A livestreamed Metallica performance via Twitch went hilariously off the rails, through no fault of the band.
The iconic metal group was performing a set for this year’s BlizzCon video game convention, which was being broadcast to the masses on Friday via the Twitch app.
Just as the band kicked off a song, frontman James Hetfield hits a few chords before the music the band is producing suddenly stops, replaced by a generic copyright-free song featuring accordion and glockenspiel, while the band continued to play.
Twitch has been hit by several complaints in the past over hosting content that violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and substituted the music in an apparent overabundance of caution — even though, if Twitch were to be sued, it would be by Metallica.
the current state of Twitch: the official Twitch Gaming channel cut off the live Metallica concert to play 8bit folk music to avoid DMCA pic.twitter.com/sCn56So8Ee
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) February 19, 2021
According to Eurogamer, the glitch was likely the work of a bot that automatically made the substitution; it occurred on just one of the channels that was hosting the feed, the Twitch Gaming channel, with the performance streaming uninterrupted on the other channels, including Blizzard’s Twitch channels and on YouTube.
Some fans couldn’t help point out the irony that it was Metallica’s 2000 lawsuit against Napster that was instrumental in the very legislation that led Twitch to replace the sound feed with generic music.
Metallica getting their music cut for copyright during a Twitch concert when 22ish years ago they took down Napster and help DMCA become law is just full circle sci fi that only @doctorow could ever conceive.
But it happened!
— Kelso (she/her/handsome) (@BiblioReckah) February 20, 2021
The red wedding but it's Twitch DMCAing Metallica and saying "Napster sends their regards"
— Thought Slime (@ThoughtSlime) February 20, 2021
DMCA and copyright more generally is designed by corporations to stifle creativity and censor. the fact that metallica, which helped push these draconian laws, is now having their own live concert muted on twitch shows you the absurdity of it allpic.twitter.com/W0T1gPwcE1
— ☀️👀 (@zei_squirrel) February 20, 2021
Meanwhile, here’s a sampling of how fans reacted on social media to the copyright-protecting switcheroo.
lmao blizzcon muted metallica's live virtual concert and is just playing random low-key music over the whole thing pic.twitter.com/UqKnJf24VS
— RickyFTW (@rickyftw) February 19, 2021
DMCA is such an issue that the official Twitch Gaming channel had to mute Metallica during #BlizzConline and play their own music 😂
— DEXERTO.COM (@Dexerto) February 19, 2021
Exit light, enter copyright https://t.co/B7TvHaZCHU
— EFF (@EFF) February 20, 2021
The following two things are both true:
1. Twitch is really really bad at copyright stuff.
2. Metallica being the one to lose out to an internet-related copyright issue is absolutely amazing. https://t.co/WQlt0GZtOU
— Mike Dunford (@questauthority) February 20, 2021
Right now the official Twitch Gaming channel is playing copyright free music over the top of Metallica's live Blizzcon performance, so at to avoid copyright striking themselves.
The absolute state of music rights on the internet. My god.
— Skill Up (@SkillUpYT) February 19, 2021
I can't believe Twitch would play THIS over the Metallica Blizzcon performance pic.twitter.com/6WpahhnMiF
— Ecdycis (@Ecdycis_Twitch) February 20, 2021
Lol twitch muting Metallica for playing their own music is exactly the outcome Lars and his lawyers were hoping for I guess?
— Hellpockets (@HellPockets) February 20, 2021