Metallica have been taking a lot of risks the last few years, and it looks like those risks are catching up with them financially. The band themselves admitted that their self-curated Orion Festival was a financial disaster and their movie, Through the Never tanked. Now, a new report from The Weeklings claims the band has lost more money than they have been bringing in since 2010.
The article interviews Paul Brannigan and Ian Winwood who just wrote a new biography on the band, Into The Black, and in tracking the band's expenses, he can't see how they're pulling any money in currently:
“Well, over the past five years Metallica have embarked upon a variety of vanity projects that haven’t exactly brought home the bacon. By their own admission, the two stagings of the Orion festival were disastrous financially, and the shambles that was the Through The Never movie cost $32 million and will only recoup a fraction of that amount. Factor in HQ staff salaries, crew retainers and assorted running costs associated with maintaining an entertainment corporation and you can easily understand why the band – of necessity now rather than by choice – are driven to tour Europe every summer. No one is going to shed any tears upon hearing Metallica pleading poverty, but over the past decade their margins will undoubtedly have taken a hammering.”
“The whole Through The Never film project was a horrible misjudgement, a misguided attempt to breathe new life into a decade-old idea. As the film spiraled horribly over-budget it’s hard not to imagine that at least one band member – and let’s be honest, we’re talking about James Hetfield here – thinking ‘What the fuck have we got ourselves into?’ Quite how that ‘script’ ever got the green light is an unfathomable mystery.”
Throw in the abysmal sales of Lulu and the band's only real guaranteed line of income is touring, which may explain why they constantly are out playing festivals and avoiding making a record. One thing is for sure, this new album has to be really good and it has to do well enough to recoup all the loses from the last five years.
But I wouldn't start losing sleep over Metallica's earnings. They are doing just fine.