Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Metallica At It Again

If you are a heavy metal music fan, or just someone familiar with the beginning of the online music revolution, you are familiar with the band Metallica. They have earned the reputation as an internet bully because of the tactics they used to keep their music out of the hands of those that wanted to download it. It came to a head in 2000 when they led the fight against the music sharing site Napster which eventually shut down (though it has returned in several different unsuccessful forms since). They were so anti-internet, other than their small piece of the tubes, that they waited until mid-2006 before joining the legal online download community and allowing iTunes to sell their music.

It seems that even now, as Metallica's popularity is a mere shadow of what it was, the band is still playing the bully and unlike their past fights in which they had a legal leg to stand on, they are now bordering on the outrageous.

To set they story, Metallica has a new album coming out and to begin the promotion machine they invited a group of journalists to come listen to a few tracks. As journalists do, several then wrote reviews of the new album based on the tracks they heard and that is where the Metallica bullying machine takes over.

Almost as quickly as the reviews started appearing online, they suddenly disappeared. The rock site The Quietus explains why
The story behind the removal of the article runs as follows: Metallica held an album listening party for selected music journalists in London this Wednesday past. One of the writers was kind enough to write a piece about the album which, if you were lucky enough to read it before
it was taken down, was full of praise about a return to form. At no point was the writer ask[ed] to sign a non-disclosure agreement. The Quietus and other websites ran pieces on the album, but were quickly contacted by Metallica’s management via a third party and told to remove the articles. The Quietus kept our article up the longest and, as no non-disclosure agreement had been signed, [was] not prepared to remove it merely due to the demands of Metallica’s management. We only eventually removed the article earlier today to protect the professional interests of the writer concerned (the piece was written anonymously). Seems Metallica’s fear of the internet shows no sign of abating.

I know that entertainers for the most part have big egos but these guys must need to build an extra wing wherever they go just to hold theirs!

Though the sites in question complied with the group's ridiculous requests, has this latest debacle caused them to lose whatever credibility they had left in as far as they haven't had an album worth buying since the Black Album some 17 years ago? Either way it will be interesting to see what kind of sales this new album generates considering the impact of the internet on album sales and the bands outright disdain for the technology that they continue to exhibit.

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