Metallica headlined video-game maker Blizzard Entertainment’s virtual BlizzCon 2021 event on Friday (February 19th), but those watching on Twitch were treated to an evening of … elevator music. Due to copyright concerns, Twitch replaced Metallica’s thunderous brand of heavy metal with a generic instrumental that made the legendary band’s performance look downright silly.
Things started out okay, with frontman James Hetfield introducing the performance by recalling how Metallica headlined the typically in-person Blizzcon event back in 2014, adding, “We would love to be there this year, but obviously can’t be … so here we are, and this is for you.”
Beaming in from their Bay Area band headquarters, Metallica launched into their classic song “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, and everything sounded great … for about 20 seconds. And then, all of a sudden, Metallica’s audio cut out and was replaced by the goofiest sounding instrumental music while the band can still be seen rocking out.
The visuals of Hetfield singing angrily into his mic, Lars Ulrich pounding away on his drums, Robert Trujillo banging his head while playing bass, and guitarist Kirk Hammett kicking over a stool are hilarious juxtaposed with the dorky music playing over them.
Twitch’s decision to replace Metallica’s audio was the result of wanting to avoid a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown. The live-streaming service has been besieged by takedown requests from record labels since May of last year, and the platform has warned users to not feature copyrighted music in their streams. It’s logical to think that Metallica’s label would have allowed the band’s own song to be streamed without any issues, but the irony of Metallica’s music being censored due to concerns over copyright laws the band themselves helped enact (see: Napster) should not be lost on anyone.
Those watching the BlizzCon event on YouTube had no idea about the silliness that was going on over at Twitch, as Metallica’s performance came out loud and clear, the way the band intended.
Check out a clip from the Twitch broadcast below, followed by the unhampered version on YouTube (beginning at the 1:24:54 mark). For the full Twitch experience (it’s worth it!), click here and begin watching at the 1:11:14 mark.
Metallica’s Performance as It Was Meant to Be Heard: