Long-suffering music rebel Napster, which was shut down yesterday, has buried the hatchet with heavy metal band Metallica, which kicked off the first lawsuit against the file-swap company for copyright infringement.
Yesterday, just one day after US judge Marilyn Patel ruled that Napster must stay closed until it can prove it is not violating music industry copyrights, a statement from Metallica announced settlement of its legal dispute with the company.
In fact, the band has even said it will work with Napster in the future "to make Napster a positive vehicle for artists and music enthusiasts alike".
But the announcement didn't come without Metallica getting what amounted to a grovelling apology from Napster.
"Metallica has taken a courageous stand and a tough and principled approach to the protection of its name and creative output, and that of other artists," said Napster chief executive Hank Barry.
"They brought to our attention essential artists' rights issues which we've addressed in our new technology. We respect what they've done and regret any harm which this dispute may have caused them," he added.
Napster even welcomed the band's intention to help it develop a next generation system that protects artists' rights.
Metallica front man and band co-founder Lars Ulrich said: "I think we've resolved this in a way that works for fans, recording artists and songwriters alike.
"Our beef hasn't been with the concept of sharing music. The problem we had with Napster was that they never asked us or other artists if we wanted to participate in their business. It's good that they're going legit."
But when Napster does come back, it will face competition from Microsoft, which has just announced an alliance with another online music distributor, Pressplay.
The company is a collaboration between Sony and Universal Music Group, supporting Microsoft's Windows Media Player and planning to offer a legal music distribution alternative.
A third player on the same scene may be RealNetworks, which announced an alliance with music distribution service, MusicNet.
Napster had better make a quick comeback if it wants to grab some ground in the up and coming web music war.
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