It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that music streaming services don’t generate high payouts for artists unless they receive millions and millions of streams. This topic has been widely debated over the past few years, and Kirk Hammett says Metallica tried to warn everyone about these platforms when they had problems with Napster in the early 2000s.
Metallica sued Napster in 2000 for copyright infringement – the digital service allowed anyone on the Internet to share and download music illegally. It was the first instance of an artist suing a peer-to-peer file-sharing company.
Metallica probably makes a decent amount of money from music streams, but artists who aren’t quite as massive – meaning the majority of those who have uploaded music to the platform – don’t do not.
According to Business Insider, leading Swedish streaming platform Spotify paid artists between $0.003 and $0.005 per stream in 2021, which means it takes around 250 streams to earn a dollar. The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple Music, Spotify’s main competitor, distributed $0.01 per stream in the same year.
“We warned everyone this was coming. We warned everyone that the music industry was going to lose eighty percent of its net worth, power and influence. When these monumental changes come , either you screw the cage and do nothing, or you move forward,” Hammett told Classic Rock.
“There’s definitely a new way to deliver music, but it’s not as efficient as the music industry was before Napster. But we’re stuck. There has to be some sort of midpoint where the two meet. join, or another completely new model comes along.”
One thing Hammett is optimistic about, however, is how many people have started playing guitar during the pandemic, which he says is important for the future of music.
“There is so much disorganization in the world right now, so much division. Music brings people together. Music organizes people and their thoughts. Maybe because there are more musicians, it will create a better future for everyone,” he added.
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