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Phishing attacks to obtain pre-release music on the rise

By | Published on Wednesday 1 February 2012

Richard X

An increasing amount of music is making its way online ahead of release due to tracks being sent erroneously to members of the public pretending to be involved with the music industry, or so says producer Richard X.

He told BBC Newsbeat: “They get a little bit of information by searching databases, publishers catalogues or reading forums. That’s enough for them to write a cheeky email disguised as someone from the management, touring agency or someone related to the artists in an attempt to get you, the producer, to send them finished tracks or demos”.

He continued: “You might think that someone wouldn’t fall for these emails, but in a high turnover, fast environment, which making records is now, things are needed instantly. It’s possible that you would send something. I know of a producer recently who did send out the demos and the masters to a random person. Not to encourage things, but it does seem like an interesting way of trying to get hold of these unreleased gems”.

X puts the practice down simply to “rabid fans” trying to get hold of new music by their favourite artists, though as some file-sharing networks have been shown to pay serial uploaders of new unlicensed content via affiliate schemes, it may not be quite that innocent.

Of the sneaky emailers trying to confuse industry types into sending them pre-release music, Universal’s Head Of Digital Paul Smernicki said “the intent can only be interpreted as malicious”. HeĀ  accuses the perpetrators of being people who “really want to damage an album campaign”, adding “People through the label have been made aware to be vigilant, but leaks do still occur”.