Metallica was booked to perform the opening ceremony of the gaming convention BlizzCon on Friday night (February 19) on Twitch, but something very funny went awry with their performance.
Per The Hollywood Reporter, “And as soon as James Hetfield and gang began to rock their classic, ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls,’ Twitch piped in generic, boring (free) music to avoid a Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown order. It appears only the Twitch gaming channel replaced the music…Between the laughs, fans pointed out the band was one the most outspoken acts when it came to creating musical streaming laws, suing Napster in 2000.”
So, imagine thinking you’re about to hear “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and then you hear this.
the current state of Twitch: the official Twitch Gaming channel cut off the live Metallica concert to play 8bit folk music to avoid DMCA pic.twitter.com/sCn56So8Ee— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) February 19, 2021
Twitch and DMCA has been an ongoing issue, especially during the pandemic when more and more musicians have flocked to the streaming platform. Regarding DMCA, Spin explains, “Twitch has an algorithm that automatically mutes streams (or portions of streams) containing copyrighted music, and it’s caused some problems. Several major artists…have seen their streams get muted for performing their own music, and while they can certainly appeal the muting or show Twitch that they own the rights ahead of time, it’s an extra step that a lot of artists aren’t bothering with when they’re just learning to use Twitch in the first place.”
Needless to say, many had a lot of fun pointing out the irony of this very strange full-circle moment that saw Metallica get “muted” over a law that exists due in part to their own lawsuit against Napster in 2000.