Tobias Carroll and I have been having a spirited back and forth over at his blog, the Scowl, where we’ve been discussing how best to incorporate leaks into the editorial calendar. I argue that leaks are an industry norm that need to be treated as such, rather than an aberrant behavior better ignored.
And given that release dates still have an effect — their relationship to touring comes to mind — I don’t know that there’s an easy way to make this work. Also worrisome is the fact that it essentially hands over control of the process to participants in what could at best be called an ethically grey activity, which, while arguably pragmatic, doesn’t necessarily seem like something to be encouraged.
As far as I’m concerned, so-called pirates have hijacked the discourse surrounding the music industry for over ten years. This “ethically grey activity” threatens to sunder an industry that failed to accept technology into its business model, and a consumer base that doesn’t seem to care one way or the other what happens to it.