If you’re going to launch a music album (or a movie, or a game, or a downloadable car) and make it exclusive to a single service, you’re probably in for a bit of piracy. If you’re vocal about it, you’re in for a lot of piracy. Kanye West may have just learned this lesson, as have many others before him.
West released his newest album, Life of Pablo, late on 13 February in the States. So… on Sunday morning here. The release has been, so far, limited to Tidal and fraught with hiccups, including users being unable to access the music they paid for. West was very adamant that users will only be able to access his new album via Tidal, the streaming service owned by Jay Z and friends. No other services, not via iTunes, not in stores. Just Tidal.
Pirates like that sort of challenge, it seems. Shortly after the above tweet was posted, a direct download link to the pirated album appeared in the reply stream. And, presumably, several other mirrors popped up everywhere else. Torrentfreak reports that there are several pirated versions of the album available on torrent services and that they have observed almost 10,000 concurrent downloads of Life of Pablo at a time – which is apparently a recent record for a music album. And that’s just the torrent downloads, there are direct downloads of the album popping up faster than the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) can take them down.
The report on the piracy figures was published yesterday, meaning that the half a million figure? That’s probably increased considerably by now. The current spate of piracy, as The Next Web points out, is unusual in that internet piracy as a whole is on the decline. It might have something to do with that tweet – and the problems experienced by people who actually paid for the album but were unable to access it.