In-Depth: Can We Stop Albums Like Noisia’s ‘Outer Edges’ From Leaking?

As usual, it's up to us as listeners

Album leaks in dance music, and all genres, have become commonplace. Entire websites are devoted to the tracking and sharing of leaks, and no artist is above the fray. Yet when an act like Noisia is forced to respond to the release of their own work without their knowledge, we still cringe. We’re excited looking forward to new music from talented artists, but when that short-lived excitement comes at the cost of the artists themselves, something needs to be changed.

There are many ears that albums pass through before making their way to the masses. Whether it’s an industry professional with early access, a digital service going-live too early, or a supposedly-trusted confidant the artist themselves send the music to, there are many potential weak-spots in the industry for album leaks. Different artists and labels handle these issues in their own way, but there seem to be few solutions for this growing problem.

If we have the music early, and the artists just end up releasing it anyway, where is the harm being done? For that, we return to Noisia’s recent leak of their sophomore album, entitled Outer Edges.

The lengths many artists go to in order to create high-quality music, or a cohesive project like an album, are not to be ignored. When leaks like Outer Edges happen, everybody loses. The artists lose, having their product released in its incomplete form, and we lose as well, receiving a work that is yet to be finished. Art is meant to be enjoyed as the artist intends. Regardless of whether or not the consumer enjoys or appreciates the art being created, the artist, at the very least, should be able to release it to the universe in whatever way they choose.

Imagine a leaked season of Game of Thrones, with a plot-point unsettled, or a half-finished Mona Lisa, with a different smirk altogether. These works of art are finished when the artist(s) say so, and any release before that time is an affront to artists everywhere.

What exactly does it take to not have an album leak? The short answer: people acting in the best interests of the art, and not themselves.

Some artists go above and beyond what many would consider the norm, being more secretive and guarded than most. While this may be frustrating to some fans in the short run, looking for new tunes and glimpses into an upcoming album, it seems to be the best current response to the constant leaks in the music industry. There’s no foolproof plan, especially for the non-label owning artist looking for feedback, collaborating with others, and more. Holding each person in the massive web of communication accountable is a task that, so far, no artist or label has been able to take on.

So, we must do it ourselves. Like most issues, album leaks are caused and can be solved by humans. Getting and listening to new, advance music is fun. But the lower quality, incomplete product we often receive in-place of what the artist intends, ruins it for everybody. We can do something about it. Whether we’re industry professionals, trusted friends of artists, or anyone who cares about the integrity of art, everybody can pitch in to end album leaks.

First, don’t leak someone else’s art. It’s a perverse form of theft, which leads to zero positive outcomes. Additionally, don’t support leaked art, or websites working to facilitate leaked content. Then, try to support music that doesn’t leak. There’s undoubtedly some negative economic repercussions for artists afflicted by leaks, and if you think the music is good enough, purchase the official tunes from artists via reputable websites and show them the support they deserve.

They’re small steps, and many of us feel as though our impact won’t be felt. But, if attitudes about leaks shift, and action is taken to support non-leaked content, then real change can happen. Let us know what you think of album leaks, and Noisia’s latest work! Comment below, on Facebook, or reply on Twitter!

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