Officially Leaked

I got an email from a stranger this Sunday afternoon:

Hello Dears:

I’m sorry to be the one to report, if you’re unaware of it thus far, that i discovered “Missiles” online today in its entirety. having read Natalia’s blog post regarding her feelings towards webleaks and piracy, i’m sure this comes as an absolute bummer (to put it mildly.)

here at HeartbreakTango we’re huge fans of yours. There are staggeringly few bands whose work we support wholeheartedly, and really feel an artistic kinship towards. Knowing that something of this nature affects your ability to continue doing this as a livelihood sorta makes us sick to our stomachs.


I forwarded it to Murray and our manager, Jeff with the message: “Just a matter of time, I guess… Bummer indeed but not surprising.” I didn’t think it would happen so quickly after promo copies going out. I wonder what the process of this happening? It’s a totally active, deliberate effort: ripping the CD as a data file, then uploading it anonymously to a server somewhere. What crosses the uploader’s mind, as they do this? I’m going to go surf the internet, try and find the profile of an uploader…

All day Sunday, I started getting the Google News Alerts with links to blogs that had the leak. I’ve blogged about it before, but really, there’s nothing we can do about it. Once it leaks, once it is out there, news will spread like wildfire. Like an uncontrolled virus. I’ve called the act “cold, selfish and heartless” which in retrospect (and after reading some thoughtful comments) is not really the case. I get it – we are tumbling towards a recession, most music sucks and not being able to take the anticipation building up to a record release makes the idea of previewing the album for free irresistible. It’s flattering that people care.

The strangest thing I saw was, a site that catalogues if/when albums leak and when they are supposed to be released. And there we are, officiated at September 14, 10:40pm.

Now it is Wednesday. We waited a but…tried to wait out the storm, but it never subsided. That’s how it is with the internet. By this morning it had hit all the torrent sites. So it is out there, leaked, with absolute intensity.

So here are some terms: 1) Just really listen to it. Before you blog about it or review it or commit to an opinion about it, listen to Missiles. Fully, at least three or four times. Make sure you get it: the sum of the parts, the totality of the music. That is part of an investment that we’d appreciate in return. And: 2) To anyone who decides to download Missiles, please seriously consider buying the CD or digital album tracks when it comes out.

28 Replies to “Officially Leaked”

  1. Downloading as we speak – thanks for the tip.

    Seriously – do you take issue with someone downloading from a country that the CD won’t be released in? I’m all about anti-piracy and such, but I feel no guilt knowing that I can’t possibly purchase the CD until I’m in a certain country. Should I feel guilt? Should I wait until the official release date until listening? What do you, and by extension The Dears, desire?

  2. Hi sloeberry. Do your thing…there are no rules, no guilt from me or The Dears. Really, we just appreciate the support. You can always come see our shows, buy our merch, and maybe get the CD then! Just enjoy whatever it is you choose to do.

  3. Strange thing the internet. Did you know that even though Radiohead released their album as PWYC and you could download it for free from their site that most people (2.3 million at the time this article was written) downloaded it for free from a Torrent site instead

    As for me I’ve been waiting for this album for too long to download it from someone’s website. That’s fine if someone says I should check out a band I’ve never heard before, but in this case it would be way too anti-climactic. I’ll wait and buy the real thing when it’s out.

  4. Natalia – Thanks for the “permission” (if that’s what we should call it). I will certainly enjoy it, and I can assure you that there will be no “maybe” in regards to me getting the CD. As soon as I’m back in the home country, it, along with tickets to the soonest home show, will be in my hands. I hope this album brings you great success!

  5. What a crazy-assed world we live in. Theft will never stop….”irregardless”…millions can now appreciate your art.
    I’ve worn out my demo copy, {it’s skipping}, so I’ve got to buy a few Cd’s when it comes out anyway.

  6. it’s sort of a raw deal that all these people will sort of plunder your album, but I will tell you that I’ve been looking forward to this since I started hearing about it.

    to illustrate the sort of fan I might be, I pre-ordered Gang of Losers with autographs of each band member in the liner notes. I was lucky enough to see you here in Kingston when you played last year.. I’ve converted friends to Dears fans!

    I want to avoid any knee-jerk reactions but I was deeply moved today when I took my lunch the office I work at to sit by the water and relax to your music. This album continues to reveal the depth in your music, perhaps moreso than any previous record.

    righteous as it may sound, I’m very glad it leaked. and just as I downloaded Gang of Losers before its release, I will continue to support the band. as sloeberry put it, I too hope this album brings you great success!

  7. I have to agree with Christopher. I am glad it leaked, too! Maybe for a different reason though:
    Being able to preview the album enables me to have a perfectly unbiased view on the music! If I read reviews in magazines prior to listening, I will always have an idea of what the record sounds like in my head. If that then doesn’t match, it might lead to disappointment – or at least someone else’s comments or comparisons will be somehow linked to the music.
    I have downloaded Missiles, but haven’t listened to it yet, I will do that tonight and really take the time to appreciate it.
    Knowing your other releases, I am (almost) sure it is a great album, which means I will buy it on the day of release – or when seeing you on tour in Holland in November.

  8. I have always been a massive fan. I have listened to it and knew I would love it before listening. Will definitely be buying it – as for sharing and t’internet I think there are ways in which artists can win and lose and there are ways to even things up. I would like to think things are changing after the free for all that has been taking place over the last few years, but I don’t know? I definitely support bands I like in a way I would not have done a few years ago.

    You mention merch in one response – sort it out man, so many times i’ve wanted to buy tees/posters but could not find anywhere. There are people out here that love you man, I think maybe you forget that sometimes?
    Tone (brum/uk)

  9. I sent news of this to Techdirt (a blog about economics and the internet age, mostly), because this is the sort of thing they’ve been predicting would happen more and more often.

    You can read their take on the story here:

    The album’s great, really wonderful, possibly your best yet (I’ll need a few more listens before I decide) and I can’t wait to get my grubby hands on the plastic version.

  10. sloeberry … because you don’t have access to the internet, right? Your justification is kinda lame. I live in New Zealand, and hardly any of the more obscure/indie/good stuff I like gets released locally here. But … surprise surprise, you can actually buy music legitimately via the internet. Personally, I look forward to my *actual CD* arriving from Maple Music in Canada in a month or so. I’ve ordered all my Dears stuff from them, because the anal retentive in my really likes having the original Canadian pressings.

    At the end of the day, no ones going to stop you downloading this album. But asking permission from someone in the band with such a lame excuse just shows you don’t actually care that much about The Dears.

  11. wake up people. how conceited to think working folk with no money would take the chance of spending 20 dollars on something they had no idea theyd like..oh sure, the few thousand dears fans, we’d all buy it but what about the rest of the world youre trying to ‘educate’ with your ‘message’? what about 15 16 17 year olds with no credit card and no job, who have voracious appetites for music. for them, music is free and if it is they’ll take advantage of it. save your bleeding hearts and bleating posts and blogs for the INDUSTRY for ever letting this situation happen. i think EVERYONE should be given a full stream of the album as soon as your promos are made. you should stream the whole album on your site, on your label’s site. why bother being secretive about it, why give it to shitty journos before your fans, why be ‘devestated’ that people can hear it and spread the word about how good it is…free downloads never stopped a great record being regarded as a great record, nor did they ever stop people buying the cd or the digital if the reaction in the blogs and the magazines was favourable. Look at the bands this year like vampire weekend and fleet foxes…their albums were leaked months ahead of release, far longer ahead of release than Missiles, and both albums have if rumors are correct sold hundreds of thousands each. Because they were good albums and because all those folks who downloaded it for free were the catalyst for the amazing feedback each album got and the sales that followed.

    ‘what crosses the uploader’s mind?’ suggests that anyone who uploads music does it for nefarious reasons! that is naive….some uploaders do it out of community spirit for other music lovers who arent privileged enough to work or have credit cards ( and dont bother telling me, ‘what about the musician, how is he going to live if his hard work isnt paid for?’ ), some uploaders do it to be top dog, first to the post, and some do it cos theyre bored. Worse is someone who sells tickets for shows on ebay for massive profit. there is no ‘profit’ in this transaction..
    i wish you great success with the album, and if its as good as you say it is, then it will do well, despite your doom and gloom/


  12. this goes out to Luka, and the Lukas of the world.

    The old saying “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” I think applies to whatever good intentions the uploader of the original torrent may have. If I was given the opportunity to leak something like this, I would be very troubled by the implications of doing so, because I would be going against the intentions of the artist. Artistic intention, or at least, perceived artistic intention has to be appreciated when truly respecting the works of an artist, I think.

    What torrenting does, and why I think it troubles artists is it renders any sort of plans to unveil the album ultimately ineffective. it’s instantly gratifying to download an album and there is something taken away from the sacred time in which an artist presents the work how they see fit.

    For example, I doubt anyone would’ve cared about the samples The Dears put up on their website had this leaked several months ago.. Who are you to say that they should put the whole thing up? There’s a reason movie trailers don’t include the entire movie you know.

    then there’s the ‘something for nothing’ crowd that exists, and will download this, go ‘cool’, pick out a few songs and that’s that.

    what I’m saying is that it’s just not up to us to determine how it should be released. The reason is simple: We did not create it: they did. This is their livelihood. And they deserve that respect because they have been so good to their fans.

    “music lovers who arent privileged enough to work or have credit cards”

    regarding that: I don’t think anyone here thinks that it’s wrong to steal bread to feed your starving family. that’s not the argument, or the real problem. there’s a paradox in downloading: while it is complimentary to the artist, it is also a giant ‘fuck you’. And it’s hard to wrap your head in that. there are no real safety nets anymore for artists. imaging working a job where if your project wasn’t appreciated by a large number of people, you would stop getting paid and still had to continue doing your job.

    I think Radiohead had the right idea by announcing In Rainbows only one week before it was released digitally.


  13. Further to all that, I think people actually value “free” music really differently. I dunno … maybe it’s just my 33 year old brain telling me that, but I remember, back in the early 90s, laboriously tracking down every Suede CD single so I could hear all the bsides. Getting that complete collection of singles took a long time, but my God, I *love* so songs so much. There was something about the thrill of the chase which made the music seem so much more valuable to me.

    There was an article in the paper here about a vinyl pressing plant in Sydney. One quote really stood out to me was “no one ever remembers their first download”.

    Natalia – I’m sure the album is going to be as incredible as the last couple. But right now, I’m thinking I’ll wait to my package from Canada turns up. Can’t wait …

  14. lawrence what you fail to grasp is the hypocrisy of artists and i dont necessarily mean the dears here, who blatantly use the free download when it suits them to get the cool blogs all excited… but then bleat when the exposure exceeds what they were hoping for…many labels use the ‘leak’ as a marketing tool and yes i am cyncial enough to believe that there are artists who feign annoyance at a leak when they actually sanctioned it. as for it being up to the artist how it is released, again i vehemently oppose that view. that is the view of someone who grew up before music could be copies, ripped, burned, etc. What once was may be mourned and spoken of nostalgically, and waving a flimsy flag of ethics in my face, does not alter the fact that once the band handed over their album to a label who in their wisdom chose to send cd’s out to media, cd’s that i assume were not watermarked (not that THAT is even close to be failsafe), then at that point the music is out there. Get over yourselves. Our Canadian arts grant systems provide astonishing backing to our artists, that exists in maybe only one or two countries in the entire world, so dont ask me to feel sorry for them.
    your job and bread analogy’s really dont apply. If youre working for someone and you dont get paid, you can sue them. If you all your life knew that the only way to get a loaf of bread was to go the supermarket, then one day bread was on your doorstop when you opened the door with no one waiting to be paid, then dont tell me you would leave the bread outside cos you didnt want to upset the baker..finally ‘movie trailers don’t include the entire movie you know.’ erm, actually most of them do. but seriously a band WANT you to listen to it loads (see natalia and murray’s postings, ‘please listen to it a few times’….thats the whole point of music over cinema..its an entirely different medium. they only expect you to go see it once, and they spend millions on their trailers to tempt you to do so….a free stream of the album IS totally the same concept..”here, you can listen to this here, but you cannot own it or download it for free”…its a stream, a one off listen, like the old fashioned trips to virgin megastores where you get the headphones and listen to anything you wanted before you paid for it…thats how i am looking at this…not at a way of depriving the artist of a living, why would you assume i was suggesting that?? if the stream makes me go “shit man, that was mindblowing” , what am i going to do? Yes buy the fucker.

    how do you know ‘what the intentions of the artist are’ anyway? did you ask them?
    i would hazard a guess that their intentions are for as many people as possible to hear this record….they dont need people to buy it to make a living. they do that by playing their shows. everyone knows that the only people who make money from selling cd’s are the ones who sell them at their shows. THATS the future. Prince had it right. he gave everyone who came to see him on his last tour his album ‘for free’…so you buy the ticket to the show, you get the album for free. Shame his music aint very good anymore but thats as smart an idea if not smarter than Radiohead’s …i think he sold 300,000 tickets for shows in london on the last tour..and therefore 300,000 cd’s…..

    oh well its a melting pot..

  15. well I guess I’ll put my flimsy flag of ethics down.

    “but then bleat when the exposure exceeds what they were hoping for”

    look at the poor musicians who’ve had their music used in the republican campaign ads without authorizing to do so. exposure? sure, but they sure as hell do not want to be associated with such a party..

    there’s a big contradiction in your arguments, you say that artistic intention is irrelevant but that is only true if you don’t really value the artist.. if the intent is irrelevant, too, why then do you state that the “intentions are for as many people as possible to hear this record”?

    remember too that we’re not really talking about a giant pop phenomenon such as Prince or Radiohead.. I simply used Radiohead’s model as an example of a way to circumvent leaking and have some degree of control over how their music is released. That’s all this is about?

    Where do we draw the line? Would it be okay then to break in to the recording studio and leak music so early it isn’t even finished?

    Unmastered, unpolished and far from what the final product would end up being… this happened to Radiohead for example, with Hail to the Thief.

    “how do you know ‘what the intentions of the artist are’ anyway? did you ask them?”

    that’s why I said “perceived” intention.. because you don’t really know, but out of respect, you absolutely should try to know!

    not rocket science there.

  16. christopher i am not sure what blog post youre reading but i certainly never said that artistic intention is irrelevant!!! i merely meant that in today’s fucked up world of technology, all intentions are liable to go out the window if your record label make cd’s and send em out. You cannot rely on ALL people to be scrupulous. You have to accept some responsibility as an artist. If you dont want music leaked until a certain day then do the one thing that will guarantee its leaked. make 300 copies and send them out to media…
    breaking into the studio, no that wouldnt be cool, and totally uneccesary as the label will be giving everyone in he world a sneak preview in a few weeks anyway…

  17. hi Natalia
    i would just like to admit i am one of those people who just could not wait for the new CD…
    I downloaded it last week and i have listen to it like more than a hundred times,….
    it took me a couple of listens to get used to it..,but now i just love it…
    the songs are just beautifull like i love money babies and crisis 1&2 wow that`s you singing isn`t Nathalie? it`s sounds really great..
    don`t worry i will buy it when it comes out i always do..
    are u guys doing more dates in holland or is crossing over the only one?
    hope to see you guys live again??
    lots of luck with the new cd & tour

  18. I downloaded it and will buy it.

    I bought 3 copies of No Cities Left just so I could have the international versions with different artwork, I bought the “official” Protest CD just to be a completist even though I had the version that cuts my finger every so often. I bought all 3 Instant Live “albums”. If anything is released by you guys, I’ll be there to pick it up.

    I love The Dears.

    When I got the e-mail that the album had been leaked, I went to get it right away.

    I’m glad I did, it’s amazing.

    Can’t wait to see how the songs sound live.

    See you in Toronto.


  19. while I see what you’re saying luka, I would like to add that part of the problem here is that The Dears had struggled to find a good label so they could release this album internationally .. Dangerbird, the label they ended up going with, from what I’d read, appears to be really supportive of the band.

    The label made the decision to release the promo copies perhaps even knowing full well that it will end up leaked, but this had very little to do with the band itself. While to us it may seem blindingly obvious that these promo copies would end up leaking, it may not be so for the label itself.

    I am sorry that some of my previous comments were unclear, some of them were thrown together while I was pretty tired. Hopefully we’re a little bit more clear now

  20. oh also, as for artistic intention being irrelevant, I merely derived that from this:

    “as for it being up to the artist how it is released, again i vehemently oppose that view.”

    still not clear on what you really meant there

  21. point one…the band would of course know if the label were doing promos. “while it may seem blindingly obvious to US that these promos would end up leaking , it may not be so for the label…” and then ” the label made the decision to release the promos perhaps knowing full well that it would be leaked”…so which is it? i’ll tell you which, cos i am not sure you really know. if they really are a record label then theyd have to have been living in trees to not know that a promo might be leaked’, thats why other labels watermark and number the promos. it doesnt stop the leak but it guarantees finding the perpertrator. If youre going to leave your car door open with the keys in the ignition i think you could be right described as stupid. If you lock your car but have a tracking device on it, you would be smart and at least helping yourself find the car. It may be wrecked, burnt out etc but at least youd stand a chance of finding out who took it.

    point two..what i meant by “as for it being up to the artist how it is released, again i vehemently oppose that view.” was very soon as you sign a record deal, no matter how cool you think the people are, (and lets face it all the dears labels, except perhaps spin art, have been cool labels, ) HOW the record is released, heard, promoted, marketed, is really out of the bands hands. That may be sad, or wrong, or whatever, but thats how it is christopher. You relinquish control the second you hand your master copy over to a company whose sole interest is to recover money they have advanced to a band. as quickly as is possible. And to think that the artist has anything to do with how it is released is naive. Idealistic, but naive. Once you hand it in, you are putting your art in the hands of people who arent artists. they cannot be expected to have the same sentiments, the same feelings about it and how it is presented. If ‘leaking’ it is considered to be the best marketing tool for the band, then they’ll do it, if streaming it is the best then they’ll do that.

    all labels are supportive of their artists at the start of a deal arent they? …..till things happen that they werent expecting or hoping for….or till they didnt sell as many copies as the manager said they would…

    anyway thanks for the dialog, i am clear..

  22. in this case, the artist sought the support of a label for release, which is a conscious decision on the way it would end up being released.. doubt they sat down and said “do whatever you want with it”. I’m sure they probably even discussed the idea of doing a self managed ‘internet release’.. which I guess they decided not to go with for whatever reason..perhaps because not all of their fanbase is online.. who knows

    would happen to be an idealistic person.. so naivety comes with the turf I guess

  23. lawrencemikkelsen:
    I admit that I had never thought of buying the physical CD and having it shipped. I do know that I cannot but an MP3 version given my current country. It’s very good of you that you pay for the international shipping. It’s something I don’t have to do because I will be in Canada in several months. I will purchase the album then. Let’s be nice. Let’s not call my justification “lame”, but rather let’s consider that I never considered shipping. That said, I’m not doing it.

    Also, judge not how much I care about the band. I’ve been to shows since 1997 (no typo). I asked about the downloading because, in fact, I do care. There is no other reason to do so.

  24. Getting back to Missiles, I have to say in my opinion this is the best work The Dears have done. It’s really beautiful, it flows perfectly and rewards multiple listens.

  25. Hey, as I commented before on the previous post; I did go ahead and leak the album. I must say, it is incredible, and as I stated before, you have my word that on October 21st, I’ll be running into Futureshop/HMV and buying this wonderful album. Of course, whenever I download music, I listen to it as consiously as I can – A pair of Audiophile headphones, with no distractions. I just sat in my room, listening to the album, the next morning I did the same thing. I showed it to my girlfriend, (probably loves you guys more than I do myself), and the pace of the album lead to some special things.

    Thanks again for addressing the fact that you looked back on what was said, and reconsidered your view-point. That isn’t an easy thing to do, and I owe you all more respect than an individual can give.

    Cheers, and congratulations on a wonderful album.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s