If you're a fan of Metallica, then you may have reason to rejoice pretty soon: Lars Ulrich appears to be considering a Radiohead-inspired free-for-all digital release.
According to a report on Wired.com
, the drummer is quoted as pointing out that their next album will be “our last record under contract with Warner [Music Group], so we're looking at how we can embrace everything.
Ulrich goes on to say that the band has “been observing Radiohead and Trent Reznor and in twenty-seven years or however long it takes for the next record, we'll be looking forward to everything in terms of possibilities with the Internet
Ulrich's comments will come as a shock to some, as the drummer is famous for personally delivering
a hard-copy printout listing over 335,000 individuals who had been sharing Metallica songs via the Napster file-sharing network to the headquarters of the struggling quasi-legal startup.
Clearly, times have changed since then. With Trent Reznor
clearly enjoying the benefits that DRM-free digital distribution has to offer, it has to look promising to a group with a contract due for expiry real-soon-now, even if Thom Yorke
has had a harder time of it.
While Ulrich hasn't set anything in concrete, it's clear by the success of the Nine Inch Nails experiment that fans want DRM-free, high-quality digital copies bundled with as many extras as the band can produce – anything less, and Metallica could well face failure in the digital domain.
What's your take: is it smoke and mirrors in an attempt to scare Warner Music Group into extending his contract, or do you agree with Ulrich et al that digital distribution is the way forward? Share your thoughts over in the forums