Heavy Metal Gets Soft

Published: 2004-06-07
The music industry has become nothing more than a money making business to the top record labels. The record companies have abandoned music for image. And now all they see are dollar signs; so if a band cannot sell millions of records quickly and consistently then the band is dropped from the label.

In many cases the first of the bands to be dropped are the niche artists like heavy metal. Metal artists find it hard to sell large numbers of albums because their music does not get played on mainstream radio, which has also become a numbers game for money.

To compete with pop and rock artists for radio air time, metal bands are turning to softer sounds to grab radio air time. For these artists softer means dropping the growls and screams that are often heard from a single that is targeted for radio. The harder versions of the songs are on the albums. And the artists depend on music television's metal shows to play the band's harder stuff for fans.

While Metallica is credited with breaking the ground for "soft metal" on mainstream radio; it is the masked rockers KISS who had air time with "softer" sounds in the 70s – pieces like the love ballad "Beth".

To maintain their status on the record label and receive some radio air play, metal bands are becoming two groups – one for mainstream radio and one to maintain their sound and faithfulness to fans.

Writer: Sherrill Fulghum



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