It might be almost two decades since Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich led the campaign against digital piracy, but it appears the effects of the infamous Napster lawsuit are still on the minds of many in the music industry, with former Queensrÿche singer Geoff Tate praising Ulrich’s actions back in the day.
In a recent interview with Rock Titan (via Blabbermouth), Geoff Tate was asked about the music industry, and what advice he would give to his younger self if he had the chance.
“I would have gotten some sort of business education. I’ve really been – how do I put it – I don’t know anything about business,” Tate explained. “I’ve had some pretty tough situations arise from twice record companies going out of business just right after they release a record, with no record company support, no nothing – the record just doesn’t sell. Twice that’s happened to me.”
“I’ve had managers embezzle millions of dollars from the band – just all kinds of horror stories. I would have taken some sort of business education early on,” he continued. “I’m not complaining – I mean, I’ve had a really good and great life and I’m very happy – but it’s been trying at times. But I guess that’s part of what makes life interesting too.”
Soon though, their conversation turned towards the topic of diminishing album sales, a topic that Geoff Tate was all too keen to discuss.
“At some point, in the ’90s, I’m thinking that, from my memory, collectively the world just decided that music should be free and people just started taking it. And nobody did anything about it,” Tate explained.
“Now, what if we do that today – we all decide, ‘Hey, automobiles should be free. Let’s just all take them and see what happens.’ Interesting social experiment, huh? Or how about groceries? Go to the grocery store and fill up your cart and walk away. See who stops you.”
Tate soon turned his attention to Lars Ulrich, discussing the Metallica drummer’s decision to sue file-sharing service Napster after an incomplete version of the band’s song ‘I Disappear’ was found on the service in early 2000.
“Hats off to him for standing up and saying what he felt, ’cause he was right,” Tate stated. “I challenge anybody to suffer an 85% loss in their income, like musicians did – people that wrote music, that wrote songs. 85% loss in income – that’s staggering.”
Geoff Tate’s comments come only a month after Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammet maintained the group were still right to do what they did by standing up to file-sharing services like Napster, even if it did cause some of their fans to formulate a negative opinion of the band.
“The whole Napster thing definitely… it didn’t do us any favors whatsoever,” Hammet explained toSweden’s Nyhetsmorgon last month. “But you know what? We’re still in the right on that — we’re still right about Napster, no matter who’s out there who’s saying, ‘Metallica was wrong.’”
“All you have to do is look at the state of the music industry, and that kind of explains the whole situation right there,” he continued. “There was a time when the streaming thing was kind of weird, and it’s not that great of quality. I don’t care what anyone says about modern streaming and whatnot, and all these bits and whatnot, it’s never gonna sound better than vinyl.”
“Having said that, we want to be accessible, and you need to make sure that you’re accessible on all the modern fronts.”