What Happens When Your Music Gets Leaked?

March 31, 2024
David Sunnyside

When your music gets leaked on the internet, there's a lot at stake. For bands with any clout, it can be a great way to generate early buzz, or get some valuable feedback on a new project, while for acts without that kind of financial stability and global ubiquity, it can spell disaster.

Often, the first place an album gets leaked is in the studio, where engineers and disgruntled groupies are always hanging around working with demo or master copies of songs. Then when the record label comes round and gives them the finished product, it's not too hard for some mail room punk or temp assistant to take a copy and upload it to the Interweb.

In more serious situations, the leaks can raise larger questions about security, privacy and the people you surround yourself with. Production disputes (unpaid producer fees, sample clearances) might land you in legal hot water; problematic lyrics from years ago can resurface and impact your image with the current fanbase; or even just old memories might come back to haunt you in ways you didn't expect.

Some musicians also decide to self-leak in an attempt to wrest control of the release process from their labels. Earlier this year, when Radiohead were reportedly having issues with their label over the pace of release for their new album, In Rainbows, singer M.I.A threatened to 'leak' the album herself, using a burner Soundcloud account, to generate some press and speed things up.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
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