Are Those Leaked Albums You Downloaded Really By Who They Claim To Be By?

noah | January 7, 2008 12:25 pm

Surely anyone reading this who downloads music has fallen prey to a fake leak now and again, since it’s not possible to inspect bum albums before you buy them the way one can with those high-end designer purses that mysteriously “fell off the back of a truck” before being sold on your less savory street corners. And oftentimes, those fakes are pretty easy to spot–take, for example, all the aspiring Vitamin Water moguls who labeled their freestyles with 50 Cent’s name. But if a group of pranksters calling themselves the Overdub Tampering Committee are serious about their claims, it may turn out that even the most diehard fans have been duped into downloading phony copies of leaks now and again:

We are a group of musicians who have downloaded newly leaked albums by popular artists, quickly recorded many subtle overdubs over the work, and then re-leaked it to the internet. We have done this for about three years now. We used all kinds of instruments with recording techniques that matched the audio quality of the album in question. We used a varied amount of re-leaking methods including but not limited to Soulseek, OiNK, The Pirate Bay, Limewire and zipped files hosted on sites like YouSendIt or Mediafire with links spread out on hundreds of message boards. Our turn over time was usually very small so often our version of the artist’s album was online for download within hours of its original leak. If you illegally download music on the internet the chances that our work is in your collection is very, very likely! In fact, you might have a whole lot of us!

The reason? Surprisingly, it isn’t self-promotion! Instead, it’s a much more noble cause: Fucking with people. No, really!

[O]ne day, about 4 years ago, one of us downloaded a newly leaked album by a very popular band. Excitedly listening to it for the first time we noticed a very out of place death metal song in the middle of the album. The obvious genre change and the ability to check the track listing and run time for each song on a reliable website made it easy to sniff out that this leak had been tampered with. We discarded the leaked files and waited patiently for the actual release where upon we bought it in a store.

This got us thinking: what if this problem got more insidious, subtle, and widespread? What if there was a network of musicians who got a hold of albums right as they leaked, added subtle yet very much additional overdubs all over the album, and then re-leaked it to the internet? We imagined a scenario where someone would get in a car with their friend, he would put on the new _____ album, and you would say, “Where’s all the piano parts?” to which the driver would say, “What piano parts? This album is all guitars and drums.” Finally, you would scratch your head and say, “Not my copy!”

It would be bewildering.

It would be irksome.

It would be annoying.

We set out to make that specific bewildering, annoyance a possibility.

Man, if this is true–and not the initial step of some annoying viral Web Sheriff promotion (or even an RIAA thing, although they do take time out from their manifesto to LOL at MediaDefender)–these guys are my new heroes. Unfortunately they don’t list their “accomplishments,” although they do claim that they’ve performed this little trick with their own albums after they’ve seen them leaked on OiNK et al. Anyone want to hazard a guess as to who might be involved in this merry band of pranksters? Because I’d love to buy any/all of them a drink.

The Overdub Tampering Committee [; HT Eric Harvey]