Lars Ulrich is a music pirate – Metallica are hypocrites

March 5, 2009

Illegal file-sharing is probably more popular now than it ever has been, despite all the various attempts to stop it. Before the RIAA had even contemplated suing anyone for the act, Metallica beat them to it, earning themselves a place in the annals of music history in the process. But you know what they say – if you can’t beat them, join them.

Back in the year 2000, which now seems like a lifetime ago, there was a little file-sharing app by the name of Napster sweeping the globe. Until the rock band Metallica got their knickers in a twist and succeeded in getting it shut down.

Here we are nine years later and music piracy is more rampant than ever. Partly thanks to Metallica who forced the whole thing underground and prompted people to design new, less obvious, ways of sharing files with each other over the Internet (BitTorrent anyone?)

Now, in a fit of irony, Lars Ulrich, Metallica’s drummer and the member of the group most vehemently against file-sharing a decade ago, has admitted illegally downloading the band’s new album, Death Magnetic.

According to TorrentFreak, Ulrich admitted the crime in a That Metal Show interview with Eddie Trunk on VH1 Classic. He said:

I sat there myself and downloaded [METALLICA's latest CD] ‘Death Magnetic’ [illegally] from the Internet just to try it. 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. I sat there one night at my house with about six of my friends and a bottle of wine. And what was it called?! [Trying to think of the name of the file-sharing client he used to download the album] We found it — this was like two or three days after ['Death Magnetic'] 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.

Lars, you naughty, naughty man. You are now a music pirate – welcome to the real world. Ulrich obviously only admitted to downloading his own group’s album, and it was all a little bit of drunken fun of course. But I do wonder whether Lars was tempted to carry on and get a few more albums while he was at it. After all, file-sharing can be addictive.

Death Magnetic may be Metallica’s album but I’m guessing Warner Brothers Music owns at least some of the rights to it. Metal Martyr ponders on the likelihood of Ulrich being sued by his own record company for blatantly breaking the law and then flagrantly admitting to it. Now that I’d like to see.

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6 Responses to “Lars Ulrich is a music pirate – Metallica are hypocrites”

  1. ncaissie:

    I wonder if people could use this in their defense now?
    If I was the Napster guy I would turn around and counter sue the bastard.
    I stopped listening to Metallica.

  2. Aramando:

    Come on – rather hyperbolic title, don’t you think? Ulrich may have technically broken laws by doing this, but I don’t think anyone could raise a genuine moral objection, just as they could not do to anyone who downloads a digital copy of a recording they already have in their posession. And since what Metallica originally railed against was people helping themselves to copies of their music they had no entitlement to (since they were not paying for them), there’s no hypocrisy here whatsoever. You say Warner own some of the rights to this record, and this is almost certainly true, but do you actually think the band haven’t been given their own physical copies of the finished record?

  3. Triston McIntyre:

    Dave, perhaps you should research your claims a bit more and use even the slightest amount of common sense before you go writing flame bait.

    First, though many people like making Metallica out to be the baddies who ruined the party that was Napster, Metallica and Lars have openly admitted the main problem they had with Napster making their music available wasn’t that it was being distributed and shared for free. The main issue was that their new album was being distributed PRIOR to its release, and prior to finishing, because someone in the studio had leaked an unfinished copy. They didn’t want their newest CD misrepresented. I’m in agreement with them that protecting their image is more important than protecting CD sales, which was the real point at issue.

    IF you were to understand that, you would see that Lars downloading his own band’s album isn’t in any way hypocritical. In fact, you might even take from it that Lars has a sense of humor. Since the Napster debacle, he and the band have at times made jokes, such as asking for free copies of Guitar Hero, that illustrate their own humorous attitude to their negative image on file-sharing.

    Furthermore, are you really going to say that there is anything at all wrong with someone downloading their own product for free? He produced it. He created it. He wrote the music. To say that he shouldn’t be able to “share” his own creation is laughable.

    Page views are nice, but stay away from flame bait if you don’t know or understand the whole issue.

  4. DavidB:

    @Tristan:
    Have you not learned by now that Parrack simple regurgitates one-sided topics he has read elsewhere, merely massaging the wording a bit and throwin in bit of his own flAme bait opinion?

  5. Chris:

    @Tristan: Wow, someone with common sense and an actual memory of the facts of the Metallica v. Napster debacle that doesn’t speak like a blindly-following fanboy. Well done.

    @ncaissie, Dave Parack: You’re idiots.

  6. Anonymost:

    Just looking for some stuff for an article and found this and find it hilarious that noone remembers they went out of their way to endorse and support the RIO mp3 players :P

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