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Piracy fears lead to shift in Metallica bow

Knowles, Eminem, 50 Cent disc preems upped

Elektra Records has moved up the release date of Metallica’s new album, “St. Anger,” from June 10 to Thursday in order to battle the proliferation of illegal copies.

And on its heels, Columbia will issue Beyonce Knowles’ solo debut “Dangerously in Love” on June 24 instead of the previously set July 8.

They are the third and fourth significant albums to see release dates shifted to battle piracy; discs by Eminem and 50 Cent were moved up recently by several days.

An Elektra spokesman said it was a rare exception to standard release policy and that the members of Metallica endorsed the move. “St. Anger” is Metallica’s first studio album in six years. Album includes a live performance DVD as well.

Today the band will launch a DVD Treasure Hunt at Metallica.com, through which fans may search online for Metallica performances.

To enhance the value of the CD, the disc also includes a special digital access pass granting entry to a vault of unreleased live performances by the band.

Metallica will kick off the North American leg of its Summer Sanitarium Tour, featuring Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, Deftones and Mudvayne, on July 4 in Pontiac, Mich.

Knowles, meanwhile, will preview songs from her album on the June 14 pay-per-view TV special “Ford Presents Beyonce Knowles, Friends & Family, Live From Ford’s 100th Anniversary Celebration in Dearborn, Michigan.”

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