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Lessons In Leaking Feb 19, 2008

Polow Da Don Tells why he was the one to leak Usher’s new Song Working as music journalists on a independent basis, people wonder why we occasionally either sit on information that we choose not to publish, when others may have.  We chose to publish things usually after they fit within certain parameters. There is no one formulaic answer to this issue, but a lot of it has to do with following the record’s marketing agenda to better capitalize on hits (example, Diddy’s Press Conference with Making The Band Or our work in conjunction with Robin Thicke to help build buzz for the growth in exposure of his now multi-platinum album.)

All of that makes a lot of good sense right?  So you may be asking yourself, where does all the hype with leaks come from? Also you may wonder why a label have such a big problem showing the audience more music (the label’s product) when people want it?

As you may soon come to realize there is not one simple answer.  However, one thing is for sure.  The record labels, in this case Jive/Zomba Label Group are facing a world of fast paced exchanges of information not only to the big player like MTV and major market radio, but the little but steadily growing guys like us.  This makes the executives and promotions staff crazy and cautious when music marketing strategies are established for a given project.  With that said, leaks can be very damaging because as you know, once it’s out there’s no stopping it.  This can be a bitter battle between the media and record company. Of course the person caught in the middle of this is the artist. Working with a record label can be a restless process with a lack of fulfillment for long periods at a time. There are times when you feel like your project isn’t a priority. So like a child lashing our for attention and proof of independent thought, it is usually the artist or one of their associates that starts a leak of a song to the many easily accessible media outlets.

Of course we’re gonna jump on it. We wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t.  Leaking makes hits like 2004’s  “Yeah” possible when they would have otherwise been either ignored or given less  priority, and we, the listener, miss out.  One thing I can say in the label’s defense is that artists are great, but because they are artists, often times  they are too close to their work to make an objective decision about their art.  This is why people at record companies do have jobs.  They aren’t all evil corporate minds. (not entirely anyway)  Polow Da Don lays it all out for any one who wants to know regarding his motive for leaking his  hit “In This Club” produced for Usher.  Read what Polow tells MTV News and judge for yourself.

“I actually leaked it. I’m the culprit,” he said nonchalantly. “It’s no secret. I told him when I saw him that I had to put my relationship on the line. ‘If it fails, I know you probably gonna be mad at me. I know you probably won’t f— with me anymore.’ I just felt like it was so much back-and-forth [between Usher and his record label]. I know this record is it! I’m out there, I know what it is. It got 600 spins in two days. That’s great for a record label. Imagine how good that is for one person who leaked it? Radio stations were getting it off the Internet and playing it. Before I left Atlanta, they were playing it 10 times in a row.

“When I spoke to Usher, he was like, ‘Maaaan, why’d you do it?’ He knew I leaked the record, he didn’t have to ask. I was like, ‘What?’ He said, ‘You know you leaked the record.’ But he was getting good calls on it too. He wasn’t mad, but he was like, ‘Why’d you do that?’ Because everything has to be set up on their end. A video should be in place with an artist like that as soon as it drops. Those are the things you risk, but it’s working out beautifully. Flex is playing it, DJ Clue, DJ Khaled, Greg Street. Girls love it.”