Metallica's livestream audio of For Whom the Bell Tolls replaced by actual bells to avoid copyright takedown

No matter what your favorite Metallica song is, when people watch the iconic heavy metal band in action they expect to hear hard-rocking songs and high-gain electric guitar galore.

Unfortunately for those tuning into Metallica's live BlizzCon 2021 performance, the only music they were treated to was a generic twinkly background track – complete with what sounds like, ironically enough, bells – after the official audio was muted amid fears of copyright take-down.

Performing a virtual set as part of Blizzard Entertainment's annual gaming convention BlizzCon, Metallica's appearance was posted live by popular streaming site Twitch, as well as on several other social media platforms.

Thousands tuned in to watch the highly anticipated performance, eager to witness the iconic band in action.

However, during the band's performance of For Whom the Bell Tolls, the audio was cut off and replaced with folky background music, following fears of a potential DMCA takedown.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedowns are commonplace on the streaming site, and instead of risking one mid-gig, Twitch pulled the plug on the audio themselves to prolong the performance.

Thanks to Twitch, viewers still got to see the band rocking out, just not to Metallica songs. Oblivious to the audio issues, James Hetfield and co continued on with their performance, offering up an energetic show to the plinky plonk sounds of what can only be described as elevator music.

All was not lost, however, as the band's set appeared to escape the fierce hand of copyright law on Blizzard's official YouTube channel. Thankfully, a full rendition of For Whom the Bell Tolls survived, which can be heard below. 

Commentators have noted the irony of the situation, given the band's historic dispute with Napster regarding copyright issues, when in 2000, Metallica became the first artist to sue a peer-to-peer sharing site, accusing Napster of copyright infringement.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.