According to Biographers, Metallica Are in the Red, Losing Money Due to 'Disastrous Decisions'

Band have apparently lost more money than they've made since 2010.

According to Biographers, Metallica Are in the Red, Losing Money Due to 'Disastrous Decisions'
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They're one of the biggest selling bands of all times, but the latest statistics suggest that Metallica are in financial trouble.

In a new interview with literary website the Weeklings (via Supajam), Metallica biographers Paul Brannigan and Ian Winwood have stated:


"Since 2010 it's likely that Metallica have lost more money than they've made."

The pair went on to elaborate that a number of misguided vanity projects have led to the band's current financial crisis:

"By their own admission, the two stagings of the Orion festival were disastrous financially, and the shambles that was the 'Through the Never' movie cost $32 million and will only recoup a fraction of that amount.

"Factor in HQ staff salaries, crew retainers and assorted running costs associated with maintaining an entertainment corporation and you can easily understand why the band - of necessity now rather than by choice - are driven to tour Europe every summer."

In particular, the pair believes that feature film "Through the Never" has contributed to the band's recent money woes:

"'Through the Never' film project was a horrible misjudgment, a misguided attempt to breathe new life into a decade-old idea. As the film spiraled horribly over-budget it's hard not to imagine that at least one band member - and let's be honest, we're talking about James Hetfield here - thinking 'What the f--k have we got ourselves into?' Quite how that 'script' ever got the green light is an unfathomable mystery."

Drummer Lars Ulrich had previously noted that he was unfazed by the financial disappointment of "Through the Never," stating that the band would make their money back in "t-shirt sales seven years down the line."

136 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    billabong3150
    hmmmm. Maybe they should release an album. That might work!?
    Hero_1985
    They make more touring than from album sales. Here's an interview with Kirk where he talks about how they'd like to tour less, but can't afford it: http://www.nme.com/news/metallica/64054 There was also one more recently where he said they feel obligated to keep touring to keep their massive staff employed. I don't know where that interview was, and can't find a link now. But, yeah. The money is in touring.
    javdoc
    Remember reading that The Grateful Dead fell into the same situation. They could not support their huge organization without constant touring. Lotsa mouths to feed....
    dennis.1960
    Same deal with the Dead. Jerry Garcia stated more than once that the pressure of having to support the road crew and their families, the office staff and their families and the band member families through constant touring was a big reason he dove into heroin to escape the pressure.
    captainstan
    Legit question: What staff do they have for their organization as a rock band?
    negativefx
    tour managers, lawyers, roadies, tour design, graphic design, merch booth staff, security, mechanics, guitar techs, drum techs, lighting techs, merch designers, PR, etc.
    slipdisk
    psychiatrist - in Metallicas case. the one they tried to fire but he didn't want to leave because he was getting paid heaps.
    Weybl Himself
    Very true, but what better excuse to hit the road and hit it hard than a new album? Always manages to create a bit of hype and that extra night in a 15,000 seat arena is a nice little earner.
    FlyingPirahna
    A new album always drives up the hype machine though, you get advertising about "FIRST NEW ALBUM IN 7 YEARS", a new excuse to tour the world, license new songs for ads and whatever else, all that jazz.
    Nethero
    It's not so much that making an album is the answer to all their financial problems. It's just that new material is the best way for a band to rekindle interest in their projects and efforts. If Through the Never came after a new album, or even came with some new material on it, I guarantee you that would've made it more interesting to fans.
    patrick.m.quinn
    Absolutely!! I said that if that movie included 1 or 2 new songs, sort of the way S&M had Clover as a new track, it would have made tons more and gotten way more hype and interest.
    juzzadart
    Just get Lars to sell one of those child-like multimillion dollar paintings he collects, boom, done...
    Funnyname99
    Something to do with jamming out in Antarctica in a free gig, perhaps? Or at least, that kind of mentality. It might be better if they stop trying to be an entertainment corporation an go back to being a rock band, - or just chill out with the shitzillion dollars they've made.
    EnslaveTheWorld
    The Antarctica gig was sponsored by Coca Cola Zero. Just saying.
    Funnyname99
    'Sponsored' or 'paid for'???
    Raven_Flight
    Well... that's how sponsoring works. Coca Cola pays Metallica all or part of the costs and they get their product name all over everything related to that gig for publicity.
    Funnyname99
    I know what sponsoring means... But you reposed my question: Did they pay for 'all of it' or just contribute so that they could get in on the publicity? The costs to the band would be very different.
    Raven_Flight
    It's possible that only a part. I also think they lost money for that in the end, if that's what you want to hear. But as I said below, I don't think they are doing everything for money at this point in their career. They wanted to the first band to play in Antarctica, they wanted to make a movie, they wanted to collaborate with Lou Reed... all commercial failures but maybe they just honestly wanted it and they are not so hungry for money at this point in their career where they have their lives pretty much resolved financially.
    Funnyname99
    Agreed, they probably lost money... But I thought that's what they wanted to do... I thought they just did it for a laugh. Which is far more rock n roll than expecting to get corporate returns.
    Sebo
    They wanted to tour every continent. At this level in their career this is anyway a "minor" thing to do. They just did it to check that one of the list.
    chunkoffunk
    Call me Naive but I don't think making more money is they're main motivation, sure its good for them to make some money but they have enough to invest it elsewhere and make a lot more. They do what they want when they want because they can, and they think (sometimes misguided) its what the fans want too.
    SgtPegleg
    Just to see them on stage anymore is proof of this. They don't play with that same fierceness and fire that was there in the 80's and 90's, but it's not a bad thing. They actually look like they are truly having fun and happy to be on stage now. Do I think it's their BEST performance? No. I'm probably in the minority that thinks that part all came together and crescendoed in the late '90's post-Load, S&M, and Garage Inc. Watch Woodstock '99 and tell me different. However, even though The Unforgiven may lack that 1991 emotion when they play it live now, it still looks like the band truly enjoys being on stage. They are at a point in their career, that very rare point few bands ever get to, where they can do those things they want to do that make them creatively happy, even if there is a bit of a backlash or monetary loss. I don't understand why many still want them to act like they are still living the lives of 19 year olds.
    StevenPace
    I saw on U.G. somewhere that this guy's sister's auntie was making like $20156 a day from home. They should look into that. Between the four of them, they could make enough to do a Through the Never sequel in a little over a year.
    tonello
    If you look at their ages it's not hard to understand that they may be having a mid-life of sorts. Except instead of buying a sports car, they are going out and doing things like making a movie, jamming in Antarctica for free, or trying to do a festival like Orion. When you're one of the biggest bands of all time and money is feasibly not an issue, then it's easy to start blowing it on big projects and let the chips fall where they may. I think these guys are trying to do this kind of thing because realistically, there's a big chance Metallica won't be around in 10 years. The members have said that age is catching up to them, and, despite what the "br00talz" kids will say, they're playing very physical music. I have a feeling that they are making a last push for these projects.
    legendaryjj10
    Yeah. They are doing things most other bands/ artists could only ever dream of. Who cares if they are not hugely successful or profitable. When they look back 30 years from now I can imagine them going, "Fuck yeah!" even though it was seemingly pointless. Sometimes its alright to do stuff for shits and giggles.
    negativefx
    If I did the same damn job for 30+ years, I'd start looking for new projects as well.
    crazyhorse174
    This article seems to suggest that they're going to go bankrupt soon, but I doubt that'll happen. They're all still worth a good bit of cash. And I think that part of the problem with Through the Never was the price of a ticket to see it. I was going to go with the missus and a mate and it would've cost £45 for the 3 of us at a local cinema. If they'd kept it at the standard admission, I reckon they'd have made more from it. Also, surely bluray\DVD sales for it would've brought them back into the black? I thought it did quite well when it was released that way? I certainly bought it - it was pretty good too (not the disaster this article suggests) but only if you viewed it as a long music video\live gig, rather than as a feature film.
    Human371
    Orion fest was amazing. I was a volunteer, and a lot of the staff said Metallica was losing money to put it on, but they wanted to do it for the fans anyways. Good for them, I say!
    adambauman31
    Blame Napster. I think it's rather obvious their staff is too large and they need to downsize at this point.
    Shredder666
    You can knock Lulu, Through the Never, and all the other side ventures Metallica tried, but the fact that they continue to think outside the box and risk a) losing fans plus b) losing substantial amounts of money says a lot about their artistic character and suggests that they aren't only in it for the money.
    Funnyname99
    That's an interesting point; companies that are only in it for the money tend to play it safe and give the crowd just what they want. Though, on the other hand; They're certainly not "just in it for the music"
    Damaged Roses
    It actually says the exact opposite to me: how can they make more money without playing of releasing albums that much, because they don't seem to be that happy since many years ago.
    slipdisk
    how do you know they are not happy. and re-read the article - its bullsht
    MaggaraMarine
    Yeah. IMO releasing an album like Lulu is a sign of not really caring that much about money - they would have been stupid if they had expected Lulu to be a commercially successful album. Actually even releasing Load and Reload was a sign of that - they knew they were going to lose fans because of that.
    patrick.m.quinn
    Years ago I worked for an investment banking firm and just for giggles I put in Metallica's HQ address at the time to see if there was a business located there (database called Hoovers) and it came back as "We're In It For The Music, Inc". That's all I needed to see. Oh and their wealth is managed by Prudential Asset Management Group, one of the best in the world so yeah, they're protected.