During an appearance on the latest episode of the "SmartLess" podcast with hosts Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes and Will Arnett, METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich spoke about the changes in the music industry that he and his bandmates have had to contend with over the last four decades. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Well, obviously it's changed quite a bit. And in your guys' industry, some of the same things that we were dealing with 20 years ago are happening. Big picture, and I know this may sound like a little bit of a cop-out, I'm just happy that fucking anybody cares about what we're doing and shows up to see us play and still stream or buy or steal our records or whatever. The engagement itself, I think, is the triumph and the victory. Obviously, it's way, way harder for a lot of the younger bands nowadays because they don't get the support of the record companies for basic things — just like gear and tour support. So there is very much of a different thing."
Lars continued: "Talent, good songwriting eventually will find a home with a larger group of people. And whether you do it from your bedroom or through a record company or whatever, I believe that everybody will be heard eventually if they're talented. But it is tough. It's tough for a lot of the younger bands out there and for a lot of the… The bands that 20 years ago could make a living playing clubs or theaters are having a harder time now because they don't sell as many records and you really have to be out there and pushing it."
Regarding how METALLICA goes about making its music available to the masses nowadays, Lars said: "The key thing as an artist… I think when you write songs, and it's the same with you guys, you wanna start a conversation, you want people to engage, you want people to hear your music. How they hear it, I guess, eventually becomes second tier. And you understand that it's a changed model than it was 25 years ago, 50 years ago, or whatever.
"I think that in our band, we just love writing songs and we love making records and we love the creative process, and that's... There are a lot of bands that have been around as long as we have that simply don't wanna make records anymore because it either doesn't work for them or the business model of it doesn't work for them," he continued. "And I can't speak for everybody else. We love writing songs. Being creative is a significant part of who we are. And it gives us a chance to… What makes us stay functioning is that we go from writing to recording to playing gigs to writing to home. We're always changing up what we're doing so we never get stuck in the sameness over and over. So we're not always on the road, we're not always in the studio, we're not always taking our kids to school or whatever. We're not always doing the same thing, so you have to kind of keep just breaking it up and changing what you're doing.
"Obviously I understand that we're exceptionally fortunate, but our success gives us the opportunity to sort of do all that," Ulrich added. "But if somebody said, 'You can't write or make records anymore,' we would probably stop what we're doing because it's such an essential part of just our existence as people."
METALLICA completed the first North American swing of "M72" world tour September 9 in Glendale, Arizona. The band will make a headlining appearance October 8 at Power Trip at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, before "M72" resumes with its next "No Repeat Weekend" taking place November 3 and 5 at the Dome at America's Center in St. Louis, Missouri.
Presented worldwide by Liquid Death and Blackened American Whiskey (in North America only) and promoted by Live Nation, the 46-show "M72" trek launched in Amsterdam on April 27 and will include shows all over Europe and North America through 2024. Each "No Repeat Weekend" on "M72" features two completely different setlists and support lineups. The "M72" tour will feature a bold new in-the-round stage design that relocates the famed METALLICA Snake Pit to center stage, as well as the "I Disappear" full-tour pass and the debut of discounted tickets for fans under 16 years of age. Opening acts for the tour include PANTERA, MAMMOTH WVH, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH, ICE NINE KILLS, ARCHITECTS, VOLBEAT and GRETA VAN FLEET.
METALLICA's latest album, "72 Seasons", sold 146,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. in its first week of release to land at position No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart. It marked the band's 12th Top 10-charting album, of which eight have reached the top two.
"72 Seasons" had the biggest week for any rock or hard rock album since TOOL's "Fear Inoculum" arrived in September 2019 with 270,000 equivalent album units.
"72 Seasons" was released on April 14 via METALLICA's own Blackened Recordings. Produced by Greg Fidelman with guitarist/vocalist James Hetfield and Ulrich, it was METALLICA's first full-length collection of new material since "Hardwired…To Self-Destruct".
In the seven years since the arrival of "Hardwired… To Self-Destruct", METALLICA has reissued some of its classic albums, released a second live album with the San Francisco Symphony, commissioned a covers album featuring the likes of GHOST, VOLBEAT, WEEZER, Corey Taylor and THE HU, and landed on the Billboard songs chart with "Master Of Puppets" after a prominent placement in the hit Netflix show "Stranger Things".