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Heavy Metal CDs
A frequently answered question around here: but where do I get this stuff, especially out of print releases and hard-to-find, import death metal and black metal rarities on CD? Our answer is to use the underground, and on this page we have databases of metal stores, distros and labels and tips for buying and selling metal.
Metal Stores, Distros and Labels
What is the Underground
The underground arose because metal musicians wanted to avoid commercialization. Instead of relying on the budget-sheet ridden and cocaine-saturated music industry, they set up a cottage industry of mail-order distros, small labels, independent promoters and graphic artists, and bands and fans. This lifeline was serviced by independent zines and radio programs that pointed people toward resources, and tape-trading, which distributed new music by compiling sample tracks on tape and mailing them to new potential fans.
During the 1980s, when the Underground came about, metal music was anathema to major labels, who literally created sugarpop candy hair metal instead of signing a few NWOBHM or American speed metal bands. At the same time, CD pressing proved cheaper than vinyl pressing, and so the new indie and metal scenes followed punk into "Do It Yourself" (DIY) publishing. Chain stores who sold CDs would not stock any metal not on a major label, so the metal community created the Underground as a communitarian response: community oriented by rewarding individuals who do constructive things like run zines, distros, labels, bands, radio shows and venues.
Despite the changes in the world of music brought about by the increasing distribution of digital technology, namely The @#&!*% Internet and increasingly cheap home recording and CD pressing, the underground remains for a simple reason: it withstands commerce enough to be a more pleasant way of buying CDs, mainly by virtue of its tendency to move slowly and not hype the band of the week, instead picking bands that will make good listening for months or years.
How to buy CDs Using the Underground
Tips for Mailordering Metal
Buying from Individuals
Although eBay has almost obliterated secondhand sales, direct sales between individuals saves you money, cuts from the equation idiots who can only use websites linked from AOL, and is often a better way to find CDs being sold by metalheads who want to avoid the hassle and publicity of eBay sales. Involving less work than eBaying CDs, this is rewardingly free from most complexities of modern life and allows you to get stuff too obscure to make return on auction sites.
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