Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Metallica Kills Early Reviews of Upcoming Album


By Eliot Van Buskirk June 09, 2008

Oh, Metallica, why can't you get it right? The band seemed to have learned somewhat from the dark days of the Napster debacle by offering fans online access to pre-release material and in-studio video footage, but now it has apparently unleashed another potentially damaging fiasco upon itself by forcing bloggers to take down reviews of their upcoming album.

Metallica representatives played the album for The Quietus contributor "Bob Mulhouse" in London last Wednesday, after he did what one would expect: he posted a review on his blog. They did, after all, invite him to listen to it, knowing that he reviewed music online. Soon thereafter, the band's management had the review expunged from the internet, along with other early reviews that were a result of the same listening party.

"Metallica held an album listening party for selected music journalists in London this Wednesday past," Quietus editor Luke Turner told Blinded by the Hype (via Idolator). "One of the writers was kind enough to write a piece about the album which, if you were lucky enough to read it before it was taken down, was full of praise about a return to form. At no point was the writer ask[ed] to sign a non-disclosure agreement. The Quietus and other websites ran pieces on the album, but were quickly contacted by Metallica's management via a third party and told to remove the articles."

Let me get this straight... Metallica held a listening party for music reviewers and was surprised when some of them wrote reviews? That has to be a public relations first.

Update: Some sources say that Metallica's representatives requested that the reviews were taken down because the listening party heard an early mix of the album. It's still unclear why Metallica's management didn't require the reviewers to sign non-disclosure agreements if they didn't want them to write about it.

"The Quietus kept our article up the longest and, as no non-disclosure agreement had been signed, [was] not prepared to remove it merely due to the demands of Metallica's management," Turner continued. "We only eventually removed the article earlier today to protect the professional interests of the writer concerned (the piece was written anonymously)."

Ironically, the offending review wasn't even negative: "This album could be good, or it could be mediocre – too much depends on the other four songs to make a call at this point."

Or, it won't matter because Metallica's foot is even bigger than its mouth.