Welcome back to Napster, Metallica. Please, no lawsuits this time.
Back in the late 90s and early 2000s, you could download Metallica songs on Napster quite easily (and illegally). You searched for the band by name in the search bar, or their individual tracks. You clicked on the track, and then the download button. Simple, right? But illegal, too.
17 years ago, Metallica filed a lawsuit against the illegal downloads behemoth, better known as Napster. Yet, this Friday, the group will release Hardwired…To Self-Destruct tomorrow.
In a statement to Billboard, who broke the story, Napster said,
“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 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.”
Why Metallica’s change-of-heart? Napster is now a legal, paid subscription service. Furthermore, music streaming revenue is dramatically increasing. Just this year, Universal made an estimated $4.4 million a day, leading to a $1 billion profit.
The lawsuit against the then-illegal P2P downloader started after Metallica found I Disappear available on the service. However, the band quickly discovered that their entire catalog was available on the service.
After years of lawsuits, Napster struggled with bankruptcy. Rhapsody International purchased the company from Best Buy back in 2011. It also named Mike David as the first company CEO earlier this year.
In 2012, the master recordings reverted back to Metallica from Warner Music Group. According to Billboard, the group now sells its own works through Blackened Recordings. Longtime manager Cliff Burnstein runs the company.
Metallica has sold more than 56 million albums, putting them right behind Garth Brooks and The Beatles. Garth Brooks has sold 128 million solo albums. The Beatles has sold 128 million albums. You can check out Metallica’s latest music video below.