17 years after their famous battle with Napster and select users, who pirated their music, Metallica has decided to officially put their catalog on the now legal service. The news comes ahead of Metallica's new album Hardwired...To Self-Destruct, which will be released on Friday, Nov. 18. In anticipation of the LP, they are releasing a music video every 2 hours - 10 in 18 hours
"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 via Billboard. "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."
A lot has changed since 1999 when Metallica launched its anti-piracy lawsuit against the peer-to-peer file sharing site and some of its users. No longer do those peer-to-peer services operate so blatantly out in the open, but Napster is attempting a comeback as a legal streaming service after being acquired by Rhapsody.
Now streaming has become a major driving force in the music industry, accounting for $1.6 billion in revenues in the United States for the first half of 2016 according to the RIAA.
Looking back on those times, Metallica members have expressed regret for being so intransigent about piracy. The backlash from the public was fierce about going after users who downloaded leaked files in a time when many started to believe music should be free.
Speaking to Rolling Stone earlier this month, Lars Ulrich reflected on what they learned from that.
"But with Napster, we jumped straight down to "F*ck these guys! Let's go after them." [Laughs] And then all of a sudden, we were just like a deer caught in the headlights. I underestimated what Napster meant to people in terms of the freedom it represented," he noted. "So I think that sometimes even if you don't want to, you gotta kinda just do a little bit of due diligence before you jump - at least have an idea of where you think you're gonna land [laughs].
In addition to the Napster deal, Metallica is putting out 10 new music videos over the next 18 hours - one every two hours, premiering on a different music publication around the world. The first for "Dream No More" was already premiered on GShow Globo. Find the full schedule here.