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Metallica’s Lars Ulrich Weighs in on Music Streaming Debate

Metallica Lars Ulrich
Ian Gavan, Getty Images

As the music industry changes, so does the outlook of many musicians who are affected by it. Metallica sued Napster, spearheaded by drummer Lars Ulrich, back in 2000, but although many musicians have taken issue with various music streaming sites as of late, Ulrich has a surprisingly accepting viewpoint on the subject.

Obviously, Napster was much different than the legal streaming sites of today. Services such as Spotify and Pandora pay their artists (though there has been heated debate surrounding royalties) while Napster offered a seemingly endless amount of music for free, illegally. Though some artists have spoken out against today’s streaming services, Ulrich has not joined up as one of them.

“I believe streaming is good for music,” Ulrich tells the Inquiry. “The one thing I read a lot is… People sit there and go, ‘I’m not getting paid very much for streaming.’ But there’s one major thing that gets overlooked in that argument and in the whole thing, [and that] is that streaming is a choice on all fronts. It’s a choice for the fan to be part of. It’s a choice for the artists who are involved in making their music available on streaming services. It’s a choice by the record companies that represent the artists. Fifteen years ago, those choices didn’t exist … I’m presented with a choice. Somebody sends us an e-mail and says, ‘Hi. We have a streaming service. Would you like to be on it?’ I mean, of course, as an artist, you want your music to be heard.”

However, Ulrich does say that declining record sales are hurting up-and-coming bands. “When there’s less people buying music, there’s less money generated back and record companies take less chances,” explains the drummer. “Instead of promoting 500 records a year, they promote 50 records a year, and there’s less and less and less and less money being put into younger artists. And there’s a danger of younger artists coming close to extinction.”

Metallica continue to make progress on their 10th studio album. Stay tuned to Loudwire for all your Metallica updates.

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