Reputation Is A Scarce Good... As Metallica Is Learning

from the oops dept

On Thursday, we wrote about Metallica's latest foray online, where it's attempting to build a community around its latest music. Given Metallica's history of attacking Napster all the way back in 2000, we expected there to be some pushback, but what was really stunning was how many of the comments were from people (many of whom had been big fans of the band) still pissed off about Metallica's actions, and refusing to have anything to do with the band. We weren't the only ones to notice. Wired had a story on Metallica's efforts and discovered exactly the same thing. The vast majority of the comments were vehemently negative. Clearly, Metallica really tarnished its reputation by its actions eight years ago, and it's still paying for it.

This brings up a good point, that we've mentioned in the past in the comments, but not so clearly in a post. A person, organization, band or company's reputation is an important "scarce" good -- and once damaged, it's quite difficult (though not impossible) to rebuild the shattered goodwill. When talking about what would happen in a world without copyright, for example, people often say "but in a world without copyright, couldn't someone just copy your own creation and pretend they were their own." The answer is yes, but they do so at the risk to their own reputation. If the news comes out that the person/organization/band/whatever was taking others' works and not giving credit where it was due, that would harm their reputation. And, as Metallica is learning, a tainted reputation can have serious long-term impact.

Filed Under: metallica, reputation, scarce goods


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  1. identicon
    griaule, 9 Jun 2008 @ 2:32am

    Re: Re: Wasn't there a recent South Park episode?

    "the label is able to exist" "the label invests more (into the band)"

    the technology available to the average consumer today is far more than what it was 20 years ago. With an acoustically decent room (not hard to accomplish) a few mics and a computer (with plenty of freeware or stolen audio progs) any band can create a decent album of comparable quality to "professional" studio output. And the technology advances every year, making it cheaper,easier, and better.

    As for "promoting" the band, television and radio are 20th century dinosaurs. more and more people will be getting their information/entertainment primarily from the internet (as i do) So promoting your band yourself on the internet (as i do when i'm not being lazy) is not only cheaper(as in free) but more effective. Youtube, Myspace, Soundclick, whatever.

    Recording Labels are obsolete. And free market capitalist especially should realize that paying for music is a thing of the past. The capitalist ideal is simple: competition drives prices down while increasing quality to the consumer. If i can get a good product at a lower price i will. Never mind "stealing" there are hundreds of thousands of artists out there giving their music away for free. On purpose! And every year those rebel artists get a little bit better. So when you corporate idiots finally figure out how to make your music theft-proof, we rebel artists will be there to fill in the gap, watching you wither and die.

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