72,000 of the total 76,000 units came from traditional album sales.
On Oct. 28, Avenged Sevenfold became the first band to surprise drop an album in both digital and physical formats. Why? Well, when Rolling Stone asked frontman M. Shadows, he simply replied, “A lot of it has to do with boredom.”
Elaborating, Shadows continues, “Everyone else is dropping the breadcrumbs, having four or five singles before their record comes out. It completely takes away the mystique of the record; by the time it actually comes out, you've already done 50 interviews about what the record's about and is going to sound like. It's 2016; people's attention spans are so short at this point, who has time for three months of lead-up?”
However, the decision for a shocking surprise release came with a huge sacrifice: eliminating the hype that rock bands build before they release an album, which results in high pre-order sales.
Shadows further explains this to the LA Times, saying, “But the biggest difference is that when Beyoncé comes out with something, she puts one Instagram photo out and she has 85 million people looking at that—whereas Avenged Sevenfold has 1 million.”
How did the band compensate? They secretly stocked stores with The Stage.
“The compromise we made with Capitol, which has never been done before, is that we’ve actually snuck the record into stores. On Day One there’ll be a physical release as well as a digital—unlike Radiohead, where it took them six weeks, or Kanye, where he never released a physical,” Shadows explains to LA Times.
Read more: 10 albums with sinister cover art
The sci-fi album features a cameo from popular scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson and was influenced by Shadows' scientific interest in artificial intelligence.
“The more I read about, the deeper down this rabbit hole I got, I thought, 'You know what? I really want to talk about this!',” Shadows says to Rolling Stone. “It's something that's going to be an issue in the future, for our kids and our kids' kids; and if we have a voice that can be screamed from the top of a mountain, I wanted this to be one of those things where we can maybe educate our fans a little bit – or maybe inspire them to educate themselves.”
Avenged Sevenfold are currently in a legal battle with previous label Warner Bros., who are accusing the band of breaching their contract with the company. In return, Avenged Sevenfold are citing California's “seven-year rule,” which allows a party to leave a personal service contract after seven years. The case will head to trial in 2017.
Despite this, Warner is releasing an Avenged Sevenfold greatest hits album on Dec. 2—a surprise to Shadows and his band, Rolling Stone reports.
To MetalHammer, Shadows says of Warner's greatest hits album, “We didn't find out it was happening until we saw it online. They're just trying to make a cash grab. The fans will figure it out, it's a viral world and people will know. Go on Spotify and make a playlist of those songs, it's easy.”
Avenged Sevenfold live-streamed their concert on top of Capitol Records'—their new record label—building in Hollywood on Oct. 27. At the end of the performance, Avenged Sevenfold announced The Stage. Not only is The Stage the band's first album on Capitol—but it's also their first with new drummer Brooks Wackerman.
The Stage follows-up 2013's Hail To The King, which followed-up 2010's Nightmare. Forming in 1999, Avenged Sevenfold's discography spans seven albums from 2001 to 2016. Listen to The Stage here.
Watch more: Trivium's Matt Heafy on how Avenged Sevenfold helped him get his voice back (literally)