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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 May, 2003, 13:18 GMT 14:18 UK
'Phonics album pirated online
Kelly Jones, Stereophonics
Kelly Jones' Stereophonics release their album on June 2
Stereophonics' record label bosses are threatening legal action after fans got their hands on the band's next album - weeks before its official release.

The Cwmaman trio's fourth album, You Gotta Go There To Come Back, is not released until June 2.

But a copy of the 13-track recording is already available for free on some websites.

The band is just the latest to fall prey to illegal internet downloaders, joining Radiohead, Super Furry Animals, Madonna and many others.

They recently experienced the same embarrassment, their forthcoming albums being leaked online up to three months in advance.

Promotion

The 'Phonics had been expected to preview tracks from the new disc on a May promotional mini-tour, ending in Cardiff on the eve of the release.

You Gotta Go There To Come Back
It's a phenomenon and I don't know how it happened
Stereophonics spokesperson
They will front a press launch with a special signing session at the Welsh capital's Virgin Megastore on June 1.

But the album was this week published on a downloads website, and has since spread to other destinations on the internet.

The band's independent label, V2 Records, was not aware of the disc's availability.

Giles Drew, head of new media at the label, said it would be threatening legal action against any sites hosting the album, through a "cease and desist" letter issued via the British Phonographic Industry.

Strategy

"It doesn't take much to guess it will happen - whenever you send records out, they get offered," he said.

DIGITAL MUSIC PIRACY

"We need to be offering a legal alternative, a coherent digital strategy with every release."

You Gotta Go There To Come Back will be available to buy as a legitimate download, via Peter Gabriel's OD2 subscription music service, at the same time as the high street release.

V2 itself is due to roll out secretive new techniques aimed at stopping song trading on file-sharing networks in the next couple of days, said Mr Drew, who would not elaborate.

A Stereophonics spokesperson suspected the source of the leak was a promotional copy, many of which are sent to members of the press for reviews purposes.

"It's not a surprise. Promos of the album were sent out months ago," he said.

"It's a phenomenon and I don't know how it happened. There is nothing anyone can do about it."

Piracy

Online music piracy is a huge annoyance for record companies, despite industry efforts to shut down software which lets computer users swap songs.

Internet copying is to blame for a 4% slump in UK sales, according to the British Phonographic Industry.

The emergence of advance copies is an additional worry which may be traced to promo copies or even original masters of recordings.

Record labels recently began sending instant messages to those sharing music, warning they are breaking the law and are easily identifiable.

Madonna has even posted decoy tracks which look like versions of her songs but instead play a profane warning message.




WATCH AND LISTEN
V2 Records' Giles Drew
"It's going to hurt them"



SEE ALSO:
Apple music service hits right note
06 May 03  |  Technology
Super Furries album leaked
25 Apr 03  |  Wales
Radiohead tracks appear on web
02 Apr 03  |  Music
Stereos tune into fast lane
07 Jul 02  |  Wales


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