METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich joined Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek and former Napster co-founder and current Spotify investor Sean Parker on stage at today’s press conference in New York City to announce that Spotify has reached an agreement with METALLICA to make the band’s entire music catalog available for streaming. Video footage of the entire event can be seen below (Note: Lars appears starting at around 36-minute mark.)
Back in 2000, METALLICA launched legal action against Napster, claiming that the pioneering music file-sharing service was illegally allowing users to download METALLICA tracks without paying royalties to the band. Although the case was settled out of court, 300,000 users were banned from Napster as a result and METALLICA‘s image took a tremendous beating in the eyes of music fans.
Ulrich, who was the main spokesperson for METALLICA in the Napster battle, later admitted that he wished he had dealt with the situation differently.
“Our manager told us that our [unreleased] song was playing on the radio,” Ulrich said, recalling the time he first heard about Napster. “I told him ‘Maybe we should go over there and…’.” He punched his hand three times with his fist.
“When [Parker] and I saw each other a few months ago,” Ulrich continued, “We could see that we had been put down as adversaries. We realize we had much more in common and sitting down was long overdue… We were younger, maybe somewhat more ignorant. [Parker and I] sat down and had a heart to heart.”
“It was never about money, it was about control,” Ulrich said. “It was about being in your bubble and controlling the access. If Napster had approached us first and given us options, it might have been a little different. Instead, control was taken away from us. It turned into, ‘If you fuck with us, we’ll fuck with you.’ … Instead of Napster versus METALLICA, it became METALLICA versus its fans.”
Ulrich praised Spotify for being easy to use and making it easier for fans to access music.
“When I was trying out Spotify for the first time, I was stunned at the ease of it,” he said. “This was so easy and set up for the fans.”
Spotify has 5 million paying customers and 20 million users overall worldwide.