount before it is considered a public good.
therandallthor That’d be brutal.  I’d say at least 30 shows out of town to show you have basic networking abilities would be enough.
leifbearikson Playing off Tommy’s idea, there’d have to be some kind of requirement for you band playing out of town shows lest you have every jabroni in town trying to skim by playing whatever nonsense sets in their hometown every night.
leifbearikson That seems like it would be a good way to weed out those who aren’t serious about their working musician status.
joe_thrashnkill I’m fine with jabronis playing nonsense sets in their hometown every night to make a living. In this UBI scenario, we would WANT more working musicians, right?
therandallthor If you are required to make money, that’s suddenly a TON of shitty bands demanding guarantees.
simonephoenix Ugh that’s not good.
hessianhunter Oh wait, I misunderstood the question. I think some measure of other people caring about your records or shows would be necessary. Fraud would be rampant, though.
joe_thrashnkill And let’s be real here, if you’re a musician it’s not like you were gonna become a doctor or a brain surgeon or something. Let’s keep would-be musicians off the streets by giving them UBI.
joaquin So keep the requirement very low and hope the bars don’t get filled with dudes covering Wonderwall?
leifbearikson I think there should be a rule that if your band covers Wonderwall, Freebird, Stairway, or any Beatles, you get shot on site.
simonephoenix Wait, banning Freebird is a bit harsh. Eh, not really.
joaquin Can we ban the dude that shouts Freebird at least?
simonephoenix Yes, definitely ban that guy.
joe_thrashnkill The bars are already full of dudes covering Wonderwall. You open up these floodgates and the venues are already done. You’re talking dudes covering Wonderwall at BBQ’s, old folk’s homes, Wal-Mart parking lots…
leifbearikson The only Wonderwall I want is between here and Mexico AMIRITE #MAGA
joaquin Alright I am shutting this down after that one. Any last words?
leifbearikson Ban Freebird guy. Stay Death.
joe_thrashnkill 420 blaze it.
joaquin Wrong holiday Joe.
leifbearikson July 4th20, just like in the Constitution.
joe_thrashnkill Damn straight.
hessianhunter I dunno about you commie pansies but Red, White, and Blue are my favorite colors to play in Magic: The Gathering.
therandallthor 2017 years ago, Dale Earnhardt died for our sins when he turned left through that wall for us, and he founded the United States of America so that we could live in freedom. Hail. Dale.
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