Plenty of content businesses like to point the finger at piracy when their sales don't meet expectations, but very rarely do they own up to the idea that file sharing can help their businesses. The latest case in point is indie band The Shins, whose latest album was released towards the end of January, and sold 118,000 copies in its first week, which put it second on the Billboard chart. The album's release even created enough fanfare to revive the midnight record-store opening, which had fallen out of favor with indie retailers, since file-sharing and online sales meant people no longer needed to be in a store at midnight to get the earliest access to new music. What makes these points notable is that The Shins' album has been widely available on file-sharing networks -- since October. The way the record labels tell it, you'd have imagined everybody that wanted the record would have downloaded it by now. But it would appear something else happened, something terrible enough to help the band shift more records in a single week than ever before.
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