Cleanup In Aisle Two

Water leak, a metaphor for CDs being released early, or "leaked", on the Internet

Last night one of the most anticipated albums of the year leaked online, and just past midnight EST on Sunday night/Monday morning, every rap fan was listening to Drake’s sophomore effort, Take Care. In the age of ubiquitous technology it’s almost inevitable that an album – especially a hip-hop album – will leak. But as we have seen with other recent efforts (like J. Cole selling 160k in his first week), if the product is good, people will buy it. But I’m not here to discuss the merits of album leaks or why anyone responsible for leaking an album should be permanently banned from working in the music industry; no, I’m here to discuss something I like to call “leak etiquette”.

Everybody and their dog has a blog these days, there are thousands of music and hip-hop blogs alone, so files get passed around like they’re nothing, but there needs to be a certain amount of tact when posting music for free, especially those that haven’t come out yet. I say this because in the past week I’ve been able to download two entire CDs by just Google-ing the name of the cd + download. I didn’t originally intend to download the first CD but I searched for a song off of it (that had already appeared on all the blogs) and somehow wound up at a page to download the whole album. Of course, I could have hit that little red x in the top left-hand corner but I figured I’d give it a shot and see how easy it is to just download the entire thing without any effort. Sure enough, a few clicks and a 45 second wait, and boom, I was unarchiving the .zip file.

Same thing with the Drake album. Today, someone told me they couldn’t find a download link so I did a little experiment. I won’t tell you exactly what I searched on Google to find a download link but I’m sure you can guess; anyways, the first link I tried worked perfectly. This is too damn easy! And herein lies the basis behind leak etiquette: I should not be able to download an entire CD off your website. Bloggers, please stick to posting songs if you’re going to post leaks. Posting entire albums on your website is too much. I’m not going to lie to you guys and pretend that I buy every album I listen to or like, but I know the channels to access them, and Google is not on of those channels. Eager listeners will figure out how to get what they want; bloggers don’t need to help them get there, especially not in such a public forum. They invented emails, Facebook inboxes and DMs for a reason.

I guess my fear in all of this is that at some point it has to end and it the implications stemming from that “end” worry me. Are record labels finally going to get serious and start tracking IP addresses to prosecute file sharers? Or worse, are artists going to stop making music? (I know that seems unlikely but if they’re not making money off their music and have to rely on touring, I don’t think we’ll see too much new music coming out. Either way, it has the potential to be ugly. For now, I’m just happy that Drake didn’t seem too mad.

Take care.

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  1. […] up was the aforementioned leak of Drake’s – who is by far T. Dot’s biggest musical export in decades – […]



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