Album Leaks: Nightmare or Opportunity

But how do these songs wind up on the Internet in the first place? Record companies are tight-lipped on the subject. Representatives for Big Boi, Eminem, Kanye and Drake — even the indie group Arcade Fire, whose upcoming album The Suburbs has been appearing in dribs and drabs online — all declined to comment. But in general, leaked tracks fall into two categories: unintentional and deliberate. The unintentional album leak is the most common, the most frustrating and the most difficult to control. Record labels send copies of upcoming albums to journalists, critics, bloggers and radio stations — basically, anyone who might promote them. Most major labels now watermark these CDs with individualized codes (sort of like a VIN number on an automobile) so that if the album leaks, the illegal files can be traced back to the irresponsible source. Still, a large portion of unauthorized album leaks stem from members of the media, according to Garland. Perhaps that’s why advance copies of Radiohead’s 2003 album Hail to the Thief were sent to journalists sealed inside individual CD players that couldn’t be opened.

via Album Leaks: A Record Label’s Nightmare, or Opportunity – TIME.

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