As someone who follows the workings of the modern music industry fairly closely, I always feel my heart break a little when I see that a new album has leaked onto Internet before its intended release date. In recent years, it’s become almost inevitable—but it’s still just as unfortunate, no matter the popularity of the artist, that a meticulously planned out marketing schedule is foiled (and the sale of music jeopardized) just because fans can’t wait another few weeks to hear the newest songs from their favorite bands.
Most of my personal qualms with digital media in today’s music industry aside, I firmly believe that the Internet is an essential tool for marketing and exposing new music to today’s consumers. However, the modern consumer, who has ben trained by the internet to always expect instant gratification, can never seem to stand the “waiting game” that always comes with the impending release of a new record—and it’s this mentality that has been slowly drowning our music industry for years.
For a few months, at least, I was starting to believe that record labels had begun to stifle the incessant leaking of albums before their release date. Perusing social media and the forums of certain music websites, I saw no marketing plan interrupted by the untimely release of the product onto the Internet via some irresponsible or unsympathetic press source.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, almost five records that I have been waiting for found their ways onto file sharing websites. The most notable of these releases was Paramore’s highly anticipated self-titled follow up to 2009’s Platinum-selling Brand New Eyes.
It would seem quite easy to throw the blame on that incompetent scoundrel who leaked the album in the first place, but that doesn’t really seem fair. If the leaker released the album (without the artist’s consent) and people respected the artist, then it wouldn’t matter—no one would want to be inconsiderate and listen before the artist/label intended. But, unfortunately, that’s not the case here.
So why so impatient? Nowadays, most artists stream their album on the Internet legally more than a week in advance anyway—why not wait? Often, leaks are of low sound quality, meaning that the songs fans are hearing aren’t being heard the way the artist intended—why not wait a week or two and listen to a higher quality free stream on Spotify or Rdio? Or better yet, why not wait until release date and buy a physical copy, getting the whole experience of reading through the liner notes while hearing that new record for the first time? Let’s not rob the sentiment from modern music—be respectful.
By: Jordan Walsh