Bumblefoot on 'stupid' approach to digital music

Guns N’ Roses guitarist Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal has called the music industry “stupid” and says they treated fans like criminals when peer-to-peer file sharing emerged at the turn of the century.

And he says rather than embracing the technology, record executives “made a mess” that they still don’t know how to clean up.

He tells the Jakarta Informer: “It’s not that Napster changed anything – it’s that the stupid music industry didn’t see this amazing technology and say, ‘My God, we could do so much with this,’ and instead tried to destroy it and tried to treat people as criminals.

“What can you do money-wise if a billion people download your songs for free? It could have been the tiniest little subscription – it could have been ads or sponsors. There are a million ways it could have been done and the music industry had a lot of time to figure it out.”

He continues: “Instead, through their lawyers, they said, ‘Go sue that 12-year-old kid,’ and they screwed up everything.

“The music industry started to see their customers as their enemies and everybody suffered for it. Congratulations record industry – you’ve made a mess and you still don’t know how to clean it up.”

Earlier this week Pink Floyd icon Roger Waters said he felt digital streaming services had ruined the business model for developing new artists, while estranged Blink-182 man Tom DeLonge said they were no better than those who kill elephants for ivory.

Meanwhile, Thal’s supergroup Art Of Anarchy recently launched a promo for their track ’Til The Dust Is Gone from their self-titled album which will be released on June 8 via Century Media.

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent 35 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott keeps Louder’s buyer’s guides up to date, writes about the best deals for music fans, keeps on top of the latest tech releases and reviews headphones, speakers, earplugs and more. Over the last 10 years, Scott has written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog. He's previously written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald newspapers, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to tech reviews, video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.