Metallica’s Kirk Hammet says the group are “still right about Napster”
Arguably one of the most historic moments in recent musical history would be the US court case of Metallica v. Napster, Inc. The case, which changed the way that digital music would be consumed from then on, was undoubtedly a controversial topic no matter which side you were on, but now, over 18 years since the event, Metallica’s Kirk Hammet has maintained that the band were right to do what they did.
Back in 2000, Metallica discovered that a demo version of their track ‘I Disappear’ had been broadcast on the radio ahead of its release on the Mission: Impossible II soundtrack. Tracing the source of the track to the file-sharing service Napster, the group discovered that their entire back catalogue was available for free download, and decided to sue the company for copyright infringement.
While the outcome of the case was enough to see Napster file for bankruptcy and close their digital doors for a few years, many other file-sharing services began to pop up. As users began to criticise Metallica for their hard stance on the topic, those within the industry both praised the band for drawing attention to the case of illegal downloads, and criticised the increased attention they also drew towards other file-sharing services.
Now, in an interview with Sweden’s Nyhetsmorgon, Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammet has maintained that the band made the right decision by suing Napster back in 2000, despite the fact it made the band reluctant to embrace streaming services until the past few years.
“The whole Napster thing definitely… it didn’t do us any favors whatsoever,” Hammet explained. “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,” he continued. “There was a time when the streaming thing was kind of weird, and it’s not that great of quality. I don’t care what anyone says about modern streaming and whatnot, and all these bits and whatnot, it’s never gonna sound better than vinyl.”
“Having said that, we want to be accessible, and you need to make sure that you’re accessible on all the modern fronts.”
Ironically, Metallica’s full back catalogue was made available on Napster back in 2016, with the former file-sharing service having relaunched itself as a streaming service after merging with Rhapsody back in 2016.
Listen to Kirk Hammet’s interview with Nyhetsmorgon:
The article was originally published on The Industry Observer