Almost a week before its scheduled U.S. and U.K. release, the new Coldplay album, “X&Y,” has been leaked to online P2P file trading sites.
The album had been sent to various radio stations and was made available to retail stores in Japan on May 30, so the leak is not entirely unexpected.
The highly anticipated album was the subject of intense security by label EMI Music Group. The label held listening parties for press rather than distributing advance copies for review purposes, and labeled the CDs under a false name when shipped.
These measures point to how much EMI has riding on the album’s success. In fact, the company’s stock price fell 13% in the first quarter after EMI announced the new Coldplay and Gorillaz albums would be delayed. The label in the past has said it feels the album could be one of its biggest releases of the year. EMI declined to comment for this story.
In addition to the security measures, EMI also pursued several groundbreaking promotional avenues in support of the album. The album’s first single “Speed of Sound” was released as a master ringtone via an exclusive deal with Cingular Wireless a week before it was available even on radio.
Sources at EMI said the exclusive ringtone experienced only moderate sales, but generated tremendous press attention due to the fact that it was the first single ever to be released as a master ringtone before available in any other format.
“X&Y” also was the first album to take pre-orders on Apple’s iTunes Music store for digital downloads. Fans pre-purchasing the album will receive an e-mail when the full digital copy is posted and available for download.
In addition, Coldplay will be the first band to perform on MTV’s “The Leak” series. The performance, taped in the U.S. on May 18, will premiere June 5 in an hour-long special. MTV made the complete album available for streaming preview on MTV.com at the end of May.