Genius: Did Drake release Dark Lane Demo Tapes just to counteract leaks?
Music media company Genius published a great article a few days ago by writer Insanul Ahmed which looks at the impact leaks have been having on the music industry.
The piece focuses artists like Lil Wayne, Drake and Atlanta’s Playboi Carti, who has basically seen his entire unreleased album Whole Lotta Red circulate hip-hop message boards for the past year.
Drake’s new project Dark Lane Demo Tapes basically only exists because of unauthorized leaks, and to allow Drake to regain control of the overall narrative. It’s a situation he hasn’t had to deal with since the Thank Me Later later days. That album famously leaked two weeks ahead of schedule, but Drake still moved 447K copies in the first week.
“By releasing an album full of leaks (and dubbing them ‘demos’), Drake regained control of his release schedule while also cashing in on streams for songs some diehard Drake fans were consuming for free. Drake’s move came just as touring worldwide—the primary source of most artist’s revenue—has come to a halt amid the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Playboi Carti, on the other hand, has seen his career plagued by leaks, but it could just also be a testament to how hungry his fans are for official releases. The Pi’erre Bourne-produced “Pain 1993,” a song featuring Carti on Dark Lane Demo Tapes will finally see some serious bread off royalties. But it could have been much more since the song has been circulating since January against Drake and Playboi Carti’s will.
“Carti has no plaques, no streams, and no publishing checks for years’ worth of work he’s put into making a hotly anticipated album. The amount of money he’s made through live shows has certainly gone up as his profile did, but no one is going on tour anymore.”
As of now Whole Lotta Red has no official release date.
The article looks at how similar situations played out with acts like Dua Lipa, Radiohead, Nas, Eminem, and others. But it also looks at how leaks can benefit an artist.
Seattle rapper Lil Mosey likely wouldn’t be as big as he is today if his song “Blueberry Faygo” hadn’t leaked last June and blown up on TikTok.
You can find the entire in-depth piece on Genius. Definitely worth taking in.
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