Avenged Sevenfold‘s seventh studio album, The Stage, debuted at Number Four on The Billboard 200 album chart on Sunday night (November 6th), selling 76,000 physical and/or digital copies in its first week of release. While the sales were decent for the current music business, they represent the lowest first-week total for any Avenged Sevenfold album since City Of Evil in 2005. The Stage sold less than half as many copies in its first week as the group’s two previous efforts, 2010’s Nightmareand 2013’s Hail To The King.

It’s possible that the sales reflect the unorthodox manner in which the band released the album, making it available at midnight on October 27th with almost no promotion beforehand, save for the arrival of a new song one week earlier. While artists like Beyonce and Kanye West have staged similar stunts to great success, Avenged singer M. Shadows admitted to us it was a harder task for his band: [“You know, we don’t have 85 million Instagram followers like Beyonce does.So getting the word out there is a lot harder for a band like us than it is for her. When she does it, Spin writes about it, Rolling Stone writes about it, New York Times writes about it, and one Instagram post, you have 85 million people that are looking at it.”] 

  • The surprise arrival of The Stage made Avenged Sevenfold the first-ever rock band to issue an unannounced album in both digital and physical form.
  • The quintet revealed that the album was out during a live-streamed performance from the rooftop of the Capitol Records tower in Hollywood, California.
  • The band is locked in a legal battle with its former label, Warner Bros. Records, over what the label claims is a breach of contract.
  • The relatively soft sales of The Stage could impact that fight, with the band’s attorney, Howard Kin, saying last week, “We don’t know what Warner could have done with an Avenged album other than screw it up.” But the lower sales could also reduce the damages that the band may have to pay to Warner if the label wins its case.