Metallica's Kirk Hammett Reflects On Infamous Napster Battle
Metallica lead guitarist Kirk Hammett recently reflected on the band's controversial legal battle against the file sharing company Napster twenty years ago.
The band took the legal action against the company in 2000 after they discovered their music was being illegally traded by users of the service. Hammett was asked about the move during an appearance on the Let There Be Rock podcast.
He said, "The amazing thing now is back then, people were saying, '20 years from now, we're gonna look back and say, 'Goddamn it! We did the right thing.' But when people were saying back then we were actually gonna make a difference? We didn't make a difference, we did not make a difference. It happened. And we couldn't stop it, because it was just bigger than any of us, this trend that happened that f***ing sunk the f***ing music industry.
"There was no way that we could stop it. It was a perfectly human thing that just happened. And what had happened was all of a sudden, it was just more convenient to get music and it was less convenient to pay for it. And there you have it.
"For me, it was kind of a leveling factor. All of a sudden, all of us were brought back to the minstrel age now where musicians' only source of income is actually playing. And it's like that nowadays, except that a lot of these bands [chuckles] aren't really playing; they're pressing 'play' or something. But there are a lot of bands who actually f***ing play their instruments and have to play to still be a band and still f***ing survive. And that's cool, because it really separates who wants to do this and who is just here for the f***ing pose. ... You'll see who's passionate about it and who's really into it for the art of it, and then you'll see who's not so passionate about it and into the commerce of it.
"Maybe things might change. Maybe all of a sudden people will just start to prefer CDs or whatever format as to what's available now. Who's to say? I mean, it changed all so quickly back then; it could f***ing change just as quickly now."