This is just too much. Metallica can’t not cause an uproar when it comes to filesharing. A Swedish writer wrote on their new album Death Magnetic, but he downloaded an altered version by someone who had decided to pick his favourite parts of the album and condense it to make it more “listenable.” Fair enough. However, the band canceled an interview with the paper as a result, and a Unversal Music representative had this to say:
The reviewer is referring to a BitTorrent where someone has altered the original songs. The reviewer explains exactly where one should go in order to download the file that totally infringes on a copyright. It’s not only an illegal file, but an altered file. The reviewer also writes that this is how the album should have sounded. File-sharing of music is illegal. Period. There’s nothing to discuss.
The best part here is that the label is clearly more upset about the “downloading” part than they are about the “music” part. I think it clearly demonstrates where the priorities of major labels lie. The lesser of the evils is clearly the fan’s alteration of the music. I can see how this might annoy an artist, especially when the review is ostensibly of their work, and not the work of the person who remixed it. However, it’s also cool that people are out there reconfiguring music, as they have always done. The real offense is that the reviewer used a downloaded copy and not the “official” (read: paid for) release, and then pointed to a site where anyone else could download it. There is, in fact, something to discuss: a really interesting debate could have been had if Universal’s beef was with the aesthetics of the remix. It would be interesting to know if the band has heard it too, especially given the grief that they’ve been getting over what appears to be a pretty poor mastering job. No, instead Universal kicks up a stink over how the album was obtained rather than addressing what appears to be the more important issue, how the music sounds. Because the fan’s motivation to remix was rotted in a dislike for certain parts of the recording, not only in a desire to reconfigure and make something new out of it. The comment accompanying the torrent says it all: “an awesome re-cut of the new album – all of the dumb parts have been taken out. all of the thrash has been left in.”
I’ve heard the album, and I quite like it. I agree it’s a “return to form” of sorts – at least there’s more guitar solos!