Billionaire Sean Parker considers bid for Warner Music Group, the outfit which destroyed his music website after Ulrich spearheaded action
Metallica’s record label could soon be owned by the man who founded Napster, the website destroyed after Lars Ulrich and co went into battle against it.
In 2000 the thrash giants launched legal action against Sean Parker’s online service, the first major player in the MP3 download market. The case was settled out of court but involved banning 300,000 people from using Napster, a move which annoyed many of Metallica’s fans. Ulrich later admitted it was a badly-advised episode in his life, and he wishes he’d dealt with the situation differently.
Warner Music Group continued the legal battle and Napster was finally shut down in 2002. But Parker became a billionaire as part of the team which made Facebook successful – and is now poised to make a bid for the ailing record label, which is currently seeking offers over $2.5bn.
The 31-year-old is in talks with investors Ron Burkle and Doug Teitelbaum about becoming a member of a consortium deal. He’s also an adviser to the Spotify online music service, which has been unable to reach a deal with WMG to use its music catalogue.
Four other parties are believed to be interested in buying the label, which may also be attempting to buy EMI before its own sale. Details are expected to be revealed before the end of April.
Meanwhile, Metallica have warned fans to beware of a company which has announced it will produce 3D TV and DVD releases of the band.
Front Row Networks yesterday announced: “We have achieved the first step in acquiring the 2D footage and conversion technology. Once we have secured all distribution rights we will generate revenues for us and the artist.
But the band say: “Metallica owns and controls its recorded performances and Creeping Death Music owns the vast majority of any music embodied in Metallica Recordings. Pretty much any legitimate business would have contacted us to see how Metallica felt about it. Maybe these guys just forgot.”