Metallica Still Fiercely Independent, But Learning From Radiohead, NIN

Apr 27th, 2008 | By | Category: Digital Music, iPods & Portable Media Players

Rolling Stone has an interesting interview with Metallica’s Lars Ulrich that touches on the state of Metal, the band’s fight against Napster, how they are using digital music and trying to learn from Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails:

You were one of the first artists to sue over copyright infringement and voice concerns over aspects of downloading. Eight years later, with bands like Radiohead embracing the Net and yet charting, how has your stance changed, if at all?

We have FLACs and MP3s for sale. It was never about downloading per se. We have the Vault where you can download shows from twenty years ago for free, full-on and it’s been there for years. You can download recent shows days after they happen for cost.

Back in the day there was a much bigger question about “on whose terms?” We said, “Wait a minute, it should be about the artist.” Then all hell broke loose and we sat on the sidelines for a while. We’ve always been fiercely independent and controlling; sometimes to a fault. That’s why we exist and why all these people show up.

And as far as the next record goes …

You know, this is our last record under contract with Warner, so we’re looking at how we can embrace everything. We want to be as free a players as possible. We’ve been observing Radiohead and Trent Reznor and in twenty-seven years or however long it takes for the next record, we’ll be looking forward to everything in terms of possibilities with the Internet.

Have you thought about the climate into which you’ll be dropping this new album? What is the state of metal today?

I think you saw. Metal is fucking alive and well and doing better than it has in many years. It seems like most of the metal in the Seventies and the Eighties is still revered. It seems like most fourteeen year olds are into Deep Purple, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, as opposed to some alternative, grunge and especially the rap-rock of the Nineties. When you’ve been around a while you tend to disregard cycles, but there is a resurgence way deeper and more penetrating into the fourteen-year-old mindset all over. It’s unbelievable.

Metallica has received a lot of criticism over the years for their fight against Napster. While they still aren’t embracing file sharing, they aren’t against offering free music downloads on their own terms. The group now has hours and hours, if not days, of free music available for download at their site,

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