Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich has shared that he is pleased that fans are still listening to Metalica music despite how they get their hands on it.
Back in the early 00s, Ulrich became the face of the anti-Internet music piracy movement after being vocal about the cons of people sharing MP3 files of the band’s music via P2P file-sharing platforms such as Napster.
While appearing as a guest on SmartLess podcast, hosted by actors Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett, the drummer shared that he is happy that people are still listening to Metallica’s music despite how they get it.
“Well, obviously it’s changed quite a bit,” he said. “And in your guys’ industry, some of the same things that we were dealing with 20 years ago are happening. Big picture, and I know this may sound like a little bit of a cop-out, I’m just happy that fucking anybody cares about what we’re doing and shows up to see us play and still stream or buy or steal our records or whatever.”
Ulrich continued: “The engagement itself, I think, is the triumph and the victory. Obviously, it’s way, way harder for a lot of the younger bands nowadays because they don’t get the support of the record companies for basic things — just like gear and tour support. So there is very much of a different thing.”
On April 13, 2000, Metallica filed a lawsuit against Napster and alleged that the file-sharing company was guilty of copyright infringement. Ulrich read testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee and explained how the band’s demo of ‘I Disappear’, a track that was set to be released on the Mission Impossible II soundtrack, was leaked on Napster and argued that it the site was enabling users to exchange copyrighted MP3 files.
The suit was eventually settled in July 2001. The settlement required that the site block any music being shared from artists that did not want their music to be shared.
“The whole Napster thing – it didn’t do us any favours whatsoever”, said guitarist Kirk Hammett while speaking on Swedish TV show Nyhetsmorgon. “But you know what? We’re still in the right on that – we’re still right about Napster, no matter who’s out there who’s saying, ‘Metallica was wrong’. All you have to do is look at the state of the music industry, and that kind of explains the whole situation right there”.
During an appearance on the podcast Let There Be Talk, hosted by actor Dean Delray, the group’s guitarist discussed the legal dispute. “The amazing thing now is back then, people were saying, ’20 years from now, we’re gonna look back and say, ‘Goddamn it! We did the right thing,’” he said.
“But when people were saying back then we were actually gonna make a difference? We didn’t make a difference — we did not make a difference. It happened. And we couldn’t stop it, because it was just bigger than any of us — this trend that happened that fucking sunk the fucking music industry. There was no way that we could stop it. It was a perfectly human thing that just happened. And what had happened was all of a sudden, it was just more convenient to get music and it was less convenient to pay for it. And there you have it.”
In other news, Metallica are currently on their extensive ‘M72’ world tour. The run of dates comes following their latest studio album ‘72 Seasons’, which was their 11th studio album and followed on from ‘Hardwired… to Self-Destruct’, which arrived in 2016.