For those who experienced the fight against Napster more than a decade ago, last week's appearance of Napster's Sean Parker and Metallica's Lars Ulrich was a surreal experience.
In the days of the original Napster, Ulrich spearheaded the artist's effort to bring down the P2P music download platform. More than 10 years after they opened fire against each other in a battle that had enabled virtually unlimited piracy on one side and an overwhelmed music industry on the other, Parker and Ulrich reflected on the past at an industry event.
According to VentureBeat, both showed that Napster was never about money, but about the question who is in control of the music content. "It was about being in your bubble and controlling the access," Ulrich said. "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."
On the other side, Parker noted that "back in 1999, we were depicted as these greedy pirates who supported the wholesale stealing of music," Parker said. "We just wanted to make music more free. Freedom, not free as in theft."
Napster was the first major sign that the usage of music would have to change and accommodate the technology that was evolving around it. As both sides have made compromises, it now seems that the music industry may be ready to embrace the changes that affect music: Ulrich said that artists would have to recognize how " the younger generation experiences and interacts with music now," Venture beat reported. "The ones that are left out don’t have children," Ulrich said. "I have kids and they interact with music so much differently than we did."
If Ulrich has come to this conclusion, there is a good chance that the rest of music industry has as well.