Britney's Circus Floods The Internet

Usually, two to three weeks before an album hits your local music store, some fool gets ahold of a copy and puts it on the web. Within hours, the album can easily be found all over the internet. While record executives no doubt dread the inevitable leak, some artists have found that early leaks can actually be beneficial. When Lil Wayne found out his entire album made its way onto the net in late 2007, he responded by throwing all the tracks together for a digital mixtape titled The Leak. The leak boosted the buzz on the blogosphere about Lil Wayne and his Tha Carter III which ended up being released this summer. The album sold over a million copies in its first week, an amazing feat in this depressed record buying climate, and it remains the top selling album of the year.

How much does an early leak impact sales? The natural conclusion to come to is that it severely dents the number, but could it actually help them? Did the leak and buzz it generated give Lil Wayne the boost to shift the number of records he did?

This weekend, Britney Spears' Circus leaked , one track at a time, onto the net over the course of six hours. Britney fansites crashed as frantic fans found out about the news and searched for a link to download it., one of the most popular sites to snag pirated music, had its server overloaded at the height of all the hype. Obviously, the vast majority of the people who illegally obtained their copy of Circus will not be headed to Best Buy on December 2 to get a legit physical copy, but there will be some people who liked the tracks so much that they will.

Regardless of what the actual sales amount to, there is convincing evidence that Britney's camp itself is still responsible for at least part of the leak. Days before the rest of the album found its way onto the web, the track "Kill The Lights" was leaked and ended up in dozens of fan made YouTube videos like the one below. Usually, record companies are on top of pulling the plug on such videos but, strangely enough, "Kill The Lights" remained. Could it be that the song was intentionally put on the net to add some excitement to the countdown to Circus' release?

One popular music blog responsible for carrying Circus tracks noted that it, "saw its biggest day EVER, traffic wise, last night, with over 33,000 people coming in looking for the tracks.
This leak is momentous in one way or another. It has overshadowed Kanye West’s 808s and Heartbreaks and Lil Wayne and DJ Drama's Dedication 3. Can we expect this internet hype to translate into massive first week sales (Watch out Wayne!)? Time will tell, but for now, all this is exciting."
"Kill The Lights"


Anonymous said...

I disagree that leaks help artists. Sure, that will create more "buzz" but why go through the hassle of getting in your car, driving to the store, and spending $10.00 for music you already have?

vicm said...

Don't worry, I'll buy Circus. I just don't want to feel guilty and have to go talk to my bishop.

Bronson said...

I think you've probably stolen enough music to merit talking to your bishop already.

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