Despite its later-than-usual timing and going completely virtual for the first time, yesterday’s BlizzCon keynote brought with it some big news and exciting trailers. It also featured a musical performance from Metallica. The band isn’t new to BlizzCon, having first appeared at the conference in 2014.
Viewers on many platforms (including Blizzard’s own Twitch and YouTube channels) heard a performance of Metallica’s 1984 tune “For Whom The Bell Tolls.” Several Twitch streamers broadcasting BlizzCon muted the feed during Metallica’s appearance to avoid any potential DMCA troubles.
But on the Twitch Gaming feed that was also carrying the stream, well, things took an amazing turn. Within seconds of the song beginning, the audio was replaced by what AV Club perfectly summed up as “the dorkiest, most Zelda forest-ass music imaginable.”
The transition really makes the whole story here, so please watch:
It would seem the music performance rights that Blizzard obtained for its own channels didn’t extend to Twitch’s in-house gaming channel, so we were instead rewarded with this glorious moment. Could they have just cut the audio altogether? Sure, but that wouldn’t have been as fun. This version of the opening keynote stream currently has over 1.2 million views.
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
And no, it’s not lost on anyone that this happened to a Metallica performance. There’s a lot to chew on there with Napster and the contentious DMCA quagmires that regularly pop up today. But let’s leave that for another day. For now, just imagine Lars Ulrich and company actually jamming out to this RPG adventure music. It all syncs up nicely at times.