Lars Ulrich has once again shot down the perception that METALLICA's "greed" was at the core of the band's decision to launch legal action against Napster in 2000, claiming that the pioneering music file-sharing service was illegally allowing users to download METALLICA tracks without paying royalties to the group.
Ulrich, who was the main spokesperson for METALLICA in the Napster battle, has since become friends with Napster co-founder and current Spotify investor Sean Parker and even attended Parker's wedding.
Asked how he views the whole Napster experience sixteen years later, Ulrich told Mojo: "I'm proud of the fact that we stood up for what we believed in at the time. Could we have been better prepared for the shitstorm that followed? Absolutely! We were ignorant as to what we were getting involved in. But that's always been the case."
He continued: "In the beginning, Napster was a street fight. It's that simple. We perceived somebody to be fucking with us so, fuck it, you fire back. And then all of a sudden this whole other thing happened and we were in the middle of it, alone. Every day that summer, there was not a musician or peer or somebody inside the music business who wouldn't pat me on the back and go, 'You guys are standing up for the rest of us.' But the minute we were out in public, we were on our own. Everybody was too shit fucking scared and too much of a pussy to take a step forward. The only other person that said something in public was Dr. Dre."
Ulrich added: "The only annoying thing that still resonates 16 years later is that the other side were really smart: they made it about money. But it was never about money. Never. It was about control. Yet still to this day there's this perception — small but it still lingers — that METALLICA are greedy [and] money-hungry, and that's not who we are or ever were. We were the band who [in 1991] invited bootleggers to come to our shows and tape them. We sold 'taper' tickets and we'd have a section where you could bring in a recorder and tape the show and trade them with your friends. And all of a sudden we're greedy... [sighs] All those years later, that's part of my reputation."
In December 2012, METALLICA made all nine of its studio albums, as well as various live material, singles, remixes and collaborations, available on Spotify.
METALLICA is now able to make these deals directly since, as of 2012, the band has complete control over the master tapes of all its audio and video recordings. The band has also launched its own label, Blackened Recordings.
METALLICA's tenth studio album, "Hardwired... To Self-Destruct", will arrive on November 18