The comments from Kirk Hammet have been getting a lot of press/ink lately. They have been re-posted on thousands of other metal news sites by simply copying and pasting what he said.
For those that haven’t read it, this is what Kirk said;
“There haven’t been a lot of really, really great bands that have shown that kind of promise. I think it’s a concern. Because of things like iTunes and streaming and social networking, it’s destroyed music. It’s destroyed the motivation to go out there and really make the best record possible. It’s a shame.”
Okay so lets unpack what he really said.
“There haven’t been a lot of really, really great bands that have shown that kind of promise. I think it’s a concern.”
You see, when you detach yourself from the streets and live in your ivory tower, you don’t see what is happening at ground zero.
Five Finger Death Punch is going GOLD in a tough sales market. They have great numbers in relation to YouTube views and Spotify streams. Their albums have been selling up to the point of when their new one is released. Think about that for a second. Five Finger Death Punch has consistently moved units of their albums every week since 2007. Now compare that to Dream Theater whose new album is already dead and buried after four weeks.
Shinedown are doing super numbers in relation to sales, YouTube views and Spotify streams. They have certifications left, right and centre.
Avenged Sevenfold released a progress is derivative album that is also doing great numbers. In addition, they do super numbers on the live circuit
Black Veil Brides has achieved so much with their first three albums as well as other bands like Bullet For My Valentine, Alter Bridge, Killswitch Engage, Volbeat and so on.
Will we have the superstars of the Eighties and Nineties again? Of course not, it is a different time today, however you can’t tell me that the bands mentioned above don’t have a certain superstar status at the moment.
Will they headline the major festivals? Probably not, because no one really likes festivals any more. The festivals are on their way out. They just don’t know it yet.
“Because of things like iTunes and streaming and social networking, it’s destroyed music. It’s destroyed the motivation to go out there and really make the best record possible. It’s a shame.”
With all the information we get on our favourite artists these days, it makes us realise that our heroes are complete idiots. Kirk just doesn’t understand change. It’s constant.
Kirk’s comments are no different to the comments from other dinosaurs like Jon Bon Jovi, Scott Ian, Duff McKagan, Yngwie Malmsteen, Thom Yorke and David Byrne. Railing against the Internet, Spotify and iTunes and complaining about payments and the lack of motivation to record new music.
Let’s get one thing clear. Music today can be made for next to nothing. That is why we have so many releases in the market place. Competition for listener’s attention is sky-high. Everybody who records something believes we should pay attention.
Kirk Hammett wants to go back to the Eighties, to a time when bands had to have a record deal to record their music. Kirk Hammett wants fans of his music to buy the whole Metallica album just to find out it was garbage (like ReLoad, St Anger) or for a few songs (like Load).
If that is the motivation that Kirk Hammett and Metallica needs to record, then they can just give up right now.
It never used to be that way. Metal and rock artists never complained. They always ADAPTED.
Do you hear Imagine Dragons, Daft Punk, Mumford and Sons, Shinedown, Five Finger Death Punch, Eminem, Halestorm, Killswitch Engaged, Alter Bridge, Slash or Avenged Sevenfold going on a rant about not wanting to make new music or that it is just too tough out there and no one can make it?
Could it be that most people are just not interested in new Metallica music? As Lars said in a Hot Metal interview from June 1992, that I posted earlier. The numbers they are getting for the Black album, will not be eclipsed or bettered.
Could it be that the Napster stigma is still around? The image of Lars Ulrich holding 500 pages of user names that traded in Metallica music is still fresh in people’s minds.
The comments in relation to streaming are just wrong. Streaming is competing with PIRACY. How is that not good? With Spotify around it just doesn’t make sense to steal. It pays the artist when their music gets played and it pays the artist forever. A sale of an album is just a one stop transaction that inflates the NOW and when you start talking about the NOW, you are thinking like a Record Label.
If Kirk Hammett and Metallica or any artist out there wants to make money from recorded music, they need to find a way to get people to purchase a Spotify Premium account.
Spotify has a mission to have over 20 million premium customers. This will allow artist to take years out to record their masterpieces. Instead of working with the technology, they talk in riddles against it.
We are living in the golden age of music access. The history of recorded music is at our fingertips and that is a good thing. Finally, there is plan in place to monetize it. If you want to monetize, you need to keep creating.