and the Wall Street Journal:
Several source have quoted a response for the band's manager, Cliff Burnstein, who says
'98% of listeners are "overwhelmingly positive"... there's something exciting about the sound of this record that people are responding to.'
In my opinion this statement needs to be treated with extreme scepticism. Presumably his number is based on the 10,000+ signatures on the petition to remix the album compared with sales of nearly a million copies. However conventional business wisdom is clear that only a very small minority of dissatisfied customers actually complain. Estimates range between 1 in 3 to 1 in 500. On this evidence as a conservative estimate those 10,000 signatures could well represent in excess of 100,000 unhappy Metallica fans.
The cleverly ambiguous statement about people "responding to" the album's "exciting" (Read: distorted) sound is clearly intended to draw attention away from the fact that the band and producer have resolutely declined to comment - probably since it now seems likely they weren't present for either the final mix or mastering sessions.
Since Burstein's comments yesterday there have been an additional 1000 signatures on the petition, and 10,000 more views of the YouTube comparison video, which is now the UK'S 3rd "most favourited" music video, after only a week online.
Meanwhile Ted Jensen, the engineer who mastered the album, has confirmed that the quote from his email last week was genuine, saying
'I'm not sure I would have said quite the same thing if I was posting it to the bulletin board... [but] it's certainly the way I feel about it'
Fans are now reporting that national Radio stations in Australia and elsewhere are discussing the issues and playing comparisons(*) on air. Tellingly, when pausing to play tracks from the album, they chose to use the less distorted version from the soundtrack of PS3 game "Guitar Hero", rather than the "crushed to death" CD version.
(*) Approximately 50 minutes into the show
I encourage anyone who hasn't already done so to help Stop The Loudness Wars by submitting this issue to the BBC to help encourage further media interest.