Lars Ulrich: Music industry is like the Wild West

Lars Ulrich
Lars Ulrich (Image credit: Getty)

Lars Ulrich says “nobody knows” what the future holds for the music industry – which he describes as being like “the Wild West.”

The Metallica drummer says the lack of predictability in the music business influences their laissez-faire approach to band activity nowadays.

Ulrich tells MSNBC: “I think you have to sort of accept that nobody really knows where it’s going, so there has to be a lot of impulsive kind of attitudes.

“It’s like a train that’s moving, and you don’t quite know where it’s going, but you sort of try to steer it in the best way you can, realising that it may go in different places that you had no idea.”

He continues: “The music business, or what’s left of it, is very like the Wild West now. 15 years ago, when you put out a record, there was a particular way that you did everything. Now it’s just whatever works for you.”

Speaking of the lead-up to their forthcoming album Hardwired… To Self-Destruct, Ulrich says: “We’re just doing whatever we feel is right. There’s no particular way that it should be.”

Last month, the band admitted that they fear for the future of rock music after they’ve gone. Their manager Peter Mensch also described YouTube as “the devil”, saying the video streaming site is killing the music industry.

In 2000, Ulrich famously took on file-sharing website Napster by hand-delivering a list of more than 300,000 users who, it was claimed, traded Metallica MP3s illegally to the firm’s San Mateo headquarters.

Metallica released a video of their live performance of classic track For Whom The Bell Tolls earlier this week.

Hardwired... To Self Destruct artwork

Hardwired... To Self Destruct artwork

Metallica Hardwired… To Self-Destruct tracklist

Disc 1

  1. Hardwired
  2. Atlas, Rise!
  3. Now That We’re Dead
  4. Moth Into Flame
  5. Am I Savage?
  6. Halo On Fire

Disc 2

  1. Confusion
  2. Dream No More
  3. ManUNkind
  4. Here Comes Revenge
  5. Murder One
  6. Spit Out The Bone

Metallica tour dates

Oct 22: Mountain View Shoreline Amphitheatre, CA
Oct 23: Mountain View Shoreline Amphitheatre, CA
Oct 26: San Juan Coliseo De Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico
Oct 29: Quito Parque Bicentenario, Ecuador
Nov 01: Bogota Hipodromo De Los Andes, Columbia
Nov 03: Guatemala City Estadio Cementos Progreso, Guatemala
Nov 05: San Jose Estadio Nacional, Costa Rica
Feb 03: Copenhagen Royal Arena, Denmark
Feb 05: Copenhagen Royal Arena, Denmark
Mar 25-26: Lollapalooza Brazil
Mar 31-Apr 01: Lollapalooza Argentina
Apr 01-02: Lollapalooza Chile

What the drummer sees: behind the kit with Metallica, Rush, AC/DC and more...

Former TeamRock news desk member Christina joined our team in late 2015, and although her time working on online rock news was fairly brief, she made a huge impact by contributing close to 1500 stories. Christina also interviewed artists including Deftones frontman Chino Moreno and worked at the Download festival. In late 2016, Christina left rock journalism to pursue a career in current affairs. In 2021, she was named Local Weekly Feature Writer of the Year at the Scottish Press Awards.