When you see the words “Metallica” and “Napster” in the same sentence, it’s hard not to think the worst. Napster was integral in starting the massive shift in the music industry that has rendered your CD collection essentially obsolete, and metal giants Metallica were integral in bringing the fledgling company down in 2000.
After Napster gave the masses access to an endless pool of free music via their pioneering peer-to-peer file sharing platform, Metallica was among the most vocal to speak out against Internet music piracy, filing a lawsuit against the company in early 2000. In a statement to congress in July of 2000, Metallica’s Lars Ulrich lamented, “Napster hijacked our music without asking. They never sought our permission. Our catalog of music simply became available for free downloads on the Napster system.” At the time Metallica were upset over “I Disappear,” a song recorded for the Mission: Impossible II soundtrack which, much to the band’s dismay, leaked and actually received radio airplay before the final mix was even completed. The band soon discovered their entire catalog was up on the P2P network. Metallica has stated that they were never financially motivated to file the lawsuit but rather simply wanted control of their music.
Metallica v. Napster, Inc. became a landmark case for the music industry. Along with effectively shuttering the notorious tech start-up (and many programs like it–remember LimeWire? Kazaa?), the case began to set a precedent for Digital Rights Management, an issue which remains at the center of the Internet-centric modern music marketplace.
However, while disputes over streaming royalties, exclusive releases, and more continue to inspire conflict between artists and the Internet companies that peddle their work, it seems that Metallica and Napster have mended fences: Yesterday, Napster announced that Metallica’s entire catalogue will now be available on their platform . Yes, you heard that right. As if 2016 hasn’t already been strange enough, you can once again get Metallica’s music on Napster.
Having since cleaned up their act and relaunched as a legal subscription streaming service, the company delivered the news yesterday, amid significant buzz around the rollout of Metallica’s new album, Hardwired…To Self-Destruct this week. “The release of Metallica’s new album comes at an incredible time for streaming music with streaming subscriptions accounting for almost half of industry sales in the first half of 2016,” Napster said in a statement. “Today, Napster is a legal, paid subscription service with a catalog of over 40 million tracks. We are thrilled to bring Metallica’s full catalog–including their latest new album–to Napster subscribers around the world.”
Metallica’s new album, Hardwired…To Self-Destruct, is being rolled via various platforms this week, with the official release set for this Friday, November 18th.
[h/t – Billboard]