Metallica reverses course and joins Napster

Brinke Guthrie
Digital Trends

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Metallica has always been a band that forged its own path in the decidedly tumultuous world of heavy metal, with ground-breaking videos like One and album sales in the millions. James Hetfield and Co. just released their long-awaited new album HardWired … To Self Destruct, and have also decided to release the entire Metallica catalog to Napster, some 17 years after a rather pronounced kerfuffle.

You can get the new release on the usual platforms such as iTunes, Amazon, Google Music, and Spotify, but in 1999, the musical landscape was just a bit different, and so was Napster. Basically, it was the Wild Wild West. As ARS Technica notes, the band blew a collective gasket when an unreleased demo hit Napster. Band mouthpiece/drummer Lars Ulrich went bananas and the band’s lawsuit against Napster included a list of over 300,000 downloaders, with an order to ban those users from using the service.

The tune in question was I Disappear, and while it did eventually surface on the Mission: Impossible II soundtrack, that one won’t be on Napster — old grudges linger. Back then, Napster was a peer-to-peer file sharing service. Got an MP3 to share? Upload it. Want an MP3 of the new song from your favorite artist? Download away.

Napster was changed to an iTunes-like MP3 store, and is now owned by Rhapsody after being purchased from previous owner Best Buy. It uses the “all-you-can-stream subscription service” model like Spotify and Google Play Music. So, as ARS mentions, “For all intents and purposes, that Metallica is actually coming to Rhapsody for its first time ever, as well. Earlier this year, Rhapsody changed its public-facing name and logo to Shawn Fanning’s classic cat-ear design, and visits to rhapsody.com automatically redirect to a Napster URL.”

By the way, you can click here to create your name in the style of the Metallica logo:

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