Lars Ulrich: Underestimated File Sharing.. But Proud We Sued
from the yeah,-ok dept
In the interview with Billboard, Lars Ulrich, who was the band member who led the charge against Napster, first talks about "The awesomeness of the Internet" in that you've got "the whole world at your fingertips" and how great it would have been for him as a child (until the older version of himself would have sued him for listening to music... but I digress). That leads to the obvious question from Billboard about Napster, where Ulrich notes that he fully expects his obituary to mention Napster in the opening paragraph and then says the following:
"That's something I have to accept, and I accept it," he says. "But it's not something that plays a big part in my life in 2010. I'm proud of the fact that we stood up for what we believed in and took a stance. Were we caught off-guard? Absolutely. Were there some gross underestimation of what this thing was? Yeah. But it came from the same impulsive spirit that drives everything else this band does."I keep trying to parse that, but I'm not sure what it's actually saying. He's proud that they sued... but it was an underestimation? An underestimation of what? That they'd be able to sue file sharing out of existence? If that's the case, then why be proud of suing and hurting the band's reputation?
Earlier this year, we pointed out that Metallica is a band that makes the vast majority of its money from touring -- over $20 million, versus about $1.5 million from album sales -- and suggested that the band's attack on Napster seems really short-sighted when you consider that. They were fighting over the scraps -- when embracing the fans likely would have resulted in much greater live and merchandise sales. In fact, the band's manager is asked how the band is dealing with lower album sales, and he notes that it's no big deal because of all the other revenue sources:
"It won't change anything else we do," he says. "I'm trying not to be cocky about it, but for Metallica, at their level, the kinds of things you might think about to replace income are minor compared to what you make playing tours and selling merch. We're just finishing 225 shows worldwide [in support of "Death Magnetic"], and these are massive shows. We can play anywhere. What else do we need to do, really? If we sell fewer records, so be it. Of course I'd rather sell more, but I can't do anything about the size of the market, and neither can they."Yeah, well, if you hadn't pissed off all those fans, you could have actually increased the size of the market willing to attend concerts and buy stuff... but... whatever.