The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has released its tally of Gold and Platinum albums for October. Metallica’s ninth album, Death Magnetic, on Warner Brothers, went both Gold and Platinum within the first month of its release. The heavy metal group’s career sales now surpass 63.5 million albums since unveiling the first Metallica album Kill ‘em All in 1983.
“We’re free of our record contract”, Metallica’s Lars Ulrich tells Rolling Stone. “We have that element of complete freedom with the next record, so we can do whatever we want. We could do an Internet thing or even put it on Andy Greene’s record label. It’s awesome. I mean, to be out of your record contract, it’s exciting just because of, what are the new — and that’s not anything disrespectful about the great bunch of people up at Warner Bros. Records. But it’s just exciting to be able to communicate directly with your fans, and having the opportunities to do it, you know. I think that’s really exciting.”
Metallica’s current record label, Warner Brothers Music Group Corp, posted stronger-than-expected quarterly results on Tuesday, helped by sales of albums from Metallica and Kid Rock. The company earned $6 million, or 4 cents a share, on $854 million in revenue. Analysts predicted a loss of 2 cents a share for the music giant. Warner’s digital revenue was $167 million, or about 20 percent of the total in the fourth quarter, barely changed from $166 million in the third quarter. About 65 percent of digital revenue comes from the United States.
“I wouldn’t hold my breath for another Metallica record,” Metallica’s Lars Ulrich says. “I’m still decompressing and coming down from the whole experience of the last one, but if we spit one out every four or five years that’s not so bad.”
“It’s an interesting time right now. A lot of defining things will happen for the next decade but it’s not settled yet. For the next record we can do whatever we want. We look at all options but it’s too early to say. By the time the next Metallica record rolls around who knows what the landscape will be. It goes back to communicating with the fans — a few options would be to cut out the record company. Their biggest function is being a bank. When you don’t need them to pay for stuff you don’t really need a record company. You can go with independent distribution or do it over the internet. I’ll figure it out in five years. Now it’s interesting to see what Trent is doing, what Radiohead is doing, but it feels like everything is in transition right now.”
One of the options for Metallica might be Metallica’s current management firm Q Prime. Q Prime has recently launched its own record label called Mom&Pop Music Company. Based at Q Prime’s New York offices, the label will be helmed by Michael Goldstone and distributed via RED.