11 May 2008

Metallica's Mission: Take Your Money

I've been a Metallica fan for a long time now, just a bit longer than NIN. I've seen them 5 times, in three different provinces and one U.S. state, in the span of just over a year. I was a member of their fan club for 5 years.

Today, I shake my head in disgust.

After working on their newest album since late 2005, prompting no shortage of jokes and comparisons to one Axl Rose, they're announcing their brand new plan to distribute the album and generate some excitement. After listening to Lars say that they've been keeping an eye on what Trent and Radiohead have been doing, I had some hope for something very interesting and forward-looking.

Instead, I see that they're still firmly rooted in the corporate world of the music industry and bound to their corporate masters at Warner.

Work on the album is supposedly done--or will be soon--yet the album will not be out until September, leaving a nice 4-month build-up and promotional campaign spearheaded by the new Mission: Metallica website. To little surprise, they're going to charge you quite a fair amount for the privelige of looking at this website. For a little historical context, in the months leading up to the release of St. Anger, Metallica had a website called Jump In The Studio, featuring videos, photos, and commentary on the band's progress. They even threw in the odd listen to some new material. It was all free. Now...

$25 will get you access to the website and a 320kps download of the album when it comes out, 4 months now.
$35 will get you that plus the CD, 5 months from now (they're notorious for using the cheapest shipping methods possible).
$99 will get you that plus a 5LP vinyl set (international buyers beware!).

Now, I realize that Trent didn't give us a months-long campaign of insights and babbling for Ghosts I-IV or The Slip, but seriously, $25?! And you don't even get the option of a lossless download. I am so utterly disappointed in this concept. I didn't renew my fan club membership this year because, for my $60, I wasn't getting the access to the band and the recording process that I felt should have been provided for that premium. Now they're asking people to pony up even more cash to look at stuff that will be on YouTube within hours.

I'd like to think that this is something Warner is imposing on them. I'd like to think that they feel some guilt over bending over loyal fans who have stuck with them for many lean years.

But I don't.

What I think this is is a cold cash grab to recoup costs because it's taken them nearly 3 years to put together this album.

And that sickens me.


Nick said...

Metclub Members get the Platinum version for free. And, to my knowledge, there will be 2 versions available: the normal, free version, and the upgradeable Platinum version.

RGM said...

Hi Nick,
Thanks for the post. I see that they've done some adjusting since the initial "leak" of the pay-for-use format, allowing for a considerable amount of free content. That is a good thing. When you break down the costs, assuming that the album does drop in September, it will work out to about $8/month to get all the premium website content as well as have the physical CD delivered to your door. In all, I'm happier about it today than I was after the initial leak. Who knows, I may even end up giving them my money for it.