METALLICA's latest album, 2008's "Death Magnetic", was its last under its contract with Warner Music Group — where the band has been making records since 1984 — and according to drummer Lars Ulrich, the band has not yet decided if it will re-sign with the label or if it will contemplate some of the non-traditional approaches distribution of its music that are currently available. "We're free and clear of our record contract. The world's our oyster," Ulrich tells SPIN.com. "We can basically do whatever we want. And we're going to start figuring that out."
He adds, "We're writing music and we're going to be recording very soon. At some point we're going to want to share that with people that are interested in listening to it. So we gotta figure out ways we want to do that, from giving it away in cereal boxes to getting people to do handstands for it. We could come up with something wacky.
"This whole thing about who can come up with the coolest [release strategy] so it can be written about on 12 different blogs for six hours — I mean sure, that's all pretty cool and hip," he continues, "but at the same time you have to remember we have a very global audience. We have fans in India and the U.A.E. and Russia. In a lot of these places there are still more conventional ways of getting music to people. We're not just selling METALLICA music to people in Los Angeles, New York, and London. We have to think of the whole globe to try to find the right balance."
Ulrich also spoke to SPIN.com about the progress of the songwriting sessions for METALLICA's next album, which will once again be helmed by "Death Magnetic" producer Rick Rubin. "We're still throwing ideas around," he says. "We work in stages. Some people will write a song from beginning to end in one go. We don't do that. We'll develop, like, 10 ideas and do a couple cycles. We'll do a verse, chorus and maybe an intro, and then we'll leave them and go develop 10 other ideas. So it's a little early yet because we haven't gone back yet and started tweaking anything. Right now we're throwing ideas at the canvas and picking out great riffs."
Bassist Robert Trujillo told The Pulse Of Radio a while back that he thought "Death Magnetic" paved the way for an even better next effort. "I have a feeling that this next record is gonna be really cool," he said. "'Death Magnetic', as great as it is, I think it's, to me it was like establishing ourselves as a creative team with this unit, and you know, also reuniting with that thrashy element which is apparent in a lot of the material."
METALLICA frontman James Hetfield told The Pulse Of Radio about the end of the band's contract with Warner, "It's kind of a good feeling to feel that you're free from any piece of paper that binds you to something. But over our career, we've learned a lot about record companies, the goods and evils of the business and this and that, and we're not very focused on that right now. It is what it is, and when it becomes time for us to either renegotiate or shop around or do things ourselves or something like that, we don't know. There's nothing but options, which is great."
METALLICA will play the "black album" — its 1991 self-titled fifth effort that has sold nearly 16 million copies — in its entirety at selected European festivals this summer.