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, 30 May 2008 @ 8:56am

    Metallica definately have a different place in my heart after all their Napster actions. At one point, they were the kings of metal (to me). Now, they aren't quite as cool or "awesome". But, whatever. They have a right to speak out for artists rights. But, the group that they needed to demonize was not the fans, but the recording industry. The RIAA is the group that hurts artists the most, especially new bands. Sure, downloading is illegal and essentially theft. But, there needs to be some middle ground and bands like Metallica are realizing that their actions can tarnish their image. I also found it funny that they acted like the downloaded music hurt them personally. Yes, they may have made a little less money that if those people bought the music. But, they still have one of the most lucrative deals in the music industries history. I think they make something like, $4-$5 for each CD sold, which is astronomical. Usually it is less that a $1 that goes to the artists. And those people that downloaded the music, most likely would not have purchased any music. Some would, but a large majority got the music because they could. If they had to pay for it, they would not have gotten it.

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