Overkill frontman Bobby ‘Blitz’ Ellsworth seems to think so. In an interview with Metal Maniac video magazine, Ellsworth spoke about what he thinks the internet has done and will do to the metal scene in the future.
“Whether you’re a metal fan or a thrash fan or a pop fan or jazz fan, the Internet provides you with what you want. You consider it to be something that is… It’s not just a necessity; it’s just the way it should be. Free is the way it should be. Of course, all my friends think that way too. Does it make it right? It doesn’t make it right. And it actually does hurt the scene. So you have to find ways to reinvent yourself. So instead of complaining about it, I look at it more as saying, okay, we have to reinvent. We have to partner with the right people. We have to — as business people — focus on our market. Who’s the collectors? Who wants the vinyl? Who wants this? So you have to think differently to be able to survive in the age of the Internet. ‘Cause the Internet will be really one of the reasons that this scene eventually will go away. It chips away at it continuously — it just eats it away and eats it away. It gives you great promotion, but on a slow, slow process, it’s eating the scene.”
Ellsworth continues: “There’ll always be a want for that emotional chord to be struck, but with regard to all your favourite bands, eventually they’ll just have to go away. And that’ll have nothing to do with age. That’ll have to do with, ‘We just can’t do this anymore. It’s just not possible to do this and eat.’ [Laughs] And everybody’ll say, ‘Oh, that’s just too bad.’ But they’ve become the reason for it; that’s really part of the reason. So [for bands like us] it’s [about] reinventing yourself, it’s figuring out ways to get YouTube to up their royalties, it’s getting Spotify to up their royalties, Google Play, etc. etc. So, from a business perspective, I think it’s reinventing.
“I’m not concerned with regard to the result; I’m more about living in this particular moment. I’m not looking forward to my future. My future is in two hours on that stage; that’s where I’d rather concentrate my efforts, because it’s really a fruitless effort to say, ‘Oh, this sucks and that sucks, and I should have more.’ That’s not what I’m saying. But I am saying that it’s slowly eating it away and weakening it in places that it shouldn’t be, and only because of common opinion. That’s all.”
The internet should be the saviour of the scene not the death of it. We need to work out a way to properly monetise art across all forms and get the money in the hands of the artists, rather than big business.