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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 June, 2003, 13:33 GMT 14:33 UK
Metallica relent over internet music
Metallica surprised fans at the Download music festival
Heavy metal band Metallica are offering fans the chance to listen to their music on the internet, just three years after suing over dowloads from the web.

The US band are releasing their first album in six years containing a code that allows people to access exclusive tracks from the internet.

In 2001, Metallica filed a lawsuit against the now-defunct Napster file-swapping service for allowing users to download songs without permission.

Napster later settled the case by agreeing to restrict the use of their music.

The deal also included assurances that Metallica made some material available to Napster "from time to time" if a suitable method of paying artists and publishers was discovered.

At the time, the band members said they were not against music-swapping but were against their music being made freely available without their consent and without proper remuneration.

'Quality standards'

After teaming up with internet provider Speakeasy they are now giving access to a number of unreleased tracks through their own website.

"We've always wanted our fans to experience our music online," drummer Lars Ulrich said.

"But up until now, the existing distribution methods have not passed the kind of 'quality' standards our fans have come to expect from us."

Metallica made a surprise appearance at the Download music festival in Derbyshire at the weekend, giving fans a taste of their forthcoming album St Anger.

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