Metallica May Get Even More Creative With Pricing In The Near Future

May 30th, 2008 // 9 Comments

bangadrumgetiton.jpgA pair of questions: If you’re Edgar Bronfman, do you pay through the nose to keep Metallica, just to temporarily halt the parade of artists leaving the company? If you’re Metallica, do you sign the paper, cash the check, and stick it out with Warner’s sinking ship or go out on your own with crazed pricing and delusions of grandeur?

According to, Edgar Bronfman Jr., CEO of the Warner Music Group, of which Warner Bros. Records is a division, declined to comment on the status of contract negotiations with the band during a quarterly conference call earlier this month. The new Metallica album is the band’s last under its current contract with the label, which dates back to 1984 when the quartet first signed with Warner subsidiary Elektra Records.

Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich told us that finishing out its recording contract was a liberating experience for the band: “It’s awesome. I mean, to be out of your record contract, it’s exciting just because of, what are the new — and that’s not anything disrespectful about the great bunch of people up at Warner Bros. Records. But it’s just exciting to be able to communicate directly with your fans, and having the opportunities to do it, you know. I think that’s really exciting.”

Maybe the band will make money off the Mission: Metallica model now, but at some point, will the most crazed members of its fanbase tire of being milked for cash? Lars seems to have forgotten that the reason the band signed with Elektra ages ago wasn’t to connect with the fans, it was to get paid–and if no one’s willing to cough up cash for their new material, clearly the best place to be is at a major label.

Metallica’s Future With Warner Music Unclear [KBS]


  1. Whigged

    @Dan Gibson: “if no one’s willing to cough up cash for their new material, clearly the best place to be is at a major label.”

    Are you serious? I think that Trent especially proved that statement null. There will never, ever be “no one willing” to pay for the new Metallica stuff – they have some of the most dedicated fanboys in the biz, and more than enough of a base to prosper without a label.

  2. Dan Gibson

    @Whigged: Let the new record come out and we’ll see, eh? I think NIN is a little closer to their interesting/relevant era than Metallica, but the audience reaction to the new material will be the arbiter in the end.

  3. Whigged

    @Dan Gibson: Are you saying a new Pushead design – perhaps lithograph, with skulls and stuff wouldn’t be interesting/relevant?

  4. Dan Gibson

    @Whigged: You got me there.

  5. Anonymous

    C’mon, Metallica hasn’t been cool since 1992. In fact, they have become potentially the uncoolest band ever. I’d even argue that their only legitimate fanbase lies not in North America. No band, not even Jefferson Starship, has ever turned their backs on their original fans to the extent of which Metallica has. The real question on my mind is: Will Bonnaroo (with its jacked up ticket prices) survive the fallout? Anybody else remember the primary culprits in the initial Lollapalooza debacle… jacked up ticket prices and Metallica.
    On a side note…
    Dose history actually repeat itself?
    Is it better to burn out than to fade to black?

  6. Empire

    @CaptAbernathy: In what sense has Metallica turned their backs on their original fans? The only people I see with Metallica stickers on their pickup trucks these days are Metallica’s original fans: aging, underemployed heshers who kept listening to the band long after the rest of us graduated from high school.

  7. mhale0

    Argh, Metallica.
    They suck SO hard. Fuck. They’re awful. Go away.
    Ride the Lightning was good though.
    But man do they suck now.
    Hoo boy.
    Worse than Nickelback.

  8. Anonymous

    The ones who were there in the early 80s packing the clubs, bootlegging tapes, building the real goundswell, which got them in the position to land a big deal. Not that the music didn’t have anything to do with it (They were clearly bada*s and, maybe, still are.), but I recall a video where they talked about how important their fans were to them in the beginning: they were poor; the fans were poor; but both sides came together at any cost – beat back all the critics and the mainstream trends – and created an entity/Monster that was truly unique and powerful… yada… yada… yada

    I wasn’t around then (My first Metallica memory is their video for “One.”) but I think those fans have long since been alienated.

  9. unperson

    I was an original Metallica fan; owned Kill ‘Em All on Megaforce vinyl long before they signed to Elektra. I was alienated a long time ago, but it wasn’t because of ticket prices or offstage antics. It was purely based on the quality of the music – they haven’t written a good album since …And Justice For All.

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