At a Spotify event in New York today, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich and Napster co-founder Sean Parker buried the hatchet and announced that the legendary heavy metal band is making its entire catalogue available on Spotify, effective immediately.
In 2000, Metallica filed a $10 million lawsuit against Napster, accusing the file-sharing network created by teenage hacker Shawn Fanning and his friends of copyright infringement and racketeering. Napster ultimately filed for bankruptcy, but Metallica — and, in particular, Ulrich, who acted as an unofficial band spokesman — did not emerge unscathed.
Over the past two years, Ulrich and Parker have formed an unlikely friendship — and discovered that they have more in common than they realized. Parker says it was always his dream to sign licensing deals with rights holders and turn Napster into a Spotify-esque legal listening service. Ulrich points out that Metallica made its name via informal tape-swapping and had always allowed its fans to record concerts and share those recordings as they pleased. The issue, he says, was control, not money, and the conflict began when an unauthorized mix of a song recorded for the “Mission Impossible II” soundtrack wound up being played on radio stations. Upon investigation, the band discovered that the file had originated on Napster.
Spotify also previewed a beta version of its new web interface, designed to lower the barrier of entry for new users and increase sharing behavior.