Metallica, the recipients of the 2018 Polar Music Prize alongside Afghan National Institute of Music (ANIM) founder Dr. Ahmad Sarmast, decided to donate their award money of one million Swedish Kroner (roughly $130,000) to three charities.
As Billboard first reported, the band is donating 50% of its prize money to the Stockholm City Mission to support the homeless; 25% to the World Childhood Foundation, founded by Sweden’s Queen Silvia; and 25% to the co-recipient of the award, ANIM, which was founded in 2010 in response to the country’s civil war and destruction of centuries of rich musical tradition.
Band members Lars Ulrich and Robert Trujillo were on-hand to accept the award on the band’s behalf from King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden during the ceremony in Stockholm on Thursday night.
“Not since Wagner’s emotional turmoil and Tchaikovsky’s cannons has anyone created music that is so physical and furious, and yet still so accessible. Through virtuoso ensemble playing and its use of extremely accelerated tempos, Metallica has taken rock music to places it had never been before,” reads the description for the band’s recognition from Polar Music Prize. “In Metallica’s world, both a teenage bedroom and a concert hall can be transformed into a Valhalla. The strength of the band’s uncompromising albums has helped millions of listeners to transform their sense of alienation into a superpower.”
Upon accepting the award, Ulrich said: “Who would have thought, when Metallica started this musical journey 37 years ago, that one day we would be standing in front of both musical royalty and actual royalty, accepting one of the most prestigious prizes that can be bestowed upon musicians?”
He continued: “The type of music that we play was not supposed to be acknowledged or embraced by the mainstream, the media, or even large audiences. In 1981 when this band formed, I just wanted to play music in a collective setting and feel like I belonged to something bigger than myself.”
The Polar Music Prize was founded by ABBA manager, music publisher, and lyricist Stig “Stikkan” Anderson to honor “significant achievements and/or music activity” and celebrate music that “breaks down musical boundaries.” The first award was presented in 1992 to Paul McCartney and the Baltic States. Additional Laureates include Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Renee Fleming, Patti Smith, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, and Sting.