Yesterday (March 27) we reported that physical albums outsold digital music for the first time since 2011. The ability to get music online, often times for free thanks to the pioneering efforts of Napster in the early 2000s and its ripple effect, or even through services like iTunes, signaled the death knell for traditional album sales and left bands and labels to find alternative sources of revenue. Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante spoke about this issue in a recent interview, pointing the finger at tech industry giants Apple for having a hand in "destroying" the music industry.

Benante explained to Metal Command radio (video below) that when the digital music age was ushered in, "the ground kind of fell out from beneath all of us and everybody kind of scrambled to think of ways of compensating for what had just happened or what had taken place" (transcription via Blabbermouth). Some bands began offering their music for free or on voluntary name-your-price payment, though the skinsman felt this only contributed to "devaluing music and what we were doing," saying that these actions were "a real ignorant thing to do."

"As much as everybody loves Apple, I also think Apple had a big hand in destroying music, and nobody really says that; everybody's still on the side of Apple, but I believe Apple was one of the big hands in this that helped destroy music," he continued. Benante noted that the record companies also share the blame (presumably for participating in new formats like consumers paying for individual songs on digital services), but now they too are reeling as they no longer have the ability to invest in as many artists.

"The days of artist relations, artist development, all that stuff that was so important to… Let's say a band had three records on a label that didn't really do so well, but then that fourth record — bam! — exploded, and then those three records prior to it also start moving. You'll never have that happen again," the drummer lamented.

One popular alternative to the fallout of album sales has been for bands to set up VIP packages while in tour, which afford fans an opportunity to meet the band and get a photo with them, sometimes with exclusive items like laminates and posters also included in the package. Benante, however, isn't entirely onboard with the concept, stating, "I have a hard time with that, because there's a piece of me that just feels like, man, making people pay for coming to see you [backstage] is weird. But now you really have no choice [but] to do that."

Anthrax have begun stringing together ideas for their next album, which will serve as the successor to 2016's For All Kings. The thrash legends are also gearing up for two legs of a North American run supporting Slayer on their farewell tour. See a list of all stops here.

Charlie Benante Speaks With Metal Command

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