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Music piracy site Kingdom Leaks to shut down, tells users to consider a Spotify subscription

By | Published on Tuesday 1 December 2020

Kingdom Leaks

A popular music piracy website called Kingdom Leaks has announced it is closing down, though not because of any legal pressure. Rather the people who run the site no long have time to keep it going.

Although the music industry’s main piracy gripe in recent years has been stream-ripping, other kinds of online piracy remain a concern, including online communities where members share links to unofficial music files that can be downloaded.

For a brief time a few years back communities of that kind were the targets of legal action from the music industry, especially where there was a focus on linking to and therefore leaking new music pre-release. But Kingdom Leaks was able to keep going for seven years, possibly helped by music companies shifting their online enforcement focus onto safe harbour reform and then the stream-rippers.

Explaining why the site was now closing down, one of its operators, known as Lord Kingdom, states: “This was not a decision made lightly or abruptly, nor was this choice made because of legal pressure, a data breach, or anything of that nature. The simple but unfortunate reason is this: [fellow operator] mR12 and I have decided to move on, and there is no safe way to hand over the website to another party out of concern for the safety of everyone involved since the site’s inception seven years ago”.

“With a baby on the way and getting married next year, this is something that I need to put in the past, officially”, the statement goes on. “This reality has left us at the following decision: we will be permanently shutting down our servers on 1 Jan 2021. All user and site data, including that which is stored on PassTheLeaks, will be permanently deleted”.

There are, of course, other similar sites that users of Kingdom Leaks can switch to. Although that other operator of Kingdom Leaks, known as mR12, has actually suggested those users consider going legit and signing up to Spotify.

“Many will understandably and reasonably move to other music blogs [and] other download sites”, he writes. “However, I would like to argue, through a serious and practical consideration of the actual need that must be filled, that Spotify is the solution many people are looking for but simply don’t know it or haven’t given it enough consideration”.

He then sets out a number of reasons why he thinks Kingdom Leaks users should consider a premium Spotify subscription, reckoning that $120 a year is actually a fair price to pay. How many of the piracy site’s users will follow that advice remains to be seen, though the blog post does play into a line used by Spotify a lot in its earlier years, to the effect that “we turn pirates into legitimate subscribers”.