Decline of the western MMORPG market: The Metal Years
Please bear with me while I try to illustrate this comparison that will be done in two parts.
1973 and 1974 saw the release of the first albums by New York Dolls, Aerosmith and Kiss. These releases unquestionably laid the groundwork and were the first steps that would later evolve into a run to the glam metal rush 10 years later during the 1980’s.
Needless to say, after 1983/1984, the glam era as we remember it was on its way. You could not turn on a rock radio station that did not have Motley Crue, Poison, Bon Jovi and so on in prominent rotation. Even if it was a classic rock station you had Aerosmith who also bolstered their career greatly during the 80’s. Not to mention Kiss, Alice Cooper and so on. All who started earlier and continued to add to the trend.
By the late 80’s to maybe as late as the mid 90’s, the market was simply over run with bands of this nature. Somewhere in-between though during hair metals hay day, the power ballad was created and went to #1. Soon after, many bands had one or two on each album release.
These power ballads brought in a new section of the record (yes, I am old and still say record) buying populace. Namely, women. Women of the eight to sixteen year old age range. That’s not bad in anyway shape or form, it was just a new revenue source that was not fully realized previously.
Suddenly more and more poser bands (those who were seemingly thrown together for their looks and not for any form of talent) emerged. Already established bands who still put out more rock than ballads, started to drown. There started to be no more from the heart rock, it all became watered down for a quick dollar. No longer were bands signed to a multi record development (with development being the key word) deal. They got a single shot and that was it. “Give us a ballad that will get you on the air, a short tour and money in our pocket” is what transpired.
All the money that would have been spent on these bands to live out a 3, 4 or 5 record deal in years prior was being spent on huge budget videos for their first and maybe second single. Rough Cutt being one of these and maybe one of the biggest “pose for the camera and worry about the music later” bands. They were made to look “big” from the start but could not deliver anything near it. The thought being that more flash from the get go will sell. And in cases it did, but the core group of fans soon found they were wasting their money on these new bands.
The development deals as previously mentioned were all but lost around this genre. Many of the early bands and some later ones had spent years prior developing songs in their garage and out in the local club circuit. They had refined their set lists and often came into a record deal with enough material for a solid 1st and sometimes second release. And most times by their third release (or freshman effort) they were hitting a stride. Monetarily smaller contracts but for longer terms allowed this development to happen. As things started to get rushed, these newer bands often did not have anything after their first album. Some did not even bring a first album worth of material with them. And that is the time things started to look bleak. The bands had no real history of writing skills to keep delivering and as such, the bands and record companies suffered for pushing out to much (could also be read as to little) too fast. Add to this, the fact that the larger record companies started to offshoot smaller divisions under the parent company that lead seemingly lead to resources being spread to thin. If a band was not an instant hit and grossed a specified amount within a short period of time, they were out and a new band brought in to go through the same motions over and over again.
Only a handful of bands stuck through it all and not without a rough ride. It was not necessarily Nirvana that killed sleaze/pop metal, but over saturation of the market with poor product. Nirvana only jumped on its back to exploit that.
The MMORPG years…stay tuned
This genre is making a comeback. Check out Dirty Penny as an example.