In April 2000, Lars Ulrich launched his vocal campaign against file-sharing service Napster. After discovering that Metallica’s entire back catalogue could be found on the service he could hardly contain his anger and by July 2000 he was testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Of course, Napster was dead and buried a long time ago but thanks in part to Ulrich, the destruction of the service led to the creation of many others, most of which carry the entire back catalogue of Metallica to this day – along with that of every other band in the world with a respectable following.
So, when Metallica’s latest album ‘Death Magnetic’ hit the file-sharing networks last year, it seemed like business as usual when the band’s label, Universal, canceled an interview with a Swedish newspaper after their reviewer admitted he got his copy from The Pirate Bay.
However, the once vehemently anti-p2p Ulrich came out with a softened stance. “If this thing leaks all over the world today or tomorrow, happy days,” he said. “It’s 2008 and it’s part of how it is these days.”
Now, just a few months later, Ulrich has admitted that following years of aggression against file-sharing, he has actually just tried it out for himself. In an intervew with Eddie Trunk of VH1’s “That Metal Show”, Ulrich admits that last year he ‘pirated’ his own album after it leaked onto the Internet.
“I sat there myself and downloaded ‘Death Magnetic’ from the Internet just to try it,” he said. “I was like, ‘Wow, this is how it works.’ I figured if there is anybody that has a right to download ‘Death Magnetic’ for free, it’s me.”
Ulrich went on to say that he and half a dozen friends were enjoying a bottle of wine at his house and used a file-sharing client (the name of which eluded him) to download the album.
“We found it – this was like two or three days after it leaked. I was like, ‘You know what? I’ve gotta try this.’ So we sat there and thirty minutes later I had ‘Death Magnetic’ in my computer. It was kind of bizarre.”
Welcome to the 21st century, Lars – although the same ‘bizarre’ stuff went on in the last century too.