Beefs 2011: Ninja Tune Publicly Wars with Journalist Accused of Leaking Albums Online

Beefs 2011: Ninja Tune Publicly Wars with Journalist Accused of Leaking Albums Online
For years, record companies have attempted to find a way to stop albums from being pirated online. They've created copy-protected CDs and filed lawsuits, but Ninja Tune has found a new way to address the problem: to publicly shame the journalist who leaked it in the first place.

This Monday (July 18), the esteemed electronic label posted a message on its website naming music writer Benjamin Jager from German magazine Backspin as the source of two leaked albums: Toddla T's Watch Me Dance and Thundercat's The Golden Age of Apocalypse (interestingly, the label has since removed Thundercat's name from the post, and changed it to "another upcoming release").

Ninja Tune vowed not to send any more promotional copies of albums to Backspin until the culprit owns up and the problem is addressed, and complained that the leaks "seriously affect the ability to make any kind of financial return from commercial release."

Today (July 20), Jager fired back in an interview with CMU [via The Daily Swarm].

He said, "Backspin Magazine [has been renowned] for its professional and trustworthy relationship with artists, labels and partners. Therefore, we distance ourselves from allegations made against the magazine and its staff. Never in the history of Backspin Magazine have members of the staff leaked confidential information and data on the internet or other media."

According to Jager, initial leaks of these albums appeared on the internet before Backspin received its copy. He confirmed that the copies were watermarked, and insisted that releasing them would have been "illogical." He added, "We reserve the right to take legal measures against damage of Backspin's reputation."

Now, the public argument has continued with another message from Ninja Tune. The label wrote, "The audio leaked was without doubt that contained on the CD mailed to Benjamin Jager, and that disc was undoubtedly in the Backspin offices prior to the leak."

The two albums were reportedly sitting on the magazine's "listen-to" pile, and while Ninja Tune admits that it may not have been Jager who leaked them, "We have no choice but to hold [Backspin's staff] collectively responsible. "

In regards to Backspin's claim that the albums leaked prior to them receiving the CDs, Ninja Tune insisted, "The link they refer to is a fake, and leads only to a series of online data collection adverts and surveys."

We'll have to see whether Jager responds with the confession Ninja Tune was hoping for. Either way, this may scare off future journalists from leaking the label's albums.