Kirk Hammett: Metallica Warned People That Streaming Wouldn’t Work

"We warned everyone that the music industry was gonna lose 80 percent of its net worth, power and influence"

kirk hammett metallica streaming
Metallica (photo by Raymond Ahner)

    Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett discussed the band’s infamous legal dispute with Napster in a new interview. Though Metallica caught a lot of flak at the time, Hammett said it served as a warning that the music industry would lose power and influence.

    “We warned everyone that this was gonna happen,” Hammett told Classic Rock. “We warned everyone that the music industry was gonna lose 80 percent of its net worth, power and influence. When these monumental shifts come you just either f**king rattle the cage and get nothing done or you move forward.”

    At the time, Metallica’s crusade against Napster was greeted with hostility from pundits and music fans. The unauthorized file-sharing of MP3s would eventually give way to proper streaming services such as Spotify that have been criticized for absorbing profits from artists by offering paltry royalty rates.


    “There’s definitely a new way for getting music out there, but it isn’t as effective as the music industry pre-Napster,” Hammett said. “But we’re stuck with it. There needs to be some sort of midway point where the two come together, or another completely new model comes in.”

    While Hammett sympathized with younger acts who aren’t experiencing the massive album sales that artists achieved in the past, he did speak of a positive musical development that has cropped up during the pandemic.

    “It is harder for these younger bands to get their music out there,” he said. “I’ll tell you one thing: because of COVID there’s upwards of half a billion new guitar players in the world, bro. That bodes very well for the future of music. It was inspirational for me just knowing there’s gonna be that many more musicians in the world trying to make great music.”


    Hammett recently added his own name to streaming services with the release of his debut solo EP Portals. The instrumental collection sees the guitarist embracing classical and prog elements, as well as traditional heavy metal arrangements, and can be purchased on vinyl via Amazon.

    The guitarist is also playing a number of shows with Metallica this year.  After kicking off a European tour later this month, they’ll return to the States for a gig at Lollapalooza in Chicago on July 28th, along with headlining shows in Buffalo, New York, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in August. Pick up tickets to Metallica’s upcoming concerts via Ticketmaster.