Metric’s last album, 2009’s “Fantasies,” quietly sold millions of album worldwide, and those profits — more than any other album in the Canadian band’s history — went largely and directly into their pocket. In fact, they grossed more for themselves from its sale than all their other their other records combined.
That’s because the band went the independent route when it came to releasing “Fantasies” outside of their home country; their own label Metric Music International got distribution from indie groups like PIAS. The acclaim they earned for songs like “Help I’m Alive” helped propel them onto film soundtracks and movie works like “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” and “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.” They were also among the bands to prove that an artist without a traditional label deal can make it into the top 20 of U.S. rock radio’s spin lists: songs like “Help,” “Gimme Sympathy” and “Gold Guns Girls” all made it into regular rotation in 2009 and 2010.
“Fantasies” topped out at No. 76 on the Billboard 200, but also managed to tap into success on the web: right around the time Spotify picked up, the band put “Fantasies” up for $.99 and found new fans and buyers quickly that way. They also utilized TopSpin’s innovations to maximum capacities, with all downloads, data and word-of-mouth going straight to the band, and not to their label. They let their pool of fans, then, remix their tracks for a revamped “Fantasies” release, which dropped last year, which gave the album longer legs.
And undoubtedly, Metric will be using all that data and cash to go even wider this year, as they prepare to drop their brand new album “Synthetica” on June 12. This time, the album will go out via MMI in conjunction with Mom + Pop, who (as I previously mentioned) is on freaking fire (Andrew Bird, Sleigh Bells, Ingrid Michaelson). This deal will give them the added benefit of distro indie RED, and, undoubtedly, since the band was doing just fine on their own thankyouverymuch, you can imagine that striking any deal will be on their terms as far as profit share is concerned.
“Synthetica” was produced by Metric’s guitarist Jimmy Shaw, partly out of Shaw’s Toronto-based Giant Studio (co-owned by gnarly genius Sebastien Grainger of Death From Above 1979) and partly out of the legendary Electric Lady studios in New York. The band started work on “Synthetica” the day after they shined off their Fantasies tour in November 2010.
Frontwoman Emily Haines says that the title was inspired by the “skin jobs” out of “Blade Runner.”
“If you imagine a nightmarishly fake version of me as a pop star, that’s her,” she says. “And this record was about me saying, I’m going to give more to the music than ever, but there’s no way I’m going to turn into someone like that.”
Tour dates are to be announced.