Lars Was First And Lars Was Right

Charlie Rose featured guests Lars Ulrich of Metallica and Chuck D from Public Enemy in 2000 to discuss Napster, the internet and the future of the music industry. In stunning clarity, Lars saw the grim future that would disenfranchise millions of artists, musicians, photographers, authors, writers and other creators who would have their living illegally appropriated by internet robber barons.

“if the record labels are not making the money, than the internet companies will be, and if they are not paying the artists, they are profiting illegally.” -Lars Ulrich

Nearly thirteen years later every statement Lars made in this interview has come to pass as truth. The new gatekeepers of the internet profit from the illegal distribution of  artists’ work while paying the artists nothing, nadda, zero, zip.

Meanwhile Chuck D’s prediction definitely did not come true:

“I think there’s going to be more music sold than ever,” – Chuck D May 2000 Washington DC

But Lars is still treated like a pariah.  Especially by those in the tech blogosphere who were wrong then and continue to be wrong now!

CNN: Music’s lost decade: Sales cut in half

And despite the predictions of legions of corporate false prophets there has been no emergence of a new independent professional middle class of musicians. In fact, the complete opposite has happened, there are 45% less professional musicians (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics) from 20022011.

Lars was right on the money, literally.

This was never about art, music or freedom.  It is simply a new set of even more ruthless artist-exploiting corporations taking over for the old ones. For example,  in the image below Jeep is advertising on one of the top known pirate sites 4Shared via Google’s Doubleclick ad network. Google alone is estimated to make almost $35 billion dollars annually,  95% of that revenue coming from it’s advertising sales. Google is not sharing ANY of this money with artists that it is exploiting. At least in the 1950’s music business you got a Cadillac every once in a while.

As Lars predicted The New Boss is Worse Than The Old Boss.

6 thoughts on “Lars Was First And Lars Was Right

  1. The irony that this guy is from a band called Public Enemy is palpable. Let’s cut through the BS, without great music, these pirate sites would be dead, while this new world of hobbyist musicians somehow feel they are on even footing with these guys. These are the people who are so vocal about this, not someone who is actually making a living from their art.

    Thank you Lars for stepping up and stepping out, when no one else would.

    Early in this battle a young musician took a hardline stance against the illegal downloading of music. His name was Lars Ulrich, the band was Metallica. The response from the illegal community was so vitriolic and mean spirited against this successful (read wealthy) artist that it is still burnished into people’s memory, especially musicians.

    It is as if we’re Roman times and they stuck Lars head on a post just outside the LA City Limits with a sign that says “if you speak out for your rights, this is what’s going to happen to you”. And damn if they haven’t been successful for TEN YEARS. I say, high time we took poor Lars’ head down and replaced it with Kim Dotcom.

    If I’ve learned anything about this conflict, it is about the fear of recrimination that has kept the artist community eerily silent about their own survival for so long.

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