AfterDawn: Tech news

Music industry veterans see the upside of album leaks

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 12 Jul 2008 0:03 User comments (11)

Music industry veterans see the upside of album leaks Last week, the latest Nas album was leaked to P2P and other file sharing networks but it appears that the rapper is among the growing minority of music industry veterans that see the upside of piracy and leaked albums.
Nas' business partner Anthony Saleh had this to say on the matter, "I don't think the leak has hurt Nas in any way...the leak has helped those who have delivered on their albums with good music ... If (fans) want to support it, they'll go buy it."

The upside of these leaks of course, is a boost in sales, by way of generating a buzz for the album. If the album is good, and the fans like it, the thinking is that they will eventually go out and buy it, or download it from an authorized vendor.

There is no way to skew that theory either, as it is backed up by pure data. Three of the top five biggest CDs over the last year have been hip-hop albums that were leaked weeks before the actual street date. These albums were the very popular "Graduation" by Kanye West, 50 Cent's "Curtis" and Lil Wayne's "Tha Carter III."

Each of those albums hit the Internet at least 2 weeks before their street dates yet each have over one million units sales, a plateau that is getting harder and harder to achieve. "Graduation" has sold 2.1 million units, "Curtis" has sold 1.3 million units and the still very new "Tha Carter III" has sold 1.7 million units already. Universal Music Group has estimated that Lil Wayne's album was pirated over 1 million times since its leak.

"The leak was good for Kanye because he was going against 50 and could show that his album was superior,"
says Kyambo Joshua, head of Columbia's urban department as well as the co-founder of entertainment company HipHopSince1978, which manages both West and Lil Wayne. "It's a give-and-take because if an album leaks before it comes out, you're not losing sales because it's not in stores. It's like having a listening party for 500,000 people and seeing if they go to the stores."

There are however, people who do not agree with this train of thought. "I think that it's preposterous to suggest that leaks help," argues Jim Urie, president/CEO of Universal Music Group Distribution.

"I am annoyed that our labels haven't released albums earlier in reaction to the leaks. Things like Lil Wayne, Fall Out Boy, Weezer -- I would have put them out earlier, but the labels wouldn't. They have held off to honor retailers, particularly the ones who can't sell digitally."


This new trend of leaks garnering good sales has prompted labels to try out new methods of releasing music, most recently with UMG selling multiple tracks from "Tha Carter III" before the album's release.

Eric Garland, CEO of BigChampagne, a company which measures peer-to-peer traffic added that the labels regularly track traffic on P2P networks to see how well a leak is doing as well as determine age, gender and location of downloaders.

"Over the last five years, tracking downloading went from a hush-hush thing to being one of the key indicators in the marketing and promotion of every major label,"
Garland says. "In a music market where control over distribution is deteriorating, intelligence about the marketplace is the silver lining."

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11 user comments

112.7.2008 1:04

i dont understand this theory of "if the fans download the leaked album and like it they will eventually go buy it" are the people that do that just plain stupid or do they have too much cash.

i havnt downloaded music in years but if i did download a leaked copy and liked it i would burn it to a disc, print a cover and slap it all in a case saving myself about $15.

i dunno maybe some people just wanna ease a guilty conscience but i highly doubt the RIAA would see them as innocent of piracy because they did go buy a real copy. so whats the point, if your gonna risk a $4k fine for copyright infringement then you might as well save the pennies that you would have spent on the album.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 12 Jul 2008 @ 1:06

212.7.2008 3:04

Some people do have morals & want to support the people who make the music that they like!

312.7.2008 3:45

Quote:
"The leak was good for Kanye because he was going against 50 and could show that his album was superior," says Kyambo Joshua, head of Columbia's urban department as well as the co-founder of entertainment company HipHopSince1978, which manages both West and Lil Wayne. "It's a give-and-take because if an album leaks before it comes out, you're not losing sales because it's not in stores. It's like having a listening party for 500,000 people and seeing if they go to the stores."

Am I reading this right ? he's saying that leaks are good ?

412.7.2008 7:21
fgamer
Inactive

I actually do download some music and if I like it I'll purchase the album just to support their album. Now I recently downloaded the new Coldplay album and thought it sucked so I won't be buying it. I refuse to pay money for an album to only find out that I wasted 15-20 bucks on it..just not worth it, especially with todays economy.

512.7.2008 10:09
atomicxl
Inactive

I'd be willing to bet that some of the most under performing albums or albums that only sold mediocre despite critic reviews were leaked as well. Not to mention that Kanye West and 50 Cent are 2/3 of the 3 biggest hip-hop acts of the 2000s. The article acts like they were going to flop horribly had they not been leaked.

I think leaks are the worst thing ever. So much planning, attention and money is used to really make the release as big as possible. Leaks basically circumvent that and make all that time, money and effort a waste. Plus, artists work really hard. Leaks are upsetting because its not done by some "fan"... its done by someone actually in the industry (engineers, producers, manufacturers, distributors, etc) who should have some sort of value for music and who understands that immense effort that goes around making release dates and making them as big as possible.

612.7.2008 10:48

The leaks are done on purpose to boost the sales. If this wasn't the case then we'd read about leaks every day. Cheap people who don't care for sound qaulity will just pirate it anyways. Those who are true fans and enjoy the album will go out and buy it on CD. Lets face it, downloaded qaulity will never be better then CD and in the end if you care for qaulity and care for you artist you will go out and buy a good album.

712.7.2008 18:52

If I really like something, I buy it.

812.7.2008 19:39

I don't buy CD's anyway. but if I download something and like it I'll sure as hell buy it on vinyl. CD's are a scam and always have been.

With vinyl you get a nice piece of artwork, a recording that actually sounds like music, and a listening experience. Totally worth the price of admission, and if you want a digital copy, you can rip at 24-bit which sounds way better than a CD.

With CD's you get a piece of plastic packaged in a piece of plastic and a cheese grater to the eardrum.

The album is dead; long live the album!

913.7.2008 0:13

Originally posted by ripxrush:
Some people do have morals & want to support the people who make the music that they like!
when you go buy that album that you like to support your favorite artist, how much of your $15 do you think your favorite artist get. it aint much thats for damn sure so if you wanna support the artist download his album and send him a couple bucks in the mail or better still go see him/her performing live.

in the case of listening to a leaked album and then going to see the artist live it makes sence, you get the music for free, if you like it you go watch them perform putting cash in the artists pocket. buying an album does next to nothing for the artist, you are paying the record company. and again why the hell would anyone spend money on something they allready have gotten for free. its like growing your own veg from stolen seeds and then hitting the supermarket to stock up on veg.

1014.7.2008 8:56
atomicxl
Inactive

Quote:
Originally posted by ripxrush:
Some people do have morals & want to support the people who make the music that they like!
when you go buy that album that you like to support your favorite artist, how much of your $15 do you think your favorite artist get. it aint much thats for damn sure so if you wanna support the artist download his album and send him a couple bucks in the mail or better still go see him/her performing live.

in the case of listening to a leaked album and then going to see the artist live it makes sence, you get the music for free, if you like it you go watch them perform putting cash in the artists pocket. buying an album does next to nothing for the artist, you are paying the record company. and again why the hell would anyone spend money on something they allready have gotten for free. its like growing your own veg from stolen seeds and then hitting the supermarket to stock up on veg.
I guess this is the end result of america removing arts from the curriculum of its educational system: music has zero value whatsoever in the eyes and ears of consumers, regardless of how good or bad it is.

Originally posted by ceno82:
The leaks are done on purpose to boost the sales. If this wasn't the case then we'd read about leaks every day.

The majority of albums do leak... which is why its funny to see Afterdawn saying that leaks are some new thing and that they always help album sales. Tell that to Lupe Fiasco (or anyone else who's released great albums that were leaked and sold horribly) who's released two classic albums back to back, both leaked and both with combined sales of around 600k. Leaks nor quality of music have little to do with great first week sales.

Sometimes afterdawn articles read like the liberal version of Fox News... so blatantly slanted its ridiculous.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 14 Jul 2008 @ 9:00

1114.7.2008 10:51

i dont listen to the radio and its free why? because the music sucks. i would subscribe to a satellite service to hear music i think is "good" why well just like the artists say if you like the music you will buy it. also when u cut an album the radio only plays the songs that they want to play maybe the listener doesnt like the song on the radio but if they can get the whole album they may have a change of opinion. especially with rap music because some lyrics they wont play on the radio. many times i have brought music i wouldnt have if i didnt hear a leaked copy from somewhere whether it was youtube or from anywhere else. the only people it hurts is the record companies and they have been raping artists for years

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