METALLICA’s LARS ULRICH: ‘There’s A Danger Of Younger Artists Coming Close To Extinction’
Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich says streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music are good for music and acknowledges that streaming platforms benefit established artists more than indie bands.
Metallica famously sued the Napster file-sharing service in 2000 after they found a leaked demo version of its song “I Disappear” circulating on the service before it was released. At the time fifteen years ago, Ulrich said that the Napster battle was not about getting money for the band’s music, but about having control over how it was shared. “All we want as an artist is a choice,” he said. “There’s nothing to argue about that. Nobody has the right to do with our music whatever they want. We do. We’re saying as much as the next band want to work with Napster, we have the right not to.”
His views on the subject today have not changed, with the drummer telling BBC World Service’s “The Inquiry”: “I believe streaming is good for music, yeah. The one thing I read a lot is… People sit there and go, ‘I’m not getting paid very much for streaming.’ But there’s one major thing that gets overlooked in that argument and in the whole thing, [and that] is that streaming is a choice on all fronts. It’s a choice for the fan to be part of. It’s a choice for the artists who are involved in making their music available on streaming services. It’s a choice by the record companies that represent the artists. Fifteen years ago, those choices didn’t exist.”
However, Ulrich does acknowledge that streaming helps popular artists more than independent musicians. He admitted: “Streaming probably does benefit artists with higher profiles, yes. And if you listen to playlists that are being made available for people in the streaming services, they feature more higher-profile artists. That just seems to be the way it’s, sort of, playing out right now.”
“It’s all cause and effect,” he explained. “When there’s less people buying music, there’s less money generated back and record companies take less chances. Instead of promoting five hundred records a year, they promote fifty records a year, and there’s less and less and less and less money being put into younger artists. And there’s a danger of younger artists coming close to extinction.”