If you follow Metalsucks at all, you might well have noted the large amounts of coverage, and in particular read the back-and-forth between Vince and Century Media’s bigwigs. For those who haven’t, basically: Vince <3 Spotify, CM </3 Spotify (and showed this by pulling all of their artists’ records from the service).

The issue has been covered quote a lot, but the latest to wade in – largely unprovoked – has been Sumerican Records’ Founder and CEO Ash Avildsen.

At this point I’m going to direct you to Grover of The Number of the Blog’s superb summary (or you can read the whole thing here, if you really want) of the statement. Go on and read it; I’ll be waiting.

You back? Good.

Now, I like Spotify. I think it’s a great tool in this digital age to promote yourself and your bands’ music. People increasingly expect things for free, and whether that’s right or not, supply and demand dictates these needs must be met. This isn’t what I’m here to talk about though.

Both sides have their points to make, and they’re all valid, but what annoyed me in particular about Ash’s rant was the personal tone it took. As I said, it was unprovoked – Vince exchanged a few long e-mails with Century Media, having been contacted directly, but no-one said anything to Ash. As valid as his viewpoint is I’m sure, his blanket statements irked me no end.

First up, he makes a good point about not biting the hand that feeds – i.e. talking shit about people who buy your advertising space – but it works both ways. He said:

“I get really tired of people who hide behind aliases on the internet. I get even more fed up with these characters when they attempt to write articles about why their uneducated opinion and perspective on the music business is accurate, factual information. I want to thank  Ben Umanov, aka Vince Neilstein for being so exceptionally ignorant in his latest ramblings towards Oliver Withöft, the owner of Century Media.”

Being one of ‘these characters’, I find it equally as short-sighted to attack our decision to remain, for the most part, anonymous. Metalsucks are the biggest metal blog around, no question. Invisible Oranges. The PRP. The Number of the Blog. Angry Metal Guy. They all use pseudonyms. We at Heavy Blog all use them too. While plenty don’t, I think our decision to either adopt a persona for fun or to merely remain anonymous is a ridiculous thing to find fault with, let alone criticise for. Whilst not exactly a deluge, in the past two days we’ve had two or three abusive comments regarding reviews we’ve posted, and even a very silly death threat from Asia. Whilst it’s hard to take these seriously, it’s still a little worrying a notion to entertain that people are crazy enough to wish you bodily harm for expressing an opinion.

As such, I think purposefully spreading around Vince’s real name is juvenile. He’s got his reasons for having an online moniker, and it should be respected. If we ever use names, it’s first names only. I’m sure Vince’s Facebook page has now been spammed to high hell, which is the playground equivalent of grassing on the kid who stuck the ‘kick me’ sign on the teacher’s back.

Maybe Vince has been a little heavy-handed with his praise of Spotify, but it’s coming from a good place. He isn’t so stupid as to think that he and Axl can survive without the ad revenue of labels, but I applaud him for standing up for his principles anyway. Isn’t doing the opposite known as ‘selling out’, an even bigger crime (or so we’re told) in the fickle metal world. That anyone would be so fickle as to not advertise their metal bands on the one of the biggest online metal rags out there just because they don’t agree with your marketing policy is ludicrous, and idiotic to boot.

I think the whole “he tried to start a label but it didn’t work lol” argument seals it really. Way to slate a guy for trying. What if we were to say the same thing in a few years were Ash to end up wrong and Sumerian’s largely similar bands stop selling well and their business goes down in spotty green flames?

Maybe I’m just doing exactly the same thing here, but hopefully I’ve been a bit more professional in my analysis than Ash.

– CG

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