Madonna’s festive season is proving less cheery all the time following reports on Christmas Day that 14 more tracks from her upcoming album, Rebel Heart, have been leaked onto the internet.
The news, reported by Billboard, follows the leak last week of 13 early demos from the album, something the singer initially described as “a form of terrorism” and “artistic rape”.
According to Billboard, which cited details from another website, Idolator, the new tracks include a collaboration between Madonna and Pharrell Williams, called Back That Up (Do It).
The new apparent theft yet again highlights the difficulties of protecting intellectual property and other personal details, in the wake of the hack of a huge number of personal emails from Sony Pictures in apparent retaliation for The Interview, a comedy drama based around a plot to assassinate the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.
Speaking to the Guardian on Sunday following the leak of the 13 demos, Madonna said the scale of the theft, and the fact other, non-musical material also appeared, meant it was “a big possibility” her own computer had been hacked, rather than the material being taken by someone connected to making the album.
“Obviously there is a person, or a group of people behind this that were essentially terrorising me,” she said. “I don’t want to sound alarming, but certainly that’s how I felt. It’s one thing if someone comes into your house and steals a painting off your wall: that’s also a violation, but, your work, as an artist, that’s devastating.
“I’m an artistic person, I’m very expressive. I’m sorry if words alarm people, but that’s what it felt like. It was not a consensual agreement. I did not say ‘hey, here’s my music, and it’s finished.’ It was theft.”
In the wake of the leaked tracks Madonna swiftly released six official tracks from Rebel Heart, which is not due out until March, on iTunes. She immediately reached No 1 in the iTunes chart in 36 countries.
The music industry has suffered a series of high-profile music leaks recently, despite ever tougher security measures. Last year, Kanye West’s keenly anticipated album Yeezus appeared in full online in advance of its release.
But Madonna suggested her case was different: “It wasn’t just music. Images were coming out that I’d never seen before. It was then I started to think OK, what’s happening? What is the source of the leak? It’s not just one person, or someone sitting next to me in an office, or someone in a recording studio.
“I’ve had leaks before, a couple of weeks before an album was released, a lot of other artists have too, we all have to deal with that. But to have songs in the earliest demo form, from last March, that’s extremely disturbing to me.”
The hack connected to The Interview has turned into a full-blown diplomatic row after the anonymous group, called Guardians of Power, which stole the emails, then issued threats against people who might see the film on its release, scheduled for Christmas Day. Sony Pictures pulled the film, bringing accusations it had caved in to blackmail. The film is now having a limited release in US cinemas and was available online.
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