Metallica, Once a Vocal Spotify Holdout, Celebrates 1 Billion Spotify Streams

Metallica, Once a Spotify Holdout, Celebrates 1 Billion Spotify Streams
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Metallica, one of the most iconic heavy metal bands of all time, recently announced that their music has been streamed over one billion times on Spotify. The announcement was made on Twitter, where the band thanked their loyal fans for their continued support. The news is particularly interesting given that Metallica famously refused to license their music on Spotify until several years ago.

The band’s tweet read, “ONE. BILLION. STREAMS. 1,026 decades of Metallica music was streamed in 2019! Unreal! Thanks to the most dedicated fans in the world… you all are incredible!” The band’s decision to finally license their music on Spotify in 2012 was a significant moment for the streaming platform, as Metallica was one of the few big-name bands that had held out for so long.

According to Spotify’s Wrapped for Artists tool, which tracks various metrics, 46 million people listened to 50 million hours of Metallica’s music in 2019 alone. This is a testament to the band’s continued popularity, especially given that they have been around for over three decades. Metallica has always been known for their energetic live performances, and their music has clearly stood the test of time.

However, Metallica’s journey to becoming one of the most successful bands in the world has not been without its controversies. In 2000, the band famously sued the original version of Napster, a file-sharing service that allowed users to download music for free. The lawsuit listed 335,000 downloaders of Metallica’s music as defendants in the case, and the band’s actions were widely criticized by many in the music industry.

Despite the criticism, Metallica has remained unrepentant for their actions during this time. In a 2018 interview, the band’s lead guitarist Kurt Hammett said, “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.”

Hammett’s comments highlight the ongoing debate around the impact of music streaming on the industry. While streaming has helped bands like Metallica reach a wider audience than ever before, it has also been criticized for its impact on revenue streams. In a 2014 interview, Hammett decried music streaming by saying, “It’s just become too big of a beast to try to control.” Despite these concerns, Metallica’s decision to license their music on Spotify has clearly paid off, as they were the tenth highest earner in the music industry last year, according to Forbes.

However, Metallica has also faced criticism for its business practices in recent years. In the summer of 2019, the band was accused of colluding with Live Nation by directly feeding 88,000 of their tickets to the secondary markets, which led to highly inflated prices for their fans. U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) accused the band of profiting off of their fans, and even quoted lyrics from a Metallica song during his congressional testimony. The controversy highlights the ongoing tension between fans and the music industry, and raises questions about the role of bands like Metallica in the larger ecosystem.

Despite these controversies, Metallica remains one of the most beloved and iconic bands in the world. With one billion streams on Spotify and a legion of dedicated fans, their music continues to inspire and energize listeners across the globe. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a casual listener, it’s hard to deny the impact that Metallica has had on the world of music.