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New York Times: Rock Star vs. Rock Fan: Who Matters?

May 22, 2000, 05:06 (0 Talkback[s])

"When Lars Ulrich, the drummer for Metallica, marched a list of nearly 320,000 alleged music pirates over to the offices of Napster, like a schoolboy tattling on the kids who toilet-papered the gym, artist-fan relations hit a new low point. It recalled a scene in VH-1's "Behind the Music" episode devoted to Oasis. That band's exceptionally grumpy singer, Liam Gallagher, fled a tour a while ago to help his wife buy a London flat. Accosted by a reporter who asked, "Does this mean you matter more than the fans?" Mr. Gallagher exploded. "That's right!" he screamed, peppering his tirade with expletives. "I matter more!"

"Metallica is suing Napster, a service that allows users to trade music files over the Internet, with the stated intention of shutting down piracy, not harassing the music lovers who legitimately trade music through it. But by gathering the names of users and asking that they be banned from the service, the band arguably resorted to invasion of privacy. The band's approach has so angered fans that they are organizing boycotts and merchandise burnings, and establishing anti-Metallica Web sites and bulletin boards. This impasse is even more puzzling because Metallica has long supported bootlegging at its shows, and its fan club has even facilitated the trading of demo and live tapes."

"... Metallica's move against Napster is much like the angry shove the rock star gives the unlucky hundredth fan who clamors for a chat, a kiss, an autograph. "I matter!" the artist shouts. But we've returned to a moment when the fans matter more."

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