Do you remember Metallica? If you do, you probably remember it for hating on Napster, holding out on iTunes for too long, and generally disliking anything related to the digital revolution.
In recent months, the band has come around and allowed its music to be downloaded on iTunes and generally stayed under the radar while it recorded a new album. Of course, whether or not more than 10,000 rabid fans actually care about this new album is up for debate, but Metallica has remained relatively tight-lipped about its progress.
According to ArsTechnica, Metallica -- in a show of good faith -- invited some music bloggers into the studio to let them listen to six tracks off the band's new album. After listening, the critics wrote up reviews based on what they heard and did not violate any non-disclosure agreements (there weren't any), nor were any specific directions given to them regarding what they could and could not write about.
After the reviews were posted, the bloggers received word from the band's management instructing them to remove the reviews from the site or face legal action.
One blog, The Quietus, told reporters that "The Quietus kept our article up the longest and, as no non-disclosure agreement had been signed," the site's editor wrote, "[we were] not prepared to remove it merely due to the demands of Metallica's management. We only removed the article earlier today to protect the professional interests of the writer concerned."
For its part, Metallica's management claimed that the songs were rough mixes and had no place in reviews that assumed they were finished products. If that's true, why would Metallica invite critics to London to listen to "rough tracks" instead of waiting for the polished songs?
Obviously something doesn't add up.
Regardless, Metallica has once again shown that it's held in contempt all over the world for good reason. Why would we even consider buying an album from a band that continually pushes all the wrong buttons and contends that it's actually protecting the music industry in the process?
In the wide world of music, our level of distrust first begins with the RIAA, but Metallica is running a close second.
How many times are we forced to sit back and listen to Metallica drone on about its distaste for downloads, its penchant for in-store album sales at $20 a pop, and its obsession with the outdated business model before we stand up and finally tell this group of pure fools that their time is up?
Then again, I would guess that we've already done that. Did you know Metallica was releasing a new album? I certainly didn't. And while the band may have been popular more than a decade ago, today, it's nothing more than a washed up group of forty-somethings that are trying desperately to become "legends of rock."
Sorry to break it to you, boys, but unless you come up with something that can transcend the music industry and revolutionize the business, the chances of you making a comeback are practically nil.
Lest you get the wrong idea, my indictment of Metallica has nothing to do with its past mistakes. Sure, it's a band that has tried to keep the music industry back and fails to apply logic to a discussion that seems quite simple, but I can't blame them for trying to hold on to something that worked when they were popular.
Today though, time has left Metallica in its dust and the momentum of this industry is moving quickly towards a day where music downloads are the only form of distribution. And regardless of the fact that Metallica wants to bully bloggers, hate on downloaders, and ostracize its listeners, there's nothing the band can do about it.
Metallica, once again, has shown us how sad it really is. In an attempt to hold on to something it once had, the band is showing how long in the tooth it really is.
Sorry, boys. Your time has come and gone. Now if you don't mind, get out of the way.
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