UG Readers React: Did iTunes Kill Music?

Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett said that digital services like iTunes and social networks killed music. UG readers had a broad reaction to the claim - what do you think?

Ultimate Guitar

Digital services like iTunes, streaming and social networks have destroyed music. That's the bold claim made by Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett this week. He said they were behind the demise of great music in a recent interview: "There haven't been a lot of really, really great bands that have shown that kind of promise, you know," the guitarist told R7. "I think it's a concern. Because of things like iTunes and streaming and social networking, it's destroyed music. It's destroyed the motivation to go out there and really make the best record possible. It's a shame." UG readers, as usual, have a strong opinion on this sort of thing. Here's what they said, with some really smart replaies to this nuanced topic: We love reading your comments, and read them all. Keep posting, and you might appear in a future "Ug Readers React..." post. i_am_metalhead: Kirk has lost his mind. murtoll: I'm sick of all these rock-dinosaurs saying this same sh-t. If you need millions of dollars as a motivation to make music you're not an artist. The age of the millionaire rock god has passed and only the truly passionate will remain. GeriatricNinja: Absolutely agree. The business model that made a lot of these artists rich is what's destroying music. Digital modelling and social networks make it possible for those of us who weren't born in the right place at the right time to put our own music out and get it heard, even if it is to a small audience. christianonbass: Great point. Some of us were dumb enough to practice 8 hours a day--thinking that talent would be enough for us to make a living playing music--instead of learning how to play Wall Street. Nowadays, at least, we can have our music heard by thousands. There is joy in that! bassthunder: What a bunch of cr-p. There was just as much garbage music "back in the day" as there is now. DickHardwood: I disagree. The whole internet and tech explosion thing made it easier for talented people to get global exposure without being in the US or the UK and needing to catch the eye of a label to make a name for themselves. Desenova913: I kinda get what Kirk's saying, I mean you can record something in your garage, then instantly post it online in whatever quality you want, but at the same time, the passionate do that same thing because of the internet's freedom and lack of limitation. It's a double edged sword and I doubt we'll find a good balance any time soon. And, in what could be the most down voted comment of recent memory at −303: gbrooks2: Load and Reload destroyed music. What's your view on digital services and the state of music today? Let us know what you think in the comments.

76 comments sorted by best / new / date

    "gbrooks2: Load and Reload destroyed music." LMAO, that comment was actually included in an UG article. Made my day.
    Nero Galon
    And this is why UG should not be treated as a credible source haha!
    it's a well known fact that gbrooks2 is Tim Larkin's twin-step brother, if you know what I mean. LOL
    Kirk claims streaming networks killed music, a few months after Metallica's entire back catalogue is made available on Spotify, whilst being wholly endorsed by Metallica. Hmm...
    Have you seen some kind of monster? Kirk doesn't get much input on what Metallica does as a brand.
    I tunes and social networks destroyed the music industry. Corrupt businesses and the man destroy music.
    Gaming killed music , developers are the new rock stars , people prefer to buy a game and download/stream music , not buy music and go through the hassle of ripping a game .Money goes for GTA5 NOT albums .
    I'm not calling you retarded but I'll allow you to assume as much. A cd's average price is 13.99 (that's between sale price and full blown rip off price of 19.99). A game is $59.99 and more often than albums, you have no idea how good it's going to be. I personally buy music and pirate games. If a game is great I'll buy it so that they make a sequel.
    Yup , but out in the world of non musician's , so much music has become background , not foreground , and being old I should have stated I meant 25 years ago when I bought Justice..... for £6.99 and games were not mainstream , hell that didn't start till the PS1 was a couple of years old , we were still lokead at as weirdo's for playing games , and back then I could buy a Les Paul for a couple of hundred quid . Back then the developers drove around in used Ford Fiestas , now they have the supercars !
    So is this a thing now, every week UG is gonna do this, if there isn't any music news to report on, you don't have to start making up new features just so you can fill the news section.
    We want to encourage comment and debate. There's plenty of news and this doesn't affect our other coverage in any way.
    Like people don't comment to begin with. This is stupid, what next, elders react to Metallica news? UG readers react to slenderman? UG Minecraft lets play? Might as well do anything that's popular on the internet.
    People need to learn the difference between killing MUSIC and the music INDUSTRY. Is a much wider distribution service than ever before bad for music? Hell no, don't be ridiculous.
    Kirk is a dumb****, music can't die. You can ruin the industry, but you can't stop people from making awesome music anyway.
    No, social media helped let ME decide what good music is. Better than some record company and a few talent scouts.
    I think it killed the concept of releasing an album, since you can simply buy single songs from a whole album, but it definitely didn't kill music.
    Um, when did music ever die? I listen to music for a combined 12 hours a day, approximately.
    Kirk Hammett destroyed music in the 1990's. They are afraid of internet downloading because we might accidently find BETTER bands, and we definitly have.
    I think that a man has an opinion and people hate him because of it. Sad.
    I don't see a lot of hate, a lot of bafflement but not many "I hate you your an awful person" comments. People just find it absurd that the music industry is trying to tell us that connectivity and sharing are bad in a cultural tradition that's been based on interconectivity and sharing as long as it's existed, musicians aren't in risk of running out of money in the long term, people will support what they love when they understand what's at stake. However the middlemen that where necessitated by the extreme cost of recording and promotion back in the day are losing relevance as these resources become more common and affordable. TL;DR: these comments remind me more of a "Really?!?" Segment on Saturday night live than the highly personal offended sensibilities that come up whenever Dave Mustaine is brought up.
    Anyone know of any GOOD metal sites? Watching UG become the music equivalent of the fine bros is just sickening.
    I disliked this article on the basis that having an article about user comments is ****ing stupid.
    So anyone who disagreed with Kirk was put up there. Good job UG. Way to be objectionable reporters.
    Who the hell agreed with him on this? Gene Simmons probably but i doubt anyone on this site does.
    I think he's right. Does media allow the good artists get discovered? Yes. But For every one good artist that's discovered, three bad ones are discovered to put out bad music that will sell lots (see City, Owl). I think that was what his point was.
    Musicians killed music. The downloading and streaming of music meant that consumers didn't have to buy a shitty album for just one or two good songs and a bunch of filler, but musicians refused to adjust their approach and continued to put out albums with a few radio-friendly tracks, and a bunch of drivel. TL;DR musicians continue to put out sub par albums, so consumers have leaned towards streaming and downloading.
    i don't think it destroyed music, but it probably hasn't done it a favor either, unless we're talking about stuff other than chart topping pop hits.
    It definitely didn't kill music, but it did kill that special feeling of saving up and going out and buying a disc, waiting in the car till you got home to play it, reading through the sleeve with a tooth comb, and then copying it onto tape to give to your mate. Its amazing music is so readily available now, it helps the little guy out who makes great music, but sadly a down side to it is that that special something that made going out and hunting through a record store disappear. We can't win, and you can't please everyone.
    what ever these guys blab on about reeks of a two digit only IQ, plus an opinion is just a opinion, not a empirical fact. who cares what kirk thinks about itunes and social networks. it's so pointless that i regret the time i spent writing this. thumb me down all you metallica lovers!
    I love Metallica but I love not being a delusional technophobe more, good thing they wrote all those songs early in their career about thinking for yourself and not blindly trusting authority figures. maybe it's all just a test of the will for their fans, or maybe a group of guys in their fifties doesn't hold the same anarchistic beliefs as they held when they where 20 something's but that's just ridiculous theory, we all know people we idolize are angels sent by god to be unchanging faces of perfection. Satan would like to apologize for Axyl Rose though, he thinks he went a bit overboard with that one.
    for anything to have 'killed' music, there is the implication that music is already dead, which, I would argue with confidence, it most definitely is not.
    iTunes and streaming have destroyed true audio quality in music, which weakens the listening experience. Whether or not it has damaged the music scene is hard to say. A lot more exposure for talented hard workers as well as useless no talent bums.
    1. Kirk's stupid 2. Articles based on user comments are stupid 3. You're stupid 4. Everything's stupid
    Steph :)
    I think that social media can be great an for artist's exposure, but it definitely impacts on their sales. Why buy a track when you can stream it? I think that it is definitely affecting musicians' profits, but at least they are promoting their songs; even if someone illegally downloads their music, they might be encouraged to attend a live gig and pay for that.
    its true but it benefits the people who want to buy music but from a musicians point of view i do agree
    The problem isn't social media. Maybe in the sense of decreased revenue but in terms of killing talent? No. What has really killed the true bands is record companies churning out over produced, poorly written drivel spewed from the mouths of prepubescent pretty boys and half naked teenage girls, and society eats it up. It's not about the music anymore it's about who can make a bigger spectacle of themselves. Granted there are some talented pop stars (see Lady Gaga) but overall it's all the same droning, sex-infused load of garbage.
    Life Wasted
    I agree with him. Why pay $5 a song when you can pay $5 for an album.
    Who the **** pays $5 for a song?.. And who the **** sells (unused) albums for $5? Bro, can you even money?
    Instead of popping of a rude comment, pause to think. Amazon regularly sells albums for $5. Before iTunes and other online retailers started selling their stuff cheaper, how many albums did you buy for $20? I know I bought lots, so I for one am appreciating what retailers are trying to do to make sales.
    Year Zero
    Kirks right look at record sales. Is there really inspiration for a artist to make amazing music that wont sale? It's their livelihood and we steal it everyday. You don't go into a art store and steal the artwork.
    It's been a long time since I've heard of copyright suits against people who copy and paste off google images that account for hypothetical lost sales in the thousands. You wouldn't classify an assault as murder because the persons death is still a possible outcome. There are shitheads who try to make a buck at these artists expense but I don't want to live I world where your shithead till proven reasonable. To anyone that tries to make money off these artists at there expense they already have professionals squeezing them for all they're worth so they don't really need your help that.