Apparently the only thing anyone asks musicians about anymore is streaming. Thanks, Apple. Anyway, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich has now been asked, and he’s dutifully given his opinion as well: He likes it! Because unlike the original Napster, which Ulrich notoriously campaigned against, Ulrich makes money off of streaming.
In an interview with BBC World Service (via NME), Ulrich was very optimistic about the fact that streaming pays artists — no matter how small that amount might be — even though he knows it benefits big name musicians more than others:
I believe streaming is good for music. People sit there and go, ‘I’m not getting paid very much for streaming’ but streaming is a choice on all fronts. It’s a choice for the fan to be part of… it’s a choice for the artists who are involved in making their music available on streaming services. It’s a choice by the record companies that represent the artist… 15 years ago those choices didn’t exist. Streaming probably does benefit artists with higher profiles, yes. A lot of these playlists that are being made available for people in the streaming service, they seem to feature higher profile artists and that just seems to be the way it’s sort of playing out right now.
Perhaps the reason Ulrich isn’t as worried about these lower-profile artists getting paid is because they’re mostly copying the greats anyway:
One of the main reasons I connect less with new music in my life now is because there’s less great new music to connect with. I mean a lot of the stuff that’s been played is just regurgitated, this year’s flavor, this thing, but it’s not people on the leading edge like The Beatles or the Miles Davises or the Jimi Hendrixes taking us all by the hand into these completely unknown, unchartered musical territories.
He’s also a big Apple fan! He said he owns 37 Apple products (!!) and that working with the company is a no-brainer. Spotify is great too, says Lars:
We’ve been in a relationship with Daniel Ek and Spotify for a few years, which has been very rewarding. He’s a smart guy and getting our music out, we try to align ourselves with the people who are smartest. You can tell a lot about the companies by the people who run them. With Daniel, he’s very passionate about music so you feel safe with him. Same with Eddy Cue and the people who run the music over at Apple; they’re very passionate about artists and music and so on, so you feel like there’s safe relationships to be in.