Metallica Album Leaks; Band Plays It Cool

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The upcoming Metallica album, Death Magnetic, has now leaked, the latest slip for a major artist.

On BitTorrent trackers like Mininova, fans have their pick of different versions, and album artwork can also be found.  The leak may have started in France, and pre-release retail shipments probably made the development inevitable.  The album is slated for an official release on September 12th.

In response, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich seemed cool, despite a traditionally antagonistic relationship towards the internet.  “If this thing leaks all over the world today or tomorrow, happy days. Happy days,” Ulrich expressed during a radio interview Tuesday with Live 105 in San Francisco.  “It’s 2008 and it’s part of how it is these days, so it’s fine.”

Behind closed doors, the group is most likely less comfortable with the slip, based on previous reactions.  Metallica is notorious for waging a high-profile fight against Napster, a battle that ultimately made the band appear greedy and bloated.  More recently, the group stamped out early blogger reviews on Death Magnetic, despite conducting a pre-release listening session.  The band later blamed its management agency for the reaction.

When it comes to pre-release slips, Metallica is certainly not alone.  Just recently, Guns N’ Roses found more unfinished tracks from Chinese Democracy leaked onto the internet, though the group assumed a much different reaction.  Instead of talking about “happy days,” the group seemed complicit with an FBI-driven arrest of the blogger who leaked the content, Kevin Cogill.

Other recent, high-profile leaks have happened to Coldplay, Usher, Nas, and Lil Wayne, though the resulting impact on album sales remains debatable.  Metallica is planning to play London’s O2 Arena on the 15th, three days after the scheduled album release.