Ongoing History Daily: The album leak

One of the worst things to happen to an artist is to have an album leak before it’s supposed to be released. That screws up so much with their marketing plans that acts and labels do whatever they can to prevent that from happening.

Part of the challenge is allowing journalists sneak-peek listens to upcoming albums so they can make all their deadlines.  This can open a serious security flaw and the album could end up on the Internet months in advance. This isn’t as much of a problem now because of the use of watermarked digital files, but when CDs were still a thing—wow.

In 2003, the White Stripes tried to screw everything up by issuing advance copies of the Elephant album only on vinyl.  Pearl Jam and Radiohead gave journalists cassette players or CD players that were glued shut.  That didn’t work very well because even journalists know about screwdrivers.  Then there was a band called Guster whose advance press copy of their 2003 album, Keep It Together, was distributed intact–except for the fact that every sung lyric was replaced by their studio engineer going “meow meow meow.” 

Yesterday’s post was about Weezer’s missing years.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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