It’s very well known in the world of rock music that Metallica went hand over fist with the courts about the problems made by illegal downloads through the peer-to-peer software, Napster. To many fans in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, Metallica became enemy number one. All fans wanted was music, and it seemed like Metallica, the band that they loved so much, were against them. Fast forward to 2022 and maybe Metallica were right all along.
Lars Ulrich once stated in a court deposition: “We take our craft — whether it be the music, the lyrics, or the photos and artwork — very seriously, as do most artists. It is therefore sickening to know that our art is being traded like a commodity rather than the art that it is.”
This statement was mocked by fans and media around the world at the time. Why did such a successful band need even more money? What would a few free downloads do to them? The band then compiled 60,000 pages of documents for their court case to stop illegal downloading of music, but things would only get worse for artists as a new era would usher in from Spotify.
In present day, Kirk Hammet is leading the charge (when he is standing) in the anti-freebie movement. In a recent interview, he spoke very coy about what Metallica were trying to warn others about.
Kirk: “We warned everyone that this was gonna happen. We warned everyone that the music industry was gonna lose eighty percent of its net worth, power and influence. When these monumental shifts come you just either f**king rattle the cage and get nothing done or you move forward.”
Is there any turning back now? It doesn’t seem like it, but Hammet has a hunch.
Kirk: “There’s definitely a new way for getting music out there, but it isn’t as effective as the music industry pre-Napster. But we’re stuck with it. There needs to be some sort of midway point where the two come together, or another completely new model comes in.”
Special thanks to Louder Sound.