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Metallica Was Right About Napster Says Mastodon Star

07-26-2018
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Mastodon

Mastodon guitarist Bill Kelliher says that be believes Metallica was right to take on Napster in the legendary band's infamous legal battle over illegal song downloading.

Kelliher discussed the move during an interview with Let There Be Talk when the topic came to a new law the will regulate how artists are paid by online music services.

He said (via UG), "I was one of the few people [back in the day] that actually publicly said, 'I agree with Lars Ulrich. I think he's got balls to actually stand up to Napster.' Do I agree with arresting everyone who's illegally downloading? No. It's the same as like, legalizing marijuana. If 50 million people are smoking it, you're not gonna arrest everybody. Just make it legal.

"So with illegal downloading, the way I look at it is: Everyone's like, 'These rock stars, they make enough money, I can just illegally download a couple of songs here and there.'

"But if millions of people start doing that, it kills the record industry. And to me, the record industry, the record companies, should have foreseen this coming in the future and prepared for it.

"They should have done something about it, but they really didn't. Basically what they did was they sold the masters of all the bands that they have to a computer company - Apple. And it took Apple to say, 'Yes, sell us all your music rights and then we'll just figure out a way to sell it to people.' That's the record company's job, not Apple's.

"So now Apple and Spotify - who are brilliant businessmen, of course... But, who gets hurt in the end is the artist. Because we aren't getting the fair pay. We're not getting any pay for these streams.

"Let me just make sure I say this correctly: Apple and Spotify and Pandora - all these streaming music sites, I think are great. They're amazing. I use Spotify all the time. It's so simple, it's so easy, it's a no-brainer, you can download as much music as you want on your phone and listen to it anywhere.

"But the problem is that there hasn't been any legislature to compensate the artist since 1972. That's why myself and Brann Dailor, our drummer, being members of The Recording Academy and The Grammy Academy - we were asked to Capitol Hill and lobby for the MMA, which is the Music Modernization Act. We just did that a couple of months ago and it passed unanimously."

He was asked "they're gonna retool how to get paid in the digital world?" and he responded, "Yeah. They're just gonna retool it. Because there's nothing on paper that says, 'Hey, we have to pay you any amount of money.' I mean, there's royalties on records and physical copies and stuff, but they haven't changed the law since 1972.

"And we all know back in 1972 people were buying 8-tracks, cassettes, reel-to-reel... They didn't foresee that music will be streaming through the air and you would just pay a monthly fee and be able to download thousands and thousands of songs.

"We're not asking for a lot, we're just asking it to be fair. We're saying, 'We just want some of that money that should be going to the artist.'"Because in my opinion: if this continues, the artist is gonna disappear. Because we cannot afford to go out here-- There's so many people behind those songs you hear on the radio. I can only speak for my genre and the people who know how we do it." Read more here


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