Kirk Hammett Says Metallica “Did Not Make a Difference” by Suing Napster
Napster’s heyday is now 20 years in the past and the music industry has since evolved to a model based primarily on streaming that would be unrecognizable to someone buying CDs in the year 2000. Yet still, Metallica’s infamous, public battle vs. the platform remains a topic of conversation… at least in the memory of the interhole, which never forgets a thing.
Hammett recently addressed the issue on the Let There Be Talk podcast. He had quite a lot to say, and it’s a bit of ramble, so let’s read through it first then analyze:
“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! 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. For me, it was kind of a leveling factor. All of a sudden, all of us were brought back to the minstrel age now where musicians’ only source of income is actually playing. And it’s like that nowadays – except that a lot of these bands aren’t really playing, they’re pressing ‘play’ or something.
“But there are a lot of bands who actually fucking play their instruments and have to play to still be a band and still fucking survive. And that’s cool because it really separates who wants to do this and who is just here for the fucking pose. You’ll see who’s passionate about it and who’s really into it for the art of it, and then you’ll see who’s not so passionate about it and into the commerce of it.
“Maybe things might change. Maybe all of a sudden people will just start to prefer CDs or whatever format as to what’s available now. Who’s to say? I mean, it changed all so quickly back then. It could fucking change just as quickly now.”
Hammett is talking out of both sides of his mouth here, at once accepting the fact that Napster happened and couldn’t be controlled while repeating extremely dated (and false) tropes such as “that fucking sunk the music industry.”
Kirk has often been the lone member of Metallica with a clear vision of future trends — the scene in Some Kind of Monster comes to mind where he pushes for guitar solos to be included on St. Anger, because he rightly claims leaving them out would be succumbing to a current trend which would eventually pass — and there are traces of that here, coming to terms with a trend “bigger than any of us,” realizing hey, we’re fine and we still make a fuckload of money and having the foresight to know it’ll all change again in the future. But then the old-man-isms comes to the surface: the good ol’ “bands who actually fucking play their instruments” line (discrediting an entire generation of MASSIVELY popular electronic musicians) and the aforementioned “sunk the fucking music industry” bullshit (the music industry is actually doing very, very well right now).
In summary, old people always gonna old, but at least Kirk is entertaining about it, and even somewhat prescient.
Metallica are scheduled to headline five American festivals this coming summer, performing two nights at each. They also have a South American tour scheduled for the spring. Get all dates and tickets here.
[via Ultimate Guitar]