Madonna’s latest single, “4 Minutes (to save the world)”, a duet with Justin Timberlake, was leaked onto the Internet by a French DJ yesterday and has left Warner Music scrambling to arrest the leak in order to prevent millions of fans from hearing the track before it is officially released.
Over 26 versions of the leaked track made it onto YouTube. A whole lot more were uploaded to Daily Motion. File sharing sites also saw a host of uploads and downloads of the track. Most Madonna fans listed on Last.fm showed numerous instances of having listened to the track on their PCs.
Warner Music instantly issued a copyright claim getting the video removed from YouTube and DailyMotion almost as soon as users put it up. They were still not quick in enough for thousands of motivated fans of the Material Girl, who managed to download the video or song from one of the many online file sharing sites currently available.
As of the time of publishing this article, only one video of the track could still be found on DailyMotion. The track included the voice-over of the French DJ announcing the new single at the start.
Incidents such as this will undoubtedly provide the music industry ammunition in their upcoming fight against piracy – they are lobbying the UK government to pass laws that will make ISPs responsible for monitoring Internet access and banning users who repeatedly download files illegally.
Record labels, however, can’t deny the free publicity and excitement generated by such leaks, which might at times make it worthwhile to let the fans get early access to singles from their favourite artists, in the hope that the euphoria will also propel them to rush to the record stores when the CD is officially released.