Pulse.ng's Joey Akan writes an open letter to Wizkid detailing the various ways his album might have leaked before the due date.
It saddens my heart that your long-awaited sophomore album should leak before the due release date. After an eternity of recording, calculated branding, A&R input and packaging, the album had to fall into the wrong hands.
“Ayo” your album in my opinion is a classic, and deserves better treatment. Kudos to your team for making a copy immediately available on iTunes. The damage is currently being controlled and utilised for greater success; You are number one in Nigeria, 37 in the UK, 95 in the US and 52 in SA.
But to prevent further leakage of your precious materials, and to aid other artistes who have fallen to similar wickedness, here are 6 ways your album might have leaked.
As soon as your record is finished, anyone from the producer to the engineer to band members and extras can spoil the fun. This usually happens four months before release, when the final versions (mixed and mastered) can be deliberately released by someone with an axe to grind with you.
At The Label
Your label might have a hand in it. But since you are heavily involved with two labels; Starboy and Empire Mates Entertainment, then it's hard to track this one. But from this end, I don't think they did it intentionally. They want to make money off record sales, and recoup all their investment, therefore it is unlikely that this was a deliberate act of sabotage. But we have to look at all the third party acts and bodies that make input via your labels. Labels send albums to companies like Sonic Arts to add a digital encryption code that can identify uploading evildoers, but not stop necessarily stop them. This usually happens Three and a half months before release.
By The Press
In Nigeria, this is the most certain way for your song to leak. A&R executives can attempt to get a respected independent and critical opinion of the record, and would send it to the traditional purveyors of wisdom: The Pressmen. I listen to a lot of albums before their releases, and if I have a mind to operate in bad faith, then it can go to the dogs. But many other press people do operate in bad faith, and one of them might have done you in. All the shitty blogs carried it with impunity and joy. It's wicked. This can happen from three months before the due release date. Sorry.
At The CD Printing Plant
While in the process of being manufactured, a CD is ostensibly secured under lock and key, but sometimes copies fall off the back of trucks. Alaba marketers are not known for their detailed handling of commercial works, hence...and the rest becomes history. This usually can happen from a month to the release date.
At The Warehouse
Once CDs await shipping to retailers, it's virtually guaranteed that a copy will find its way online. Perhaps the driver transporting the records from Lagos to Port Harcourt got a little bored or overexcited and decided to listen and share his joy with the loved ones.
And, off course, once the album is available for sale online, or in stores, all bets are off. Yours didn't get to this stage. The leak actually happened before it went on sale.
There you have it, Wizkid, at all or any of these points, your album might have taken a bit of a movement into the wrong hands, or a team member might have sabotaged you. How about aliens, or stealth Ninjas, or Samurais. Any of them also, right?
But don't let it dishearten you. Let not your heart be troubled. Your core fans will buy from the right source, and make sure the money gets to you. I even have grabbed mine off iTunes.
Next time, be sure to take total supervisory control of the petty parts of your business. It's an amazing album, and deserves to bring in a bank of money via sales.
I love you Wizkid. You give me Joy.