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Metallica's Ulrich and Napster's Parker No Longer at Odds

By - Source: VB | B 19 comments

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.


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  • 7 Hide
    Devoteicon , December 10, 2012 3:44 PM
    Now that the last check cleared, we can put this whole mess behind us.
  • 3 Hide
    shloader , December 10, 2012 3:45 PM
    I... i forgive him. I guess. But some trully crappy music came from that band right after the whole debate started. Were those drums or garbage cans, Lars?
  • 8 Hide
    bryonhowley , December 10, 2012 3:52 PM
    I really lost interest in Metallica during that whole mess and never really cared for there music after that. I still have and like there music before that time but not after.
  • Display all 19 comments.
  • 8 Hide
    erick81 , December 10, 2012 4:00 PM
    Was a huge Tallica fan before all that garbage but after couldn't even be bothered to pirate their music they went after their own fans.
  • 8 Hide
    nlreynolds80 , December 10, 2012 4:13 PM
    Lars is right. It DID become them versus their fans. After being banned from Napster because of Metallica, I gave away all their CDs (I owned all but one at the time) and never looked back. Judging from their recent work I think I made a good choice.
  • 4 Hide
    g00fysmiley , December 10, 2012 4:26 PM
    I still have metallica S & M in my playlists that rotate in my car, i liked their music but when the whole napster thing happened i stopped buying thier cd's (note i also didn't download thier music as i was and still do pay for music, their responce just left a bad taste in my mouth so i stopped patronizing them)
  • -2 Hide
    COLGeek , December 10, 2012 4:27 PM
    So what did change in the end of all of this, effectively?
  • 3 Hide
    hoofhearted , December 10, 2012 4:35 PM
    I burned my entire Metallica collection and haven't listened to any of their stuff since.
  • 0 Hide
    zakaron , December 10, 2012 4:52 PM
    Wow, surely I can't be the only Metallica fan left out there? Sure the push against Napster hurt their image, but in a time of pioneering new music sharing, it was a big change. I mean at the time there were cassette decks specifically designed for dubbing cassette to cassette or even CD to cassette. No on really went after that from what I recall. But I can understand and appreciate their stance on having copyright music freely shared like this. In the end I supported Napster, but I never turned my back on the band. I still enjoy all faces & eras of Metallica.
  • 6 Hide
    fimbulvinter , December 10, 2012 4:53 PM
    Eh they fell off for me after ...And Justice For All. Everything after that point was just a downward spiral of asshattery.
  • 3 Hide
    nitrium , December 10, 2012 5:17 PM
    Like almost all who commented here so far, I was a huge Metallica fan right up the point Metallica turned on their fans in the most dickheaded fashion possible. It became instantly obvious they were all about money and not about the music. Fans quickly understood that Metallica were nothing more than total corporate whores, simply a 'product' designed to siphon as much money as possible into the pockets of people who already have more money than they knew what to do with. Never listened to them after 1999.
  • 3 Hide
    alidan , December 10, 2012 6:11 PM
    oh my god, i have to comment on that picture...
    who would EVER want a death magnetic branded headphones? what will they do, make the music sound worse than the producers?

    COLGeekSo what did change in the end of all of this, effectively?


    for one, control of the music.
    walmart stopped being as important, (it was 70-90% of your sales prior to digital)
    bands cant pad albumes anymore for money (how many cds have you bought where you like one or 2 songs?)
    and really, bands dont need to sign with a major label to go places anymore, but admitting it is easier to work with them than outside of them.

    zakaronWow, surely I can't be the only Metallica fan left out there? Sure the push against Napster hurt their image, but in a time of pioneering new music sharing, it was a big change. I mean at the time there were cassette decks specifically designed for dubbing cassette to cassette or even CD to cassette. No on really went after that from what I recall. But I can understand and appreciate their stance on having copyright music freely shared like this. In the end I supported Napster, but I never turned my back on the band. I still enjoy all faces & eras of Metallica.


    because back than we were legally allowed to make backups of our purchased goods, as tapes if you remember, wear the hell out after even the first play. i believe the dmca stopped allowing us to make personal backups.

    but metalica, back than, came off as a sell out band who was only in it for the money, and that image hurt them a hell of allot more than if their music was freely distributed.

    nitriumLike almost all who commented here so far, I was a huge Metallica fan right up the point Metallica turned on their fans in the most dickheaded fashion possible. It became instantly obvious they were all about money and not about the music. Fans quickly understood that Metallica were nothing more than total corporate whores, simply a 'product' designed to siphon as much money as possible into the pockets of people who already have more money than they knew what to do with. Never listened to them after 1999.


    they were quoted as saying how much they despised the whole music video making process and that if they ever made another, they were selling out. so for the second music video they made, that is when they sold out completely, i believe if im right they also changed their style of music to be more mainstream too, so some people call that the moment they sold out also.
  • 5 Hide
    blurr91 , December 10, 2012 9:06 PM
    I don't begrudge anyone for the desire to make more money. However, customer loyalty is also quite important. Lars only saw the dollars on the surface. He didn't see how generating good will could sell more albums than what he would lose from pirating or losing loyal customers. He went after the small money while losing the big one.
  • -4 Hide
    techy74 , December 10, 2012 9:30 PM
    People need to relax.
    Metallica have always made great music, I have never used napster and own every CD they have released and seen them live (great concert - 2010). I could not care less about about the something that happened 12 years ago and as a fan who loves holding the CD and artwork, I could not see what the fuss was about.

    I dont think metallica was trying to rip fans off. I dont see how people complain. Want the new CD, buiy it like everyone else (maybe that makes me old fasion).
  • 1 Hide
    alidan , December 10, 2012 11:46 PM
    techy74People need to relax.Metallica have always made great music, I have never used napster and own every CD they have released and seen them live (great concert - 2010). I could not care less about about the something that happened 12 years ago and as a fan who loves holding the CD and artwork, I could not see what the fuss was about.I dont think metallica was trying to rip fans off. I dont see how people complain. Want the new CD, buiy it like everyone else (maybe that makes me old fasion).


    they sued a 4 year old and a dead grandma
    instead of going after the people resonsible for uploading it, they went after teh fans who got it in a time when piracy was just going mainstream enough for everyone to know what it is, but not reconize it as stealing.

    there is a major disconnect from indie bands who want their music out by any means necessary, piracy be damned, and people like metalica who heard people pirated their music and went straight to layers.

    yea... i lose all respect for metalica as a band after that and it did sully their past work knowing what douches they were. some people can look past their stains, but sadly i cant.

    and i could never buy their recent stuff ans the loud war killed any quality that came from it, and by some mistake guitar hero got the non loud edited versions of their songs from i believe death magnetic.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRyIACDCc1I

    that alone made me not want to buy any of their music any more... let along the fact i believe their best is behind them.

    blurr91I don't begrudge anyone for the desire to make more money. However, customer loyalty is also quite important. Lars only saw the dollars on the surface. He didn't see how generating good will could sell more albums than what he would lose from pirating or losing loyal customers. He went after the small money while losing the big one.


    back than the studies werent around, but now... piracy tends to boost sales.
    you can look at japan for a more real world example, when they put the law forward to criminalize piracy with what, 2 years in jail, music sales also fell quite a bit.

    not advocating piracy, just pointing out it isn't satan.
  • 1 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , December 10, 2012 11:51 PM
    They really wrote crap after the Napster fiasco, Death Magnetic was a sloppy "return-to-form". They tried to be "trendy" in the 90s and their music went stupid with Load/Reload. TBA has a few songs that can stand the test of time. The REAL albums are Kill 'em All, Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets and ...and Justice For All. Seems like Napster was a cry for money since Metallica hadn't written a good album since 1988.
  • 1 Hide
    agnickolov , December 11, 2012 3:15 AM
    Metallica lost my respect long before that with their "Load" album. The black Metallica was still bearable, but everything after that is just pop music for me...
  • 0 Hide
    velosteraptor , December 11, 2012 4:09 PM
    I use to be a really big metallica fan back in the day, but everything after and justice for all was terrible. I think a big part of the change of sound in that period was also the death of their original bass player, which no one seems to have mentioned. He died on tour after master of puppets, and they wrote and justice for all with a new bass player, but even that wasnt as good as previous. Without his influence they took a turn for the worse.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , December 12, 2012 4:09 PM
    you people claiming you liked metallica until they took on napster: yeah right. you ain't no fan.

    oh yeah, you showed metallica they were wrong by continuing to steal music.

    can you have less respect for artists if you steal their product day in and day out?

    who are you into now? i hope they have plenty of alternative forms of revenue.
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