Metallica manager Peter Mensch has described YouTube as “the devil” and says the video streaming site is killing the music industry.
Mensch – who also manages Muse and the Red Hot Chili Peppers – believes YouTube’s advert-reliant business model is unsustainable and will eventually be the death of music.
He tells the BBC: “YouTube, they’re the devil. If someone doesn’t do something about YouTube, we’re screwed. It’s over. Someone turn off the lights.
“It’s hard to make people pay for what they’ve been getting for free. That’s consumer behaviour 101.”
Mensch was speaking on BBC Radio 4 documentary, The Business of Music, part one of which is available now on the iPlayer, while part two will be broadcast on April 25.
His comments were backed up by the 2016 International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) annual report, which tells of a widening “value gap” between the volume of music consumed on free web services and the amount of revenue they generate for the industry.
The BBC reports that 900 million consumers on sites like YouTube and Soundcloud resulted in revenue of £447m in 2015, while the world’s 68 million paying music subscribers generated about £1.4bn.
YouTube CEO Robert Kynci responded by saying artists were not seeing big returns payments because of the agreements they had with their record labels.
He says: “It really depends on what is the flow of the money from us to you.
“The artists who are signed up directly with YouTube are seeing great returns. Not everybody – but if you’re generating a lot of viewership, you’re making a lot of money.”