Industry Opinion: Lars Ulrich Was Right About Piracy

More than a decade after being slammed for fronting the anti-piracy movement, it's safe to say that Lars was right about piracy. Looking back, it's surprising how right he really was.

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With more than a decade past since Napster started to ravage the music industry, one thing is clearer than ever: Lars was right.

Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich was among the first artists to speak out against the new tide of digital piracy, but was slammed by observers who said he simply didn't understand how the internet could support a new musical revolution.

Indeed, the internet has levelled the playing field, and many unsigned artists have developed careers independent of record label support. But at the same time, it enabled piracy that has vastly reduced record industry revenues, and in turn, investment in new artists.

It started in April 2000, when Metallica filed a lawsuit against Napster for copyright infringement when the un-finished song "I Dissapear" ironically appeared online. Lars became the public face of the lawsuit, which was settled out of court.

Around the same time, Lars began appearing as an anti-piracy advocate on TV debates, like this one with Public Enemy's Chuck D:

YouTube preview picture

During the interview, Chuck D says "I think there's going to be more music sold than ever." In hindsight, he might disagree. Here's a graph showing music revenues between 1999 and 2009 (via The Trichordist).

Lars, on the other hand, comes across as prophetic.

One leading criticism of the music industry has been that it tried to sue peer-to-peer services rather than work with them, or even buy them out before piracy got out of hand. At the time, Lars came across as a figurehead for an industry that fans couldn't relate to, but now his opening statement looks level-headed and reasonable:

"What we're trying to do it say wait a minute, time out for a second, let's just sit down and deal with this, and try and get a public debate going on how to control this for the future."

He insisted it wasn't about the money, because their losses from piracy at the time were relatively small. "It's really about people's perception of the internet... what their rights are as a internet user and how it relates to intellectual property," he said.

Chuck D, on the other hand, was still smart about how the shift of control from the labels to the fans could be a good thing. He saw Napster as the "new radio" - a concept that has evolved to today's modern streaming services like Spotify and Rdio. The difference is, radio used to promote music but left listeners longing for control over when and where they could hear it. Now there's little reason to buy full albums when you can get individual tracks on demand for free or cheap.

Lars later came to regret being the face of the anti-piracy movement because of the hate it generated, but in 2010 he stood by his opinion:

"I think if anything we were just caught off guard by how passionate people were about this whole internet phenomenon at the time and it kind of blind-sided us, but we stood our ground and stuck with our principles and a lot of people now are patting us on the back and saying how right we were."

What do you think? Does Lars deserve more credit for his early observations? Let us know what you think in the comments.

239 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Darth Wader
    I like graphs
    lVlaniac
    Me too, but having studied them for a while there is a misleading visual representation that is designed to make you think that things are worst than they really are. By showing increments of 3 billions and only showing the highest point and having the 2009 point as the lowest value they are implying that they have lost everything. That graph would give you an entirely different vibe if they showed the data in increments of 1 million and they displayed it from the higest point to 0 dollars. You would see then that there is still plenty.
    zn-1
    So, loss in revenue is attributed to piracy and not all these shitty acts they invest in? Interesting..
    Shaggy91
    Totally agree. When you have one direction and beiber as pop music icons, we remind ourselves about the travesty that was pop in the late 90s. The problem is that you have an entire generation, or many generations that have completely lost interest in modern music as rock has gone nowhere in the past 10-15 years, metal is splintered into a million sub-genres on a million labels and most of us cling to our classics and see no reason to invest in what the labels pump out.
    Chronologo
    Specially since inside all that sub genres the bands are sounding the same a lot, you can hardly find that distinctive thing that each band had before and that despite being in the same genre as other you could clearly recognize them
    Zoltan1251
    loss in revenue is clearly due to switch from CD sales to digital singles sales..... they are just crying on the wrong place
    goremetal22
    So...did Metallica misspell "Disappear" or did UG???
    Darth Wader
    Definitely UG. They even have a typo on their advertisement on the homepage that says: Save up $500 to on your favorite Yamaha Guitar Gear...To on? Really?!?!
    bassplr19
    Let's not say anything about the artificially inflated price that record companies imposed on music: $16.99 for a CD in 2000 was obnoxious. They were a conglomerate monopoly. The music industry as a whole has been growing every year Worldwide Music Industry Revenues: 2006 ($60.7 billion) 2007 ($61.5 billion) 2008 ($62.6 billion) 2009 ($65.0 billion) 2010 ($66.4 billion) 2011 ($67.6 billion)
    Jehuty
    Wow. In my country we often have to pay around 17 euros for a newly released album. That's like 24-ish dollars. Anywho, I still like to buy music, but only if I like it. I mean, we can try on clothes before we buy it too right? If you then find you like it, you can buy it.
    Oddsbodkins
    interesting article, but no chance of a proper discussion on the issue while lots of people still care more about getting free stuff than about who's right or wrong.
    cyclonus
    On the other hand, it's also safe to say that Lars at the time knew nothing about internet piracy himself and was merely concerned about Metallica's songs being made available online for free without his consent
    sonofgkex
    Right, Metallica sucks and is all about money. example: 50 dollar crappy neck ties and Lulu. Moving on ...
    kartikc11
    wow, they make a dozen good records, and then people like you whine about one..
    lonelyguitar08
    One? Lulu was actually pretty god in my opinion. I on the other hand, like the rough produced sound. regardless of lulu, how do you explain load through saint anger?
    .:Blackened:.
    Well duh, of course he was right. The only people who thought otherwise were those who were butthurt when their "right" to have music for free was questioned and under threat.
    Metalladdict
    No. This thinking leads us into a world where you can do nothing, without violating someones rights somewhere. You can clearly see it on the patent wars, that are fought. And it leads to total surveillance of the people. Which informations people exchange is a private matter and neither the government, nor the industry has the right to interfere.
    I.shower.naked
    lol
    ridemylightning
    Once again...Metallica are ahead of their time real men lead the pack...in this case its metallica who lead years ago
    Wobbygong1979
    Piracy for money - copying stuff on the net to sell it - that's bad karma, but sharing is what gets people noticed... Where would artists like Ed Sheeran and PSY (I know.....lol) be without the internet? I can think of at least ten bands I wouldn't even have given a second thought if I hadn't heard them online, or on some bootleg download. But, if ya like it - GO OUT AND BUY IT!
    mecan1
    Don't reply to a post just to get yours on top, I know I'm doing the same and I'll probably get downvotes too, but seriously...
    Logan_B
    im not sure why this guy got downvoted so much. He has a point PSY really did make his comeback mainly b/c of Youtube it seems. I heard of the song when my buddies showed it to me when It had hit 130mill views. No idea what it's at now, but this was a month after it came out and now he's inked deals for North American distribution for the next...what? 6 years? Other than that, I also don't understand why this ARTICLE in general got downvoted b/c Lars was right, just look at what kind of sales gets a rock/metal etc band into the top 20 on billboard...like 70k sales. Hell I can remember when I bought my first CD (I bought Linkin Park's Meteora at the time, I was like 11.best album they ever made might I add!) and Im pretty sure back then they sold like over 800k copies apparently. Just think about that. Not saying I havent illegally downloaded in my youth (Im 19 right now) but sales are hurting. I try my best to support artists a lot and by singles on iTunes and albums and whatnot, something everyone should be doing right now. If you love the music you listen to, better F%^*ing support it! It's there because you are a fan and payed money to keep the dream alive
    guitar7masta
    The graph only accounts for full album sales, so what would those number look like if they factored in individual purchases and digital downloads as a whole? I have a feeling it wouldn't look as bleak as it does in that graph.
    MiG_853
    The graph shows revenue, not profits. The fact that they rake in less gross revenue, is partly due to the fact that the industry transited towards digital sales, which are cheaper for the customer, but also have less operational costs. So even if they make less per sale, it also costs them less to sell, so they're still turning a profit, and get to show nice graphs like that to make teenagers feel guilty about doing something that's totally legitimate. Listening to music.
    latinromans
    I checked out the stats and profits have consistently increased every year, the labels seem to have a pretty good hold on the situation.
    latinromans
    gearandguitars
    there's nothing there that's substantiated - it only refers to a source of "emarketer" and if you try to go find out you get a 404 error... http://www.emarketer.com/Report.aspx?cod... so I'll trust CNN and The New York Times - Thanks! http://www.emarketer.com/Report.aspx?cod... http://www.emarketer.com/Report.aspx?cod...
    MiG_853
    CNN and the NYT are owned by the same people that own the record companies. They have an agenda. That said, latinromans' sources were a bit weak. I wrote a 20 something page article about why current copyright laws are BS for law school, but it's in Portuguese so not much use here :/
    latinromans
    sorry about kinda spamming, it's just that I have very little faith in humanity's ability to read the objective facts of a situation without me shoving them in peoples faces repeatedly. I really need to work on my trust.
    GenerationKILL
    Lars was right. Nobody has the right to decide how someone else's intellectual property is distributed. Thats what Napster and other file sharing sites do, they "share" other people's stuff without permission from those people to do so. It has nothing to do with Lars' greed or money. He was trying to shed light on the very principle of unwarranted distribution. Perhaps how he went about doing it was wrong. But ask yourself this: How would YOU deal with a website distributing YOUR art or talent without YOUR permission? Artists and representation teams pay lawyers to make sure people don't traditionally rip artists off and share their stuff for free. Since the invention of file sharing, piracy has taken on a truly faceless and global force that traditional means are scrambling to try and deal with, like the guy from Guatemala said, this has now morphed into a class division problem in most areas, so there is no right or wrong, and blaming Lars and his greed isn't the bigger issue here.
    l0ld4v3
    So if I like your song, but Warner or VEVO or whatever the **** says that content is NOT available in my country, and I happen to LIKE that content but I can't have it, I'm supposed to just settle with that? pffffft, **** that. Artists can't decide where or how their merch is distributed unless they directly get involved in that, but otherwise they sell the right to do that to labels. If you don't want your art to be exposed to the world, then keep to your self, you can't control who does what where with your work once it's out on the world. Check the stories of Nobel or Oppenheimer.
    stoltobot
    Not just digital content but even merch! I tried to buy some merch online from an American band (which I might add are not the type who would even be struggling for the cash) that I like in Japan and I was told it is unavailable in my area. I have the same problem with music videos, TV shows, movies, video games, amplifiers, guitar accessories. Until this is fixed such companies and artists are missing out on cash from people like myself who will find other means to get what they want, buy a competing product, or forget they had the urge to part with their hard-earned money for it by the time it is officially available. Region-fixing of trade channels is no good for the consumer and encourages physical and digital piracy. Local distributors are outdated middle-men who jack up the price of what you want because it has the privilege of passing through their hands.
    IbanezJFS
    Look he IS right pirating music is indeed stealing but it's such an unsolvable problem. Because we are not going to stop technology just because musicians aren't making the kind of money they used to Bands are going to have to find away around it.
    Tones2
    When you are comparing REVENUES, you have to remember that before digital sales became prevalant, record compnaies had to send out physical CD's through a dustribution chain. that meand physical productions costs, distributoion costs and retailer costs added to the cost of the album. So they had to charge more, which increased their revenue. I'm wondering now about there actual PROFIT margin, which I bet has stayed consistent.
    latinromans
    http://www.grabstats.com/statmain.aspx?S... right on money, here they are
    j-e-f-f-e-r-s
    It really is hilarious how people still champion the idea that piracy and the general freedom of the internet will lead to the death of manufactured pop, and an explosion of 'real' music, when quite the opposite has happened. You know why that is? Because the less money a label has, the less likely they are to invest it in something risky and challenging. Ten years ago, when piracy was just starting to gain momentum, we had a whole host of bands in the public conscious. Guitar music, and music based off real instruments, was at a ten year high. Labels were happy to invest in bands and musicians. Now, music is dominated by the likes of Ke$ha, Lady GaGa and the debacle that is the X factor. All because as labels have started making less money, they've become far more risk averse. The likes of Nicki Minaj guarantee them an income, so of course they're going to go for those acts. If your business sales were going down amidst a rise in piracy, you'd be a bloody idiot not to go for those acts too.
    l0ld4v3
    But shitty music like that has always been around. Also, there are labels like Roadrunner that once held the glory in metal releases and has some really great bands on their roster, but they champion shitty deathcore or whatever new metal subgenre that's hot in the moment, and that's been going on for quite a while now. I also remember that around 2005 and 2006, MTV came out with that "battle for ozzfest" thing with some of the crappiest metalcore bands ever. There's a trend in the record business to push mediocre, easy access music, over more complex or elaborated music. It may have become more apparent with the appearance of piracy, but music labels had chosen their path at the moment they forgot about the end costumer, the real music adept, and focused on overnight sensations and one hit wonders.
    L2112Lif
    Lets wait till we're out of this economic downturn to compare revenues between 1999 and the current year, especially since entertainment and other 'non-essential' spending is the first to go, eh? That being said, Lars was right. The 'try before you buy' mentality doesn't fit in when pirating is a transfer of ownership. Streaming services limit a customer's exposure to a song until a purchase is made, pirating doesn't.
    Eugenious96
    Interestingly, around 2000 Auto-tune was just starting so I think that mainstream music took a fall because 10 years ago Metallica were the Kings. Now some little Beaver is at the top. And Lars is a man of principle which is admirable, given the infamy of metal-heads being likened to barbarians. (BTW huge Metallica fan and rookie guitarist)
    FearComplex
    Doh! Of course he was right. Only a pirate would argue otherwise. The problem is Metallica were the last band to speak on behalf of those suffering because of piracy.
    Tarsplitter
    Lars is always right.
    latinromans
    http://www.grabstats.com/statmain.aspx?S... heres the statistics on profits, read em and weap.
    Maiden95
    As much as people don't want to believe it, this article is spot on. Kudos UG
    luna_51
    I remember in the 90's as a kid I had a stereo with a tape recorder built in so I could "rip" the songs straight from the radio or cd. I also had a vcr that allowed me to "rip" movies and everything else off of my tv. Piracy is not new it has just evolved. The issue with the music industry is it just hasn't evolved with the technology and the users. They have followed the exact same ideas for a few decades now. Instead of suing and condemning their largest buyers perhaps they should look for a way to work WITH the piracy.
    scarabs
    Yeah but there was only ever a tiny fraction of all songs on the radio. Now you download the music catalogue of the entire world for free, it's not really the same. And then when friends ripped CDs to each other that still meant one of them had to buy the CD. Now no one does, everyone can get it for free. I agree though that the music industry hasn't done anything to prepare for it. But things like Spoifty are growing and I can see that being a decent enough solution. After what has happened over the last 10 years or so it wont ever be what it was but it might have finally found something which can help.
    redarno
    how is spotify a decent solution when the artist still gets nothing from sales?
    webber243
    Yeah and why dont Cadbury's and Nestle start working WITH shoplifters who knick theyre stuff?
    xplosive59
    You know why music revenue has gone down? It's not because of piracy, if piracy didn't happen there would be no drastic difference. The reason is that the average consumer doesn't buy albums, they just spend $0.99 on iTunes on a song they just heard on the radio instead of $10 on the album! If people had no choice but to buy the entire album instead of 1 track then there would be no drastic difference!
    rkdodz
    we all download albums. And I see the online-sharing thing as good and bad. Is bad for the artist because they lose money, and let's be clear about this: Artist make music to sell records.period. not to have them downloaded. music is made of hard work, it's a job. And is a good thing because I'm from Venezuela, and, without the sharing thing I wouldn't be able to find great music from almost every corner of the Earth and of course I support bands that I discover by either buying merch, vinyl or cds. that's it. bye. (sorry for my english, my language is Spanish but I think my point is clear)
    LyncRay
    I like that Chuck D sites Blockbuster as his example of a business that is thriving despite piracy.
    AARWave
    Funny how around here a comment which says "piracy is fine" like that get's a s***storm and thumbs down but once you camouflage it inside a longer blabber it's all accepted and liked.. Anyway, we gotta face it that never again there will be a year like 1987 when several million selling albums were made (Whitesnake 1987, GNR Appetite, Def Leppard Hysteria) because despite any Bieberlike fuzz and militant fans the people just won't buy so many albums because of the damn internet. The graph shows that it's not any rocket science, you just need to know how to count 1+1 and know that it isn't equal to 10+10 albums sold.
    ne14t
    That forecast graph is exactly that, it's a projection of how RIAA figured sales were going to drop, this isn't the actual number. RIAA simply guessed in 1999 that by 2009 profit margins would have dropped by that much, it doesn't mean they actually have. Best of all who would trust the numbers spat out by RIAA they will only benefit more if they slightly exaggerate on their losses.
    EclipseNine
    Has anyone considered that the music industry's decline is perhaps more a matter of product quality than a matter of consumer thievery. People don't buy full albums because musicians dont put out full albums. They put out a single song and iTunes encourages you purchase the same song six more times by disguising them with different titles.
    Vinson
    OR, the quality has dropped because of the ability for the internet to put up 100 sucky bands for each great band....something no record store could do. After wading through 80-90 crap bands, you get tired of looking and assume it's all crap.
    AcousticMetal99
    Depends what you're listening to. I can go on, say, YouTube and find a new band I like virtually any time I go on there. Sure, it might be 30 - 40 minutes before I find a set of songs I really like. Then again, I think that's worth it. I never have to wade through lots of bad bands.
    Vinson
    Look at the sorry state of music right now. This is a direct result of internet filesharing. Lars was right, and haters can't stand that! It will get worse. Bands won't be able to exist on record sales....without record sales, they don't build a following, so they don't have the ability to fill large venues...touring won't pay either. We will be left with the remains of what was a great music scene in old bands, and the pop flavor of the week will be pushed down our throats. Music will continue to migrate to being played by laptops instead of musicians....it's WAY easier to have the computer play the instruments, and then 1 guy gets the credit instead of 4-5. Tomorrows rock starts will still be working the local McDonalds. Thanx thieves!
    Shaggy91
    this is utterly moronic. Not even close to accurate. stop smoking weed, quit your job at McDonalds and move on dude. I dont download music but honestly most of the money made is in live performances...as it should be.
    ZILtoid_1991
    This! Also don't forget to take every oppourinity to climb up and don't sell your soul to a big record company. At them you probably get less than 10% of the income. I started to buy music recently, but mostly smaller bands. I can understand them, but I can't understand why terrible and (unfortunatlety) rich artist and their even richer managers and publishers cry because they lost an expensive sport car's price due to piracy (but already have 10 at least). And the poorer musicians sometimes can't even afford a normal equipment (I still struggle to get a normal guitar and money to leave my musically inactive town).
    Metalladdict
    The state of music is excellent. You are talking nonsense.
    goremetal22
    You can still build a following off of other things other than record sales. It's called touring, working your ass off to get noticed and become legitimate. Bands have been doing it for decades i.e. Kiss, who had mediocre record sales, but having a tremendous following due to their performances is what propelled them to success. Bands need to put more work in on the road, not just put out an album and watch the numbers...
    Irueludruel
    People have the right to try and make money as they please. You have no right to steal and justify it by telling them to do something else.
    himanshubhandoh
    Wow, what a load of crap. "Without record sales, bands don't build a following" - bull. With the internet, YOU can build a following. I don't think I even have the time to address the rest of your crappy points.
    Vinson
    When you are in a SEA of other bands on the internet, it doesn't matter if people can access your music....they simply won't find it in the first place. That was the one thing record labels did for us. Weeded through the lesser bands and promoted the better acts. Getting "noticed" only matter if the right people notice. Kiss had a following, but were dead BROKE until Alive came out. The record saved the band, NOT the touring. Supposing the premiss that "Most of the money should be made in live performances" Until you get enough of a following to fill a large venue (the biggest bar in town doesn't cut it) you have to be able to build a following before you get to where your touring. With the staggering number of acts alone on iTunes....you are a needle in a haystack. Your music is there, but not enough will find it to fill a large show. "With the internet YOU can build a following" ONLY if people can even find you. "Bands need to put more work in on the road, not just put out an album and watch the numbers..." WOW! Really? So the best acts need to live in a shit van on the road for a few years and then they are allowed to make money? Those "numbers" are paying for the tour, paying for a better show, paying the bands expenses so they can put in more work on the road. A Kiss show in '74 was NOTHING compared to a Kiss show in say 78' AFTER they started selling lots of records. Today after gazillions of record sales, they have their most extravagant shows ever!
    goremetal22
    And Alive was a huge success because their live shows had created so much buzz that people who had not been or could not go to a live Kiss concert could now hear what they were missing, which then led to their breakout success. And as for "best acts living in a shit van on the road for a few years, and then they are allowed to make money" uh, that's how bands did it in the good ol' days. You think Metallica drove around in a golden tourbus since the early 80s? No, they rode in rickety vans to different gigs until they were successful enough to get better luxuries. You sir, have no clue what you are talking about...
    Vinson
    That RECORD (edited heavily to sound way better than the show was) saved KISS. They toured and had a following, but couldn't pay their bills until that RECORD came out. No Kiss "Alive" record....likely no Kiss in 2 years.
    Vinson
    They played mostly locally UNTIL they got a record deal....THEN they toured the world. The other way around just doesn't work as well.
    goremetal22
    Btw, just so we're clear, I DO believe pirating music is stealing i'm just defending that bands can rely on other aspects with their music other than just having a hit record
    Wobbygong1979
    Two words, love him or hate him - Ed Sheeran. Raw talent, gritty, memorable, SELF-MADE. If this is what the decline of the music industry throws up, bring it on! (I was going to mention PSY, but.... )
    zippidyduda
    I can promise you The Weeknd makes better music on his laptop than most rock bands out there are currently making. Why do people hate on digitally produced music all the time? Do people think there is a "make a hit song" button on FL Studio or something?
    SFosterS
    I love the sense of entitlement. "They don't sell it here or it's hard to get and we can't afford it!" I'm sorry I didn't realize that one of your inalienable human rights was to hear the music you want!!! UGH! How can anyone argue this? Oh herp, bands get more publicity derp... Everyone makes a lot less money. PERIOD. We get less music and we all suffer. I personally look forward to the day that I CANT get music for free. Maybe we will actually see some improvement in what is being released and kids will grow up without the sense that they have a right to things they haven't earned.
    MadHaTT3R
    LMAO seriously? Do you even realize how many totally obscure and fantastically talented groups and individuals are now heard by millions, because of the Internet? How many would have never been given a chance by the record company execs? That worked hard on their own, with out 1000$ an hour producers and just the simple will to make music? Fact is, most "bands" today give their songs away and when they are touring people come and see em. Pay for tickets, pay for merch, pay for everything except the song on their MP3 player. Concert prices have skyrocketed, as has merchandise. So bands and artists with the REAL chops and REAL talent, are doing fine. Your "Kids today" nonsense, is just that.
    Vinson
    And "most bands" doing that go NOWHERE! Bands that had a following BEFORE all this are doing fine....newer bands....few and far between.
    IDREWTHIS!
    Im putting some money down for the new QOTSA album. I also bought the new How to Destroy Angels EP last week as well, and spent some cash for beatports 50% off sale. Capitalism is the real issue here, not the internet. Making as much cash as you can while cutting as much people out of the pieace of pie as you can has gotten the industry where it is now.
    bane720
    I disagree, bad music = bad music. There are a lot of bands out there that still make good music, they just don't happen to be the ones that are getting all of the hype. (i.e. Bieber, GaGa, etc.) I have recently ran across many good bands and have purchased most of their CDs including Texas Hippie Coalition, Alabama Thunderpussy, Who Cares (GREAT BAND), and Blackberry Smoke that I have "found" on the itnernet, not to mention I have just repurchased the Iron Maiden picture disc LPs although I currently own that material on CD and even cassette as well as mp3 on my computer. I think professional sports stars get paid too much money, and maybe "rock stars" do too. Seems when they get famous and filthy rich, they lose contact with fans and their music. All of the crap that they put out now that they are being told is going to be their "next big hit" by people who don't even listen to their music and only want the $$$ fails. Question, if Metallica put out another album as good as their first ones, would you buy it? I know I would. It's content, not how much it's hyped. I'm still a metal head at heart and in my day, that was a way of life, not a choice in music. And being rebellious didn't mean you cried in public. It's time for the bands to take back their music from being held hostage by the promoters. Walt Disney just doesn't know my taste.
    bane720
    And WTF happened to live concerts? Is it just me? Seems like there used to be a good show coming somewhere within driving distance at least every couple of months, now it's nobody, or they tour and have 4 U.S. dates. Really? Hard to pirate a live show and getting your ass kicked in person.
    MystikSpiral
    Totally agree with you! It used to be so easy to see good bands locally but now you have to hope that the band you want to see even comes within an hour from where you live.
    l0ld4v3
    There are bands that don't even know there's a world outside of America or Europe. Most of them realize what they have been missing out around the end of their hype (like korn coming to Guatemala without just 3 band members, or metallica charging from 50 to 200 bucks in a vastly poor country). Also, bands live off the fans, but hardly ever show interest in them, with some exceptions like Radiohead or NIN. Their demise is mostly their fault.
    pcb1992the2nd
    Yeah but Lars was't concerned about the industry going bust he just couldn't stand the thought of people downloading his music for free.
    lVlaniac
    I like that graph. It implies that 6.3 BILLION dollars is nothing compared to what they used to make. Also as Lars said on that video, its all about control. And they want to control how and what you listen, just like they had been doing since before Napster.
    fromzero
    First off captain busted logic, let's use your logic. Say you're making $14.60 an hour and you find prices inflating around you, yet 10 years later you're making $6.30 an hour, wouldn't you feel like you're making nothing? Sure its a lot less but that means that artists that were making pennies on each cd are making less pennies. What it really means that there are no more big budgets to record albums because there is no return. Who suffers in the end? I do. I enjoy a nicely mastered cd but look at music from 1999 and then 2009... It almost seems like a decline in music quality. Repeating chorus' to be as catchy as possible, bands are leaning toward the e.p. the album is a dying breed, double albums are dead. There are few bands making quality cd's other than Machine Head and Tool who are only making them every half decade because they have to tour for years to make that money back.
    lVlaniac
    1- I think the main problem here is that you are still stuck on the 1999 mentality. Sure CDs might be "dead" in the sense that you cant make 14 Billion dollars anymore but you need to realize that most of that money didnt went toward funding albums or anything like that, it went into advertising and overinflated salaries of the music excecutives or unrelated characters not related to the music making side of the buisness. About quality, of course its going down in the mainstream side. They are tying to get money out of it, they wont be taking any risks. If they can release 100 albums with the same 4 chords and different lyrics they will (most likely they already have) and to people with attention spans those albums will suck, but thats why you have the capacity to make choices. Its up to you to find something good and reward them for that.
    rebreh
    I agree 100%. Recording agencies, when not giving lavish bonuses to execs, would invest heavily in a few artists and ignore everyone else. A Nsync album brought in more revenue then say all of the grunge records. They would spend all the money on these pop stars because they could get a huge payday if they advertised them enough. Now, with the internet breaking up the monopoly on music there are no mega artists who can generate that cash so the industry was left with its pants hanging down.
    Somerandomguy95
    Agreed. Record labels are not even just advertising their artists for the sake of helping them, they are trying to line their own pockets. Whatever happened to the many old school labels, where they were just a platform for new bands to be heard?
    jpcl
    To make that money back? Music and Sports are already a type of career from which your professional life is basically is doing something fun, not that they don't feel stress and conflicts, but their job is still about entertainment, so in the end, they have a "cooler" job. Yet what I can't seem to fathom is the amount of bull going around about how we aren't making trillions, and instead only hundreds of billions, and how they have a better job, yet money is never enough. Since when is it fair that a musical artist or professional sports athlete can protest about how he's made less millions profit in his bank account, when people who studied (or not) have a harder job, yet can't complain about our mediocre wages and lives. There's obviously two types of human races on this planet, but no balance or true justice done. I hope Lars keeps complaining. His wealth is decreasing, and by this rate he won't manage buy a Ferrari every month or so. He's obviously more important then the rest of us. Some day they'll be controlling our robot guitars/basses/drums and will force a fee if you want to play their songs on your guitar.
    IrishConnor1994
    Big, high profile bands don't get as hurt by lower album sales, because they still have international tours, playing for thousands of people at a time. But if your a smaller band just starting out, its a lot harder now than in the 80s or 90s. You don't sell vary many albums because everyone downloads it free, and you can barely get your money back playing clubs and smaller venues.
    latinromans
    The main problem is that people don't drink at bars and clubs consistently enough anymore (well at least where I live) so they can't afford to hire as many musical acts for as good of wages as they could a couple decades back. My mom was in a band 20 years ago and they could make consistent living in an area that would be considered backwoods by american standards.
    C_Hart
    But if you look at it from another perspective, having music on piracy sites will often gain an artist popularity much faster than regular album sales and record label promotion, so small acts are able to reach larger audiences than they were previously able.
    Majinsharingan
    Funny story. You can buy individual songs now. You could not back then. Lots of people simply buy the songs they like off of Itunes. Also, with the prices of CDs becoming more and more expensive, no one is buying new CDs. They're all buying used ones. Same product, cheaper price, and no revenue goes to the bands.
    lefty311
    I've been paying the same price for CDs since 1999. Right around $12. CD prices haven't inflated in MANY years.
    IrishConnor1994
    The only CDs that are expensive are the ones that are older, and hard to find. Most albums cost about $15 though, which isn't that bad if you like the band
    Scorpyin
    here in kanadaaa its at least 20 bucks a cd, yes at hmv... and yes i understand, it costs so much to make cds (the universal defense) but nowadays i could easily go without the bands who have labels. it seems the talent is now in the underground, and the underground has never had money to begin with, so really, i dont see what everyone's worried about.... unless youll actually miss rihanna and about a million and one hip hop artists music. (i know i wont)
    rip3149
    You see that's the problem. Where prices of advertising and recording and producing and shipping have gone up to adjust for inflation the price of music itself hasn't. This is the biggest reason why they've lost so much revenue. If they adjusted with inflation they'd lose even more though. It's in a downward spiral and it's impossible to reverse. As long as piracy is as openly available as it is record companies can't raise prices because then less poeple will buy. If they lower their prices even more than more people may buy but it still won't offset the numbers lost via downloads.
    third(-)eye
    $12??? Yeah dude, I don't know where you're from, but I wanna live there.
    IrishConnor1994
    Try a store called HMV, most albums are 15, sometimes there are deals where you can get albums for 5, 8, or 10
    milliorn
    You could buy "singles" which feature usually 2-4 songs as far back as the vinyl days onward to now.
    withoutanyname
    I don't know where you're from, but CD's are really cheap now, 5$, 10$, and new releases under 15$ like 90% of the time.
    TuningGamer
    New CDs are 17 to 20 euros here, which is 22 to 25 dollars. Now I could always buy music digitally, but I want a hard copy and while I would pay a little more for that (say 12 euro's in stead of the 10 for digital albums), the prices as they are now are ridiculous.
    tonello
    CD's are becoming more expensive (not), because people aren't buying Cd's. And iTunes sucks, because the only songs most people hear are the ones that on the radio being bought, some bands' best songs are ones that weren't released as singles. A band or artist doesn't have to put any work into a song, because they will make their money off of one song, and live like kinds for the rest of their life.
    splogaton
    Dude, you could buy individual songs 50 years ago. On Vinyl records. What are you, like 12? Never heard of those before?
    Tobester95
    He's talking about album-only tracks, not singles. I think perhaps you should get your facts straight before making such obnoxious comments.
    Squidlyboy
    Are you suggesting people need millions of dollars to write a good song, that people will like? "Decline in music quality" isn't due to artists earning less. It's due to your tastes changing outside of what the mainstream has to offer.
    thf24
    You think that graph is all profit? It doesn't matter how much money you think it is. The point is that revenue has been cut in half without a corresponding cut in costs for the label (if anything, they've gone up). It doesn't matter who gets what or who's being "greedy" at the end of the day; what matters is that the labels' profit margins have drastically shrunk, and that's bad for everyone. Whether you think it's right or wrong, labels simply aren't going to take on more financial risk by taking chances on as many artists as they did before the Internet revolution, and they aren't going to throw as much support at their big names as they used to because the return isn't as great.
    kmitchell74
    SHARE THE MUSIC, SHARE THE FUCKING MUSIC! FUCK THE INDUSTRY, MONEY DOESN'T MATTER!!!!! MARX 4 PREZ!!!
    animemetalhead
    I'm not one to say that I get all my music by legitimate means, but I do wait as long as I can to get the physical album before I get just tracks. Times are hard for everyone though. Either drop the price of your ungodly expensive albums, or the music industry will suffer. I shouldn't have to drop the $20 I'm supposed to buy all my food on for the next month to buy an album with, what's the average number of songs on a Metallica album? 9 songs? Love the artists, even Metallica, but I mean, come on.
    MadHaTT3R
    What the internet really did, was put an end to 50 years of corporate "music" and gave rise to true, free flow of musical ideas. For Lars and the record companies, it was/is about sales. No more can bands like Metallica get by on industry backed propaganda and marketing, to create the sales of albums like "Black Album" without worrying about quality and substance. We can finally see the end of "bands for profit". The lack of sales, is a whine. More music is available to the consumer today, than ever before in history. International music is taking hold, obscure sounds are being heard and incorporated. The net has opened the Pandora's Box of sound, never to be shut again by the corporate "masters of puppets". I've always wondered what wonder Lars thought of tape sharing, back when they were nobodies with no deal and only one passing tape to another, got your name spread. Leading to a remarkable career. That without "piracy", would never have happened. Sucks for the corporate artist, indispensable for the unknown.
    bobmarley_fan
    I agree wholeheartedly. I have found MANY...MANY great artists from the internet. I collect vinyl and thank god a lot of bands that I like press their albums on vinyl now. Most of vinyl albums now come with download codes, and if they dont, I download the album so that I can have it to listen to in the car. I think pirating is a lot less rampant than what people think.
    Lansel0t
    The only real way to solve this is to create a system where EVERYONES work is shared online. "Here's that report you asked for boss" "I already downloaded that online. No pay for you" etc. Then we wait for society to crumble and rebuild from the ashes!
    bezumsteeltjuh
    good take the money away (not all but much), the people who care about music and are there too entertain will stay. ----- you dont need a contract to play music
    Metalladdict
    It is irrelevant, what the affects are. Exchanging informations is a basic human right and the ones who file laws against this right are criminals. If this right leads to problems for an industry, this industry has to adept. And it is possible adept.
    guitar7masta
    "Exchanging information"? That is a very stupid way to look at it. Of course this is UG so I should have expected to see someone justifying the stealing of intellectual property.
    lefty311
    100% agree. This isn't "exchanging information". It's theft, plain and simple. If you take something that someone else made without paying for it, well that's call stealing.
    JustStayDown90
    "Exchanging information is a basic human right" Please go ahead and share some nuclear codes with us then. It's our right to know.
    third(-)eye
    Incorrect. The music industry is dying because industries are spending money making $15 CD's when everyone just downloads the hit singles. The people using iTunes are far more numerous than the people using pirate bay.
    Irueludruel
    Untrue. Without the piracy the industry wouldn't need to adapt and settle for that.
    third(-)eye
    I believe they would; if they're going to be putting shitloads of money into making these plastic discs and people only want $1 a pop songs, there's going to be a problem.
    AcousticMetal99
    I agree. If I want a song, I want that song - not another 8 or 9 that sound okay, but don't really stand out to me. So I'd rather pay for a single song, and pay a fair amount for it, than for an entire album.
    cruechick
    Its not just illegal downloading. Its downloading period. Its destroying the entire industry. That and todays taste is just shit. Way too many second rate bands out there no one is getting behind one band to make them successful
    RJMHST
    Muse?
    Sloan7
    ^Is right, even their most recent one had some amazing sounds on it.
    LyncRay
    Muse is the kind of second rate band he was complaining about.
    third(-)eye
    While they might not be amazing, they are a good band. Too many people criticize them simply because they are popular.
    Sloan7
    Also rock and metal aren't about keeping up with whatever is popular music wise.
    SIEGE312
    I find it amazing that the music industry still manages to lose money. From an economic standpoint, the marginal rate or production for music consumption has been insanely reduced thanks to advances in technology ie Pro Tools. Tangible products ie CD's are no longer the primary revenue source, but the industry has yet to find or embrace suitable replacements as dictated by the market's behavior to satisfy the gaps in their profit loss. The industry as a whole are losing money because of how long it took them to adapt to the digital revolution and because they are still clinging to the idea of a small amount on the front end plus royalties keeping their artists happy. In a supersaturated advertising market and with less people listening to radio, this does not work. It's not the pirates that are killing the music industry, it's Youtube, it's Spotify, it's reduced payouts to the industry because there is such a wider use of the products. It's a lot of the free yet legal services that allow people to hear a song without paying for it. A growing portion of people are okay with not owning songs now. Many of us on this site are likely a minority because we like to own most of what we listen to/have a greater love of music than those that like that song they heard in that club somewhere. Downloaders, despite being a small minority are made the scapegoat here because the industry does not want to address the real problems at hand: that the relevance of their product is changing (note: not diminishing) and is not as profitable.
    Roopelatvalafan
    First: downloading music is NOT stealing - it is copying, fact! Second: Who cares about the industry? their only purpose is to earn money - they dont give shit about the actual quality of music, they just want to rip of the customers AND the artist - selling artists stuff and earning a shitload of cash without the artist hardly getting any is more stealing than piracy (which is not stealing at all) Third: using graphs/ data from the recording industry assosiation of america does not prove anything to anyone - if you search the internet, you can find lots of data saying differently - that the music industry has grown. Fourth: Music is not about money! it is about a passion for expressing yourself. Removing the whole capitalism part of music will improve the quality of music dramaticly!
    Vinson
    First Downloading for free (if the music was not offered by the artist/s for free) IS stealing...FACT Second. "The Industry" is what would traditionally pay for bands to tour, and helped bands they thought were good to get their music heard nationally/internationally on the radio. without the "industry" MOST of the biggest bands would not have been able to survive on music. Third....I'll give ya that one. Fourth. Amps cost money, Guitars cost money, mics cost money, PAs cost money, drums cost a shit ton of money, moving all that takes money (vehicles/gas). Most GOOD musicians have been practicing for over 5 years....many for decades. FOOD costs money! You want people to just come over and play for you for free? Why is making a living playing music seen as greedy, but defending stealing the results of someone elses work and investment seen as acceptable?!?!?!
    Roopelatvalafan
    Technicaly it is copying - and no different than listening to a song on the radio. "The industry" was that many years ago! These days they dont care about anything else than money (as the above article shows). Today it is easy for bands to be heard both nationally and internationally though media like youtube, steaming sites - and though torrent sites. And the torrent sites is just that - a media. Today musicians make money from touring mostly - the industry does NOT pay for that - bands do, but they get paid good money for playing live. They also earn money from mercandize (I'll admidt this one is pretty genre specific), but basicly that is how bands earn money today. And no i don't want people to come and play for free (although sometimes they do, and it is nice - i have seen Opeth live for free - and i have also payed to see them) But this is how you support an artist you like - buy their mercandize and see them live and maybe take a friend to a concert even. Many musicians (including me) have an education and a job - and then we make music beside that. That way you are also sure not to end up poor and with no education if your music carrier fail (which is does for so many people).
    third(-)eye
    It is different from listening to a song on the radio because you don't own a copy of every song on the radio, homemade or not. Radio is public broadcasting, not filesharing. The two are completely separate.
    L2112Lif
    No, "Copying", i.e. "Taping" A song from the radio is illegal for the exact same reason that pirating is illegal. You take a song where you don't have the right to listen to it on-demand and confer that right upon yourself. Simply because you haven't removed, destroyed, or otherwise rendered the original copy unusable doesn't mean you're not stealing. You're taking the right to use it and giving yourself that right without providing compensation. You might not be stealing the object, but you ARE stealing the rights to use the object.
    Scorpyin
    lol rights.. haha, kinda like how everyone has the 'right' to food and shelter, right? people are so goddamn brainwashed its sickening
    L2112Lif
    There's a difference between 'natural' rights and legal rights. As a population Humanity has learned pretty damn well to uphold the legal rights or else God will get angry.
    Wobbygong1979
    just as a matter of interest - what about streaming sites where you haven't 'provided compensation' but you may still play the song, on demand, as many times as you like?
    third(-)eye
    Downloading for free IS stealing, however, you are correct that its not what's killing the industry.
    milliorn
    Many bands have some form of endorsement which gives them cut rate if not free equipment in return they play and display that equipment on tour, studios, interviews, etc.
    LyncRay
    Bands that play for free are either unknown and looking for publicity or playing to raise money for a cause. Almost always at a free concert, the promoter is paying the band. Downloading music for free is a violation of the copyright laws and is stealing.Just because you don't have to hack the bands website to get the music doesn't mean you're not any less a thief.
    Scorpyin
    oh NO! people who made too much money to begin with won't have the opportunity to make enough to fly in a private jet anymore? seriously, if your in the music business to make money then get OUT, because we dont need anymore lazy cash grabs in art, thank you very much. if youre in the music business to make money, here's a thought... get an actual job. with technology today there is no music industry, all the music you hear is the same music i can make with fruity loops in 5 (maybe 10) minutes. I don't understand why people would beleive things should be otherwise, when you stop offereing real music (ie led zepplin, sabbath, metallica) and start offering the pop thats available today (gundam style, are you kidding me?!) then you don't deserve to make any money anyways!