Kirk Hammett Underlines Metallica’s Warning About The Music Industry

Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett expressed his ideas about the band’s Napster lawsuit and the present condition of streaming in his recent interview with Classic Rock.

In 2000, Metallica’s lawsuit against the file-sharing site Napster became one of the defining moments of their career. In 1999, Napster came forward as a program that allowed users to share and download digital music files for free over the internet. As expected, the music industry was not pleased with its massive popularity and immediately took action. In December 1999, the Recording Industry Association of America sued Napster for copyright infringement.

Apart from many artists, Metallica was unhappy with the situation when they discovered an incomplete version of ‘I Disappear’ was being played on the radio came from the service. The rest of the band’s catalog was freely available as well. Then, the group filed a lawsuit against Napster and the University of Southern California, Yale University, and Indiana University for allowing students to download music on their networks illegally.

There was an immediate backlash against Metallica since they demanded that over 300,000 users, who were responsible for illegally downloading their music, be banned from the service. Some fans took it as a personal attack against them. Ultimately, the lawsuit ended in July 2001. Napster lost the legal battle, and the court decided to oblige the service to remove and prevent any of Metallica’s music from being shared.

The well-known case marked the beginning of the rivalry between the internet and the music industry, which continues today. Kirk Hammett stated that they warned everyone about the danger of streaming and its negative impact on the industry. The guitarist sees it as a new way to spread music, but he doesn’t think it is as effective. Hammett considers that the two sides either need to find a middle way or there should be a new solution that will balance the current situation.

Here is what Kirk Hammett thinks about the Napster case and streaming today:

We warned everyone that this was going to happen. We warned everyone that the music industry would lose eighty percent of its net worth, power, and influence. When these monumental shifts come, you just either f*cking rattle the cage and get nothing done, or you move forward.

There’s definitely a new way of 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 midway point where the two come together, or another completely new model comes in.”

There is no doubt that streaming has entirely changed the music industry and how we listen to music. It allows music fans to access music more quickly, but many still widely discuss its impact on the musicians themselves.