Thursday 22 February 2018

Duped by download figures

Niall Byrne

Nearly two years ago, the revered Dublin band Aslan appeared on prominent media soap boxes in the country denouncing filesharing. The band claimed that 25,000 people had downloaded their covers album Uncase'd through Bittorrent.

It didn't take long for regular internet users to point out that the supposed 25,000 downloads figure had come from a fake results page that threw up fictitious download figures for any search term entered (bit.ly/aslantorrent).

Well, it has happened all over again. "Groove-oriented purist rock band" One Soul Thrust from Edmonton in Canada have been making similar noise of late. The band, who are not exactly well known, have a Twitter account with less than 200 followers, just over 300 friends on Facebook and a debut album of clichéd rock'n'roll with a wailing female singer.

The band have been claiming that 100,000 copies of their album have been downloaded through Bittorrent and that the Canadian Record Industry Association supports their claim. As outlined by Torrent-freak (bit.ly/onesoulthrust), it seems One Soul Thrust have been duped by their lack of experience, like Aslan, by the same fake download numbers randomly populating search engine results.

One Soul Thrust's 'Pirated Platinum' campaign was based on the band (and its management) misunderstanding spammy techniques. It's hard not to empathise with the band now that they finally realise that those 100,000 fans are non-existent and they really don't have that much interest in their music. One Band Crushed. As one commenter puts it, "100,000 imaginary downloaders can't be wrong!"

Josh Freese has no such problems. As a much-in-demand drummer for the likes of Devo, A Perfect Circle and Weezer, the man has a bit of financial breathing space to take some risks. Back in 2009, the deluxe purchase options of his second solo album gained a lot of attention, as they included a $20,000 package which included Freese writing two songs about you and a chance to spend a day with him and his friends.

For his new EP, which is written primarily for people who paid money the last time round, Freese is going one better with a range of packages costing from $5 to $75,000.

These invariably include Josh's fifth-grade report card, a thank-you phone call, lunch and dinner dates, a day at the races, his old car or the big one: he'll join your band for a month, give you a drumset, write a five-track EP about you, wear matching outfits and "take shrooms and cruise Hollywood in Danny from TOOL's Lamborghini". So you see, crowdfunding clearly is the new rock'n'roll.

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