Sticky situation on the Sumerian front that has baffled me to no end. Sumerian Records founder Ash Avildsen took to Facebook yesterday and called out music pirates:

hey all you jobbers who like to steal our albums – word out on the ocean (pirates don’t use streets) is that the [Born of Osiris] album has leaked.. perhaps the pirate ship will leak too and sink in to the sea. in any case, enjoy pirating the record and hopefully you guys choke on a cannonball. happy torrenting you cowards! -ash

At that point, I didn’t even know the record had leaked and I, among what I assume are hundreds of others, immediately went to searching for it online. Here’s the kicker: no one, from what I could see, found the album for the longest time. I consider myself pretty savvy when it comes to the internet and can usually find an album in a heartbeat (record labels: hire me to trawl through links for you and send take down requests!), and I couldn’t seem to find this one anywhere. I did come across one torrent that looked pretty shady and had negative comments, so I avoided it like the plague.

While sifting through the comments of the Facebook post, Ash mentioned that the guys in BoO leaked it themselves. Wat? Ash felt it necessary to announce an as of now minor and slow-moving leak of what is one of their highest profile releases of the year so he could call out pirates, despite the fact that BoO themselves allegedly uploaded it in the first place? That this isn’t exactly appropriate behavior from a record label CEO. This is either the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen, or an elaborate troll. Actually, it could be both.

Follow along with my mental process of Ash’s comments below as I read them in bold and brackets. It’s kinda lengthy, but I eventually sift through the comments to find the important ones and eventually get to what’s going on. Sort of.

Everyone saying that the bands don’t see any money from record sales are idiots and obviously not in a signed band. Go ahead and ask ANY Sumerian artist about how they get treated by the label [Point taken and seen. You’re a small label though, and you’re a bit more involved than a major label would be]. Also, without record companies making money, none of these bands would be able to record and that means you wouldn’t have any music to listen to [Really? None?! You signed Periphery after their album was completely finished, and with the way technology is advancing, pro sounding records can be made on the cheap. Also, doesn’t Michael Keene of The Faceless own his own studio?]. Do you think the money to hire a producer and to record and to make artwork just magically appears? No, a record label pays for it [Again, not quite].  And its shitty to see such a unique and hardworking bands music that the poured everything in to get thrown around so carelessly by “fans” [It was “thrown around carelessly” by your own band, by the looks of what I’m seeing so far. And you’ve alerted THOUSANDS of people that follow your label on Facebook that the BoO album is available for free].

Pirating an album is actually worse for the band than stealing a real copy from a best buy, but no pirates have the balls to do that anyway [This is very true]. You wouldn’t still (sic) food and toilet paper from a corporate store but you would from an underground musician? Have some dignity [This is also true.] Stealing music will never be an admirable, respectable thing. If you like it, buy it. If you don’t, delete it. Real simple fellas! [I can get behind this, for the most part.]

Don’t underestimate touring, press and word of mouth – but yes the internet is a huge part of gaining awareness and creating exposure for bands. that doesn’t mean you have to steal their entire album. like i said before – if you steal an album and enjoy listening to it – support the artist and buy it! if you steal it and think it sucks then delete it but don’t upload it to other torrent sites! [At this point, it looks like he’s cooling down a bit and making sense, and I agree with him here a bit. But then there’s this:]

[In response to a fan:] it is actually an official torrent leak made by the guys in BOO themselves and it is out there.. keep looking. [Keep looking? After all that, you told us to keep looking? Smells fishy. And needless to say, I kept looking and as of drafting this post, I could never find a torrent that looked like it was real.]

No, we are not mad, but bragging about being a thief is laughable. you are obviously someone who is not an artist trying to make a living off their art [if BoO leaked their own album, apparently they aren’t too worried about it. I’m not getting it at all at this point.]

[To a fan:] You don’t get it. Bands do care, especially Sumerian ones who get their vans paid for by the label – who get their music videos paid for by the label – who get their flights to europe, australia, japan and beyond paid for by the label – who get their rent paid for by the label when they are not on tour making money – who get their engine or transmission fixed by their label when it blows out on the road and they get stranded. all of your favorite bands – BOO, ATB, VOM, THE FACELESS, PERIPHERY – ALL receive royalty checks every 6 months which critically help them to continue to play music for a living – thanks to the fans!!! FANS SUPPORT AND THIEVES STEAL. END OF STORY MY FRIEND!!!! [While this is true, I don’t see how the vitriol is directed at the fans when you should be super pissed at the guys in BoO. This is the most baffling part to me.]

And he continues on arguing with a fan, and then says this:

before you comment about BOO leaking the torrent themselves as if you know what you’re talking about [you said this yourself!?], you should hear the torrent [that apparently 99% of commenters cant seem to find]. it is not the same as the store version or the pre-order version. i can tell you that much. there is a reason they leaked it and that we started this thread. […?!] :) …and yes – you really think, after how anti-piracy we are, that we’d post a thing advertising a record leaked if there wasn’t more than meets the eye? come on now..the sphinx is real. [What the actual fuck?!]

The actual fuck indeed, me. The actual fuck, indeed. But at this point, I discover this comment by a fan:

Haha in case people are wondering what is going on: The leaked version of the album is The studio version spliced in with the band doing random funny shit over the recording and in between sections. It’s actually pretty damn funny, and you get some clips of some new shit thrown in there too. Genious. I love sumerian.

Confused? Me too. From what I can tell, the guys at Sumerian and BoO decided to point pirates to a version of the album that, from what I can imagine, is nothing more than a cocktease to music pirates? There’s all kinds of irony going on here, and I can’t tell if it’s brilliant or not. I think I’ve been had.

So yeah, there’s a apparently a hard to find version of the new Born of Osiris album The Discovery (out March 22nd) that is cut up with random bits from the band uploaded by the band themselves and was pointed out by the label in a reverse-psychological manner. Don’t download it though, because then that’d make you a bad person or something.

Mission accomplished, Sumerian?

– JR

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