Metallica is out with a new album and the band has gone an unusual route with distribution. Hardwired… To Self Destruct has been released on most of the usual digital outlets, but it is also on YouTube in its entirety. Each track has been uploaded with its own music video.
The move is a surprise, given long-time manager Peter Mensch’s previous opinions on YouTube (he called the video site “the devil”) and Metallica’s often-tense relationship with online music. The group sued the Napster file-sharing network in 2000, a landmark event in the making of the modern music business. This week, ironically, the band’s music arrived on the Napster on-demand service, a rebrand of Rhapsody, which was founded in 2001.
Metallica aren’t the only ones who have changed their tune over time. Radiohead was also a staunch hold-out against digital platforms, and Spotify was a particular target. But the band did allow their newest album A Moon-Shaped Pool to stream on Spotify, and the entire discography is now available as well. How times change.