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Do Leaked Albums And Songs Hurt Or Help Artists?

An image from the cover of Lady Gaga's latest album, "Artpop." (Lady Gaga)
An image from the cover of Lady Gaga's latest album, "Artpop." (Lady Gaga)

Katy Perry‘s new single “Roar” from her upcoming album “Prism” and Lady Gaga’s latest track “Applause” from her new album “ARTPOP,” both were leaked over the weekend. The artists and their labels have very different initial reactions.

Lady Gaga called upon fans to report leaks for removal, while Katy Perry simply tweeted “Looks like there’s a tiger on the loose!!!”

Ultimately, both songs were released early.

Artists and record labels may fear a drop in sales if a song or album is leaked ahead of it’s release date, but that may not be the case.

In a 2012 study, economist Robert Hammond from North Carolina State University looked at the relationship between downloads of leaked tracks and their legitimate sales.

His research suggested that if an album leaks it might benefit the sales of that album later. 


  • Claire Suddath, entertainment reporter for Bloomberg Businessweek. She tweets @clairesuddath.

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