These days, it’s not uncommon for Punjabi music to find its way online prior to it hitting the airwaves, or before the artist and label officially make it available for sale/stream digitally.
Whether songs are intentionally leaked or not, the sheer fact that it does “leak” causes a bit of a media firestorm, which oftentimes results in publicity for the artist. Probably not a bad thing, it saves having to pay a PR company to try and test the water with a expensive campaign.
The ‘leak’ has become as vital a tool in the music industry as white label vinyls used to be back in the day, in today’s market the ‘leak’ has a game plan and has a method to it’s madness…
One of Sidhu Moose Wala’s biggest songs (from his album PBX) was leaked 3 months prior to release and got a fantastic response
The Timing Of The Leak!
The timing of a leak is vital, if a song is leaked too early it will unavoidably lose any momentum or hype initially generated by the time it actually releases. This explains why usually 4 weeks prior to a mainstream Punjabi song getting a release it manages to find it’s way onto social media. Leaking in the immediate build-up to a singles official release can often prove beneficial to single sales and interest in the artist.
The hip Hop industry would leak a low quality version of a single weeks before release and use that to build pre-orders, then when the pre-orders have hit a peak then a better version of the song is usually leaked to drive interest as you get closer to release date. The Punjabi industry is now using this tactic, not to build pre-orders but to build YouTube hype to maximise views on day one to increase airplay globally.
If a leaked version of a song fails to generate any kind of a buzz, then the artist has not lost anything, the song is then left online and either a new song is worked upon or that ‘leaked’ song is re-worked, this process used to be expensive as a PR team would get involved and if the response had been poor, then more money used to be thrown at the PR team to create a buzz, now, it is simple, just leak a different version!
Measuring A ‘Leaks’ success
Soundcloud and YouTube which seem to be the preferred homes of the ‘leak’ now give artists and labels metrics as to how successful a song could be, you get numbers for views and listens this then becomes a vital indicator as to how successful a song may be once released, do not under estimate the metrics involved of a ‘leaked’ song.
Even over two decades ago, artists’ leaking, or embracing leaking online, found it to be a quaint promotional strategy, one in which Radiohead’s Kid A certainly capitalized on. The album was leaked then shared (via Napster) nearly a month before the official release date. Instead of kicking up a conventional fuss, frontman Thom Yorke instead stated that Napster “encourage enthusiasm for music in a way that the music industry has long forgotten to do”. In light of this reaction, the Kid A leak simply drew more and more inquisitive listeners in and went on to debut at number one in the U.S – a first for Radiohead – doing so without radio play or traditional music videos. This began to demonstrate just how and to what extent leaks could be used to exploit universal curiosity, therefore benefiting from the hype.
The Punjabi industry is no different to any other music industry, if it can test the water for free then it will, and that is why we have an increased amount of leaks, the only way certain artists can stand out during a glut of releases is to leak a song, this then drives interest as them being the bigger artist will override any other release from a smaller lesser known artist!
Like it or not, the leak is here to stay! So embrace the madness
The Genuine Leak!
Song’s today go through so many people prior to it actually getting released that stopping it getting leaked is near impossible, you have producers, singers, dj’s, video guys and PR teams who all have access to a song. The best way to tell if something is a genuine leak and not a ploy is the speed of response. ‘Mafia Style’ by Aman Hayer and Sidhu Moose Wala surfaced on Friday night from the US, within 4 days the song had been released officially with an audio video, highlighting that this was an actual leak and not a staged stunt!