Metallica Managers Defend Spotify

They predict that Metallica will earn more from streaming that traditional albums sales - just, not yet.

Ultimate Guitar

Metallica's management company Q Prime has defended their decision to put their album catalog on Spotify.

The move in December reportedly knocked down their album sales by 15% on their normal December sales figures on the week they were added to the streaming service, then 35% the following week, according to Billboard.

Cliff Burnstein from Q Prime said he expects the band to eventually make more money through streaming, even if traditional album sales completely stop, because musician royalties will rise as more people start to pay a subscription.

"There is a point at which there could be 100 percent cannibalization, and we would make more money through subscriptions services," Burnstein told the New York Times. "We calculate that point at approximately 20 million worldwide subscribers."

It's not clear when Spotify will reach the magic 20 million subscriber figure, but it has a long way to go.

Spotify already has 20 million people using the service across 17 countries, but only one quarter are currently paid subscribers. The rest are using a free tier, though it is expected to see faster growth as it expands into new countries.

Could Metallica's commitment to streaming be another sign that it will overtake regular CD revenue as it has in Europe for indie labels? Let us know what you think in the comments.

68 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Diony x
    If I could listen unlimited amount of music even with the free version of Spotify, I would still be buying CD's of my favourite bands, just because of the fact that CDs are the best way to listen to music!
    Good to have a physical copy init
    Having a physical copy is just great. Not only are you supporting the band, showing the love for it, but you are also acquiring a piece of history that you can take with you through life and maybe present for your children. At least that's how I think when I buy cds.
    "...maybe present for your children." Here is what I picture... "Listen here sonny, I used to listen to these guys back in my day" "No Dad they are lame."
    LOL i become a metallica fan when my dad started to play the black album CD. I thought it was all noisy at first. Then whenever i may roam started playing. xD
    I heard Kill 'em All at a friends house and hated it . Don't hate it anymore though.
    I usually try to buy an album if I end up listening to it a lot on spotify anyway. I think it does a better job at supporting the artist (they only get .4 cents per song listened to on spotify). Also I listened to the album "A Go Go" by John Scofield on Spotify for a long time, but when I got a cd, I could hear a difference in how it sounded. I'm on the free tier, so I think I get less sound quality than a premium subscriber, but for me Spotify is just a way to find and experiment with new music.
    I must be one of the only ones who doesn't care that much about "having a physical copy". I mainly get CDs because they're better quality than streams and it's just nice to support the band (seeing as streaming services give almost nothing).
    That's just not true and kinda sentimental. Just let go, embrace that CD's are on the way out. I know it's fashionable to pretend CDs are better and more accessible, but as soon as I buy one I upload it on to my computer then throw it to collect dust on a shelf. AND downloading, if paying of course, is usually a lot cheaper AND you can get any song for like 90p, rather than a pre-selected single or the entire album.
    I love Spotify and I'm planning on being a subscriber soon, so this is cool. Led Zeppelin was looking at putting their catalog on as well. Can't wait.
    Nero Galon
    Yeah can't wait for Led Zep on Spotify. I wish here on UG that them and many other bands are allowed in my country too.
    Zepp, AC/DC, Floyd, Tool, Beatles, Black Sabbath, King Crimson as well as Megadeth's KIMB (If you're gonna have an artist put all their stuido albums) they all need to be on spotify, except spotify wouldn't be allowed to play ads on pink floyd
    yeah, I saw that they only had one King Crimson song, and even that was an 'edit' version. My prog rock playlist feels incomplete
    Digital Music only? That's gonna suck! Oh well, it won't last long as the next thing that will happen is Skynet will become fully functional...
    How will that suck? You literally will have all music ever in less then a few seconds. For a small monthly charge I think that is pretty awesome.
    "There is a point at which there could be 100 percent cannibalization..." I either need to expand my vocabulary, or they need to fix a typo.
    I'd still buy a CD of my favorite artists. Phones and computers can fail at any given time.
    But... how will you listen to the CD?
    With a cd player obviously...if he has the cd then he will have a cd player....not everyone relies on laptops to do everything for them.
    I've lost my entire iTunes library 4 times because of computer crashes. But all my music is safe, because i have a large CD collection
    Why doesn't every CD, vinyl or memory stick just come with a digital code then you have both.
    Some vinyls do come with download codes, but why would you want a separate download for a CD or memory stick? They're already computer compatible.
    Spotify's coming to my country next month, I'll probably give it a go. Still, even if I become a paying subscriber on Spotify, I'll always prefer physical formats.
    When comparing to CD sales, the only way bands will make more money on streaming services (or at least sell as many albums) is if they are on ALL available streaming services. When actual albums are purchased it doesn't matter where you buy it, the band/label get a cut.
    there are more streams of revenue than pure CD Sales that you are not acknowledging. And as far as CDs go most bands make pennies per CD and have very large amounts of debt to the record label. Only Independent releases make money from CDs. The purpose of CDs is the distrabution of material to fuel merch and ticket sales.
    I like my physical albums with high bit rates. Spotify is nice for finding music but I don't use it for listening.
    Yeah, yeah. I'd rather just have the records myself, but heres the deal: companies like Spotify can help save the music industry by actually paying bands for their music, unlike "fans".
    The problem I've had with Spotify and other streaming services is the lack of transparency about how much they actually pay their artists. According to this article ( artists are getting paid something in the order of $0.00966947678815 per stream, which when you factor in the yearly cost of being available on those services, isn't a lot. If you like a band, as always, buy their CDs and merch!
    I totally agree. I still laugh at the fact that Metallica paid all that money to come after me and 335,434 other people for sharing their music on Napster. Metallica had our accounts closed so we all just signed up with new usernames and didn't miss a beat. It looked good on them. It showed they had dollars but no sense. Oh - and a hell of a lot of greed. The fact that they went after their own fans in an attempt to squeeze every penny out of their music left a sour taste in a lot of peoples' mouths. The notion that every download represented a lost sale was ludicrous. If that were in fact true, then most kids would have bought thousands of CD's and spent $100,000+ on their collections - duh! It's *always* been about money. Peace!
    I love people like you who think the fact that they went after people who ILLEGALLY were listening to their music was wrong.
    I think you *both* missed the point. I laugh at the fact that a band was so greedy and clueless that they spent a ton of money on legal fees etc to fight an imagined battle and have it result in no benefit to them at all. If anything, it alienated fans. Now that's funny. The lawyers laughed all the way to the bank.
    Then that wouldn't be greed, if the band gained no benefit financially, and lost fans in the end, that's the pursuit of justice, hardly greed. I mean everything I've read about it, Lars and the band's management knew they would come out financially worse off, yet still pursued it because what they were doing was illegal. The irony that Metallica built hype and fame because of the tape trading underground isn't lost on me, but coming out worse off and losing fans isn't greed.
    So I am to believe they were not motivated by money at all... lol. I also mentioned they were clueless (in that legal action and the technology in general). "Todays file-sharing community owes a debt of gratitude to Ulrich and Metallica, because without their efforts to destroy Napster there wouldnt have been the massive effort by others to create the many improved replacements available today." I'm going to leave it at that. Peace and rock on.
    And that they don't realize Metallica completely 180'd and Lars admitted he jumped without really looking into it, so to speak.
    All i see was money aswell, im big music fan, and ive been for many years. But you know, evolution is speeding up, why not let the internet be the internet it capeble of being. Share music, share your passion, and i have been to Metallica show, now that i could when i had money over, and not spending it all on cds. But hey i still buy vinyl, you know, for the real thing. -sgt pepper!
    Yes, because God forbid someone tries to make a living doing something they like doing... But hey, if you made money from music you'd give it all away, right? There's a fine line between being what you people call a "sellout" and simply getting paid for your job.
    They already make plenty of cash playing live shows. I mean, Alot of ruckning money
    Man now lars will never be able to buy that golden shark cadge with all of the money he is loosing from this. *south park rreference*
    The fact that you're supporting the band and the fact that you have actual physical evidence of your love for the band is amazing. You can't show your kids playlists from spotify, right?
    I think spotify is great. Especially since I can use it on my mobile. Got plenty of music on there to keep me entertained.
    hope spotify closes off certain artists on their free version. i'm a premium subscriber, but u can also be a unlimited subscriber which costs 50% less. spotify wont last very long if they dont make cut backs on the free service. and i want it last.
    Spotify has been around since 2008 and even earlier when in beta mode (I think). Besides, the big labels are shareholders.
    Spotify has been around since 2006, and launched publicly in 2008. They're system works for a reason.
    I subscribe to the premium version of spotify, and love it so far. The ability to carry that much music around on my ipod (after syncing of course) is invaluable to me. Even so, there are two or three bands that I feel strongly enough about to purchase physical copies of their music, or at least try to find a FLAC or similar uncompressed format because those are actually better quality than CD's and it all stays digital.
    Uhh, FLAC is the same quality as the CD.
    Depends on the FLAC. If it's exported directly from the mastering session you could get something like a 96kHz (among other settings) that is higher quality than a CD.
    And I'm sure that everyone's able to tell the difference, I'm pretty sure I'm not.
    True; but in common practice, above CD quality FLACs are the exception, not the norm.
    I.d rather have access to less music, forever, than have to subscribe to listen.
    am i just getting old but part of the joy of a band you love is in the whole package or work including the packaging ect. as well as having somrthing physical also you can sll a cd when you want and maybe recoup some moe/pass on the joy with a download you just delete it....
    Spotify allows you to lease the artist music, so I'd rather buy the album and own the music, Art, case and CD, instead of a subscription of files.
    I miss buying an album at a store and the clerk telling me, "Yeah man, this is their best album. You should also check out..."
    Yes, because God forbid someone tries to make a living doing something they like doing... But hey, if you made money from music you'd give it all away, right? There's a fine line between being what you people call a "sellout" and simply getting paid for your job. (EDIT: That was supposed to be toward a certain user but UG f*cked me over as always. Thanks.)