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Monday, 02 June 2008 06:45

Metallica backpedals on digital downloads

Written by David Stellmack

Image

After alienating many fans, the band will try something new


Metallica, more than any other band, has perhaps been the ‘poster child’ in some consumers’ minds as the band who came out the hardest against music downloading. Perhaps the band has realized the potential error of their ways, as they have now announced that they will offer the upcoming new Metallica album in high bit rate DRM-free MP3s.

This news comes as somewhat of a surprise, but Metallica have always been innovators and their new initiative marks a new direction that may trigger similar offerings in the future by other bands, as well. Metallica’s plan is to open a new Web site for their upcoming release called “Mission: Metallica,” which will offer a chance for fans to experience the new album before it is done in unprotected MP3 format.

The Web site itself will be a hub for an inside look at the entire process of the making of the new album, which has been in production for almost two years. When the album is released it will be available in the typical CD format, as well as vinyl, and on the day of release 320kpbs unprotected DRM-free MP3 format. In addition, the Web site will offer a look at the making of the record with photos, video and other extras. The site hopes to become a “Metallica social network” for fans.

While the site will not offer fans the actual finished album for free, they will offer fans a variety of options to purchase the music in unprotected DRM-free MP3 format on the day of release with additional bonus and exclusive material that can only be had by ordering the album through the Web site. Packages range in price from US$12 to $125, depending on what the fan chooses when registering.

While this solution isn’t perfect or the donation that you think the album is worth, this format that has been toyed with by other artists and it does go a long way toward ending the long-running feud between Metallica and its fans on the Web and digital content in general. It would appear that the band has not abandoned all of their record company roots with this move, but it shows a serious effort toward trying to understand how music in digital formats needs to be handled. It remains to been seen what kind of impact Metallica will have with this initiative and how it will affect fans in the long term.

Last modified on Monday, 02 June 2008 10:13

David Stellmack

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