June 25, 2015

Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich recently spoke to about how far the digital music industry has come since 2000 when the band launched legal action against Napster, claiming that the pioneering music file-sharing service was illegally allowing users to download Metallica tracks without paying royalties to the group.

Metallica lars-620x349

Although the case was settled out of court, 300,000 users were banned from Napster as a result and Metallica looked like cry babies to a lot of their fans.

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 approaches the digital-music landscape in 2015 and whether he feels the need to choose sides between Tidal, Spotify and Apple Music, Ulrich told “You don’t want to necessarily say yes to everything that comes your way. Obviously, in the case of Apple, they’re a bigger brand or company than anybody and they have some very smart people running it. So we’d call [Apple Music] a no-brainer. Personally, I have 37 Apple products and that’s just me not counting the rest of my family, so that’s a fairly easy one for me.”

He continued: “We’ve been in a relationship with Daniel Ek and Spotify for a few years, which has been very rewarding. He’s a smart guy and getting our music out, we try to align ourselves with the people who are smartest. You can tell a lot about the companies by the people who run them. With Daniel, he’s very passionate about music so you feel safe with him. Same with Eddy Cue and the people who run the music over at Apple; they’re very passionate about artists and music and so on, so you feel like there’s safe relationships to be in. Some of the other companies you maybe deal with a little more cautiously.”

Ulrich added: “We try to put ourselves somewhere in the middle. We’re not necessarily the tip of the arrow coming in first, at the same time we don’t like to be too difficult and demanding. We flow in with the waves as they reach the shore.”

In December 2012, Metallica made all nine of its studio albums, as well as various live material, singles, remixes and collaborations, available on Spotify.