Press: Metallica’s online strategy is ‘St. Anger’ management

As a follow-up to their infamous anti-Napster position, Metallica decided to take on digital distribution of their music themselves. In 2003, they partnered with Speakeasy to share previously unheard recordings online.

Metallica’s online strategy is ‘St. Anger’ management

By Young Chang
Seattle Times staff reporter

Metallica fans who buy the group’s new CD “St. Anger” can get an online reward starting today, redeemable through a little code found in the disc’s booklet (sort of like a Cracker Jack prize, but more high-tech.)

Through a partnership between the band and Seattle-based Internet service provider Speakeasy, music fans can now get their hands on previously unheard Metallica recordings on

The site’s content, not available through other commercial, online distributors, includes demos, tracks dating into the ’80s, recent concert performances and other remastered selections.

You get the code off the CD booklet and punch it into the site.

Organizers plan on cycling through 50 to 60 tracks a month, which listeners can download, burn onto CDs and “really do whatever they want with,” said Edward Bender, director of multimedia for Speakeasy.

Metallica teamed with the local independent broadband service provider because of Speakeasy’s high-quality multimedia service, said Bob Pfeifer, who partners with the group on interactive and online ventures.

The project is also seen as a step closer to solving the problem of online music distribution — an issue Metallica has vocally opposed.

“As artists, they want to have control over the quality and form of content,” said Mike Apgar, Speakeasy CEO.

“I think what they’re doing here is effectively … contributing to a greater learning for what the best model might be to accomplish that goal.”

Site visitors don’t have to subscribe to Speakeasy to access the music, which is free of charge.


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