I woke up this morning to a tweet from @shayneTward (well, not PERSONALLY to me):
I find it disgusting that yet another 1 of my songs have been leaked. I ask all of u to not download or even listen 2 it in respect of me.!
Now there’s a conundrum for the Shayne Ward fan in your life. (Full disclosure if you didn’t already know it: I’m a fan). On one hand, a fan of an artist wants to help that person out and support whatever efforts will allow them to be successful. However, the flip side is that said fan wants to hear that leaked music as soon as possible. So what way do you go?
Leaks have become a completely different beast in the age of the Internet than they ever were in more analog times. My first “leak” was a vinyl copy of the Black Album in the late-80s that I got from a person who worked for a distributor. At the time, I thought I was being all rebellious and connected at the same time, but now I know that the bootleg was actually a promo copy of the aborted (at the time) album. It came as a fully packaged album, with a two-toned black cover, so I should have recognized the effort that went into the packaging. The Black Album was finally released in 1994, although by that time not nearly as many people cared.
So back to the leak at hand. I’ve already talked about two Shayne leaks last month, and as we get closer to the release of his third record, I am sure we will see more. While you want to think that the actions of someone you respect are on the up and up, I can’t help think that bringing attention to a track continues the conversation about the artist started by the first two leaks. Leaks have worked very well in building buzz for artists over the past few years (think Britney’s last two projects), so it isn’t a reach to wonder if the protest is to bring attention to the leak, because I didn’t know another track had leaked until Shayne told me so. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, I suppose.
So here’s the question: given the circumstance, would you check out the leak, or would you leave it alone? I promise that I will share which way I went with it, but I’d like to see some of the feedback first.