MACHINE HEAD frontman Robb Flynn says that he doesn't understand why the heavy metal scene has been reluctant to embrace streaming music services like Spotify and Apple Music.
Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that hip-hop was the biggest genre of 2019 in terms of music consumption in the United States, with a 28% share of listening, followed by rock and pop at 20% and 14% respectively. On an industry-wide basis, streaming services accounted for 82% of the overall music consumption in the U.S. last year.
Flynn, who has been a vocal proponent of Spotify for a number of years, once again praised streaming music services as a way for musicians to get their music heard, telling Kerrang! magazine that platforms like Spotify have "to be part of the equation" if people want metal to survive.
"I fucking love Spotify," Flynn said. "It's one of the biggest changes in the music industry since I've been playing music, and I don't get the hate over it from the metal scene. It's very frustrating. It's innovative and it's really changed everything, and enough people are using it that it's not just a fad thing. You look around and see hip-hop, which just passed rock music in America for the first time in history, and that's totally embracing Spotify. Since the beginning of music, rock has dominated, but rock music now is COLDPLAY and MUMFORD & SONS. That's not rock music. What is that? And a lot of it is because those bands are killing it on streaming.
"You watch Netflix, right? Do you miss going to rent a DVD from Blockbuster? I don't! I love being able to pull up some shit on Netflix and there it is! What's the big resistance in metal? And I say all this as a dude who has lived through vinyl, and then when vinyl died cassettes became the dominant thing. I remember 8-tracks. I remember when CDs came out, and I was totally resistant to them because I had a cassette player. And then iTunes came along, which I thought was great. And then vinyl came back, which is really weird, because as soon as CDs came out I thought, 'This is way better than vinyl!'
"If people want metal to survive, that has to be part of the equation. For me, if people want to buy CDs and vinyl, that's great. If that's your preferred way of listening to music, so be it. You're not supporting me in any way, shape, or form, though, just by buying my CD; that does not equate to a chart position anymore. It's a combination of YouTube streams, Spotify streams, single downloads from iTunes, Apple Music streams and CD and vinyl, which makes up a chunk of it. But it's all that. So when so-and-so rapper has 4,000,000 streams on YouTube, that's going towards his fucking chart position! But I get it. There's change. For me, it wasn't so big of a deal. It was fucking easier! And I'm not the dude saying, 'Don't steal my record.' Fucking steal it! It's so fucking inconvenient at this point to go to a site and download it illegally when you can fucking listen to it on Spotify! It's weird, and I think it's unhealthy for metal, and I think metal's going to disappear if people don't get on board with streaming, because it's such an important part of a band's longevity.
"I don't even fucking know where to buy a MACHINE HEAD CD. Literally, in Best Buy, the CD rack is as big as a drum set and it's got Taylor Swift, FOO FIGHTERS and Pavarotti or some shit like that. It doesn't carry metal. You can go to Amoeba or Rasputin in Berkeley and they probably have some cool stuff, but do you want to drive 30 miles to get a record? No. Do I want to carry a fucking suitcase full of CDs with me on tour? No. Do I want to be able to check out new shit really easily and support the artist like that? Fuck yeah."
Earlier this month, MACHINE HEAD released a new standalone single called "Circle The Drain". It was the first new MACHINE HEAD song since "Do Or Die", which came out last October and was described by some fans and media outlets as a "diss" track aimed at MACHINE HEAD's detractors, in particular those who have been critical of the band's last album, 2018's "Catharsis".