About this time last year, we reported that Napster was back, but only in Canada. Rhapsody, the streaming service that bought the shuttered file-sharing service/music industry destroyer, has since fully rebranded using the nostalgic name, and that saucy cat in headphones logo — vestige of the early internet — is back online in the U.S.
We ended the article with a twerpy little joke: "But will I be able to listen to 'Seek and Destroy.'" Haha. You know, because Metallica and Napster had a historic legal row — fate of the entire pre-streaming music industry hanging in the balance. Well, the question, which was meant rhetorically, as a way for me to back out of the article satisfactorily and hit "publish," job well done, has actually been answered: yes, dummy.
Metallica's new album Hardwired...To Self-Destruct is out Friday (dropped yesterday and today as a series of 13 music videos) and along with it, Napster will offer the band's entire catalogue, returning to the service for the first time in 17 years, Billboard reports. It all sounds like a case of getting back together with your ex because they swear they've changed. Maybe they have this time?
"The release of Metallica’s new album comes at an incredible time for streaming music with streaming subscriptions accounting for almost half of industry sales in the first half of 2016," reads Napster's statement. "Today, Napster is a legal, paid subscription service with a catalog of over 40 million tracks. We are thrilled to bring Metallica’s full catalog -- including their latest new album -- to Napster subscribers around the world." Which is all just music industry jargon for: of course, I've changed, baby.
The last time the two were in the same room together, they were on either sides of the courtroom, with a $10-million damage suit between them. But that was so long ago. Napster's a new thing now. You wouldn't even recognize it.