Black Collar Workers

Metallica Release Free Live Recording of Corporate Gig Just as New Book Claims They’ve Made “Disastrous” Financial Investments

  • Axl Rosenberg

metallica salesforceGood news for the proletariat: since your boss will probably never be cool enough and/or wealthy enough to hire Metallica to play a private gig for you and your co-workers the way Salesforce recently did, the band are now giving away a free download of that audio recording of that show right here. So. Whoopee.

Funny enough, the free recording of Metallica playing a very unmetal concert arrives just as new book about the band, Into the Black, claims that “Since 2010 it’s likely that Metallica have lost more money than they’ve made.”  Authors Paul Brannigan and Ian Winwood tell The Weeklings:

“Well, over the past five years Metallica have embarked upon a variety of vanity projects that haven’t exactly brought home the bacon. By their own admission, the two stagings of the Orion festival were disastrous financially, and the shambles that was the Through The Never movie cost $32 million and will only recoup a fraction of that amount. Factor in HQ staff salaries, crew retainers and assorted running costs associated with maintaining an entertainment corporation and you can easily understand why the band – of necessity now rather than by choice – are driven to tour Europe every summer. No one is going to shed any tears upon hearing Metallica pleading poverty, but over the past decade their margins will undoubtedly have taken a hammering.”

The authors continue:

“The whole Through The Never film project was a horrible misjudgement, a misguided attempt to breathe new life into a decade-old idea. As the film spiraled horribly over-budget it’s hard not to imagine that at least one band member – and let’s be honest, we’re talking about James Hetfield here – thinking ‘What the fuck have we got ourselves into?’ Quite how that ‘script’ ever got the green light is an unfathomable mystery.”

Brannigan and Winwood’s claims aren’t exactly revelatory — as they say, Hetfield admitted last year that the Orion Fests were “a disaster financially,” and we’ve already spoken at great length about Through the Never‘s failure at the box office. Still, it’s worth reiterating: even a Goliath like Metallica have to be smart about how they use their money. It also helps explain why the band is taking so goddamn long to make an album they don’t even seem to want to make — touring is still their best chance to actually make money, and a new album means a lot of new touring, and there’s probably even extra incentive to make sure the album is a hit and not, say, Lulu, which set records for its sales, but not in a good way.

Is there any version of this that ends with Metallica broke? Almost certainly not: these dudes have made squillions of dollars over the years, I’m sure they’ve all got money stashed away for a rainy day, to say nothing of other, less risky personal investments (e.g., their mansions and property). But this probably does end Metallica making anything besides music for the foreseeable future. The past five years may very well have been Metallica’s first-hand crash course in The Peter Principle. Or, in more metal-friendly terms:

[via The PRP and Gigwise]

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