According to a statement on the Metallica site, the band only just became aware that their management company was telling bloggers to take down their reviews, and they have told everyone to go ahead and write whatever they want:
“Once we re-surfaced on Tuesday after a few weeks on tour in Europe, we were informed that someone at Q Prime (our managers) had made the error of asking a few publications to take down reviews of the rough mixes from the new record that were posted on their sites. Our response was “WHY?!!”
It was only a couple of weeks ago that I wrote a post about how Metallica (or more likely, some elements of its management) actually seemed to be adapting to the new realities of the music industry, with a cool site called Mission: Metallica — where fans could get unreleased songs, video clips of the band in the studio, high-quality downloads with no DRM and so on. My friend Ethan Kaplan, the head of technology at Warner Brothers and one of our keynote speakers at mesh 2008 a few weeks ago, seemed proud of the site, and I think with good reason. It did a lot of things right.
So why has Metallica (or more likely, some of its management) suddenly taken a big step backward, by asking bloggers to remove their reviews after a private listening party? Who knows — but it sure looks dumb. And on lots of the blog posts and news articles that have been written about it, former fans are saying things like “Metallica is dead to me” or “this is just like the old Napster-hating Metallica). That’s not the kind of PR you want, obviously, and it’s a shame to see it coming so soon after the band did something that seemed so smart.