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World War Gaga
By Ashley Mergen (originally posted on Free Enterprise)
We have a pop music emergency! Over the weekend, superstar Lady Gaga found herself the victim of leaks, hacks, and digital thieves when her upcoming single was prematurely released over the World Wide Web.
So did “little monsters”—as Gaga die-hards are called—indulge in the leaked track? No matter how hungry her monsters may be for new music, they appreciate the time and effort put forth by their mother musician. Instead of taking the bait, they launched an unprecedented crowdsourced anti-piracy campaign.
In a battle on the high cyber-seas, it was monsters vs. pirates. In droves, fans took enforcement into their own hands, spreading the word of the unauthorized leak and hunting down the websites illegally hosting the Gaga booty.
Consumers, music lovers, and movie fans are a great resource for finding and identifying bad actors online, but are they a reliable army? The leaked Gaga song is an informative case study in the fight against piracy. But for the indie artist, songwriter, or sound mixer, inciting—let alone even attaining—a 40 million-strong Twitter following to hunt down links is improbable. Their music may not be as hotly anticipated the (debatable) queen of pop, but their livelihoods are more clearly tied to those paychecks stemming from legal download sales.
The leakers may have succeeded in forcing Gaga’s hand to release her single a week early, but the uproar from music fans who recognize the rights of artists is refreshing, and is a good reminder to consumers that there is value in the creative process and high-quality, legal options are worth the wait.