Music industry duped by spammy BitTorrent ad, band caught in the middle

Here's a fascinating look at how two opposing groups with an interest in inflating piracy numbers drove each other crazy and screwed up a nice-seeming band in the process.

Cameron Tilbury, the manager of a Canadian band called One Soul Thrust, did a Google search for BitTorrent downloads of the band's debut album. He got a link to a site that claimed that 100,000 people were actively downloading the album.

What he didn't know is that the site, LimeTorrents, will show you a fake results page that has 100,000 people downloading any file you enter into its search box — even imaginary files like "fake123.torrent."

So Tilbury kind of freaked out. After all, the band only had 176 Twitter followers and one YouTube video with 79 views — if they'd gone piracy-platinum without earning a penny, well, that was pretty weird and disturbing (and heartening, as the lead singer noted that the band was "flattered that people could love our music that much"). The story got picked up by the Canadian Recording Industry Association's astroturf site, "Balanced Copyright for Canada" (despite its name, CRIA represents the interests of the four major international labels, who are the only voting members — most Canadian labels staged a walkout some years ago from the organisation).

CRIA and "Balanced Copyright" ran with the story, touting it as proof that piracy was destroying the careers of fledgling indie bands who were struggling to launch their careers. TorrentFreak, who broke the story (and who were rubbished by the band's manager) are sympathetic to the band's disappointment at "losing" 100,000 fans, and is calling on its readers to follow the band on Twitter and check out its video and debut album.

I'm going to end this piece with an unusual request because, to be brutally honest, I feel sorry for this band. All good musicians want to be heard and One Soul Thrust have just 'lost' 100K fans overnight. From what i've seen they seem really nice guys (and girl) and are completely innocent in all of this and although their music isn't my scene, it sounds fairly decent to me.

At the time of writing they only have 176 Twitter followers, 324 on Facebook and their solitary video on YouTube has 79 views.

Please give the CRIA and the Balanced Copyright For Canada Facebook page something interesting to talk about by adding, following, Tweeting and re-Tweeting the band right now. Get creative and feel free to post any links where you mention them on other sites (Reddit etc) in the comments. A ten-fold increase in a day or two shouldn't be too hard

CRIA Watches Massive Music Piracy Crisis Devastate Unknown Band

(Thanks, @maradydd!)