Coldplay Album Starts Leaking; Release Date Mid-June

Chris Martin Coldplay
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The upcoming Coldplay album, Viva la Vida, has now started leaking, according to tips confirmed Thursday.

The complete album is available across various BitTorrent trackers, most notably Mininova (mininova.org) and the Pirate Bay (thepiratebay.org).  Elsewhere, media tracking firm BigChampagne also confirmed the leak to Digital Music News, and noted that the first copies actually started appearing on Wednesday.

Coldplay, signed to EMI Music, is planning its official album release on June 17th.  Now, the question is what adjustments – if any – are being made to that release date.  Official comments from the label remain forthcoming, though a rush-release could emerge.

The Coldplay leak is not an isolated incident.  Just recently, chart-topping acts Usher and Lil Wayne found their albums leaked, with similar lead times.  Against that backdrop, Usher scored 433,000 units during his recent, first week. The Lil Wayne project streets next Tuesday.

The Usher tally is the second-best debut of the year, behind Mariah Carey, though it represents a fraction of an earlier, first-week finish from 2004.  That raises the complicated question: what is the negative sales impact of a pre-release slip?

Conventional thinking argues that a pre-release leak damages sales, especially if the leak delivers pristine quality and extras like video and artwork.  But at least one major label executive disagrees, noting that fans generally have access to the entire album – for free – upon release date.  “I’m not sure what the difference is,” the executive opined, bucking the thinking of his bosses.

Across the board, blockbuster releases are increasingly being leaked, though majors appear to be avoiding complicated release date changes.  Perhaps leaks are simply becoming an inevitability, especially given the large quantity of pre-release content traditionally distributed to retail outlets.

Just recently, Coldplay offered a taste of its upcoming album by positioning a gratis download of the single, “Violet Hill,” a highly successful promotional move.  The complete name of the Coldplay album is Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends.