Daft Punk Fights Piracy With Convenience, Streams Entire “Random Access Memories” Album Days Before Release

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After weeks of teasing, endless itty-bitty leaks, and about a zillion radio plays of the one track they’d released so far, the entirety of Daft Punk’s new Random Access Memories has just hit iTunes, days before the official release.

The catch: it’s streaming only right now. You can find the link right here. Hit the “View in iTunes” button, then just tap the “Listen Now” button. Enjoy your early taste of the album you’ll be hearing all summer.

While a few sites are declaring this a “leak”, that’s almost certainly not the case. Apple did something similar to this leading up to the recent release of Justin Timberlake’s 20/20 album, and the promotional text of the stream specifically suggests that you “pre-order the album” — which isn’t something they’d say if it wasn’t intended to go up a bit early.

“Why would they do this?” you might ask. “Isn’t this just giving pirates a hi-fi copy to spread around?”

Yes — but that’s very much not a worry at this point. We’ve got just four days before the album’s official street date. The album is almost certainly on trucks around the country. Once it’s on the trucks, it’s being ripped and uploaded to the Internet, almost without fail.

Streaming your album early, on your terms, is the new “accidental” leak. It’s fighting piracy with the only tool that can really fight it: convenience. A massive chunk of people who download leaks do it just to get a taste; to say they heard it early. By giving those people the taste they want through a sanctioned, official, high quality means, you’re nixing the need for them to download a bootleg copy.

Will it eliminate piracy of the album? Of course not — but it’s one small nudge upwards in a hugely uphill battle.

(Plus, artists make most of their money by way of touring these days anyway — and if there’s any show worth seeing live, it’s Daft Punk)