Editor’s Note: This A&E story contains opinionated statements.
When a song or album is filtered, it means that an outside source in an artist’s group has unofficially released a song. The concept of leaks dates back to the early 2000s, when rock band Metallica sued Napster, an online music and file-sharing service, after a song that Metallica had yet to release was found to be available. on the radio.
Today, leaked music is even more prevalent within the music industry and everything is primarily digital, but it is especially evident within the hip-hop community. Filters go as far as to sell an artist’s leaked song for a high price once they get it. I’ve seen chats across the group where people were selling long-awaited Juice WRLD songs to Thousands of dollars.
Juice WRLD has been the victim of leaks for essentially their entire mainstream career, with hundreds of their songs leaked all over the internet. DJ Scheme, producer for Empire Records and good friends with the late rapper, recently tweeted about the Juice WRLD leaks., saying he doesn’t care about them while the fans listen to them when the songs officially drop. Scheme’s tweet brings up a good point: If people still listen to a song even after it’s leaked, do leaks really matter?
An example of this is with the song “STAY” by The Kid Laroi and Justin Bieber. Despite the song dripping a month before, has spent seven non-consecutive weeks at number one in the Billboard Hot 100, while also exceeding 1 billion streams on Spotify. And sure, people might not have known about the leak, but for a song to do those numbers after being leaked is a crazy feat in my opinion.
And there have been times when artists used leaked songs to their own advantage. In the summer of 2019, Playboi Carti had a song called “Pissy Pamper” featuring Young Nudy that took over the internet. I remember being at Lyrical Lemonade’s Summer Smash Festival and seeing Carti perform the song, and was fascinated by how many people knew about the song without it being officially released. To this day, the song has yet to be officially released, despite being one of Carti’s best known tracks.
We also see that leaks are very popular on social media apps like TikTok, thanks to the speed with which information can be spread. Recently, Polo G had a song titled “Smooth Criminal”, featuring the Michael Jackson song of the same name, leaked and ended up trending on the app, with over 60,000 videos using the sound. Polo even performed the song on Rolling Loud recently. He seemed not to care about the leaking of the song, even saying that he is one of the most popular rappers. because. Although, he followed the tweet asking who is responsible for the leaks.
There will always be a debate as to whether or not it’s okay to listen to filtered music. Regardless, leaked music will continue to prevail and makes one wonder what can actually be done to get artists to prevent their music from leaking. But as shown, the leaks can be either a blessing or a curse for artists.
This story was written by Rashad Alexander. He can be reached at [email protected]