If there is anything so simultaneously nerve-wracking and rewarding as collecting metal albums, even on CD, in 2019 - I've yet to experience it. Limited runs and quantities put a hard edge on your favorite albums. Getting a hold of one of those elusive 250 copies or your favorite artists album is euphoric. It's like winning a eBay auction in 1999, or gambling with the only win/lose factor being time. You get your hands on it, you got it, and it's a hell of a conversation piece - well done. But, it also makes you think. If you were so happy about getting this album, there had to be other people right? This band has twenty zillion followers, they are virtuosos, classics, and the best of the best when it comes to metal. So, why is there 150 of those albums still floating around three months later? And, why is it you can't get a hold of that other bands album; the one that keeps selling out when you click to pre-order?
I'll be honest, this whole article is a reaction to my experience whilst trying my hardest to buy Spiritbox's Single Collection and just having no luck. It doesn't matter how close or far I am away from getting the damn thing, I never get it. For some reason, a band who actually managed to gain some reasonable traction has decided to print out reasonably priced ($7!) CD's in limited runs of 250. By the time the date hit, they were ultra sold out. And, honestly, I am far too busy to watch their numerous shops to snag a copy as soon as the pre-orders are posted. You'd think they would listen to the demand too - as they would doubtlessly sell at least twice that easily.
I don't blame Spiritbox though, I would probably do things the exact same way.
As much as there are many collectors and people who crave physical copies of albums, there really just isn't enough of us. There have been horror stories, upon horror stories, of companies and artists dumping extravagant amounts of money on printing physical copies that take eons to sell. Fact is, a lot of people would rather deal with the organization of ease of a digital download, or just play the song on YouTube. Most of the time, when you have albums printed in the thousands - they end up floating around forever. To this day I still see some of the exact same CD's on discount as I did over ten years ago, some of them I even own. You have to be a major deal, and have precision timing, to even sell 500 copies of a vinyl record these days. I've seen it, even from bands that are big deals. Fact is, you could have half a million followers on any social media network - just because someone likes your music, doesn't mean they'll buy it.
So, it really is probably safe that Spiritbox is selling off these CD's in such a limited quantity. It is a reflection, sadly, of the global mentality as well. Now, I'm not trying to get all preachy, but people just don't respect or care about music as they once did. I'm not even that old, born in the late 80s, and if we heard something we liked - even if there was one song - we tried to support it. People would be blown away by all the Uncle Kracker CD's that were sold on 'Follow Me' alone, or Alien Ant Farm, Kid Rock, Disturbed, Korn, and so forth? Do you get the point? If a single sold, you most likely bought the album. CD burning was always a thing once it came to be, but it wasn't exactly as easy or reliable as people seem to remember. Not with the decay rate of the CD's themselves, and the price of a CD burner being insane compared to nowadays (in fact, I only ever burnt CD's of foreign bands that I couldn't get albums of here, because there was no real way to order them online at that point).
I suppose this just makes me yet another metalhead pining for the days of old. It was bound to happen. Still, I want my Spiritbox Singles Collection.