Some thoughts on Metallica and Spotify

It’s not easy to be in business with your enemy, but in some cases, like the saying goes, it’s better to go with the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.

As much as you may dislike someone, if you’re a smart enough businessman, you can put away your pride and make money with them.

In Richard Branson’s recent book, Like a Virgin, he advised the reader that teaming beats steaming, that it’s better to try and work with people than be angry with them. There’s also the old piece of advice from The Art of War that the Godfather loved to quote: “Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer.”

When I saw the news that Metallica was now teaming up with Spotify, all these phrases definitely came to mind. e all recall when Metallica publically went to war with Napster, and while their points against music piracy were certainly valid, the way the band went about it alienated many of their fans. And as Blabbermouth reported, Metallica co-founder Lars Ulrich admitted he handled the situation much differently today, so in this case it looks like streaming beats steaming.

Metallica’s long time record deal with the Warner family finally expired, and the band is now in complete control of their music. Their master tapes reverted back to the band, and they’re starting their own label, Blackened Recordings. (Rhino is distributing Blackened in the States, and Universal Music Group will distribute for the rest of the world).

Now that all the brouhaha has finally died down, Ulrich and Sean Parker are now remarkably working together, when you never thought they’d even be in the same room together. Even the biggest bands have realized it’s important to get with today’s technology, because trying to fight it is like trying to hold back the ocean.

“It was never about money, it was about control,” Ulrich explained. “If Napster had approached us first and given us options, it might have been different. Instead, control was taken away from us…Instead of Napster versus Metallica, it became Metallica versus its fans.”

Spotify reportedly gives the listener access to over 20 million songs, and Ulrich told Blabbermouth, “Connecting with Spotify was the next logical step and we can’t wait to see what the future brings! When I was trying out Spotify for the first time, I was stunned at the ease of it. This was so easy and set up for the fans.”

In addition to launching their own label and teaming up with Spotify, Metallica’s 3D concert film should be out next summer, and their next album, which Rick Rubin will reportedly produce, should be ready by 2014.