Firing yet another salvo in the band’s long, simmering war against the internet, Metallica manger Peter Mensch took a recent interview opportunity to call YouTube “the devil” for its role in allowing people to listen to music for free. “If someone doesn’t do something about YouTube, we’re screwed,” Mensch—who also manages Muse and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and previously worked with AC/DC—told BBC Radio 4. “It’s over. Someone turn off the lights.” (Which would be bad, because Metallica is presumably still in favor of electric light.)
Mensch was specifically calling out the Google-owned streaming giant’s business model, which uses pre-video advertising to pay artists for plays of their songs. Mensch argues that this is basically unsustainable (and apparently Satanic), saying, “It’s hard to make people pay for what they’ve been getting for free. That’s consumer behavior 101.”
Unsurprisingly, the company’s CEO, Robert Kynci, disagreed, firing back that it was “middle-men,” not the streaming services, that are responsible for lackluster musical profits. “The artists who are signed up directly with YouTube are seeing great returns,” he said. “Not everybody—but if you’re generating a lot of viewership, you’re making a lot of money.” The company has claimed that it’s handed out $3 billion to record labels over the years.
For its own part, Metallica owns all the rights to its ten studio albums through its Blackened Recordings label. Mensch didn’t specifically cite the band’s own musical profits—or that of any of the other groups he manages—when he made his statement of Luciferic denunciation toward the site.