Tuesday, August 05, 2008

A Fine Line Between Clever & Stupid

An article in yesterday's WSJ looked at whether a recent internet music leak was a case of piracy or promotion (sub req):

When a track from a forthcoming album by hard-rock band Buckcherry leaked onto the Internet a few weeks ago, the Los Angeles quintet was quick to complain in a blog and a press release from their label, Warner Music Group Corp.'s Atlantic Records. Nonetheless, the band quickly released a music video for the song, "Too Drunk. . ."; radio stations around the U.S. began playing it, and within weeks the song entered the top 40 of two rock charts published by Billboard magazine.

Some fans sensed something fishy, however. Now, the main editor of an online filesharing blog called TorrentFreak.com says the leak actually came from a computer affiliated with the band's own manager, Josh Klemme. The TorrentFreak editor, who goes by the name Ernesto Van Der Sar, asserts that the song was leaked online by a computer with an Internet protocol address that is the same as one associated with Mr. Klemme's management company.

A person close to a filesharing Web site unaffiliated with TorrentFreak provided The Wall Street Journal independent information that appears to support Mr. Van Der Sar's claim. This person confirmed the Internet protocol address of the computer that first sent "Too Drunk. . ." to filesharing networks in early July. Emails Mr. Klemme sent to the TorrentFreak blog originated at the same IP address, which in the email's routing information carries the additional identifier "joshlaptop."

Assuming the story is correct, a few points come to mind:

1. This was a brilliant marketing ploy perfectly designed to take advantage of existing conditions in today's music market.

2. Which makes it all the stranger that the same person (or persons) who came up with it could be so incredibly stupid as to not figure out a better way to upload the "leaked" song than using the band manager's laptop.

Great concept, poor execution.

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