Sam Dunn, the man responsible for ‘Global Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey’ as well as the ‘Metal Evolution’ series, is appealing to the internet for help in putting together an episode about extreme metal. Stating that the initial idea was ” too extreme” for networks, he’s decided to venture down a more independent route and ask his would-be audience for help, as you can see in the clip below:
Watching this clip myself, two things have sprung to mind
1) Crowd-funding sure is a popular route for people to realise their work in the entertainment/arts field (case in point, Anita Sarkeesian’s ‘Tropes vs Women in Video games’ kickstarter, as well as sci-fi icon George Takei’s bid to fund money for his wartime musical ‘Allegiance’). While these two are fitting examples of crowd-funding raising more than enough money for creative-based projects – ‘Allegiance’ meeting more than thrice its target goal, and ‘Tropes vs Women…’ raising at least five times its intended mark – they can also be cited as relatively unique success stories.
Brushing aside other issues for the sake of this post (namely how Sarkeesian was infamously bullied and given online death threats for even wanting to analyse the portrayal of women in gaming culture, which led to an increase in donations, or even the fact of George Takei’s strong popularity and persona outside of his Star Trek years), it can be said that these projects hint at unexpected markets. Which brings me to my next point….
2) Is it fair to consider the niche genres of extreme metal to be an unexpected market?
Knowing of the wide availability of the internet throughout the globe, and that sites like Kickstarter or IndieGogo aren’t necessarily limited to where donations can come from; it’s safe to say that Dunn wouldn’t be restricted to having to think about what is acceptable in the North American mainstream market. It is also likely why he’s turning to cyberspace for help, especially with its nature to reveal extreme music bands in countries outside of the US and Western/Northern Europe, which is often considered a “hot spot” for most bands in these genres to be.
Throughout the heavy metal media, the “extreme” bands that Sam Dunn mentions in his trailer (Opeth? Really?) are also among the more commercially popular as far as the current metal market is concerned. While it would be interesting for him to refer to them in the respect of their popularity and reputations as commercially musical exports (at least for Dimmu Borgir), it also leads one to wonder how deep he would actually dig.
Will Sam Dunn take full advantage of the largely unpoliced nature of the Internet and look into extreme metal bands who actually fall outside of the established names in the extreme music market, or will he actually stick close to what has now become expected for fans to see whenever the topic of “extreme metal” comes up?