It should come as no surprise to know that in today's music scene, albums are leaked months before their release date. Ever since Napster became all the rage and the MP3 format made world domination a feasible notion in the latter half of the 90's, bands have been seeing the promotional copy of their new album hit the internet well before it's due in stores. The RIAA and Satan himself -- I'm sorry, Mr. Lars Ulrich -- have tried their best to put a stop to the madness, killing ingenious software like Napster and suing 12 year olds for sharing their favorite Backstreet Boys songs. This ongoing saga will, most likely, never end and certain leaks provide quite the high drama between record labels and bloggers. This past week proved to be an eventful one for indie/electro DJs MSTRKRFT and their label Dim Mak. Feelings were hurt, an e-mail was sent and a hotly anticipated album was begrudgingly leaked a month before it's release date.
The album in question, Fist of God, is due to hit stores March 17th. MSTRKRFT was formed from the ashes of quite possibly the best band in the past decade, Death From Above 1979, featuring that band's bass player, Jesse F. Keeler (or the ever-humble initials JFK). They built their reputation on churning out smart, ravenous electronic dance music that gave those kids that wear day-glo Adidas and gigantic scarves something to groove to on a Friday night. Then two French dudes calling themselves Justice came along, outdid MSTRKRFT and left the Canadian duo searching for a new sound and style.
So here we are, a sleepy week in the middle of February when MSTRKRFT's new album unceremoniously leaks onto the internet via some cool dude's music blog (wait, you mean to tell me people have music blogs?). Dim Mak, the band's record label, caught wind of this and sent out an e-mail to those responsible for freely distributing the new album:
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Hey guys, we spoke with the band today and heard someone who got a very early promo version of the album thought it would be genius to leak it on the internet.
Please do us a favor and do not post any records from the album on your blogs quite yet. These are the wishes of not only us at Dim Mak but of MSTRKRFT and their management. I trust many of you have already decided to do the right thing and that is really really awesome...however that still leaves some of you on this email list I have already seen post up new records from them in an effort to get some more hits to your site. The album doesn't come out until over a month from now...please do the right thing honestly.
The blog in question is Fuck You On Friday (NSFW), which is run by a dude named Jared. The comments following his posting Fist of God (which has since been removed) have been numerous, including a comment from one employee of Dim Mak. The uproar surrounding this particular leak is very detailed and oddly fascinating - in that unavoidable, train wreck fashion. Jared isn't afraid to extensively comment on everything regarding the band, their new album and how it came to be in his possession. It's intriguing in this particular context because a member of the band, JFK, has voiced his opinion on the matter (the last comment on the bottom) and that information has become available for dorks like me to read. He is none too pleased about the album being leaked, and some accounts have a copy of Fist of God being available in October of last year.
It's a slippery slope these days in regards to album leaks. It literally takes the actions of only one person, with access to a copy of the album to put it up on the internet and watch it spread like wildfire. I'm sure this sort of thing happens often, but MSTRKRFT's saga strikes me as intriguing due to the open communication of the offended, the offender and the fans. Will this sort of thing ever stop? Probably not anytime soon, so enjoy the reaction and subsequent backlash of the newest album leak saga.