Plugging leaks in the record label infrastructure
Every week, record labels send music journalists promotional copies of forthcoming new albums for review. It’s a quid pro quo: journalists get to hear the albums in advance and the record labels know the reviews will appear in publications on …
Every week, record labels send music journalists promotional copies of forthcoming new albums for review. It’s a quid pro quo: journalists get to hear the albums in advance and the record labels know the reviews will appear in publications on the week of release.
But music piracy had made a dent in this arrangement as some pre-release albums end up on file-sharing sites. Because the promo albums are watermarked, the labels can trace the leaks back to the source and, lo and behold, it turns out that some journalists were taking liberties with the albums.
This week, Ninja Tune reacted to the fact that two of their forthcoming albums were leaked by naming and shaming the journalist they believed was involved.
Jager subsequently issued a statement distancing the magazine from the label’s claims, pointing out that the first leaks had appeared before the magazine had received the CDs in quesiton.
It didn’t end there. Ninja Tune then issued a statement pointing out that the leaks happened after the CDs were sent to Backspin and that the watermarks associated with the leaked music were traced back to the magazine. “The audio leaked was without doubt that contained on the CD mailed to Benjamin Jager, and that disc was undoubtedly in the Backspin offices prior to the leak. The (earlier) link they refer to is a fake, and leads only to a series of online data collection adverts and surveys”.
This is not the only case of a music hack supposedly leaking pre-release albums. Earlier this year, it was alleged that an Irish journalist who had received a pre-release copy of the latest Gang Gang Dance abum had leaked it to a file-sharing site.
All of this means labels are becoming increasingly protective of new albums and are spending more money to protect their assets. Some albums, such as recent releases from Beyonce and Odd Future wizzkid Tyler, the Creator, were not sent out for review at all, the equivalent of films opening in the cinemas without a press screening.
Ironically, journalists who wanted to hear Beyonce’s new album for review could have done so on a plethora of file-sharing sites, as the album had already been leaked. It seems that it’s not just unscrupulous hacks who are illegally uploading new releases.