Burnt Bridges

The Calgary Herald offers an interesting take on Metallica’s “Mission: Metallica” online program:

Internet users have a lot of raspberries for Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich, who in 2000 turned in illegal downloaders, but now wants to jump on the digital bandwagon. [...] Unlike Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails and a slew of indie bands (Victoria’s Jets Overhead, for one), Metallica won’t be releasing its album for free, but the step away from DRM (digital rights management) music is a massive step for them, as it makes the music easily shareable on many websites.

Too bad people are viewing the move with a jaundiced eye. After news was posted on Wired.com, a slew of angry music fans posted their views about it, and they were anything but positive.

“(Expletive) Metallica,” wrote a user named me not you. “These jerkwads helped kill the original napster and mp3.com. They single-handedly delayed the digital music revolution by at least 4 years. They sued little kids and grannies. Now after clearly losing the fight against progress they want to suddenly join the winning side. Go to hell, Metallica.”

Another sample: “Oh I get it, now that your careers are in the (expletive), you finally wanna open up to this ‘new & hip’ digital world only NOW in 2008 after years of alienating thousands of your fans by suing the pants off them & treating them like criminals for spreading your music. Too little too late.”

And my favourite: “You wanted me to pick between mp3s and metallica? i did. you lost.”

What’s to be added? Ethan Kaplan spoke at the Mesh conference about the challenge a band like REM has in using the internet in exciting ways without seeming like they’re trying to co-opt youth. Well, their challenges are nothings next to Metallica’s. REM may have been slow to come around to the digital revolution, but at least they always turned a willfully blind eye to bootleg trading. All I can say if Metallica fans don’t all appreciate their conversion is ha ha ha. Though it’s good, I guess, to see the dinosaurs trying to get hip before going extinct.

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