Somewhere around 2009 was the age of the Peak Music Leak. Albums were routinely being leaked weeks, if not months, ahead of their release date, and the NMC blogs were constantly competing like mixtape DJs for the latest unauthorized music.
Thanks in large part to streaming those good ol' bad days are largely diminished, but they're far from over. Over just the last few days both a new Chance the Rapper record and two Future songs, produced by Mike Will, have hit the interwebz, and the artists are not pleased.
In response to the leak of his "Living Single" single just yesterday, Chano took to Twitter to express his disappointment, with Big Sean, echoing his sentiments, particularly because contrary to reports that the song was a Coloring Book leftover, it was actually intended for Sean's album.
Similarly, Mike Will went on a lengthy Twitter spree to blast back at the person (people?) who leaked the Future records, most prominently "Paparazzi," which was unjustly met with a negative reaction considering the song was never meant to be heard.
Leaks always put fans in the complicated position of wanting to respect the wish of their favorite artists while also feeling a "I know where my Mom hid the Christmas presents" level of temptation, a temptation not even the most well-intentioned media aren't immune to either.
But for the people who leak those records the situation is far less complicated; I agree with Mike, I have no idea why people would do that either. What's in it for them? Although it's hard to determine who's more at fault, the people who leak records, or the people who seem to righteously believe that they somehow deserve to have leaked music:
As complex as this issue can be, hopefully we can at least all agree that guy is the worst. While music is often now free, even by legal means, it takes a certain level of entitlement to make the jump from expecting the world's music at your fingertips to feeling entitled to that music...because why? As some sort of just revenge on an artist for not giving you other free music?
As long as the internet exists we may never be able to completely stop music leaks, but we can at least make sure we don't cross the line into entitlement. So Chance, you're right, I don't know how it feels to have your song leaked, but I can imagine, and it doesn't feel good.
By Nathan S, the managing editor of DJBooth and a hip-hop writer. His beard is awesome. This is his Twitter.