If you wondered what happened to Napster, that infamous peer-to-peer music sharing service at the turn of the millennium, the company is still around. Now, they’re a legitimate music streaming service and can hopefully avoid any more lawsuits.
Including another lawsuit from Metallica. The band that famously filed a lawsuit against Napster in its early days is returning to Napster. Metallica’s tenth album Hardwired…To Self-Destruct is set to be released today.
Billboard comments on how much the industry has changed since 2000.
“For one thing music streaming, unlike file sharing, has become an increasingly viable business. As it scales, streaming revenues have begun to increase dramatically to the tune of some $1.6 billion in the first half of 2016, according to the RIAA. Also, the court of public opinion has changed as the pillorying Metallica once received for their principled stance against piracy would likely not happen today”.
In 2013, Lars Ulrich told the Huffington Post that the band wasn’t quite prepared for the backlash of their lawsuit. He says that they weren’t even interested in the money aspect, the band just wanted control of their music and for new songs to not be leaked before the final mix, like what happened with “I Disappear”.
Napster also underwent many changes since the new millennium. From Billboard:
“The service, which struggled with bankruptcy, was purchased by Rhapsody International from Best Buy in 2011. The company brought in CEO Mike Davis last April to run the streaming service and in June rebranded itself in the U.S. as Napster. The fully-licensed service has a reported 3.5 million paying subscribers. Napster recently announced a partnership with Sprint whereby it gained direct access to the telecom’s 60 million customers”.
With Napster now a legitimate, money-making business that allows musicians control of their music, Metallica is more than happy to have their music be available for the company.