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Metallica’s Kirk Hammett says they were right to sue Napster

By | Published on Tuesday 15 May 2018


Nearly 20 years on, Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett still firmly believes that the band were right to sue file-sharing company Napster in 2000. Despite all the negative attention it brought them.

“The whole Napster thing – it didn’t do us any favours whatsoever”, he admitted to Swedish TV show Nyhetsmorgon. “But you know what? We’re still in the right on that – we’re still right about Napster, no matter who’s out there who’s saying, ‘Metallica was wrong’. All you have to do is look at the state of the music industry, and that kind of explains the whole situation right there”.

It was the current music industry that he was actually asked about when Hammett went on this Napster tangent. The actual question asked was whether Metallica’s late arrival on the streaming services had negatively affected the band. On that, he said: “There was a time when the streaming thing was kinda weird, and it’s not that great a quality – I don’t care what anyone says about modern streaming, all these ‘bits’ and whatnot. It’s never going to sound better than vinyl. Having that said, we want to be accessible, and you need to make sure you’re accessible on all the modern fronts”.

I think it’s fair to say that music industry trends over the last 30 years have pretty much proven that almost the entire music listening population of the world is not really interested in the sound quality of vinyl. Convenience has long been the key factor for most people, which is why Napster became so popular so quickly.

And either way, had the file-sharing software never existed, it seems unlikely that the music industry would have avoided the downturn it faced in the early part of the 21st century. Although perhaps it might not have come on quite so fast.

Still, I think we should also still respect Metallica’s right to be angry about their music being shared for free without their permission. And their wish to be sceptical of streaming. No matter how futile either proved to be.