The question is when an album leaks over the Internet, does it hinder or promote album sales? In the music industry, an album leak is inevitable. It is like death. Once you’ve lived life to the fullest, creating your opus of sound, and have a album release date, you can look forward to the death of your work because it will be released over the Internet, hopefully closer to your proposed release date.
The Internet has given rappers, who would have never surfaced in the 90’s era of hip-hop, a full tank of gas in the hip-hop scene. While most of the rappers we hear about in the news are household names and can be considered Hybrids, using minimal gas, there are the rappers who can be seen as SUVs and need the gas that the Internet constantly produces.
How can you measure the success of entertainers and rappers? If it were based solely on album sells, then most of the mainstream music and the entire population of underground rappers would be ill fated. However, we judge them on lyrical content, performances, style, and what they do away from the microphone.
Album leaks can be found on most hip-hop and rap blogs and forums. Even a simple download and the artist name in Google will probably bring up their most recent album leaks, but remember downloading music is still illegal.
However, talks about taxing and monitoring the Internet would stop all of this, but we all have a freedom speech and press. Many people profit off of the album leaks, whether it is a friend of the artist or someone at the music labels who have a copy of the artist’s work.
When most albums are pushed back and pushed back more, there is a sense of hype building. With all the hype, people may anticipate an album, so when it does leak they will download it as soon as possible, but these people also need to buy the album as well.
A sign that an album is about to leak is when a sample of the album is released over the Internet. Another album leak sign or one of the earliest signs are when the album track listing and artwork is released.
The two recent album leaks are Wale’s first album, “Attention Deficit” and 50 Cent’s “Before I Self Destruct.” Out of these two artists, who is the most affected rapper by the early album release? We’ll just say that 50 Cent is the most affected, simply because his album leaked 27 days earlier than expected.
What do artists do to combat the problem?
They push their release dates up. We saw this happen with Jay-Z. His album was supposed to be released on September 11, 2009, but because his album leaked, he pushed it up to September 8, 2009.
Other artists just don’t care about album leaks because they love their fan base. Kid Cudi replied to his album leaking by hoping his fans enjoyed the album via twitter. His album sales, because of current times, still did well.
But the thing is, if albums leak will true fans buy the CD or through iTunes?
Album releases can either break or make an artist album sells; however, it can also persuade the on-the-fence fans. If an album leaks, the hip-hop community shall embrace it. It has to happen, but we as fans should still be supporting our favorite artist by purchasing their albums.
So, if you are tapping the faucet to the leaks of albums through the Internet, in order to help the hip-hop industry thrive, we must purchase the albums after these leaks. Water is always free, but people still pay for it.
~Keep Hip-Hop Alive~ (the Internet is, but for how long?)