Maybe Lars Ulrich Was Right…



From an interview with Lars Ulrich on Charlie Rose in 2000, shortly after Metallica initiated legal action against Napster.

Charlie Rose: What is it about this, strip it away for us.  Why is [Napster] such a bad thing, that you want to stop it?

Lars Ulrich: In essence, it’s about control, it’s really about controlling what you own.  We clearly own our own songs, we own the master recordings to those, and we want to be the ones that control the use of those on the internet, that’s it in the essence.  So we are going after Napster legally, in a legal form, but at the same time what’s becoming increasingly important to us is to try to get this out into the public forum, to try and make people understand what’s at stake here, and what the ramifications are if this is not something that is dealt with and guided with some sort of parameters that makes the artists, the service providers, and the fans out there happy.  

Rose: What’s at stake?

Ulrich: What’s at stake is really the control of it.

Rose: An artist’s right to own and control his own art.

Ulrich: — control, yes, that’s what at stake for us, right now.  At the same time, this is something that changes every 15 minutes with the advent of another technological wonder, so you can only sort of trail where technology is going.   But right now what’s at stake is controlling [music], and trying to set some parameters for the future.

Rose: And people will say just this point, you talk about there always being a new technological development.  People will say that you’re trying to stop technology, and you can’t do that.

Lars Ulrich: No you cannot, and we’re aware of that.  So what we’re trying to do is be the first artist to basically set our foot down and say, ‘Wait a minute, time-out for one second. Let’s just sit down, and deal with this,’ and try to get both a public debate going on how to control this for the future.

And, also on the legal form go after Napster and show to the other upstart companies out there that provide similar services that if you’re going to do this, you’ll have people like Metallica with very deep pockets who are very tenacious and emotionally involved in this on your back all the time, and if that’s something you want to pursue basically.

Rose: You think this is the first step on a slippery slope —

Ulrich: Yes —

Rose: — that will lead to the artist losing all control.

Ulrich: And not just musicians, all artists that create anything from scratch, absolutely.


…and later, addressing points by Chuck D, also being interviewed by Rose…

Ulrich (to Chuck D): Most of what you’re saying deals with the record companies being these money-hungry, greedy blah, blah, blah.  Remember one thing: I can guarantee you, there is nobody at Napster that is doing this as a charitable event for all of mankind.

Chuck D: [laughing]

Ulrich: There are investors behind Napster, and there are people counting the days until Napster has an IPO offering and everyone makes millions of dollars in return for their work.

Chuck D: But there’s always been the shadow of technology lurking over entertainment anyway.  And it’s definitely  been two different worlds.

Ulrich: But there are millions of dollars involved in [technology] just as there’s millions of dollars involved in the evils of the music business as you’re saying.  And if the record company bosses don’t take the money then the internet people are going to take the money, somebody is going to profit off of this.  And if it’s not the artist, then you’re profiting illegally.

It’s bulletproof, I mean who can argue with that?  I just think it’s ignorant to say that just because you take it away from the record business, and the record companies, and you hand it to these other people that are going to make it available in another way, that there’s not going to be the same profiteering from it.  That is ignorant.

Chuck D: But you’re not crying about the radio industry making their money.  The radio industry actually —


Lars: — but I’m not crying about the music business making money off me, because they invested in me.  Fred Durst sits there and says ‘I believe in Napster and want to go against the recording companies,’ well who paid for your ‘Nookie’ video?  Who paid the $600,000 so you could have your video played on MTV that made you sell 8 million [album] copies?

You didn’t pay for that yourself.

74 Responses

  1. Chris H

    Of course he was, it just was and is unpopular to say it for some reason, as you might be “in the way of innovation” or some horseshit.

    • Anonymous

      “it just was and is unpopular to say it for some reason”

      I think that’s a myth — I’ve never met an actual person who disagreed with him.

      Tech guys just controlled the internet/conversation back then.

      • Chris H

        Maybe, but the popular press made it hard on them for defending their rights and soon popular sentiment turned against them.

        • Anonymous


          TorrentFreak, TechDirt and Wired hate Lars Ulrich, but millions of fans have always loved him.

          • FarePlay

            Are you kidding? Lars Ulrich was exactly what the pirates wanted. The perfect archetype for their message. Successful = greedy, arrogant = asshole, lone target = real musicians embrace exposure.

            There was a moment in time, when others could have stepped forward as well and transformed the conversation, but they didn’t. As a result it took fifteen years for the false promises of free to be exposed as false. They did succeed in beating up the business so badly that they opened the door for the next generation of free.

            And as we are so predictable, we are missing the same opportunity with Taylor Swift.

      • Paul Resnikoff
        Paul Resnikoff

        I’m not disagreeing, but the majors had built of decades worth of bad will. You could say they were portrayed as the bad guy, but the reality is that they deserved the reputation and were responsible for a lot of bad behavior. That really helped to shape the debate in a serious and permanent way.

        • Anonymous

          “the majors had built of decades worth of bad will”

          Isn’t that just another myth…

          Pirates never cared about labels. They just looked for a way to justify theft and the labels bought it hook, line and sinker.

          • Paul Resnikoff
            Paul Resnikoff

            Actually, I should have said, decadeS with an S, as the labels — major, indie, whatever — have a notoriously dirty history when it comes to things like artist accounting. That stuff was notoriously well known before the internet-fueled information explosion, and absolutely common knowledge afterwards.

            Of course, our friends at Google, Apple, Spotify, [insert tech giant here] are no angels of charity (I’ll leave it at that). But the piles of bad will amassed by the recording labels had a bitter blowback; the hangover severely impaired their ability to win the hearts and minds of music fans.

            One of the reasons is that big artists started speaking out against the labels. There were very few taking stands like Lars Ulrich.

          • Anonymous

            “That stuff was notoriously well known before the internet-fueled information explosion, and absolutely common knowledge afterwards.”

            …within the industry, that is. People outside are not interested. Again, the pirates wanted an excuse so they invented one. And they defintely steal from poor, independent artists, too.

            Anyway, the music industry isn’t worse than any other industry. Quite the opposite, in fact: Show me a farmer or baker who gets and spends unrealistic advances on hookers, drugs and limos and then goes on to whine because he sold his property.

            Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like labels. I honestly think artists should work their a$$es off for a couple of years so they can produce their music and keep the rights instead of taking any money from labels.

            But most people want the hookers, drugs and limos if they get the chance.

          • Paul Resnikoff
            Paul Resnikoff

            “People outside are not interested. Again, the pirates wanted an excuse so they invented one.”

            Sure, many outside of the music industry have no idea, and don’t care. But educated people, especially educated adults, typically know or understand the ‘labels are evil’ narrative. And while that narrative isn’t really that far off, what’s missing is the part where labels are actually financing and investing in music.

            It was a hearts and minds battle, and a place where organizations like the RIAA failed miserably (yet another bloated organization that couldn’t adapt).

          • Anonymous

            “It was a hearts and minds battle”

            And it still is, obviously. But new narratives get traction today: Artists have rights, music has value.

            The sources are rather unexpected: Popular mainstream stars stand up against abuse, while companies like Samsung and Apple show that music is worth billions for marketing purposes.

          • Anonymous 2

            What century were you born ?
            Musicians haven’t received advances for 20 years.

        • Chris Whitten

          Metallica are a band, not a label.
          Here’s the thing, the artists always lose. You might say the labels treated artists badly, but with Napster the consumers joined in.

          • Anonymous

            “Here’s the thing, the artists always lose.”

            Here’s how it all turned out, though:

            Mr. Ulrich is rich and famous, and all 3 Pirate Bay founders rot in jail.

          • MickeyMac

            And why shouldn’t he be rich? – he CREATED the music, and got rich off the music that he CREATED. And did so by means of a system that is notorious for ripping off artists. The guys “rotting in jail” tried to get rich off something they did not create (music) by stealing it (if you take and use something that is not yours, without paying for it, that’s stealing…). Lars was, and is, absolutely right. I can’t understand people who support Spotify or Napster just because they’re “not as bad” as the big labels. The labels piece of the pie hasn’t shrunk – but the artist’s piece has – because there’s another player taking a piece.

          • Anonymous

            “And why shouldn’t he be rich?”

            Hey hey, easy 🙂 — I totally agree with every word you say!

            My comment was in response to the notion that ‘artists always lose’. I simply don’t think that is correct — people will always love music and musicians; history proves that.

            History also shows that people eventually get tired of big, greedy corporations…

          • matt

            Just want to point out that Spotify isn’t like Napster. Spotify actually has enough premium users, such as myself, who pay $10 a month for listening to songs. And by downloading songs on Spotify, it’s not like you’re downloading the actual song so that you own it and can share it, it just allows you to listen when you’re device is offline or without internet connection. But from what I hear, Sporify generated billions dollars and enough to pay the artist. Another thing is that if artists don’t want their music on spotify they can take it off. Taylor Swift just recently did this.

          • Andrew

            Matt, unfortunately the main way Spotify screws artists is by telling people they are paying artists fairly :/. Artists get paid about $0.006-0.0084 per play. This means if you’re a relatively successful independent artist and get 1,000,000 plays on spotify in a year you willl make… $6,000-$8,400. Split that between a manager and some songwriters. Let’s be generous and say there are only 3 people taking from the pie (which is not a lot). We’re talking only $2-3,000 per person per year for something that is pretty remarkable- 1,000,000 PLAYS!

            Anyways, you feel fine continuing to subscribe and use spotify. I do too and it’s awesome for listening to music you can’t otherwise find. But you should also and buy albums and support the artists you love because at the end of the day that’s what will keep them going.

      • forums

        if you read posts and comments back then , you’d have seen that is was 10,000 to 1 against Lars. he was hated, and the meme “millionaire rockstar mad at poor fans” , or a version of it, was endlessly repeated by millions basement-dwelling pirate kids.

        • Anonymous

          No — Ulrich was never hated outside a narrow circle of pirates.

          On the contrary, Metallica was, and is, an incredible success that sold millions of albums and tickets — also during their fight against organized crime: Their album St. Anger debuted at #1 on Billboard less than a year after Napster’s went bankrupt! So not much hate there… 🙂

          But the internet was still pretty new back then, and many — especially in the music industry — were incredibly naive. They simply didn’t understand that the alleged hate against Mr. Ulrich came from the same 300 constantly spamming pirates.

    • GStorm

      Innovation is just another way to allow certain people to make money off someone else’s sweat and hardwork.

    • Ananima

      He wasn’t. If he was, then shutting down Napster would have preserved the recorded music industry. He killed the for-profit service that could have licensed material down the line with their “millions in IPO money” (unlikely) and gave free reign of the market to decentralized peer to peer file sharing, which ultimately had over a decade without any opposition while the music industry did nothing to grow their infrastructure beyond iTunes.

      He had a point in that there was a lot at stake, but he was absolutely wrong about what should be done. You’re all acting like he didn’t get his way. They won! He got exactly what he wanted.

      • Kerphelio

        I don’t think you remember what Napster was: Peer to Peer file sharing aka. stealing. There was no revenue model down the line, that’s just “wishful nostalgia”.
        The first services that actually pay for music are things like Spotify or Pandora – and both of them are major rip-offs, with the victim being the artists.
        Ulrich was 100% right – but he was telling people that they’re stealing from him and people, due to a lack of reason and maturity, were offended by it. Still he was right and they were wrong.

  2. Anonymous

    He was right. Ah the good ol’ days. Hard to believe it’s been 15 years. 15 long years.

  3. ZackTheNever

    He was correct, the entire reason based on this is that its wrong to steal and Napster did exactly that…

  4. Andre

    of course he was right, and he was saying what what every other major recording artist was thinking.

    • steveh

      not just every major recording artist – virtually every recording artist period.

      • GojiraShei

        I disagree with that – there were plenty of artists arguing for Napster, especially indie artists. Doesn’t change the fact that he was making better points than most people were willing to hear in 2000, but it’s not true that most recording artists agreed with him.

        • Anonymous

          “it’s not true that most recording artists agreed with him”

          Sure it is.

          There was a lot of fear at the time, but show me an artist who likes pirates and I’ll show you a liar.

          Anyway, things changed and even the most popular stars stand up for artists rights today.

          • the dones

            “There was a lot of fear at the time, but show me an artist who likes pirates and I’ll show you a liar.” -Anonymous

            Nonsense. I’m an artist happy to have my recordings stolen by so-called ‘pirates’ – I want my music to be heard by as many people as possible. In fact I’ve shared my recordings on multiple file sharing sites intentionally. Whether these so-called evil pirates (often your future fans) decide to purchase the recordings they stole is up to them. I’ve found that if people who have stolen your music end up enjoying it, that many will gladly turn around and pay you for it, or attend a show, or buy merchandise. Why would an artist want to reduce potential exposure to their art? Why would an artist ever want to punish their own fanbase? It’s absurd.

            And nope, I’m not lying. And nope, I’m not alone. I know of many artists who share my point of view and act accordingly, and have quite successfully used piracy to establish large fanbases, who in return spend money on their art, shows and merchandise.

            So here we are again, as I’ve said before beneath another article on this site, we’re back to the same ole tired routine on this thread: A complete inability to accept what is not going to change. So 3 Pirate Bay creators are in jail huh? Well guess what, anyone can go on Pirate Bay right now and grab what they want. When are artists going to embrace what has happened as a result of technology and figure out ways to use it to their advantage instead of waging a war they will never win? Or at the very least, instead of whining and ranting for 15+ years and counting, which has gotten you nowhere, use that energy instead to create.

          • Anonymous

            Not to worry, happy amateurs should just do as they please.

          • steveh

            just out of interest the dones, how do you finance your professional music operation?

    • Versus

      And a lot of fans. You don’t have to be an artist/creator to care about the plight of artists/creators. We are humans who are capable of more than just self-interest, and can act and speak in the defense and on the behalf of others, even if there is no gain to ourselves. It’s called a conscience.

  5. Justin Mayer / Plum Minnow

    14 years later and who’d have thunk it would be the labels themselves now being Napster, along with the media biz and some other corps out there…

    2014 = Major Labels are Napster… Awesome!

    Funny how those things work.

  6. Versus

    Of course he was right. And still is. I support his courage and directness in speaking out about this.
    It’s the fearfulness of others who are afraid to take this completely sane, rational, and justified stance that is pathetic.

    All he is demanding for is the same protection as other property owners to be able to control the use of their property, and determine how and when it can be used (for profit or otherwise). That’s just basic to the entire modern system of living. If we wish to dispose of that system, then it cannot be done selectively, abusing certain professions (music) while protecting others (banking). Either be capitalist or be communist, but be consistent.

  7. Anonymous

    He was right in a purely abstract sense. But there is nothing that could have saved the music industry once everyone had this amazing music copy machine on their desk. And as technology improves people will share more content even more cheaply and effortlessly, piracy can only get worse.

    • Anonymous

      “there is nothing that could have saved the music industry once everyone had this amazing music copy machine”

      Nonsense, it’s easy to stop mainstream piracy if we want it.

      Step one: Sue the ISPs — they make billions from stolen software, music and movies.

    • Paul Resnikoff
      Paul Resnikoff

      There is the inevitable streamroller concept, which I think has been correct with the music industry (history has proven that). But it may not be true with other industries — Hollywood is just starting to defend itself, which is why you’re seeing massive responses like that surrounding Kim Dotcom.

      Other, physical industries could ultimately be affected by 3D printing. We don’t know how fast that technology will move at this stage. But I wonder what happens when firearms, automobiles, and fashion find themselves in the fray.

  8. Chris Whitten

    The real tragedy is no other artists stood by Metallica. Or at least came out with a loud voice in their support. It’s like they were hung out to dry. I have a terrible memory I admit, but I can only remember the outspoken, not so popular Lars speaking out and a wall of silence around him.

    • Anonymous

      “The real tragedy is no other artists stood by Metallica”

      Again, there was a lot of fear at the time — everybody hated pirates, but nobody had the guts to stand up in public.

      Fortunately, that’s over now. Kids respect you when you respect yourself. Taylor Swift is proof of that.

    • illtalbeats

      I was in High School when the Metallica vs. Napster talks first began. There definitely was a huge amount of backlash against Lars. From the (uneducated) consumer standpoint, all the kids in school were saying Lars has enough money, what does he care? No one disagreed that it wasn’t stealing, but the perception was these artists were rich, if you want me to pay for this, you are greedy. Hell, I even remember MTV interviewing one of the creators (think it was Sean Fanning, not Sean Parker) and treating him like a modern day Robin Hood, stealing music from the rich and giving to the poor. It’s not surprising more artists were afraid to speak out against Napster, fearing consumer backlash.

      • Mike

        Yes, that’s exactly how i remember it, too. The artist had the mansion on the hill, and the tech guy had the cool new thing that was going to turn the record business on its head.

        lars (and also dr. dre) did not help themselves by using phrases like “napster is taking food out my kid’s mouth” or “i need to feed my family”. Of course they meant it only as a metaphor for stealing, but hearing that from artists who are not actually starving always alienates them from the regular guy, and offends poor folks who actually do have real problems making ends meet.

        • Anonymous

          Bottom line: We know today that it doesn’t matter at all if a bunch of pirates hate you.

          Again, Metallica sold millions of albums and tickets during the Napster trial.

    • Hippydog

      I remember thinking back then he was a fear-mongering, out of touch, douche..


      He was right..
      the rest of us were wrong..

      We had a small window of opportunity where the industry could have been steered to calmer waters (while still keeping both the customers and artists happy)..
      and we completely lost it.. 🙁

    • ROBBIT

      The way to look at this is very simple.
      The artist is entitled to all royalties period.those robbing from the artists need to be punished just because no matter how you look at it it’s stealing.someone gets caught shoplifting it’s punishable and that’s the law and no one is above the law.

    • Anonymous

      But you can stay away from one if you don’t like the artist.

      Ulrich’s fans chose to support him, though. Ulrich 1, pirates 0.

    • forums

      what if the band doesn’t tour in your city, state, country, continent? also, what about songwriters specialize in the craft of writing songs, not performing (providing songs to everyone from Elvis to Beyonce?) etc.

  9. Anonymous

    “It’s bulletproof, I mean who can argue with that?”

    Millions of self-entitled teenagers, technotopians, and Silicon Valley funded astroturfers.

  10. Chucky Ulrich

    Chuck D jumped on the bandwagon and used the hype of Napster to promote himself. It wasn’t that he was wrong, he was just a smart opportunist. Lars in a broader sense was right but he was too naive in that he had already made his money so he didn’t see the angle Chuck D was gaming. Jaron Lanier has a good view on how giant siren servers are making money off the creative class in a much more extreme manner than record companies ever did.

  11. MY

    I write a song and i record it. It takes time and money to do so. Why do i make and record music in the first place? Well, so that people can listen to it. I don’t record music for the sake of selling a soundcarrier. If that was my primary enterprise i should start a record store (like iTunes maybe). I don’t make music for the sake of becoming rich. If that was my primary enterprise then i should rather start a business focusing on profitmaking (like iTunes maybe). I make and record music for the sake of music itself. And yes, one day I found out too, that making music and recording music can be a full time job and can cost a lot of money. Still the main reason for me to do it, has not changed and never will. And we all know how music sounds, that puts the money first.

    The internet did not take away my money, nor my “control” over music. The internet allows me to spread my music worldwide without much of an effort (time/money). Is that something i appreciate? Of course! Would i have been able to do that in the pre internet era? Surely not without a label. Would the label have given me “control”? The moment i sign that contract, my “control” is gone. And the money they give me is money that i have to pay back. So if i receive 100.000 dollars to record and promote my music, i will see the first cent on my bank account as soon as i have actually earned 100.000 dollars and one cent. In my view, that “control” that Lars Ulrich was taking about, was the label (especially the majors) controlling what the listener gets and what not (what is played on the radio, what is sold in the stores). I’m glad that they have lost that control and monopoly, because i don’t see my kind of music being represented by their work and i don’t expect them to see much value in trying to sell my music. So i disagree with Mr. Ulrich. Earning money with music was never easy and is still hard and yes, many have lost their jobs in the music industry in the last 15 years. But getting your music out there, and to interact with fans and connect with potential collaborateurs has become a lot easier today. It has become possible to do it yourself. And those are the imporant steps to actually earn money with music. If you can now do it yourself, you are in control. If you don’t want to do it, you have a better negotiation point today, beacuse you want an external label to do that work for you and don’t have to have one to get the work done.

  12. Willis

    As much as Lars was right, the labels were/are wrong in how they dealt/deal with technology and creators.

  13. Jackson

    Nope. The control and freedom you claim the internet brought in for you to release your music is not exactly what you describe, the internet also allowed everybody ordinary to put out music including hundreds of talentless artists and this led to the market saturation, overexposing the consumer to a gazillion of irrelevant promotion each fighting for little attention. Before this era, you’d usually get to a record deal with an indie or major label by being extremely talented, original, smart and somehow extraordinary, only the most talented, supposedly and ideally, were able to reach millions of people, so there was higher quality in music, productions and careers. Lars was 100% right, but it resulted unpopular because that came from an established multi million selling band like Metallica and no one else was smart enough to see the future disruptive implications of the Napster business model. Lars failed in communicating to the media and the audience that giving the internet the right to distribute music for free to everybody would have quickly bankrupted hundreds of up-and-coming new bands, managements, road crews, recording studios, producers, engineers, labels, the whole music industry and the music quality itself. Fast forward 14 years laters and that is exactly what happened. I know people in lesser known bands who were making a sufficient living off their albums and touring etc back in 2004 and they’re now bankrupt. Some of them spent 20+ years learning the craft and are now left with nothing. Sharing is good when it’s charity and when it’s intended, we all agree on how great and cool technology is and how made a lot of things easier and better but if you don’t care about internet’s illegal download it’s only because you did not have your albums downloaded hundred thousand times illegally, for free, you and your family didn’t suffer that loss.

    • steveh

      Lars failed in communicating to the media and the audience that giving the internet the right to distribute music for free to everybody would have quickly bankrupted hundreds of up-and-coming new bands, managements, road crews, recording studios, producers, engineers, labels, the whole music industry and the music quality itself.

      I don’t think this was Lars’s failure of communication at all. Anyone with even the tiniest amount of sense could have understood this from Napster day 1. It was totally f**kin’ obvious!

      I think the big question is why did people refuse to see this obvious point?

      And why don’t people realise that Sean Parker is trying to do the same thing in a more subtle way with Spotify?

    • MY

      There were many bands that toured and sold cds their whole careers before the internet and didnt earn a penny because everything ended up in the pockets of label executives. Also bad management can easily put a successful band into bankruptcy, that’s surely not the fault of new technology and/or napster. And there are many bands that sold cds in in the early 2000s and toured and are still on the road doing just fine or better. That success can not be traced back to new technology or napster either. There are too many parameters that influence a music career.. piracy was (it’s not relevant anymore) one fraction of it (which in the beginning hit everyone (just as you mentioned) so it was a big issue for the whole industry, and especially hard for bands when they had to struggle, plus their label had to struggle, plus the studio had to struggle, etc etc, so yes those were hard times, but i’m rather optimistic regarding the future.

      Napster wasn’t fair and it was the consequence of a technological development. You can blame Napster for ripping off and fight it (that part i am totally with Lars Ulrich), but you can’t blame the technological development that made it possible for Napster to do so and fight that too (that part i am totally not with Lars Ulrich). He puts both things into the same argument. He blames the downloaders/uploaders = the consumer too (his famous MTV clip…). I understand his point, but that is not exactly how someone clearly sees the future implications. That is in todays perspective rather naive (it is impossible to “control” music today, once it is released) or stupid (if he still would kick everyones ass for “illegally” sharing his music via “the internet”) And to the question at the top: “maybe he was right?”, i still say NO. “In essence, it’s about control, it’s really about controlling what you own. We clearly own our own songs, we own the master recordings to those, and we want to be the ones that control the use of those on the internet, that’s it in the essence.”
      Someone in this forum has already posted the whole interview which is strictly spoken copyright protected, the author of this article should also get his ass kicked for editing and publishing the interview. If Lars Ulrichs demand is 100% heared, this article would probably not exist due to several copyright infrindgements. And i think it is good that this article exists and is not controlled by its creators regarding who can see it when and how. Thats the world of yesterday. Today we can all watch that interview, just like we can listen to any kind of music.

      Now what are we willing to pay for that to those who create the content and how are they going to receive that money? Thats another and more relevant discussion where Lars Ulrichs arguments from 2000 are rather “old-fashioned”…

  14. DontcorrectmeBitch

    Lars’ reasoning is very simple and correct. He doesn’t care who exploits the music, just as long as the artist is compensated for their work. Why do so many people take issue with this?

  15. joe livoti

    lars took a lot of flack for this when it came out, because Metallica is so successful and he was made out by some to be a greedy rock star. but when indie artists like myself get our cdbaby statements, and see that spotify, muve, etc have played our songs hundreds of times, and we got $.0017 for it, i thank him for using his forum to fight the fight. these companies are using artists to make huge profits, and complaining that they are not yet able to pay them. so, to use a retail metaphor, if i open a shoe store, do i tell my suppliers that i can’t pay them until my business starts to turn a profit…..? of course not. part of a ‘startup’ is having the money to pay for your initial inventory. that’s why they have investors, venture capital, etc.
    same old story, different technology.

  16. Mickey

    It’s not that complicated. Don’t look so deep, just use common sense.

    Radio controlled what listeners heard long long ago. It’s not about that.

    14 years ago we were downloading any song we wanted off internet sites and weren’t paying a penny. The sites made tons off our hits for spyware = nothing to do with music. This is copyright infringement

    Many companies still make tons of money from spyware, just look at all the possible clicks on Facebook.

    Apparently, America just isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed any longer.

    14 years and still arguing about what Lars was talking about.
    Sold legally = artist profit
    Downloaded for free = stolen from artist

    We live in an entitled world.

  17. Chet

    Maybe? 14 years later with virtually every artist, record label, PRO and publishing company’s bottom line marginalized and ‘maybe’ he was right?

  18. the_dones

    Wow what a sad site and state of affairs we have here, where there is not even an open forum for discussion from different viewpoints. Sums up modern America really. I used to be able to post comments using a different name, but apparently the site moderator has decided that my opinion no longer counts and will no longer allow me to post a comment. So I’ve modified my name for this entry, in hopes that this comment will be posted.

    Unfortunately I did not copy my original, much longer comment before submitting it, and I’m not going to re-type it all now, as I’ve wasted enough time already.

    Bottom line is that artists must accept reality and figure out ways to use it to their advantage regardless of whether or not they agree with what they cannot control. All of this energy spent on whining and ranting and fighting piracy is wasted energy, which could instead be used to create. 15+ years and counting, and where has it all gotten you? Nowhere. Go ahead, waste your time and energy. Meanwhile I’ll use piracy to my advantage to build a fanbase who steals my music then turns around and pays me for it, attends my shows, and buys my merchandise. Go ahead and demonize and attempt to punish your own fanbase, and see where that gets you.

    • Anonymous

      “punish your own fanbase, and see where that gets you

      Hm, Metallica’s eighth album debuted at number 1 on Billboard a year after they ‘punished’ their fanbase.

      Not bad, eh? 🙂

      It’s not only perfectly safe to sue shoplifters, it’s also good for business.

  19. David C.

    Someone is ALWAYS looking to exploit the musical artist. It doesn’t happen virtually anywhere else (movies, books, etc) in this manner. The movie stars make their money. The authors make their money.

    It seems odd to me that, these days, the techies just decide what they want to do with the music, and then do it, regardless of the thoughts of the rights owners.

    • D

      “Someone is ALWAYS looking to exploit the musical artist. It doesn’t happen virtually anywhere else (movies, books, etc) in this manner. The movie stars make their money. The authors make their money.

      It seems odd to me that, these days, the techies just decide what they want to do with the music, and then do it, regardless of the thoughts of the rights owners.”

      David, I’m a musician and you are spot on. These companies, some of which are multi-billion dollar corporations, (Apple, Google, Microsoft, CBS) take musician’s music and do whatever they want. They bypass federal copyight laws and make up their own. When I started, we were supposed to be paid 9 cents per play, now it’s .0000352 per play. How can something be below one cent? They will pay you that, list it as a payment of 0.00 and then you can click on the details to see it’s under 0.00. They are breaking the law and easily getting away with it. (owned by CBS) keeps lowering my play numbers every week so that they don’t have to ever pay. I make a product, I try to sell it. They come along, take your product without asking, skim off what they want, make up whatever lie and deception they can think of and then the person who created the product may receive a very small amount or absolutely nothing at all.

  20. Feedbag

    Lars Zurich is basically and fathead with a big mouth but he’s right on this one.

  21. Pete

    At first, I thought Lars was just being greedy for maximum profits. But now that I’ve exaamined his arguments, I agree with him. A lot of musicians and singers don’t get the royalties they deserve even though their music has entertained and influenced many people around the world.

  22. Dean Hajas

    Here’s the long and short of it. Every industry has it’s Giants and Ants. Oil industry, steel industry, financial industry…etc…etc…. Regardless if the public respects, believes or agrees with it’s terms, these industries create their product, and control the distribution of it…..Bottom Line. Justification by the public for blatant disregard for the Law, is where the music industry has been taken. The fact that the binary of financial institutions, can be protected, vaulted, tracked, and verified…….suggests that the binary of our music should and could have been as well. The Governing agencies that YOUR TAX DOLLARS are spent on for CIPO, SOCAN,CMRRA, ASCAP, BMI etc….etc…..syphon funding to write laws and protect artists from abuse by monopolies and the public. The Government has ultimately displayed on the leadership side of enforcement, that it goes against popular public opinion, and therefore will be largely related to Voters turnout for specific Parties and Party leaders.

  23. The Devil

    Maybe the idea of making it big on your own artistic terms is just a pipe dream that more or less worked for a few decades but now it’s time again for selfish music making as a hobby or just ‘selling out’ (a.k.a. serving the market and give people what they want although this model is based on live performance which has to compete with recorded music).

    Too many underground artists expect the audience to like their ‘uncompromised vision’ so they can make a living.

    But yeah, I never thought Lars or the other big shots going against Napster were wrong. They didn’t need more money, they simply were famous enough to not need the exposure like all the poor underground bands.

  24. loanemu

    Your writing style is just what I look for when I want good content. You have a great grasp of this topic and wonderful intuition.


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