The phenom of the web has allowed a revolution in music consumption unknown before. As part of this, there are “leaks” of albums, which are posted before their official release date. For some sites and blogs, this attracts attention for obvious reasons- fans are hungry for this music and don’t want to wait. Sometimes this is done with the label’s/artist’s blessing (i.e. MTV making the new White Stripes album available now) and sometimes it isn’t. But as part of this problem and controversy, some review sites are also jumping the gun, trying to be the first to weigh in on a record and whet the appetite of consumers (notably Stereogum). An understandable concern on the part of labels and artists is that fans will read a good review of a record months before it comes out and then madly search for a copy for themselves to download for free. Is this the way of the future? Is this a good thing in a way as it’s building buzz for a record or depriving the label and artist of sales later? Is the genie out of the bottle or do sites/blogs have some responsibility and culpability in this?
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