Incubus Promotes New Album With Misguided Anti-Piracy 8-Bit Video Game?

from the yeah,-that'll-win-fans dept

The band Incubus has decided that a way to attract fans to its new album is to release an 8-bit video game in which the point is to “fight music pirates,” by literally punching them as they try to get and leak Incubus’ new album.

However, as Rob Sheridan points out, the new album has already actually leaked in real life, “so I guess the game can’t be won.” I think Sheridan sums it up nicely:

Seriously? How about fighting the record label dorks or manufacturing companies who let the album leak in the first place? Maybe the boss battle should be with the label exec who can’t come up with a modern release plan that avoids leaks entirely?

Oddly, Mashable claims that attacking fans who are interested in the band’s music is part of the band’s savvy “social-media flavored album release campaign.” Sorry, but calling your fans pirates, and showing how you want to beat them up doesn’t seem particularly social. The whole target of the campaign just seems weird and misguided.

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Comments on “Incubus Promotes New Album With Misguided Anti-Piracy 8-Bit Video Game?”

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Jay (profile) says:


“they are just free riding culture”

You get to read these stories for free.
You can watch Youtube videos for free.

You have live streaming on for free.
You benefit from Supreme Court decisions for free.

Hell, it’s already been documented that most pirates do more to spread the message on good and bad entertainment far quicker than Hollywood can spin it. What exactly is the problem?

Anonymous Coward says:


do you watch south park? do you remember the tween wave episode, when stan goes to the movies? its because those previews where they shout “fuck you, you’ll watch it anyway” are fucking true, no matter how shitty the content is they can trick a few million people into watching it and giving them a few bucks each.

Huph (user link) says:

Maybe the boss battle should be with the label exec who can’t come up with a modern release plan that avoids leaks entirely?

How is this supposed to be accomplished? Discounting the purposeful leaks, most stem from the manufacturing plants that press CDs (that’s how it happened to Kanye, for example) or critics who get advance tracks for review. I’m not sure you can avoid these scenarios without shooting yourself in the foot.

Then again, I heard that Kanye now has closed listening sessions for reviewers, and that he uses couriers to carry hard drives in person to collaborators. His studio is in Hawaii, so I imagine that gets pretty expensive.

But still, there’s always going to be some period of time after recording for post-production. Tracks can’t be released instantly, especially high quality productions. There’s always going to be a potential for leaks.

And economically speaking, the labels are like any other business, they have to show quarterly profits. Some releases are held back for that reason Sometimes high profile artists threaten to do it so they can get better contract terms. The album is always there, but the exec might be gone next quarter if he can’t show enough profit. And smaller labels have limited marketing budgets, they can’t possibly promote 50 new releases at one time.

out_of_the_blue says:

Advertising just isn't your field.

“The whole target of the campaign just seems weird and misguided.”

Only matters whether it works, and as AC already noted, you bit on it and are to some degree promoting this album. SO, you’re helping a band with whom you disagree. That’s called leveraging the opposition. Judo. — Or as the commies used to say: you’re a useful idiot.

Andrew (profile) says:

Incubus the band and their manager reach out, communicate and engage their fans through web chats, twitter/fb, special events, tons of concerts and value add there. They seem to get the change in the industry. I don’t know where the game came from.

If you watch the video of them from the SF MusicTech Summit (, they DO get it. They talk about self promotion and the change in the industry in the past decade.

Specifically about the leak they said, “It was like, for about a day, where it felt like someone had broken into your house and had taken something you were making… kick in the balls a little bit. But a day later I realized that it took away the fear that people don’t want music any more. That really reinforces that they really want it – they want to take it before you’re even done with it…. we’re in this weird middle zone, we don’t get paid per record sold, out job is to make music and play concerts… we realized we’re not the ones in control of it anymore… I’m just thrilled that people are not only enthusiastic about music, but love our music so much that they want to steal it”.

Greevar (profile) says:


Yeah, you can make a quotation say a great many things if you leave out the context, even something completely opposite of what it really says.

If you were paying attention at all, you’d realize Jay is talking about buzz, publicity, and word-of-mouth. But you’d rather try to find a way to score cheap points that you feel wins the argument for you, despite the fact that you are almost always wrong. But please continue, it’s funny to watch you struggle.

A non-mouse says:

publicity stunt

“Congratulations on falling for their tongue-in-cheek publicity stunt by helping promote their new album which they deliberately leaked.”

I don’t think there is any “promotion” going on here, we’re commenting on their incredibly poor attempt at making a statement. Suggesting that they’re threatened by piracy and need their fans to help them fight it off is utterly hilarious! I think obscurity is a far bigger problem for them, but I guess that’s just my opinion.

Which brings us to the “publicity stunt” angle. If that was their true motive, then they’ve failed miserably. Yes, their name is back in the headlines, but it just makes me feel a little sad for them. I’m no more interested in their new album now than I was before reading about their little game. Zero is still zero. Oh, it’s been “leaked” you say? Yep, still zero.

kryptonianjorel (profile) says:


The ‘Bad’ entertainment part is the problem for the execs. Millions are gonna pirate, can’t stop that, but when the thing they’re pirating turns out to be shit, that leaks out to those who were actually going to buy, and thus even less buy. If pirates didn’t buy or pirate, then when bad music hits the market, it takes a lot of sales for word to get around that the music sucks

TOG says:


Agree that the game could be tongue in cheek. Some king of inside joke where the band is making fun of the label for asking them to go against fans. But, I must agree that a citation is needed on the notion that the BAND (or its management) intentionally leaked the album. My basic research (TBH consisting solely of looking at the band’s and the album’s wikipedia pages), doesn’t reveal this as true.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:


Seriously? Because I haven’t actively listened to the radio since I moved to the city and stopped driving… my apartment is kind of small but it’s got better plumbing than a cave. I admit that it can be irritating when people wear “I don’t listen to the radio!” like a badge of coolness – but it is true: lots of people don’t, anymore. It’s an increasingly obsolete technology when it comes to music…

And I really don’t see what not listening to RIAA bands has to do with living in your mom’s basement…? If anything, that would be more applicable to the radio thing, since reception isn’t great in some basements…

PaulT (profile) says:


d) under 30
e) don’t listen to this type of rock music
f) don’t live in the US. Maybe in Europe, where this type of rock was never as popular (e.g. their highest charted UK single was at #23, although their albums were a little more popular).

Not having heard of a band *you* happen to know does not make one stupid, although asserting that makes you look foolish and arrogant.

As for them being a 90s band, they’ve been together since 1991 according to Wikipedia, and recording since 1995. Does that not make them a 90s band? Are you saying that, say, Jamiroquai and Foo Fighters don’t count as 90s bands because they’ve had hits since the 90s? What’s your criteria.

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