Metallica frontman James Hetfield doesn’t believe rock music is dying – but he’d be quite happy if it became less popular.
Heavier genres have been in the ascendancy in recent years, with more and more mainstream outlets featuring the thrash giants and many others.
Asked whether he thinks rock music was on the way out for good, Hetfield tells Artisan News: “It dying, and popularity, are two different things.
“If it’s not popular, fine – I kinda like it that way. I love being the underdog. I love being the thing that’s not liked. I love to build it up again. That’s part of the mission for me.”
He adds with a laugh: “Maybe there’s too many bands out there and some have to die off so the strong survive? That’s just my theory.”
But Slash has a different take on the situation. Asked a similar question about the theoretical death of rock, the guitarist says: “Rock’n'roll has always been very alive in the hearts and minds of fans, but as far as the industry’s concerned it’s become dead.
“I have my own record company so I have control over it. I find there’s a very receptive audience. Whether you can sell records during this period of the internet and people downloading one song at a time – that’s something I don’t have that much control over.”
Despite digital sales climbing, the overall sales of music across the world continues to fall. Last week’s top-selling UK album, by pop star Rihanna, shifted just 9578 units across all formats.