Metallica Caves, Joins iTunes
They may have been dragged kicking and screaming, but Metallica has finally joined the digital revolution.
After famously decrying online downloading as the death of the album format, and filing a few lawsuits in the process, the head-banging quartet has finally acquiesced to Apple and made available their back catalog on the iTunes Music Store Tuesday.
“From the ‘It’s about f—ing time!’ file, comes this…,” the group said on its Website Monday.
“Over the last year or so, we have seen an ever-growing number of Metallica fans using online sites like iTunes to get their music. So, in continuing with the tradition of offering our albums for sale online (which we’ve been doing for a few years through various sites), as well as making our live concerts available for download in their entirety (through the livemetallica.com site), we are now offering fans the opportunity to obtain our songs individually.”
Metallica had previously made available their music for downloading on Yahoo! Music, MSN Music and Rhapsody, but the iTunes collaboration marks the first time listeners can purchase a single song rather than an entire album.
As of Tuesday, each of the band’s 10 albums were available for download, along with a handful of previously unreleased live songs, included as bonus tracks on Metallica’s first four discs, Kill ‘Em All, Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets and …And Justice for All.
“We chose these four because, unlike the more recent releases, we were only capable of writing 8-9 songs for each of these albums!” the band said.
The iTunes deal marks a significant turning point for the foursome of James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Lars Ulrich and Robert Trujillo, who had became the poster boys for the luddite music industry during the Napster wars.
The thrashers waged a high profile and vicious legal battle against the file-swapping service in 2000, blaming the network for “hijacking” their music. In a particularly fan-unfriendly move, Ulrich even went so far as to hand deliver a list of names of roughly 30,000 Napster users to a Redwood City, California, court house.
In 2003, when the iTunes Music Store launched, the group declared it would not allow Apple to hawk its tunes, saying it would “contribute to the demise of the album format.”
As it is, Metallica’s entire catalog was available for download Tuesday morning on iTunes’ U.S. and Canada editions only.
“This is unfortunately due to the fact that our record company overseas doesn’t seem to want to play ball with us on this at the moment,” the band posted online. “Enjoy iMetallica!”
Although Metallica is finally on board, iTunes still has some major holdouts.
The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Radiohead and Garth Brooks are the biggest artists refusing to partner with the download service. And with the Beatles’ recent loss to Apple in a trademark infringement cases, it’s unlikely the Fab Four will strike a deal anytime soon.
Metallica Caves, Joins iTunes