Thanks to their battle with Napster, Metallica have often been stereotyped as “greedy rockstars” who are “wealthy beyond belief.” So it might be hard to think that Metallica would do anything that wouldn’t see a return in profit. However, in an interview with Rolling Stone (in which Metallica appear on the subscriber’s special issue cover), guitarist Kirk Hammett explains that most of their big endeavors like the Orion Music & More Festival actually never make money. In fact, apparently Metallica don’t make much profit from anything but touring.
When talking to Rolling Stone, Hammett revealed the following about how a majority of their finances come from touring:
“The cycles of taking two years off don’t exist anymore. We were able to do that because we had record royalties coming in consistently. Now you put out an album, and you have a windfall maybe once or twice but not the way it used to be — a check every three months.”
Pretty amazing to think that one of the biggest rock (not just metal) bands of today isn’t making as much as they used to via recording royalties. Just imagine how bands who aren’t as big of a draw on the road are struggling right now. Then again, most bands don’t have the same budget as Metallica, which James Hetfield told Rolling Stone in the same piece is “ungodly. It’s our life savings, basically.” With that in mind, it makes a little more sense as to why Metallica might go DIY with their next album. The rest of Metallica’s interview, where each member also discusses Orion Music & More and their upcoming 3D film, is in the current issue of Rolling Stone Magazine.