Metallica: How the Band Went To War With Elektra Records

Metallica Went to War With Elektra In 1994!

Today on Rock N’ Roll True Stories they look at the time Metallica went to war with their label Elektra Records in 1994 ahead of Load coming out. Check out the full story below!

Now when people think of metallica and lawsuits people automatically go to their whole feud they had with napster around the time of the new millennium but little do people know that 5 years prior the band went to war with their record label. Why did they go to war with their record label? You’ll find out in today’s video.

Now 5 years prior in 1994 Metallica sued their record label Elektra entertainment which was owned by Time Warner. Now Metallica’s lawsuit was an effor to get the band out of their contract. It boiled down to the fact that Metallica didn’t think they were being fairly compensated for their music and according to drummer Lars Ulrich who put out a statement in 1994 saying “to this day we are still operating under the original contract we originally had with those guys in 1984 and we’re still getting the same royalty rate.

Now up until the lawsuit Metallica had a good relationship with Elektra as the yhad found a longtime ally with Robert Krasnow who was the CEO for 11 years at that point in time. Now the band began negotiations in 1993 to receive a higher royalty rate and it was something that Krasnow agreed to verbally but not too long after that trouble was on the horizon for the band as in the summer of 1994 Elektra was taken over by Warner Music and Krasnow found himself on the way out.

Warner CEO Robert Murgado would appoint Atlantic Records head Doug Morris to head up the new conglomerate. Metallica’s previous agreement with Kransnow was now out the window and negotiations between the band and the conglomerate had stalled. Metallica’s would put out a fiery response that would take their label by surprise. In september of 1994 they would hit their label with a lawsuit.

Now metallica’s lawsuit would rest on a california law that was enacted in 1940 to prevent movie studios from forcing actors into unreasonable contracts. Under California law, an individual or entity could be released from a personal services contract after 7 years. And the original contract between metallica and elektra wasn’t measured in years, but albums, which is common in the music industry. Now the band was to deliver seven albums for the label, but metallica weren’t the first musicians to try this tactic to get out of their contract.

As Don Henley of the Eagles and Luther Vandrose would carry the same actions against their own labels with the end result being that both musicians would settle out of court. In fact it wasn’t metallica’s intention to leave their label, they just wanted more money and they wanted to force their label’s hand so a lawsuit was the only way to bring themto their table.

Now Elektra records for their part claimed that the band’s contract wasn’t subject to california law despite the fact that it was signed in San Francisco and the band’s four members resided there at the time. Following the announcement of the lawsuit, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich would blast Warner CEO Robert Murgado calling him greedy and arrogant for his behaviour claiming he was renaging on promises made by Bob Krasnow. Now Ulrich would go on to say “our faith in this company has been flushed down the drain. Elektra used to have a reputation as a label that treated artists with respect.

Now it’s just another place where arrogant business people break promises. There comes a point where you have to realize you’re taking it up the behind and i don’t like that feeling very much” he’d conclude. Now soon enough the legal battle moved to the east coast in new york and much like the napster battle ulrich would represent filing daily reports for his bandmates.

Now Ulrich would become frustrated with the lawyers he was dealing with and soon assembled Metallica’s managers including Peter Mensch and Cliff Bernstein as well as Doug Morris from the label into one room and told that they don’t need lawyers to work things out and after a two hour meeting Morris offered Metallica a new lucrative deal. The band in-turn would drop their lawsuit and resign with Elektra On top of a higher royalty rate and a promise to deliver new albums, Metallica also retained ownership over all of their master recordings. Now metallica’s first new recording under this contract would be 1996’s Load, but fans would get a