The California metal
men and rap star, who share the same Los Angeles-based attorney,
agreed to bring their suits to a close and will offer select material
from their respective catalogs once Napster implements its subscriber-based
service, which will compensate artists whose music is downloaded
from the site.
"Our beef hasn't been
with the concept of sharing music; everyone knows that we've never
objected to our fans trading tapes of our live concert performances,"
Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich said. "The problem was that we've
become so rich and famous that amassing wealth has become a sort
of game to us. Just to show an example of how far our delusions
go, it's gotten to the point where I personally can't stand to have
my stock go down even a quarter of a point. You know that bumper
sticker that says, 'He who dies with the most toys wins'? Well,
I'm out here everyday living that philosophy, man."
"We've got a running
contest between us and a few other multimillionaire rockers in the
area," Ulrich added, "and with this latest Napster development,
I think I can confidentally say that we've edged U2
out of the number four spot. Now, if we could just surpass the sales
of our last three albums with this new one [tentatively-titled "Perrywinkle
Bliztkreig"], I'm sure we'll have ol' Steven
Tyler sweating bullets in no time!"
Dre also chimed in with
a similar spin on the Napster debate. "I worked hard making music
back in 1987 -- now it's time for me to sit back and watch the mad
cash come rolling in," Dre said. "Now that Napster's agreed to respect
that, I don't have any beef with them. Anyway, it's time to put
an end to this costly lawsuit before it does any more damage to
my already weak-as-f*** reputation." Dre also touched on his being
the subject of some rather humiliating reprisals to his person of
late. "My mansion in the Hamptons has been teepeed twice already
just this week. It's getting so I can't even show my face in the
old hangouts. Snoop don't even return my phone calls any more. What
up with that?!!"
The settlements were
a bit of good news in a dreary week for Napster. On July 11th, U.S.
District Judge Marilyn Patel ordered the company to remain off-line
until it is able to ensure that 100 percent of unauthorized copyrighted
material is eliminated from the site. Napster obeyed Patel's order,
but also filed an appeal. Later, Patel commented, "I don't
see why they [Metallica and Dr Dre] have been painted in the media
as so greedy; they've always been very giving to me."
In perhaps the most surprising
moment during July 12th press conference, Ulrich openly admitted
to wearing ladies underwear in a totally unprovocated non sequitur
near the end of his official statement. "It's a rather large
part of my life, and I feel that since I've nearly nothing left
to lose, facewise, I figured it was time to let the cat out of the
bag. I also enjoy dressing up like a Catholic schoolgirl and having
my behind spanked, usually by James [Hetfield] or one of our most
trusted roadies. This may be coming as a bit of a shock, but I know
that the true hardcore Metallica fans will understand." Ulrich
would not comment on whether this revelation played any part in
former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted's recent bitter departure
from the band.
Meanwhile, the reaction
at the Napster camp remained upbeat about their latest supporters.
"Metallica has taken a courageous stand in this last-ditch effort
to save face," Napster CEO Hank Barry said. "We brought to their
attention the fact that their popularity in the polls recently has
slipped below even President Dubya's approval rating; after that,
they seemed very enthusiastic about wrapping up the settlement.
They don't want these recent litigious court battles to reflect
poorly on their latest in a long line of cover albums, a delightful
and occasionally tuneful tribute to the songcraft of Perry Como
to be released later this month."
Of Dre's settlement,
Barry added, "We're pleased to report that our current system addresses
his concerns, and regret that he hasn't been able to produce any
decent music in the last two decades. Perhaps now he can concentrate
all his considerable self-promotion skills to his newest collection
of Tonka toy-produced rap gems, including such soon-to-be classic
tracks as 'Yeah, I'm Still D.R.E. An' I'm Still Here', 'D.R.E. Is
Unforgettable' (a touching duet with Natalie
Cole), and 'D.R.E. Is Solely Responsible For All This Annoying
Ubiquitous Bling-Bling S*** That's Descended Upon MTV2 Like A Plague'.
Our prayers are with him."
"We're all a little afraid
of Lars here at Napster now, especially in light of those recent
underthings comments he's made," said Napster founder and Metallica
fan Shawn Fanning. "At first, he came off as a real jerk, swearing
all the time and calling us rude names. Now it's like he wants to
be our buddy. Weird." Fanning added, "Still, I guess we
look forward - albiet guardedly - to gaining Metallica's support
and respect, as they force us to develop Napster into a corporate
tool that can be responsive both to Metallica's and Dre's needs
to communicate their art through exorbitant prices, and possibly
John's, and other pop divas' as well."
But perhaps this ordeal
for the troubled Napster has not been in vain. Pepsi-Presents-Madonna
has currently expressed interest in having a song written for her
based on her own newsmaking struggles with Napster, a development
that would most certainly revitalize the plaintiff's deflating image.
But until then, Mrs Ritchie will have to be satisfied covering Roughly
Enforcing Nostalgia's sleeper hit "Hey
Napsters! Steal This Song!" Fanning seemed relieved when
he stated to reporters today, "We're pleased that this chapter
is behind us."
(July 13, 2001)