Twitch Gaming replaced Metallica's BlizzCon performance with royalty-free plinky-plonk twinkling

If you were watching BlizzCon 2021 on the Blizzard website this year, or on YouTube, or even on Twitch's main channel, then you got to hear Metallica play For Whom the Bell Tolls. (The band previously performed at BlizzCon in 2014, back in the before times when it was an event that took place in the real world.) If you were watching on the Twitch Gaming channel, however, you only heard the opening of the song, before it was replaced with a royalty-free magical forest plinking and plonking instrumental track, presumably to avoid breaking copyright law.

Twitch has history when it comes to DMCA takedowns, so in a way they're following their own advice to streamers: avoid any recorded music you don't have the rights to. And the advice of Blizzard itself, whose guidelines for streamers who wanted to rebroadcast the event to watch along with their community stated, "Note that some segments will feature copyrighted licensed music, and we advise that you do not stream these parts of the show." It's still a ridiculous situation, of course.

Some in the Twitch chat seemed to prefer the new music, with comments like "This is my jam" and "METALLICA TRAP REMIX", though several viewers simply paid their respects by typing "F".

There's a layer of tasty irony to the fact this happened to Metallica, the band who took Napster to court back in 2000 and helped usher in the age of zealous copyright protection their own performance fell prey to. 

The video has since been deleted from Twitch Gaming's channel, though of course viewers saved clips for posterity.

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Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.