With record sales slipping, it's becoming more difficult for many artists to sustain past success. Being on an independent label can make this even more of a challenge. But don't tell that to the team at Prospect Park or their biggest artist -- L.A.-based metal act Five Finger Death Punch.
"There's always been a demand for hard rock and heavy metal," says Deborah Klein of Prospect Park Management. "The people spoke up!"
Evidently they did: "American Capitalist," the third studio record from Five Finger Death Punch, debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 for the week of Oct. 19, and moved 91,000 units, according to Nielsen Soundscan. Much of the band's trend-defying success can be attributed to a committed staff at L.A.'s Prospect Park, which functions as both a label and a management team.
"Labels can look at an album like a movie release," says Prospect Park's Mark Phillips. "They pack everything and front load up until the week of release. It will sputter out, or they'll have other releases to focus on. Our goal is to have an album and work it to its full potential."
Distributing via EMI, Prospect Park plans an eighteen-month campaign that could include up to four singles. To boost opening sales, exclusive promotions were arranged with retailers like Best Buy and iTunes. According to Klein, digital distributors accounted for 39% of the album's sales, a new high for the band.
Propelling sales is the record's boisterous lead single, "Under and Over It," which peaked last week at No. 21 on Rock Songs. Even with its chugging metal guitars and pounding double bass, the track's sleek chorus has made radio take notice.
Video: "Under And Over It," Five Finger Death Punch
"They've grown as musicians and people," says Phillips. "All the credit goes to them as artists. You know it's a Five Finger Death Punch album and they're not going to make any crazy left turns; but their musicality, production, arrangements, and lyrics have all gotten better with time."
Since forming in 2005, the quintet has enjoyed steady success. 2007 debut "The Way Of The Fist" topped Billboard Heatseekers and its 2009 follow-up, "War Is The Answer," remains in the Hot 200, shooting up to #128 last week.
Engaging the group's fanbase has been another key part of Prospect Park's approach, according to Klein: "When we were at 700,000 'likes,' we did a Facebook promotion asking kids to send a screen capture of when we hit one million. The prize was a gold plaque of the two older albums going gold together. The reaction was overwhelming... we wound up hitting almost 1.4 million likes, basically doubling our fans on social media."
The band themselves have also been active in interacting with their followers. "We have a huge military following," said Klein. "The band played army bases in Iraq last year; ever since, we get e-mails from soldiers." Guitarist Zoltan Bathory has designed much of the band's merchandise, which includes hockey-style jerseys sometimes worn onstage by the band.
Five Finger Death Punch will tour in support of "American Capitalist" through Dec. 18, hitting arenas and theater-style venues across North America. The "Share The Welt Tour" features All That Remains, Hatebreed, and Rev Theory, with corporate sponsorships from Monster energy drinks and the Halo videogame franchise.
"This is a testament to our fans," says Bathory. "We are in a fortunate position that the Death Punch fans take pride in buying the album and supporting us -- we owe everything to them."