Wednesday, September 14, 2011

aunty piracy measures

yay you guys, it's interactive band time again.

im going to assume you've read this, which was kinda the impetus to try this little experiment yr all invited to.

tldr, this guy [captain leaky] had an advance review copy of our record, and has been sending it to his mates. and one of them wrote to us and i wrote him back explaining how it had nothing to do with the - O I WAS GOING TO BUY IT ANYWAY - and how reliant we are on everyone simultaneously buzzing about it come release week, because thats when the wider world is going to be looking at us.

honestly i feel a twinge of guilt here. we have become the empire. because its YOU, you who reads this blog and champion our cause and get all righteous with us, that wants to hear the record the most/is the most susceptible to leak temptage. and its also YOU that we're relying on to make a big internet hoohaa when it comes out.

i know two months is a massive wait. we've never had a release this ambitious, we've never released over 3 territories (uk, europe, japan) at the same time before, the deluxe album package we're putting together is FUCKING AMAZE and requires more time and effort. Basically, for once, we have our asses organised and have enough time to actually pull this off, and it could so easily be ruined by YOU if yr the kind of person always demands his/her christmas present early.

The nature of what we do means we have to compete with bands and labels with much bigger financial clout than us. and yknow, i'd like to think we do it because we have more committed (and better looking) fans. so, y'know, please dont let us down. this whole thing works as a community, so you can celebrate with all of us in november, or on yr own in a dank and morally grey corner of the internet.

anyway, i'm sure a few of you are as cynical as i am. it's going to happen anyway right? there's no way we can contain all the leaks. it's depressingly true. someone, somewhere, is going to be a bastard.

but! what if we were bastards first? what if we took the power and leaked the record ourselves?

bam. fuck you pirates.

hey, not really. but sort of. the link above is our album, + 4 distortion patches, 3 echo plug ins, 2 flangers, and a deep swell phaser. it's basically an hour of this: fssssssSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSsssssssssssssSSHHHHHHHHH

i'm sure you've seen a few bands try this before. its a rad idea. but it doesn't really work, cos most aggregator sites, filestube, rapidsearch, etc search through blogs and forums, not the filehosting pages themselves.

can you see where this is going? you are a weapon. we can aim you.

we'd like you to download that link, then reupload it somewhere and post a link in a forum or on yr blog. feel free to add in some kind of "this is totally messed up and i'm doing it cos i believe in the power of punk rock" disclaimer text.

if we can flood the search engines with a bunch of fake copies then it'll make it way harder to get the real thing when it eventually leaks.

this is maybe a minute of clicking and 5 minutes waiting, then another minute of clickage on your part. here's a list of sites that host stuff for free, where you dont have to sign up or register. thanks, piracy, for being such a big part of the internet that we have these minimum security fast websites.

feel free to change the filename to make it more confusingly realistic;
-add words like "ADVANCE" and "review copy" and "FULL RELEASE" etcy.
-a lot of pirate groups have a dumb selfserving tag or team name they attach too. feel free to invent yr own.

then, when yr done, get the link and put it in whatever forums you use, or on yr blog, or yr god damn tumblr, or on 4chan..

anyway, prize element: everyone who takes part, and sends us proof will get a code from jack for 50p off the preorder when we annouce it. I know it's not a whole lot, but we hope you'll take part cos you realise how much this means to us, as opposed to the financial reward. consider it yet another token of appreciation from our responsible adults.

whoever deals the most damage will recieve, from us, the original recovered-from-the-sea-bed 1920s playbill that forms the basis of the book that accompanies the special edition album release.
i know you dont know what i'm talking about but i've already said too much too soon. if it gets to a heated competition then we'll throw in some other original bits of artworks too. send linky or screencappy proof to
and title the message Me Vs Pirates

i don't think any bands ever tried this before. im not sure most bands have the kind of fans that would even care, but we're not most bandsso y'know, consider yrselves punk pioneers, and go do us proud.

thank you



alice said...

we'll spread it through fyjf.

alice x

johnny foreigner said...

awesome guys! remember, you have to change the filename slightly and reupload it to another site, if there's just links to ours then everyone'll get wise.

for extra lulz, anyone doing this as of next week, please add "GENUINE" and "REAL VERSION" and stuff like that to the filenamexx

matt said...

I'm in.

Anonymous said...

I've come over all opinionated but was far too verbose to post as a comment.

In a nutshell, this doesn't seem like a very good idea to me and I think there might be more positive ways to approach this.

If you've got some time on your hands, it's over here

I'd be grateful if you could minimise any flaming - my flame suit is at the dry cleaners.

johnny foreigner said...

mr anonymous, thanks, you raise some important points, that, generally for bands, make good sense. ill try do it point by point, but i think yr key flaw is "i dont know how important the simultaneous..aspect is"

to us, its super mega important. more important that the residual increase of fans picked up from illegal file sharing? well, maybe not for bands starting out, or bands signed to labels that can afford to take the hit, but not so much for us.

the files that people are uploading will only last for 60/90 days. after that, im sure it'll be as easy to get this record as everyone elses, and satisfy yr criteria; AFTER the all important offical release week

i dont want to "trick" people into downloading the a fake album, but if they do, then, serves them right. i'll not get into that whole arguement, but whatever you believe, YOU don't have an automatic right to possess OUR record.

we want to make sure as few people as practically possible hear it before release day, and this seems like an elegant and fun solution. come release week, it'll be streamed and put on spotify (which, when you first pirated us, wasn't even an option)

look man, im not saying what we do is right for every band. but we know what we're doing. i think we are putting a positive spin on things; the 50p off is a token gesture from our label to show their thanks, i doubt thats everyone's primary motivation.

what you suggest, 50p off per "converted fan" is a lame ass street team tactic. we value you guys a whole lot more than trying to turn this into some artless pyramid scheme.

come say hi in cambridge. intelligent discourse is always welcomed, even if i think yr wrong..

jessr94 said...

I'm in. Downloading now. Will post on, and facebook and shit.

Garm said...

I must agree with Mr. Anonymous. I was first introduced to your music through a mediafire link to your first album.
I've been a fan ever since and even though I haven't been able to buy as much stuff as he has, being in Spain and all, I've tried.

Captain Leaky is an asshat, but I don't think he's going to be the only one leaking it.
I understand the need for a "meme effect" and I think fans are going to be excited about the album being released even if they've heard it before because owning it is an exciting and awesome thing to do. And preorder deals are also very good at spreading buzz about stuff. I will certainly tweet a lot about it.

I think focusing on telling people how much buying this album would help you, and pointing them to bandcamp (or whatever), so they can send you money and get HQ music files or a CD (whenever they are ready) in return is better than making them download "fake" stuff, which could make them angry towards you. I don't know, really, but I think you should be careful about what people might think of this. Maybe simply trying to remove all the copies you can find as fast as you can would be a better thing to do.

Anyways, I hope you sell a lot and get rich and famous! :)

none said...

ignore the naysayers, there are ways of introducing people to music without giving them a free download nowadays, and the amount of work you guys have put into this release, you deserve some good luck and good sales!

the culture of feeling entitled to free music is seriously messed up. i hope this works for you guys, i'm downloading the "leak" now

Aurist said...

getting it now, also spread the message to my 1000-something followers on twitter, a few of them's gotta do something right? luv

hfh said...

As soon as I have access to my laptop in a week or so, I am on this. For now I shall do some reblogging of fyjf :)

(i was so scared when I first saw the links cause I hadn't read this first)

Anonymous said...

This is bloody brilliant, I'm in.

But on a somewhat hypocritical note, I'm desperately seeking a way to attain all of your harder-to-find material without opening a PayPal account. This is all complied on European Disco, which I'd be eternally grateful for an alternate way of acquiring, in exchange for my purchase of JoFoVsEverything and my participation in this top-notch deception

Thanks for yr time, and continue writing the best of the best.

Aurist said...

ogod you guys. i had to stop listening to the 'leak' cos it's got little fragments of the songs and i didn't want to spoil any of them!

anyway imma also do a torrent thing of this because i reckon that leakers will think they're being all clever by uploading it there while the fakes are going up on internet stuff. it would be good if other ppl did this too

Nicola said...

distorted sound isn't enough punishment for those who try to download the leaks so I'm trying to circulate a version where it's just 17 retitled copies of Brett Lee's hit single.

johnny foreigner said...

garm, what yr suggesting is a preorder scheme. ours is going to pretty pretty fantastic and we'll roll it out in a couple of weeks when we announce some shows.

removing leaks is time consuming and pretty unreliable; it takes 24 hours or whatever, but 5 mins to dl/reupload. we've been thru all these debates before arriving at this point.
i think "i live in spain" is as weak an excuse as any to pirate stuff; all our stores ship to spain, and you clearly have internet

i'm honestly grateful that you broke the law and robbed our music, because it's meant yr here, reading this, and involved. and come release week, it'll be impossible to stop people uploading it, and a whole new batch of people like you will get it.

what i can't condone is the arrogance of people saying "YOU'RE TRICKING PEOPLE" like thats a worse moral crime than downloading something you know it's creators arent ready for you to hear yet.


yeh none of us use torrents, so that would be great, thankee!

email us at and we'll sort something out!

o god, please do that...

JJRJ said...

Re: nobody having done it before, I know Ben Folds did something similar a few years ago (with improvised-in-studio songs instead of noise, tho) and Dananananaykroyd did it just like a few months ago with the new one. Didn't they?

That's not a complaint! It's the only anti-leak concept I've seen work at all (except for the Vladislav Delay album where review copies had a superimposed baby screaming every 60 seconds, which has the negative side effect of making reviewers hate listening to your music, oops). More power to JF.

Garm said...

Please, don't call me a thief, I don't like it and it's not true.

I said I didn't own "as much stuff as he did". I own some your stuff. What I meant was that I didn't own any t-shirts and merch but I own two of your records.

And I don't know why you are saying that "people like me" are going to download the album. I am going to buy it! I thought it was pretty clear on my first comment, but apparently not. Sorry for the misunderstandings.

Nicola said...

well I wanted to make a version with differing song lengths and sizes but then remembered that my tech savy music ability is just OPEN CD PLAY CD, so it's in mp4 because it would have been like, 12mb otherwise.
But if anyone wants to play with my lame attempt, feel free. At the very least, it's a different file size so people might think OH I'M CLEVER I'M NOT FALLING FOR THE 64MB LEAK, although that might not actually be how people think.

ALSO, uploading takes ages and makes your internet slow, what a sad life for pirates.

Andrew said...

I like this idea (particularly grassrootsing it through forums etc), my only problem is that by making the file just fuzz I think you're wasting an amazing opportunity. If you're controlling what the leak is then what you have is a chance to speak directly to potential fans who'd ordinarily pirate their music or go for early leaks. If you just recorded that blog in spoken word over the top of those files you'd be getting your message to the demographic that the band most needs to hear it: pirates & leakers who are also fans, not just the loyalists but the more casual ones as well who need to be swayed.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for replying to my long-winded post.

I wasn't suggesting that people had any right to get something you'd made for free. The point I was trying to make was that some people will go on to pay for your music off the back of downloading it for free. Perhaps this is less of an issue if the album is going to be on Spotify.

I completely appreciate that you don't want it to be released early and I respect that. I guess the Internet is a double edged sword in this respect and I think you've been able to use it to increase your fan-base but it's causing you problems now.

I think it just seems better to try to use people's interest in hearing the new album in a positive way, rather than a negative one. Garm is onto something, in my opinion, when he says this could create negative feelings - it obviously isn't sitting well with all your fans, even if a large number seem to be behind the idea. I would be interested to hear what the reaction to this is from people who aren't such die-hard fans.

Andrew's idea seems cool. Trying to convert people into fully paying customers seems better than possibly creating animosity towards the band. I really don't want people to react in the same way as they do when big bands flex their muscles to stop piracy, although I appreciate you're not acting in the same way as they do.

Anyways, I wish you the very best and hope the album launches in a way that makes everyone associated with the band happy. I know I'll be pre-ordering it whenever I can, regardless as to whether it's available to pirate before then.

I'll try to work up the courage to say "hi" in Cambridge, as long as you promise not to be mad at me!

johnny foreigner said...

garm, ill just take my foot out my outh now. thief was/is bad and misleading phrasing for someone who dls music. and im not accusing you of anything i havnt been guilty of in the past.

and by people like you, i mean, people who'll get a mediafire link in a few months time, and then listen to us, in the same way you got into us.

ok. sorry to offend. offendingalexei out x

Tom said...!/JohnnyForeinger

Set up a ring of sites, blogs, social networking pages and forum-posts all linking between each other (inside sites link other pages back to the index page), then everyone click and re-link stuff a lot - #winning.

Every week or so change the file name, file size, fuck with the songs etc. (for the last week before release I'm planning on making every song a rickroll, stuff like that).

SKVN said...


I was just about to package a bunch of rick-rolls into various repeating lengths to imitate the times & filesize of the real deal.

Jack PoP said...

Interesting reading all these comments, and so pleased that so many of you are getting behind this record. Just wanted to add an Alcopop! point of view (we're the label privelaged enough to be working with JoFo right now) to answer a couple of points raised by a few of you....

Firstly, thanks to all the rad JoFo fans who have, and we know will continue to purchase this record. We've invested a relatively massive amount of PoP money in it (for us that is, like, nothing on what a big major will have spent in the past but y'know - enough that we've worked for years to be able to spend on a record)... Wish we had more to give but y'know...

Also - for those of you who have spoken about testing JoFo material and winning new fans. This is a good point, and rest assured we will be working that with the band. Always delighted to give away free mp3s where it seems right. Already (don't) show us your fangs is available for free everywhere, and the new sTingle is designed solely for people to help spread some of the love for the new album....

Similarly, we're well aware that we need to make this special for you all. We're not a label who much enjoys putting out standard boring CDs just to try and make a quick buck. With the band we spend long hours trying to put out stuff that's really interesting... The new CD is going to come with some lurvely stuff, and hopefully please people as much as the sTingles, frisbeEP and You Thought You Saw 12" has been

As for the 50p thing - man it's not a lot appreciated - but like Lex says, it's just a gesture really. We're not trying to exploit people (we totally embrace the likes of Spotify and Deezer) but for this to run properly, we cant afford to take the hit of everyone taking the album for free. Firstly (and most importantly), JoFo need some cash! They, and other people, work really hard for what they produce. REALLY hard. Just yesterday they came on something like a huge round trip (via a dead pheasant, a PoP tech guys parents, the show promoter, Dan techs dad, trains etc) to play a show for 150 kids who loved it... Commitment. Secondly, if we were to sell no copies of this record, Alcopop! would be finished. Simple as that, and whether you'd mourn the death of our label or not, I like to think some people would...

Finally - the big release splash.... Of course it's important! Always has been. Always will be. We want everyone talking JoFo - ideally, you won't be able to move on the internets on 7th November for JoFo love! Sure :-)

Annnnnyway, don't want to fill up this comment box with all my witterings, but just to assure you - this isn't an attack on streamers or anything like that. It's a genuine thing that Lex has come up with that, from our point of view, is done for ALL the right reasons xx

eternal love yo

Jack PoP

jen said...

Possibly the best idea ever.

Unknown said...

here we are!
Great idea, but i have to say that maybe bandcamp should have to be more publicized so that you can hear the album for free and then downloading it without breaking the law...

Harmonious Dischord said...

Woah!!! There IS going to be a 12" right?

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